Conquering 100 miles in 30 days.

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I did it! 

I set a goal to run 100 miles in 30 days. I ran 109 miles.

“Some runs make you feel invincible, some runs make you feel defeated. Every run makes you stronger.” -RWM

So often people tell me running isn’t working out, people tell me it’s such an “easy way to burn calories”. Please, answer this: are the calories still easy to burn when you have sweat streaming down your face in the middle of mile 6, your back and feet hurt and you want nothing more than to quit?

Here’s how I did it. I’ve always ran a bit here and there, but the last couple years I’ve really started to focus on weight training and high intensity workouts. I basically threw out cardio and everything I knew about it. 

Last month my husband looked at me during lunch after church one day and said “what’s your next goal?” without skipping a beat, I said I was going to run 100 miles in 30 days, and honestly I surprised myself when it came flying out of my mouth. 

I started slow, I pulled out my favorite Spotify playlist and started running. one mile, two miles, and eventually I was running almost 5 miles a day. 

I had no idea how much enjoyment I would get out of it. Some days I ran on the treadmill and watched MLB, other days I ran outside and shuffled through “A Day To Remember” Spotify radio. I woke up around 4:45 AM before work for runs as well as after work and late nights when it started to cool down (clearly I’m not very bright, I picked August to set a running goal). My body was tired after my runs, but my body was also nourished with sustainable foods to fight off fatigue.

I relied solely on my Apple Watch to track my miles and pace. And I used my Dot Journal to diligently keep track of what I had accomplished during those 30 days.

Moral of the story; if you have a goal or a dream, take the first step and then another step, and eventually one step turns into multiple and then thousands and before you know it you have succeeded.

I owe a huge thank you to the people who kept me accountable and gave me so much encouragement along the way. Thank you a million times over.

Little DIY, Lotta Jesus!

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What better way to celebrate a snow day than a good ole DIY blog post!?

I can hardly believe January is more than half over. This year Connor and I have decided to set very real and challenging goals for ourselves and each other. Health and fitness goals, career goals and originally we talked about teaching our dogs cute tricks, but honestly at this point if we can get them to stop eating our furniture I’ll call that a win for the year! Our bedroom dresser, entry way bench and bar stools have all been victims of puppy teeth. Most importantly, we decided to invest in our spiritual walks. Sure, we pray together and for each other. But have you ever considered investing in intentional talks with your better half/spouse?

Learning to be intentional with our words and with our time takes lots of practice and you’ll probably fail the first few times, but just keep trying because it takes lots of, well…time. To follow Christ is one thing, but do you let him walk beside you each day? Do you know He is enough? Connor and I have decided to invest and trust Christ more this year. We decided to use our marriage and relationships with friends and family to give us leverage in speaking to our hearts on our daily actions of investing in Christ, knowing He is enough.

When Connor and I very first got married and moved in together, I pretty much cleaned out his belongings and brought mine in. But in doing so, I kept a few things I knew would come in handy later. Later is now.

He had a four canvas picture that was just awful and hung in his apartment above a bachelor cocktail table. I took it, hid it in the very back of the closet so he would eventually forget about it and when we moved into our new house back in November I found it while packing. I decided to finally do something with the canvases. I painted them white and created a hand drawn masterpiece!

To achieve this distressed look with one color, simple! Okay first, I painted my canvas white (it’s actually called Wedding Cake by Martha Stewart). Feel free to use whatever color you desire though! Tip: don’t wash out your paintbrush that you used as your color! Wrap in foil and set aside for later!

Next, I just drew on with a pencil what I wanted my canvas to say. If you’re not a master writer (I’m certainly not, I’ve had lots of practice!) you can always print a saying and trace on or use a cricket if you have one. Once I penciled in what I liked I took my famous sharpie and outlined all words in different thicknesses to have more parts stand out and this gives it a little texture too! By the way – this is the perfect time to try out your calligraphy hand! Because if you mess up – just paint over it and try again!

Lastly, I took my paint brush that I saved from earlier and held the canvas right side up and swept the canvas in a horizontal motion to get small amounts of paint over the entire canvas! This is great because it also hides any flaws that might be seen!

