Friday, December 18, 2009

docket, docket

I love the way they report items in our docket, so much unnecessary information :)

"A patron at Nino's Bar reportedly told employees he was going to come back and shoot everyone. He also said he was better at basketball than LeBron James, was a sniper and a black belt in Chinese Kenpo. This was reported Tuesday; the man was issued a trespass warning."

"A Marion Township woman said a former classmate of hers, whom she "had a drunken make out session" with once while in college 15 years ago, was harassing her over the Internet on Tuesday."

dashboard indicators

JJ whacked the back of his little head on the corner of my nightstand :(

I'm pretty sure he's fine, sure enough that we aren't going to the Dr's office or ER.

It occurred to me that it would just be so much easier if kids came with a little light-up panel, like the one in the dashboard of your car. Then his little engine light would light up and I'd know without a doubt what to do. There'd be no momentary panic, frantic phone dialing or calls to J (seriously - what was he going to do?).

And maybe there could also be an indicator light for plotting mischief... that one would definitely be handy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Did any of you have nosebleeds while you were pregnant?

I remember having a few during the winter while I was expecting JJ, but this time it's almost an everyday occurrence. It's really no good because I have been using a million kleenex everyday and it's annoying.

Other than that everything else is ducky.

I finished my Christmas cards (woohoo!) and I think I'm close to being done with shopping. The tree is up and is decorated a little bit, JJ is really interested in it, so I'm not adding any more ornaments for him to pull off and break. Now I just need to wrap the presents and do a lot of baking :)

Thursday, December 03, 2009

white lies

At this very moment JJ is at Mom's Day Out (MDO).

Breathe a sigh of relief with me. ahhhhh. I needed that.

When I dropped him off I had to leave my contact info, etc, and there's also a line that asks what you will be doing. I assume that's so they don't try to call you while you're in the middle of a root canal. Every week I write "errands" just like all of the other moms.

Sometimes that's true.

Most of the time it's a lie.

Today I ran one errand. I took myself to Panera to grab breakfast (cheese pastry, thankyouverymuch). Then I came home and watched all of the episodes of Glee I have missed.

It was wonderful.

I was forced to run a load or two of laundry (I ran out of underwear again). And now I'm going to write some Christmas cards.


But there's an episode of Eastwick still on the DVR....and a french bread pizza in the freezer.

No one really cares if they receive a Christmas card from us, right?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


I love to watch the show Hoarders on A&E. It's like watching a train wreck. I find the fascinating, and extremely depressing.

I feel so bad for the people involved. It's such a complicated disease, I wonder if they are ever able to live a life that is free from the extra stuff (sometimes actual garbage)?

Not only is the show entertaining, but it provides real motivation for getting rid of the extra stuff that I tend to accumulate. After watching last night's episode I went through my closet and pulled out the clothes I no longer wish to wear (and I packed up everything that I won't be wearing for the next few months). A clean closet is such a fabulous thing!

Tomorrow I'm planning on going through my son's closet and drawers, and pack away/donate his outgrown items. I'm getting excited about dropping stuff off at Goodwill :)

Yeah, I'll probably go in the store and take a peek, too. If I get any great deals I'll let you know!

Does anyone else watch Hoarders?
Does it set you on a search and destroy mission of clutter in your own home?

Sunday, November 29, 2009


We had a great Thanksgiving at my Mom and Dad's house.

For the past few years my Mom and I have taken turns hostessing, this should have been my year, but back in July when I asked her about Thanksgiving plans she responded with "Why would you want to do that? You have a toddler running around." So she took over, and it was especially wonderful because now I don't just have a toddler running around, I'm also expecting again in early June :)

What you need to understand is that Thanksgiving is serious business for my mom and me. I remember being about 8 years old, my Grandmother had finally allowed my mom to hostess Thanksgiving (I love my Grandma, she was amazing, but she wasn't the world's most amazing hostess) - my mom sat me down for a serious talk and told me that "We are going to out-Martha Martha Stewart, and I am going to need your help." I mixed pumpkin pie and mincemeat fillings,peeled potatoes and set the table.

We out-Martha'd Martha. And I loved it.

