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Projects and Healthy Heart Weekend prizes

Yeah, more snow.  This was taken after the snow fell last night. We got maybe 4 or 5 inches?



John was out of town this weekend and missed this snow.

4 or 5 inches isn’t enough to stop girl time for breakfast for us northern peeps, though :D


Now we are supposed to get a lot more tonight and tomorrow.  The snow wouldn’t be so bad if it got warm enough to melt off some before piling on new stuff…

Anyway, one week to the Healthy Heart Weekend!  Here are the prizes that will be given away this year:

Locally made peanut butter:


A huge jar of Stevia.  Please when you send me your photo, tell me if you would use stevia or not. 


And – A hand knit hat from Shelley!  I asked Shelley last minute  if she would be able to knit something and she busted this hat out so fast!


It’s very cute and super soft. :D  The winner of this is going to be very lucky!

It’s been project weekend around here at Radiance Manor. John was away for the weekend and I seem to get super productive when he is gone. Hmmmm…

Anyway, my projects have long wait times in them, so I have a few going on at once.  The trunk is getting lined now.  There are time consuming stages with the trunk. Not so much the doing, but the waiting. Waiting to dry between cleaning, waiting in between coats of paint, waiting between coats of waterlox, etc. I spent the weekend working on the tray:


It was in decent shape, so I cleaned it, scraped off the old paper, glued any loose parts and put primer on it.  I was going to do the tray in gray, but it looked out of place in the trunk, so I went black – which is pretty unusual for me. I am not so much the dark color person. However, it goes really well with the fabric I chose.  Anyway, see there is a broken plank in the bottom of the tray?



 I didn’t want to pull off the broken board because I was afraid the whole tray would break since it is probably 120 years old. So, I cut some fiberboard to fit in the bottom of the tray and then covered that with fabric.  Adhesive and some weights:


All pretty:


I had a wee bit of trouble lining up the pattern since the insert wasn’t completey square, but it looks 100 times better.

I also have been working on the headboard while the tray was in various stages of drying, but I will save those pictures for another day.

I also got our bedroom paint color, except I didn’t get around to any painting of that.



 I will have time with the snow coming in tonight and tomorrow!

February Goals

Better late than never, right? I had goals in mind, but then never posted them.  Good thing I am not a paid blogger with an editorial calender…  :oops: 


1. Host the Healthy Heart Weekend.  Okay, that was announced here and is next weekend!


You don’t actually have to officially sign up for it, FYI. You can just do it and send me the picture after you do your thang.

2.  Start painting the master bedroom.  This is the only room in the whole house that doesn’t need wallpaper removal and now that a color has been decided, time to repair the walls and get painting.  It’s gonna be purple. Plum Frost to be exact. It’s really a huge room, too.



3. Finish one of the trunks and try to sell it.  Making good progress here. I should have it done in a week or so and then I will see if I can sell it. I will start with my group of vintage people and then work outward from there.

4. Start a bowflex routine. My gym membership expires next week and I will need to get into the habit of strength training at home.

That’s a fair amount for a short month I think. 


Hello from winter wonderland!

I took this picture a couple weeks ago before the latest batch of storms came through:



General winter snow cover and pretty normal. Then there is today:



We got 12.8 inches of snow yesterday. It is sunny and pretty, but bitter, bitter cold.



We had a service do the driveway/sidewalks at the old house. It’s just too much snow to remove from both driveways.  The worst part is the end of the drive – don’t you other snow people agree? All the snow pushed up from the plows that gets all packed in and with chunks of ice.  At least our counties around here are snow capable and do a good job with the roads.

We have been snug in the house, though.  I am loving what John  called my new studio:


I still need to get pictures hung up (and do the headboard). This room is going to get a lot of the flower pictures that I have taken over the years and had prints made.  The walls need to ‘cure’ for 10 days before I can use the command hooks to hang the pictures.