As I am reminded to “Be Still..” as a suggestion I can interpret it as a command from God to let him walk beside me, as well as my husband. To know He is enough, as long as we invest.

-My Cedar Chest

Spice and Everything Nice!

Christmas, decor, diy, food, Journal, ornaments

Christmas is great, right!? Time with family and friends, good food, but most importantly I get a week off of work so I’m a pretty happy camper! 

I’m super excited to share my Christmas present DIY with everyone!

I know I know, this is a little late considering Christmas is over, but I had to wait until after present giving because I gave both my dad and my brother-in-law these cute spice ornaments for Christmas gifts this year! So don’t forget about it next year! 

I was in Hobby Lobby trying to strike an idea of something I could find/make my dad for his new shop he built on their farm, he mentioned putting a wood burning stove in for warmth and keeping the heat costs down so I contemplated buying a small Cast Iron Skillet he could cook something up quick in without having to head back to the house, but instead I came across a totally different idea walking down the 66% off Christmas items aisle!

I found these cute globe ornaments (pack of 6) originally $5.99 but got on sale. So super cheap! I also bought the gift box to put the ornaments in on sale! Score! 

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I decided to put dip mixes, meat seasoning and a popcorn flavor in mine. I found a few on Pinterest and mixed a few of what I thought sounded good also! I collected a bunch of spices from our local Super Saver – I read a lot of recipes that mentioned only using McCormick spices because of different grits, but I didn’t have a problem with this! To fill the ornaments I used a super small funnel and layered my spices to make them look fun! Tip: while filling ornaments don’t tap your ornaments on the counter to get the spices through the funnel faster! I did this, totally shattered one of my ornaments!

I was going to attach the spices I used for each one but I honestly kinda played with what I liked in my dips so there’s really no perfect way! If anyone is super interested I can try to send you exact spices I put in mine and how much! Pinterest and Google are great places for spice ideas! However here’s the spices I put in my ornaments! (Try to come up with some fun names for them too!)

•Spicy Fiesta Dip

• Dilly Dill Dip!

• Italian Dip or Meat Seasoning

• Cheddar and Butter flavor for Popcorn

• Best Bacon Dip Ever!

•Ranch Dip

•BLT Dip

I also added a little piece of foil to the top so that none of the spice mix would spill out of the top since it’s open a bit. To hide the foil I tied a bow around the top with a little twine since I have a ton of it laying around my house but ribbon would be really pretty and easy too.

I layered tissue paper and crinkle paper on the bottom of the box to give a little protection to the ornaments and also look fun! I wrote little cards to go with the spice name and what to mix with to make dip super good as well as directions!

To finish you’ll need a paper punch and tie around each ornament according to the correct spice ornament!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! ❤️🎄

-My Cedar Chest

Happy Pawlidays!

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I first need to apologize for being MIA the last couple weeks as my entire life has been completely altered – we are now proud puppy parents of two English Cream Golden Retrievers!

Here’s the full story – I’ve been wanting a puppy for a really long time, I had his name picked out, his breed, even toys and treats in my cart on my amazon account just waiting to be purchased. I had been in contact with many breeders around the Midwest, but little did I know my husband had already went and picked out a puppy from a litter in Kearney! I think he panicked a bit when I told him we should go look at a few because then I probably would have wanted to bring one home and the surprise would have been totally ruined. I came home from work one day, and there was the sweetest little puppy I had ever seen just hanging out in my kitchen! He came a little earlier than expected – but I was over the moon in shock that I finally got my little Wesson puppy! 

Wesson at 8 weeks old!

A week after bringing Wesson home my husband and I had plans to take a trip to Las Vegas with my sister and her husband as well as some friends. This trip had been planned for months, plane tickets bought and hotel booked so there was no getting out of it! During our time in Vegas we became aware that Wesson’s brother was still available for adoption after many families fell through. How do you say no to that?!  So now we have sweet Smith! 

Smith at 10 weeks old!

Everyday we are learning new tricks to be better puppy parents, so help us out with a little advice! 