We both have our Thanksgiving "Bibles" - three-ring binders full of recipes, notes, and most important - the names of our turkeys (to make a wonderful Turkey, you need to bond with it, and you must name it). The turkey is key, we usually order an Amish turkey (Mom) or one that is locally raised (Me). We set the tables a week in advance, carefully plan the menu and pick appropriate serving pieces, and then work our butts off so that on Thanksgiving it looks effortless. We are exhausted by the end of the day, but so very happy to have served our loved ones.

I'm planning a few posts for Thanksgiving, so today I'll leave you with the meal, it was wonderful. I'm currently hounding Mom for the recipes, I'll share when she starts to co-operate ;)

Clockwise from the top:
Savory Bread Pudding
Mashed Potatoes and Mom's Amazing Gravy
Green Beans with Shallots and Bread Crumbs
Cold Cauliflower Salad
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
The Best Turkey Ever (we named him Thom) with more gravy (I could drink it, really)
center - Brussel Sprouts with Hazelnuts

I neglected to take a picture of the brioche and artisan breads (from Zingerman's) and yummy cranberry relish. I also forgot to take pictures of the pies (pumpkin, apple and pecan) - I blame that on food coma :)

so good

Guess who:

*ate his body weight in mashed potatoes?
*refused to eat crackers/cucumbers unless they were dipped in dill dip?
*loves to build with Duplos (leftover from me and my siblings, of course)?
*has Grandpa completely wrapped around his fingers?
*always has eight thousand kisses for his Grammy?
*is going to be a big brother in early June?

gobble gobble!

We drove back from Troy last night. We were planning on visiting baby Emily (and Stephie and Jay) this morning and then driving back, we were also planning on going out to after-party with Danielle after her (beautiful and delicious) wedding and reception.

This guy had other plans:
see my angry, white gums? it's molar time.
not as fun as miller time :(

After Danielle's reception we headed to my parent's house to check on the little man, change clothes and then meet up with everyone at the hotel.

What we found was the angriest little guy ever.

He actually had a great time (as usual) hanging out with Grammy and Grandpa - he adores them, it's really cute. But then he woke up halfway through his nap and was a complete mess. I could hardly get him to calm down (which is really out of character), he just wanted me to rock with him and sing (someone appreciates my amazing voice!). So we made the parental/executive decision to pack up our bags and head home. JJ just needed a night in his own bed, now he's a happy guy again.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! Ours was wonderful :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

fruit from the docket

This might not be super fabulous but...
"A man who appeared to be high while driving on Interstate 75 on Wednesday was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia for having 6.25 grams of marijuana in the car he was driving. He told police he and his friend were returning from a rock concert in Detroit."

Now, you need to understand that there was a Phish concert at Cobo Hall on Wed. night.

I know, who would have guessed that people at a Phish concert would smoke marijuana? Unthinkable!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Chocolate Ornaments

This is my first tutorial! And it is super-duper easy, hooray!

I wasn't really sure what to call these bites of chocolate and pretzel yumminess, but they are round and festive, so I figured calling them "ornaments" wasn't too far of a stretch.

These are ridiculously easy. So easy that someone taught me how to make them when I lived in the dorms, and I made a whole bunch of them in the shared, dorm kitchenette and proudly handed them out at Christmas.

Here are your ingredients:

a bag of pretzel rounds (sometimes they call them "beer pretzels" and they are generally not manufactured by a national brand, just look for them - I swear they are out there)
a bag of holiday M&M's
a bag of Hugs (because the stripes are more fun than plain old Kisses)

Step 1: unwrap the Hugs - this will be mind numbing and time consuming - I suggest doing this while watching TV.

Step 2: preheat your oven to 150 or 200 degrees (basically, as low as it will allow you to set it) and then turn it off. If you don't turn it off you will burn your Hugs, and no one wants a burnt Hug. Then lay out some pretzels on a foil lined cookie sheet, and slip a hug into the center of each pretzel.

yep, I forgot to use foil - it made ornament removal a little bit difficult

Step 3: put the pretzels and Hugs into the oven for 2 - 3 min. They will become nice and melty.