The trunk is progressing as well.  I got out that nasty paper liner, which smelled like mothballs, then I sealed the inside with a coat of Waterlox.


The hardware is all painted as well (with rustoleum):



I was going to stain the trunk, but then I did a slat on the back and didn’t like how dark it looked, so I am going to sand that off and then just put Waterlox on the whole thing. That will darken it a little, but not too much. It will look interesting with that coating and more of the “age imperfections” will come out, but it isn’t supposed to look brand new. 

I still need to work on the inner tray and then find a fabric to line the inside.  I need to get out and shop for that. Going a little stir crazy. I am glad to work at home and not have to drive in this stuff, but we have not left the house since we went to the Superbowl party on Sunday!

Here’s hoping it warms up a little and melts some snow before the next storm comes. Seems like we always get one around Valentine’s Day, so who knows. I think it is supposed to get to 30 degrees tomorrow, which is going to feel amazing.


Healthy Heart Weekend link here!


5th Annual Healthy Heart Weekend 02/13 – 02/15

 It’s that time again!  The 5th Annual Healthy Heart  is coming up!   Can you believe we have been doing this for 5 years?? hhweek
If you want to see some of the previous years’ results, click hereclick here, click here or click here
Here’s how it works: During  the weekend of February 13-15, do some kind of activity on 1 of the 3 days of Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.  You don’t have to have a blog in order to join, either.

This weekend is all just about getting moving. If you want to walk, that’s fine. Elliptical bunny? Knock yourself out! Take a long bike ride? Go for it! Play date with the family? Have a blast!  Slinging the barbell around counts, too :D   The only stipulation is that you need to take a picture of yourself before, during or after your event and send it to me. I will post the pictures in a wrap up post. Get creative, too! You don’t have to have your face in the photo if you don’t want to, so have fun with it!

Date:  February 13th, 14th and 15th! Feel free to chose Friday, Saturday, or Sunday to complete your event.

Activity: Your choice!

Distance/Duration: Your choice. I know many of you are training for an event, so you can use whatever distance fits in with your training plan. It’s all about a healthy heart, not a specific distance or time.

After you complete your event, please email me the photo and what you did at javaqueen01 (at) .

Please post below if you would like to participate and what you plan to do! Feel free to post about it on your blog if you have one and see how many people we can get to participate! You may grab the logo above and link as well. 

I will be giving away some prizes, too.   There will be at least a jar of locally made peanut butter, a large jar of stevia (which seems like a lifetime supply) and I am going to do another prize or two. I will update this post as we go along with the prizes. And since I am hosting – anyone in the world is eligible for the prize drawings!

It’s actually really fun doing a virtual event.  I loved getting in the emails all weekend with photos and what people did. Let’s get a lot of people involved this year!

So sign up below if want want to join in! I’ll be bugging reminding you on the blog over the next couple weeks, too, so you don’t forget.

Snacking and projects

Trucking along here.  We didn’t get as much snow as predicted from the last storm since it moved farther east, thank goodness. However, we are supposed to get another 3-6 inches tonight. Yippee….not.

This mornings breakfast:



Halfway through breakfast and Pixie was very insistent for a lap. She has been the radiator queen lately and less on the lap, so I don’t know what made her that way today.



I was eating with one hand after this. I hate to say it, but there just isn’t room for her since she is a big kitty, but we work around it because we spoil her.  She was very content being like this until I went to work.

This cold weather is making me snacky. I feel actually stomach rumbly hungry, but it seems I shouldn’t be when I tally my calories. Kind of annoying. This is some granola I snacked on.



Not sure why I don’t snack on fruit, but it almost seems to cold to eat fruit! Isn’t that weird? Anyway, only 50 days until spring…

On the project front – I finished painting the bedroom:


This color looks more rose in real life and less purple. My phone just alters colors for some reason. I spray painted the old door knob gold just to freshen it up a bit. Our eventual plan is to replace all the hollow core doors in the house, but that is years off for that. For now, just a face lift.  And it looks a lot better than this:


  Now to work on the headboard for the bed and decorating the room.  I love practicing in here now. John also replaced the radiator valve and now the room is much warmer as well. It was stuck shut before and I needed a little heater fan in there when I practiced. Not now! Little by little on the projects.