  • Have you ever raised two puppies at once?! 
  • What is your best advice for us during training?!
  • Would let them sleep in bed with you?!
  • What’s your pups favorite brand of food/treats?!

Happy Pawlidays! 

-My Cedar Chest

Healthy Journaling

decor, diy, Journal

Did you know that journaling actually plays a positive role in your mental health? I figured this is the best time and place to open up about my own journey with mental health. The last 6 months or so I have struggled with anxiety and mild depression. After accepting the flaws I have – I decided I wanted to find healthy stimulates for my mental health. 

It’s so good to get emotions, feelings, whatever it may be off and out of your mind while having fun doing so. Journaling serves as a silver platter of stress relief, emotional support and light hearted fun. I started a bullet journal a few weeks ago to put science to the test (I’m kinda like myth busters!). I looked up so many ideas on Pinterest of positive vibes I could put on paper. 

Here are a few ideas for your bullet journal, or any kind of journal that appealed to me! 

  • Doodles
  • Verse of the day
  • Birthdays
  • Workouts
  • Favorite Foods
  • Mood Trackers for each Month
  • Our Puppy’s Firsts
  • My Christmas Wish List 
  • Books to Read/Movies to Watch
  • Calorie Counter
  • Goal of the Day/Month
  • Vacations

I purchsed my bullet (or dot) journal from Michaels for $5.00 – grey in color, of course. Although they have a varitey of colors and sizes. And attached is a couple bookmarks. It’s like 100 pages, actually I have no idea how many pages it is, I just made that up because it looks like a lot of pages to fill!

I’m still working on a list of my favorie pens to use. I did buy a few different brands including Sharpie’s, which are great for outlining colors but that’s about it since they bleed through to other pages. I tried out Faber-Castell Artist Pen, and I’m not a huge fan of it because it’s pretty thick and the end of the pen bends when I want small lines. So far, the best pens I have found (and they come in all sizes) are Millennium Zig pens. They’re especially great because the sizes are listed on the top of them! Highly recommend them! 

Oh yeah, journaling for your mental health isn’t just a myth! I would love to hear any feedback you may have! 

-My Cedar Chest

For the Love of a Tree

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I really wanted my Christmas tree to feel right at home, so i decided to decorate it a little different this year. 

I painted clothes pins white to match my other ornaments (Dollar-Tree has clothes pins for cheap) and pinned them to my tree with my most cherished moments that have been captured. I like things to match so I did all wedding photos.

Our tree includes ornaments from Michael’s, Hobby Lobby glittery flowers and white cotton balls. I added some texture with antlers and beaded garland. I also have random balls around my house that I use to decorate with, so i stuck them in my tree to make it more full.   

P.S. I take my ornaments and wrap the string of them around my branch several times so they don’t hang so low and then I can add more to my tree! Try it! 

Decorate your tree with love, it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

-My Cedar Chest 

Christmas Decor Tips and Tricks!

Christmas, decor, diy, lights, tipsandtricks

We can start decorating for Christmas now, right? Well, I am. What are a few of your favorite items to set out during the colder months?!

Here’s my DIY winter decorating colab!

Tips:

-Do not be afraid, I repeat DO NOT be afraid to add lots of texture during the colder months. This brings a warmer feeling into your home.

-Drink peppermint/cinnamon flavored coffee and listen to Christmas music while decorating – get the creative juices flowing.

-In past years decorating I have had people ask me how I keep my “everyday” decor items and mix them with whatever season I’m in. This can be challenging since I love lambs ear, and mixing it with cotton and pine isn’t the easiest for winter, but honestly just roll with it. If it makes you happy, do it. And don’t think twice about it. Don’t be confused though, I do put away most of my lighter green items.

-Add red. Which is hard to believe I’m even suggesting red because usually my colors of choice are grey/white and wood. But during Christmas red brings a comfort feeling. Add red (plaid) pillows or signs with red writing.

Tricks:

-Hide lights wherever you can, I prefer small string lights with a battery but any will do. Also, use timer lights if they’re in your budget this season. These lights are especially amazing if you have open soffits like us! If your microwave is mounted above your stove check in the cabinet above it to see if you have a plugin, if so add a small hole on the top of the cabinet to plug in and pull your lights through.