Step 4: top each Hug with an M&M .I like to place mine upside down so you can't see the logo. I also try to place the M&M exactly over the pointy part of the Hug, just to knock it down.

Step 5: stick you tray of ornaments into the fridge until they are set (10 min. or less), pop them off of the foil (or pry them off with a spatula- seriously - use the foil) and enjoy!

nom, nom, nom!

I'm adding this post to The DIY Show Off's Holiday Highlights Party :)
Come join the fun!
The DIY Show Off

Monday, November 16, 2009

On the Subject of Christmas Gifts

Thanksgiving is almost here!

And you know what comes after that... Christmas!

The season of giving, love, Christ, family and friends, and ridiculous spending. Yep, I said it, it seems that every year, no matter how hard I plan, I will go slightly overboard on gifts for a few people. Now, I've never gone so far as to have massive post-holiday debt (we buy most of our Christmas gifts with cash), but every once in a while I forget about someone, and then in my rush to get them a gift, spend more than I would have if I'd given it a little more thought.

This year we're downsizing our Christmas spending. I'm pretty sure my husband will only find socks and undershirts under the tree this year. We're pretty much in agreement that our $20K foundation repair (oh yeah, that totally happened while I was on hiatus, but I'll elaborate later) was easily our joint Christmas gift... for the next 30 years or so.

I've cut my list down this year, and cut back the amount of money we're spending as well. It was something I've been thinking about for awhile now, and the Advent Conspiracy videos really solidified that for me. I'll be Giving Water to a few of my friends, I know they'll appreciate that much more than another pair of Christmas socks, blank journal, or random set of bath products. And a few other very special people will be receiving goodies from my kitchen.

I'm still trying to decide exactly which goodies to put in my boxes, but I have a few front runners:
Chocolate Ornaments
Spiced Nuts
Christmas Spritz

Have you thought about giving homemade or charitable Christmas gifts this year?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

i promise to do better

I've been super-duper busy lately.

You can read a little bit more here.

But I promise to do better, and to post pictures of my adorable gnome-boy! OK, that might take a while because the adorable-one keeps stealing the USB cords for the camera. But once I dig them out of the registers, toy box, and warming drawer in the oven, I'll try really hard to get a few pictures of gnome-yumminess up :)

Hope you all had a great weekend (the weather was awesome!)!

jumping back in

I've been busy.

Mostly I've been working on a Historic Homes Tour (it was yesterday), which is our bi-annual fundraiser for service league. The homes are decorated for the holidays by local florists, and this year we're pretty sure over 2000 people toured the homes. Our goal is always to raise at least $14,ooo, as that's pretty much our philanthropic budget for two years. The best part is that every single penny we raise goes directly to our community.

In a community this size $14,000 can make a huge difference. For example, our local food pantry is starting a milk money program. They were hoping to raise $1,400 to start the program and be able to give over 800 families a few vouchers for milk every month, unfortunately they were only able to raise $400. So they sent us a request and we were happy to assist them.

So that's why I've been absent from the blog.

And even though I missed doing little projects - and taking the time to take pictures of my food as I am cooking (although I never seem to write those posts!), and missed a bunch of fun blog parties and great posts that all of you have written - I'm happy to be able to give my time to my communtiy. I had a lot of fun working on this project, even though it didn't give me the immediate satisfaction that our service projects do. When I sit back and think about the impact of the money we raised, I have to say that it makes me tear up to think of little ones and pregnant women (who live right where I do) drinking milk instead of water because I was able to donate (sometimes begrudgingly) some of my time.

And now back to blogging :)

Monday, October 12, 2009

i'm hiding

Life's been both busy and boring.
And I just haven't felt like writing, or I haven't had the time.
(Or it could have something to do with all of the excellent tv shows that we DVR religiously...)

Give me a topic, then we'll discuss.

I'll bring the coffee :)

Friday, October 02, 2009

gardening for a cause

Tomorrow morning, rain or shine, I will be planting bulbs.

83 to be exact.

And nope, they won't be in my yard; because, once again, I procrastinated on ordering my bulbs.

I'm actually really excited to be helping with the landscaping of a local Habitat for Humanity home build! I'm in a local service sorority, and we are landscaping the home as our Make A Difference Day project for this year.