I started tackling the second trunk. This one had some kind of paper covering that was really water damaged. Usually trunks are covered in canvas, but this had the paper cover:





That came right off and now I am scrubbing the trunk clean.



It’s only partly dry here, which is why the wood is darker in spots. This will get sanded down, stained and waterlox on it. I will also paint the metal trim black and put on new handles.  Then re-line the inside. I think it will look pretty when all spiffied up.

We felt like getting out tonight since we have been kind of cooped up lately. Off to dinner at Moes!



Welcome to Moes!  :D

And now to go to my new practice room and work on my guitar!

Recipe: Last minute chili

Cold weather and chili just go together, don’t they?  We were waiting for all the snow to materialize, but it come until Tuesday. However, it is still really cold. I like to make chili, but wanted something vegetarian for John and I stumbled across this recipe using Morningstar veggie crumbles on the website Full Plate Living.  It’s called Last Minute Chili because you can make in about 10 minutes!

Last minute chili


I scaled the recipe in half and added some tomato paste to help add a more long-cooked flavor to it.  The ingredients are simple and we had them all, so that worked out really well.


  • One 15 oz can of beans, drained and rinsed (whatever bean you like)
  • One  15 oz can of petite diced  tomatoes
  • cup (110 grams) Morningstar Farms Grillers crumbles (or use ground beef/turkey)
  • One 4.5 oz can diced green chiles
  • Two tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder 

Drain and rinse  the beans.  Add everything into a sauce pan. This means using the juice with the canned tomatoes as that is the only liquid you add:



Mix well and heat over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until thoroughly heated. Adjust seasoning to taste. We found it just right and since we didn’t use low-sodium beans or tomatoes, we didn’t add any salt.

Then serve:

Last Minute Chili

This was quite good. I think the tomato paste was key to giving it deeper flavor. That stuff is amazing.

We divided this into 3 large servings, but you could get 4 out of it. It’s pretty filling.

Calories when divided into 3 large servings:  397, 80 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat, 30 grams of protein. Stats will vary a bit depending on the bean you use and whether you use real meat or veggie substitute.



Neighbors and movies.

Ever have those weekends where you do so much stuff and all of the sudden it’s Sunday night? That was my weekend. I put a lot of miles on the car, too. 

Funny story. Way back when I first saw our house, it was because I was driving to a store and missed the turn. So when I drove further up, I saw the house. Anyway, fast forward over a year and the woman had moved her shop. She had an open house on Saturday at her new location and I went to it. When I got there, one other person was in the store other than the owner. She asked me if I had been to her shop before and I told her the original story about how we ended up with Radiance Manor. Then the other customer spoke up and said “You bought X’s house?” Turns out it was a neighbor across the street that we hadn’t met yet! He proceeded to tell me what a jerk the former owner was and how glad the house is owned by someone taking care of it. I don’t think we have run across a single person that had anything nice to say about the former owner. I told him to stop by any time to see the work we have done. Funny how small the world is.

Anyway, I am thinking of taking one of her classes. She repurposes stuff, which you all know I love, and one of her classes is to make a windchime out of silverware and such:


I thought that would be nice for the garden and I am going to see if the nieces want to do this as well.

Painting progress on the middle bedroom. I went with a rose color. It’s called Romantic Rose – imagine that.


No more red closet door, either.  Thank goodness.  I was going to do some stripes in this room, but after loving this color on its own and then John not crazy about the stripes, I think I will hold off on them for a while.  I can always add them later.

My sister and I went to see Selma on Saturday.



Have any of you seen this?  It was a good movie. It was pretty intense in parts and sometimes I think it dragged a bit, but overall good.  I just have to say that I don’t understand how people can hate so much. I like to try to see other people’s sides of issues to try to understand, but racism is  one I just  don’t get. At all. 