-Buy candles that smell like winter and hide them in cute jars/containers.

-Add a wreath or your kids school projects to the front of your top kitchen cupboards with command hooks. Command hooks aren’t damaging and super easy to remove so they’re perfect for the job!

-If you don’t have a fireplace like us, use your staircase railing to hang your stockings. To cover up where you hang them, add long greenery all the way down the railing. so cute!

-Add a push button extension cord to your tree for easy access to turn on! Amazon has them for a whole $6.96!

Hopefully some of my tips and tricks from experience help you out this holiday season! If you have any, please comment and let me know how you conquered your decorating!

-My Cedar Chest

Thankful, grateful, blessed with a side of cheesy potatoes

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Happy Thanksgiving!

When I said I was starting a blog for my DIY’s that doesn’t mean I’m just limited to repainting and home decor, right?

This is my first year hosting Thanksgiving at our new house (I have no idea what I’m doing truthfully) and I decided to take the stress off myself a little bit by reaching out to my mom and sister to bring a few dishes to help me out. My all time favorite dish (anytime) is cheesy potatoes. Wow, a cheesy potatoes recipe DIY is making a debut on my second blog post (that’s how important they are in my life). This recipe makes about 15 servings.

The Goods:

9’ by 13’ glass pan, lightly sprayed with Pam

30 oz. thawed hash browns

1 cup milk

2 cans cream chicken/mushroom condensed soup

1/2 cup sour cream

2 cups shredded cheese (I love cheese)

2-4 tablespoons melted butter

Sprinkle salt and pepper, garlic or chives

If its your thing add a small onion (I will if I’m not wearing makeup so I don’t cry off any mascara).

I buy the frozen hash browns, (if you make yours with real potatoes, please reach out and let me in on how that’s done!) and let them thaw out a bit, this trick will help so they aren’t so watery!

Combine milk, condensed soup, sour cream and cheese together in a big bowl and spices too, I use my mixer. Next add in hash browns. Once all combined pour into your sprayed dish and pour melted butter over the top.

Cook for 1 hour uncovered at 350 degrees, and eat! Yum!

I truly hope everyone is surrounded by family and love today. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly looking forward to my food coma and especially thankful for my oversized sweater today. Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. here’s a super fun way to serve your guests drinks during the Holidays! Our awesome rustic cooler was gifted to us for a wedding present hand crafted by Mike Bley out of Wauneta, Nebraska!

It holds SO MANY DRINKS!

And it’s so practical!

-My Cedar Chest

Inside the Chest

About Me, decor, diy, Journal

Hi, I’m Meriel. You can call me Mer, or whatever else strikes your fancy. I’m a Nebraska born and raised girl. I’m a coffee enthusiast and self proclaimed professional couponer. In my very near future I hope to own a dog. Has anyone else ever tried to write about themselves? Wow, this is so much harder than I anticipated it to be.

Basically, as a kid I watched my mom parade around garage sales finding the best bargain for an old chair or dresser she could recover or repaint. She has paved the way for my love of decorating and DIYing. They always say moms know best right? So, here I am – wanting to help those who need a few pick me ups on DIY’s. Enjoy!

For my more professional readers:

Hi, I’m Meriel. By day, I’m a 25 year old Pediatric Dental Assistant. My husband and I have been married since June of 2017. He’s a project manager for a commercial construction company all while building homes on the side, honestly he comes in really handy when a new project arises! We enjoy traveling, and sitting on our couch eating kettle popcorn. My decorative style is a mixture of modern farmhouse and rustic. I truly believe Lambs Ear saves lives in all rooms, and plaid too. I started learning Calligraphy about a year ago, I taught myself by many YouTube videos and following Pinterest pages, in which now many signs warm the walls of our home. In my spare time I wander the aisles of Home Goods, Hobby Lobby and Cooper & Co. stirring up ideas for decorating or DIYing. Enjoy!

EDIT: WE HAVE TWO PUPPIES NOW!