We threw an awesome Cinco de Mayo party last year to raise enough funds to landscape two homes (unfortunately they were only able to fund one home this year), and now our project days are here! I'll take my camera and share some pictures tomorrow.

Have you had the opportunity to serve your community lately?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

window dressings

As I alluded to earlier, I now have a pretty firm plan of how I want to treat the windows in the great room.

Here's what I started with:

these curtains came with our home, I'm so over them

The walls are now a yummy butter yellow, and I've kept the crisp white trim.
I have decided not to use shears, I can add them later if I feel we need more privacy, but I honestly don't think I will. I was also super happy to see those flimsy rods go away (note to self - list them on Craigslist!).

For now I have hung up one set of "drapes" - I used drop cloths like I keep seeing everywhere in blogland, what can I say? I loved the idea!

drapes in progress
(it's really hard to take a picture of a window!)

I really like the new rods I picked - I found them at Lowe's, so the price was right and they have the feeling I was looking for. At first I was going to just go for the dark, round finials, but I ended up with fluted amber glass balls. They go really nicely with the wood tones in the ceiling and mantle.

I had to hang up a set of the drop cloth panels because we needed drapes at least on the front of the house for privacy (the neighbors don't need to see me before I've had my coffee!), and because my husband was less than excited by the idea of drop cloths as drapes.

I'm pretty sure he was picturing clear plastic sheets on the windows.

I'm not sure if he really likes these, or was just really happy with the price (I've been brainwashing him into believing that Potter barn is the only place to buy drapes - hee hee!)

I'm very happy with the texture of the drop cloths. I'm going to sew on (green) ribbons to tie the drapes to the rings, because I love these drapes from Potter Barn:

Pottery Barn

And I'm also going to do something to the bottom of the drapes.

At first I was thinking of sewing a chunk of green and white fabric (maybe a trellis pattern?) to the bottom of each panel, but now I'm thinking of stenciling the panels instead - I figure if I don't like the stencil I can always go back and sew on some fabric later.

So that's the direction I'm headed with the drapes.
I'm excited for the change!

Monday, September 28, 2009

back to the grind: goal time

I like posting my goals for the week. I find it helps me to stay focused, and I love hearing your goals! If I started a Monday Goal Party, would you join?

I am planning on going out of town for a few days this week, so I have just a few goals for this week (a few are repeats):

1. Start decorating the tops of the kitchen cabinets.
There are basically three chunks of cabinets, I'd like to decorate one, and round up all of my decorations.

2. Finish my spray paint project.
I need to do this - I really want to join Kimba's DIY Party (it's moving to Tuesday starting this week!), and I think this is going to be really cute when it's done (of course, it could also be huge disaster). Regardless of the outcome I need to be able to mark this project done.

3. Clean out the linen closet.
It's become a black hole.
I can't find the toilet paper or kleenex without a huge pile of fabric falling out, and I can't smash my sewing machine back in there.
The great news is my little sister is still here (just until tonight), so I'm going to let her distract my little man while I get this bad boy under control.

What projects will you be working on this week?

goals: a recap

I was a little ambitious in my goals last week.

1. Start decorating the tops of the kitchen cabinets.
I didn't do a thing with the cabinet tops, although I did find a Longaberger basket for $3 at Goodwill that will be very nice above my cabinets.

2. Cozy up the guest room/office.
I dusted and vacuumed, swapped out the nightstand and lamp and edited the shelf that runs around the room. I really wanted to clean off my desk - but I didn't touch it.

3. Finish my spray painted masterpiece.
I ran out of primer. This project is never ending.

4. Plan new drapes for the great room.
I have a plan! And I will post about it later :)

5. Continue to work on the front porch.
It's not done (not that anything is ever truly done), but I picked up some pumpkins, and some fall decor and it's really starting to come together. I'm sure it'll be great in time for Amanda's next Design Dilemma Party!

How did you do last week?

Monday, September 21, 2009

goals for this week

It's good to have goals.
Follow through is also important....we'll see how I do on that end ;)

I have five little goals for this week:
1. Start decorating the tops of the kitchen cabinets.
We are done painting! Now comes the fun part :)

2. Cozy up the guest room/office.
My little sister is coming to visit this weekend, and the guest room/office has seen better days. it just needs a little refreshing, and I already have some ideas.