Sunday morning we were at Panera since Coffee Planet is closed…wahhh!!  Anyway, instead of a bagel, I tried the Power Up Oatmeal.  It has steel cut oats, quinoa and almonds.


This was really good, I have to say. And they don’t sweeten it, which is nice.  I put some milk on it. The oats are 290 calories.  I would definitely get this again.

I scored another deal on a trunk.  This one I will be fixing up and selling.  This one is probably from the 1890s and is a real dome-topped one.  Very fun.



Pixie says “This is my new bed!”   I need to cool my jets for a while on accumulating the projects. However, when a deal crosses your lap, you have to take it, right? Not to mention meeting a very nice person who sold this to me.

Speaking of projects, I need sign off and straighten up for some company coming over tonight.  :D I need one more weekend day… just one.

Ye Olde Trunk

How did it get to be Wednesday already?  We headed out for our usual Wednesday breakfast. We went to Spot. Our very favorite breakfast place, Coffee Planet, closed a couple weeks ago. They have another location, but it seems there just are too many coffee places to make it in this town. Or there could be another reason, who knows.  I am sad, though.  So, Spot it was.


It would have been nice to walk, but it was 3 degrees out and the sidewalks are horribly icy for a lot of the walk. Just not safe. It got a little warm and water flowed on the sidewalks and now it is frozen to a glaze of ice (not to mention those that haven’t cleared the walks yet… ). Probably be that way for a while, too. I miss that walking.

I have to say I am in an exercise slump a bit. I ride the bike at home. My gym membership is expiring shortly and I don’t know if I want to renew it or get a treadmill at home. I can lift weights at home, just not as heavy, but then I also don’t have to actually go there, which is kind of nice. It’s not like I do a ton of socializing at the gym anyway.  It’s this bitter cold, I think.

Anyway, I have been a busy bee lately with home stuff, work stuff and life in general. My latest find in bargain hunting:



This trunk dates from 1890 to 1920. The hardware patent on it is July of 1889.  It is so cool to see something so old. I picked it up off Craig’s list for $40 and it is in terrific shape.  It has all of its original trays inside, too.


I spoke with HMS Antique Trunks about how to go about sprucing it up without totally changing the trunk. Did you know there are businesses out there dedictated solely to restoring trunks? There is a niche for everything! I was told to use a toothbrush and some 409 and go over the trunk, and then use tung oil. If I want later I can always do more work, but you can’t take away stuff you do.  I will be lining the inside with some new cloth, but that is a project for another day once I finish the middle bedroom!

I do have to say that I kind of fell in love with the look of it. 


This picture actually looks cool :) . I want a trunk for a coffee table, but this particular one is ever so slightly curved, which isn’t good for a table top.  This one is probably going to be used in my practice room for holding music and stuff.  Or I might sell it once I fix it up a bit.

John and I looked at it and wondered where it has traveled over the years. What stories this trunk could probably tell.  It’s not a super antique, but a good example of a piece of American history!

Paderno Spiralizer Review

Okay, here is a longer post on the spiralizer now that I have played with it more. If you go to Amazon, you will see 2 different Paderno spiralizers. The  Paderno 4-Blade (my link) is the newer version, which is the one I got. I have never tried a spiralzer before, so I can’t really tell if it is better than the 3-blade one. However, the reasons I upgraded were:

A. It stores compact
B. It has 4 blades (with an angel hair one).
C. Designed for less waste.
D. I had a gift certificate, so I spent more :D

Here it is all compact:


Everything is stored inside and everything is washable. That red label is where the blades are stored (which are uber sharp, btw).

It all unfolds thusly:



It has suction feet to hold it in place, but I had trouble getting more than 3 of the feet to stick on my wood countertops, but I think that is because of their handmade nature. It sticks great to stovetop, though.