3. Finish my spray painted masterpiece.
This piece is taking so much more time than I thought it would - I hope I'm happy with the results.

4. Plan new drapes for the great room.
We took all of the old ones down, and they are NOT going back up (in fact I'm listing them all on Craigslist today). Right now our house is rather open, and I need some privacy!

5. Continue to work on the front porch.
All of the ideas you gave me during the Decorating Dilemma's Party were great, and I've been working on a few of them, I just need to kick this project into overdrive so i can share my progress with you :)

What are some of your goals for this week?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

i'm inspired

As I mentioned before, I'm participating in the Scavenger Hunt at The DIY Show Off - as part of my entry for the giveaway I needed to find a post that most inspires me.

It wasn't easy folks.

There was this.

And this.

Have you seen this?

I know. I need a drink.

So I figured it out! I am most inspired by Debra's Kitchen Island Transformation.

Right now we are redecorating our Great Room, a big part of that is our 5' x 5' kitchen island. The previous owners had stools around two sides of the island, we only have them at one side and I have been trying to decide what to do with the other, empty and boring, side. I think I would like to put bookshelves under the overhang to store my cookbooks. But that would probably require measuring. Plus, I have a very busy 1.5 year old - there's no way cookbooks would last 4 minutes placed within his reach.

But I still want something to pretty up the empty expanse of cabinets (have I mentioned that the cabinets are from Ikea? The sides are not pretty). I think the wallpaper that Debra used might be my solution!

So now I'm trying to imagine my kitchen with bead board wallpaper on the island.

And I think I like it :)

Want to be inspired?
Head over to The DIY Show Off.
There's so much goodness going on over there, it's crazy!


Big news in a small town:

"A High School student, 16, was cited on West Foulke Avenue for wearing a Taco Bell window promotional sign as a cape. He had taken the sign from the store Tuesday."

famous little pig

Zippy, my beloved guinea pig, passed away last Fri.

When I heard that Roeshel at The DIY Showoff was having a Pet Parade, I knew it would be the perfect way to honor her.

Check out all of the cute pets!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

still spraying

My spray paint project isn't ready yet :(

I jumped into the project a little unprepared, so nothing went right and I had to start over tonight. Bummer.

I'm sad because I was excited to finally have a post for Kimba's DIY Day.

I guess there's always next week!

And I get to enjoy the paint fumes for a few more days ;)

For now I'll leave you with a sneak peek.

delicious fabric

i'm hunting...

I'm participating in the Scavenger Hunt over st The DIY Showoff.

It's fun!

You should join in, too :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

paint fumes

I've been spray painting today, so forgive me if this comes out wonky. I blame the fumes.

The delicious fumes. Hee hee!

I've been working on a project for our dining area in my great room. I mentioned that I was not happy with the three dining areas that dominated my great room before, so I've whittle it down to two. Which has caused a great deal of furniture shuffling throughout the house (surprisingly everything seems to be falling into place - almost like I had a plan). And with the shuffling I am also reworking a few pieces.

Anyway. Stay tuned for a tale of intrigue, (white) lies (No honey - I have no idea why there are white over spray stains on our freshly sealed driveway.).

if you need me I'll be painting.

something new!

I've been blogging here.

You'll find pictures of my house, and my projects, a few recipes, some thrift store finds. No stories about JJ, although he is mentioned a few times. It's mostly just a log of what I do around the house (kind of - no one wants to read about laundry and dirty diapers).

debbie downer

I haven't updated in a while, we've been super busy getting ready for Adrienne and Sam's wedding (last weekend, and lovely). I've also been busy because a new year of Service League has begun, and I *might* have over committed myself a little, or a lot.

Here's where life becomes sad.

Last week my sweet guinea pig, Zippy, died.

If you'd rather not read an account of the last few minutes of Zippy's long (7.5 years is really long for a GP) life, then I suggest you stop reading.

J changed Zippy's bedding on Thurs evening around 11 - we were rushing around getting things ready for our trip to Louisville (for the wedding) - he came and let me know that she was laying on her side with her leg sticking out at a funny angle. While this wasn't normal, I figured she was developing arthritis, as she had started to limp a little when she'd run around. I checked to see if she needed some baby Tylenol.

She was really lethargic, but she perked right up when I came to her cage, and she thouroughly enjoyed being pet and adored. I knew she was fading, so I had J take a few pictures of me holding her, and then I tried to feed her some cucumber and hay, but she wouldn't eat.

I held her in a rowel and she was taking really ragged breaths, and they were really spaced out. I was crying, it seemed like she was fighting to hold on for some reason, like she just couldn't let go. I asked if she wanted to see JJ, and my lethargic piggy lifted her head up and looked at me. So I took her into his room and held her up to JJ's crib. She sniffed him and nosed the side of his head, it was so sweet - I knew she was saying goodbye to her buddy. Then we went back out to the living room and sat down. Almost immediately she picked her head up from the towel and managed to lay it on my chest, and then she was gone.

I cried.
She was a good pig.

We buried her in the backyard in the morning before we left for Louisville. I wrapped her in a corner of the towel we used to cover her cage at night, she always chewed on that corner, so I figured it was her favorite. I also tucked in a chunk of cucumber and some hay.

sweet little pig
2002 - 2009

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Guess what I found!


That might seem a bit steep for a bag of random toys, but I was too excited to care!

Let's look closer:

plastic goodness

There were 107 little figures in the bag (!), everything from a cow to what I can only assume is a Sasquatch.

I cannot wait to craft with these, it's going to be so fun!

I'm joining the party over at Homebody!
Stop by for more Thrift Store Thursday finds!

the "great" project

Last weekend we started painting the great room. We are not quite done, but it should be finished soon (we're headed to a wedding this weekend!). After we finish painting I can really get into redesigning and decorating this space.

I love change!

I figured it would be nice to include a few before shots of the room.
So here it is, in all of it's former glory, moving in a (kind of) circle to the right:

formal dining area (complete with guinea pig)
This is how we live in the space - we have an 18 month old who loves to climb on everything, so all non-essential dining chairs have been banished, and the guinea pig landed in the only safe place we could find. I never intended for my pet to become my centerpiece, but that's how it is.

Like the "antler" on the wall up by the ceiling? (it was a hook for hanging surround sound)

Neither did I.

It's gone!

a glimpse into the kitchen (far right)
I bet you want an "arrangement" just like the one in that flower basket - don't you? That was a project that I never really finished, but I have let it sit (just like that) for more than two years.

Now it's gone!

the kitchen (well, a chunk of it)

the kitchen dining area
I took this picture while were prepping for paint, the drapes for the sliding glass door had already been removed - they were the same as the drapes pictured here.

the living room
We have a lot of toys.
And books.
And a big empty area to play in.

more living room
You can see the fireplace iin this picture, there is a large bank of windows to the right of the fireplace. I took this picture from the formal dining area (notice the GP cage in the corner?).

I don't have any good before pictures of my kitchen, but there is a large (roughly 5' x 5') granite island in the center of the space, which is an absolute magnet for all of the clutter in my house. It also makes it feel like there are three large tables in the space - which is totally not working (I have a plan!). Some of the pictures I have hanging up were hung there, by me, with a plan in place - others were hung on nails that were left by the previous owners. This bothered me, big time. I'm so excited to fix it!

I think I'm just, generally, excited!

Monday, September 07, 2009

sprucing up the front porch - a decorating dilemma

I have a confession.

I didn't do a thing to my front porch all summer. I bought plants for the planter box and never planted them (I also never watered them. Oops!).

boring and dirty

I needed to remedy the situation for the fall.

I spent $10 on some mums, swapped my wreath, and cleaned everything up.

still boring

The walkway leading up to my porch is adorable - I have a rock wall that is covered in lichen and moss (you can see it along the bottom of the last picture), and there are planting beds on both sides (one is full of pachysandra, and one has a variety of perennials and some pots of annuals). But then you get up to the house and it's awful.

I need help!
Do you have any suggestions for my super-boring, super-tiny front porch?