The blade slides in and out sideways in this model very easily:


Just cut the ends of each piece of produce to be flat. Push the center of one end onto the little peg you see above (above the blade). Then slide the handle until it grabs the other end:


Then just turn the handle. You don’t want to push the handle in. See that little lever sticking out at the bottom of the handle? That is what you use to guide the handle towards the blade.  It cuts just about like a knife through butter. Super, super easy – even with the hard sweet potato!

I did angel hair on this one:


That is the little waste stub that was left over.

Here is a zucchini with the spaghetti blade:


This was a small zuke and the noodle came out with more shreds. Also, if your veggie isn’t straight, cut it in half and spiral twice or it will get whonky. I just did this whole thing to have less waste.  Here is the waste end:


You can save these for soups or whatever. Eat them or compost them.  My zoodles:


I dipped these in boiling water for 2-3 minutes to cook. Served with grilled chicken and Alfredo sauce:


The chipper blade will do spiral potatoes or fruit.  Here is John demostrating an apple. The apple was cored for this:


See how his thumb is guiding the handle? That stablizes the machine and keeps you from breaking the handle.



Remember that sweet potato I did the angel hair with?  I put it on a big cookie sheet, sprayed with cooking spray, a little salt and pepper and baked for about 12 minutes:


Then following directions from – I mixed the cooked noodles (after they cooled a bit) with a beaten egg and used a ramekin with a can to press into disks:


Then dropped them in a pan and cooked to crisp up on each side:


Topped with pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese:

sweet potato pizza


Cover with a lid to melt the cheese. And serve:

sweet potato pizza

Little gluten free pizzas! The possibilities are endless here. You could use regular potatoes for these ‘buns’, carrots, butternut squash or any other starchy veggie (I think I am going to try parsnips).

It’s easy to clean. You need a brush to clean the blades and handle with hot soapy water. The sweet potato gave an orange tinge to the parts, but it scrubbed off. I imagine beets might stain if you leave the juice on it too long. 

This is a totally fun machine. I am really glad I decided to get it.  I certainly have been eating a lot more veggies and it doesn’t take up much space.


It’s on the counter now because I am using it a lot, but could easily go into a cabinet and not take up much storage space. I don’t know if the 3-blade one collapses like this or not.

So, be prepared, you will see a lot of spiralized food on the blog in the future!

**This is totally my opinion only. I purchased the spiralizer myself and was not asked to review it. I just like it. The above link is an affiliate link for me, though.

Friday Randomness

End to another work week!  I won’t have a 3-day weekend like a lot of people, but I may actually get 2 days off :D  A lot of time I pick up extra work on the weekends for extra $$, but I was productive enough today to make extra lines.  Yay!

I certainly have enough projects to keep me busy if I am not working. Today I  scored a deal on some cute little doors.  I found a goldmine of a group people to help me find vintage items and stuff and these came across my lap.


These are going to be used for a headboard for the guest bedroom. We have a trundle bed for that room (2 twins) and I wanted something for a headboard, but a full-size door would be way too big! These are probably cupboard doors or something, but the height and width work. I just need to attach them together. I will be painting these and likely do some kind of design in the panels. Now to get the room ready for these LOL!


More spiralizing – this time the zucchini!  


I wanted to try making an alfredo sauce and decided that zoodles would be a good choice so that I could save on the pasta calories.  Topped with grilled chicken and 1/4 cup of alfredo sauce:



Calories for this dinner are around 450. That much pasta would have easily added 200 calories to the dish.  I am stoked! – and I ate my veggies  :mrgreen: 

First official plant purchase for the new house, too:


It’s a floribunda called “Enchanted Evening”  and yes, I will be singing that all the time when I see it.  I am going to build a rose bed in the middle of the yard at some point, but I couldn’t resist ordering this one. I tried to order it a couple years ago and it got sold out, so I jumped on it.  It will arrive bare root in the spring and will probably have a temporary home in the existing sun bed for a while.  

Come on spring!!