I'm linking this to the Fall Nesting Party at The Inspired Room, even though I doubt it will inspire anyone. I'm hoping to get some ideas and inspiration from everyone else there. Hopefully you can all help me make my front porch inspiring for fall!

*Edit - I'm also linking this to the Decorating Dilemmas Party at Serenity Now, your ideas so far have been great, and I'd just love to get more!

painting psa

We spent our weekend painting the great room.
It's been great.

Not really, it's sort of been a pain. Especially because we can only paint after the little man has gone to sleep for the night (luckily one of my friends kidnapped him on Sat. so we could paint for the entire afternoon). We have three walls left.

I LOVE the areas that are finished; they were a drab green - nothing obnoxious, just not me. Now they are a sunny yellow (the paint color is actually "Butter," so it's got to be awesome), and they are invigorating and fresh. LOVE.

And the one thing that I am most excited about?
(okay, I'm excited for a lot of things, but this ranks pretty high on the list)

I am painting the air-return vents to match the walls.

They were white.
The same color as the trim.
They were really noticeable.
I noticed them everyday.
Not anymore!

Can we agree on this? Can I make you all converts to the "air return vents are not a focal point in the room club." It would really make my day :) To me, vents should be like visible panty lines - non-existent. And it's so easy! Just take down the vent and slap a few coats of paint on it.
And now your room has lost its VPL's and you won't find it in the pages of Marie Claire with a black bar over its eyes.

Friday, September 04, 2009

bumpa dip

This is Bumpa, he is the hubs grandfather and was an amazing man.

We miss him.
A lot.

Bumpa left one very important legacy (ok, so there are a ton of awesome things (and people) you could claim as Bumpa's greatest legacy, but trust me, this is good)...

Bumpa Dip

1 brick of cream cheese
1/4 c. milk
1/4 c. diced white onion
garlic salt
giant bag of chips

In a mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese and milk until well combined (if you want your dip thinner - add more milk, thicker - add less).
Then start shaking in some garlic salt, shake blend and taste - in our family we add the garlic salt until the garlic overpowers the cream cheese, you might want a little less.
Mix in the onion.
Try not to eat it all by yourself!

You can make this dip with 1/3 less fat cream cheese, but it gets sort of gross with the fat free stuff.
Also tastes fantastic with pretzels and veggies.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

for the love of tupperware

As I walked through the door of our Goodwill I had one item in mind: Tupperware.

My little man is going to "day care" next week (he's really going to Mom's Day Out at a local church, one day a week 9-2 playtime - I'm excited!). And he needs something for me to pack his lunch in. I thought about just using a bunch of little containers, but that's awfully cumbersome for the teachers to deal with. I was ideally hoping to find one container with three or four spots; something perfect for grapes, crackers and cheese (he's 1.5, that's lunch).

I found not one, but two of the same old-school Tupperware relish trays (one even had the old "seal" logo on the lid). Score! And the $1 price tag sealed the deal. Both of the trays seemed brand new, but one was less dusty and had no odor, so that's the one I went with. It has a nifty little handle that screws in to use it as a tray - I can see myself making an olive tray (kalamata - yum!) for future picnics with this, but for right now it's some one's lunch box :)

I found three other items:
a brand new architectural thingy - $5, but it had a 50% off blue tag, so really $2.50
a flowery shadow box - $4
a wool pumpkin - $5

The pumpkin reeked of smoke, plus, I felt that $5 was sort of spendy for used decor (I can get one cheaper new at Hobby Lobby). So I passed.

I'm not sure what I'll do with the architectural thingy, but I'm pretty sure it will involve spray paint. I like the shape, I'm sure I can use it somewhere.

I already have a plan for the flowery shadow box...

I spent a grand total of $8.01 after tax.
I love thrift-store shopping therapy!

I've added this post to Holly's Thrift Store Thursday, check her out and see what everyone else has been thrifting!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

new drapes :)

When we moved into our current house (Jan '07), there was one thing I absolutely couldn't stand.

These drapes. Blechhh.

They matched the former wall color exactly (because it was such and awesome color! - kind of a greenish, putty) - and they made me feel like my life force was being sucked out. After we painted the room (Sept '07) we just hung them back up because I didn't know what I wanted.

For the longest time I thought I wanted these drapes from Pottery Barn, but I just couldn't justify the expense, especially because I would need to guess on color and ship them back if they weren't fabulous.

I was stuck, and I still hated the drapes.

Last week I made a pilgrimage to Target (1.5 hour round trip) and thought I found the perfect drapes ($20 per panel and a muted blue faux silk). The color didn't work, so they are waiting to be returned. I was now determined to find new drapes so I went to Lowes, and I found some that work.

They have that cheap sheen, but at $25 per panel I can live with it. Plus they are blackout curtains, and since I am super sensitive to light when I am sleeping, they are my new best friends.

We've had them hung up for two nights, and I have slept like a rock. I feel awesome.

Of course the project turned into 4 trips to Lowes (buy drapes, buy rings, exchange rings, buy one more panel) and I had to move the drapery rod up 3 inches, split one panel in half and sew it to the other two panels. But it was worth it, because I am very happy with the results :)

Here's the cost break down:
3 drapery panels @ $25 = $75
2 sets of rings @ $8 = $16

total cost = $81 ($38 less than one panel from PB)

And here's the bonus! I already sold the old drapes on Craigslist :) They are out of my house forever and I have $12 to add to my fix-the-car fund :)

Monday, August 31, 2009


Last week life handed me lemons.

I was trying to be a caring and supportive friend and went to a funeral. I even went to the graveside service. And karma sent me a non-functioning transmission as a parting gift.

Yep, in the middle of the funeral procession my car (it's the car my husband usually drives) died. So I parked it next to the corn field (this, of course could not have happened in town), hopped into another car and called the hubs. We had an excellent conversation.

It cost $85 to have the car towed to the mechanic in town.
The repair will be at least $1800.


We had planned, for months, to go up to the Upper Peninsula for Labor Day weekend for a college reunion. Not anymore :(

So now my plan for finding money has been kicked into hyper drive. I think it would feel really good if I have a large chunk of cash ready to pay off this bill once the credit card statement comes in (we get cash back, so we put all large expenses on the card).

I just listed a leftover case of diapers and some curtains that we recently replaced (as in we replaced them yesterday) on Craigslist. I'll let you know how it goes...


This weekend was not the greatest.

I was driving J's car and it died. The motor didn't die, but the transmission was doing nothing. I had to leave his car in the middle of nowhere (for real, it was next to a cornfield) and hop a ride with a friend. The tow truck was $85, the low estimate for the transmission work is $1800.

We just canceled our hotel reservations in Houghton.

It makes me feel both incredibly grown up and extremely sad. I feel more adult making this decision than when we were married, or when we bought any of our three homes, or when JJ was born. I'm not sure why.

All I know is that those are costs we were not anticipating. We are fortunate enough to have 8 months of living expenses in the bank, just chilling in case it is needed; I just don't feel comfortable using that money unless it is absolutely necessary. And we won't need to use that money if I cancel our (MY) trip.

I was really looking forward to seeing my girls, and to hanging out in my favorite bars (even if I had to bring my baby with me). If you are headed up, have a Quaalude and play Free Bird on the juke box at the Ambo for me. Eat some gnocchi at Armando's and then hang out on the deck at the DT.

I think I'll make Library soup on Sunday, and make my family wear their Husky gear.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

finding money

I have a wish list of items I would love to buy for our home. Most of them are expensive (at least for us), and I always feel like we should be saving, saving, saving instead of spending.

So I have a plan - I'm going to "find" $1000, and then I can spend it however I want. Maybe I'll convince my husband that I really do need a gazebo in the backyard, or use it to redecorate a room in the house, maybe I'll redecorate me :)

Right now I have $76 in my found money fund; proceeds from a last minute garage sale I had in June. I'm pretty sure I can find enough stuff to list on Craigslist (woefully underused site for our area, but worth a try) and Ebay to make at least $100, and I'm planning to have a more organized garage sale in September. I'm not sure where I'll find the rest of my goal money... coupon clipping? redesigning rooms for the neighbors?

I'm excited for this goal, who doesn't love making money?

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

pleasantly surprised

I love to shop at TJ Maxx.
There isn't a lot of decent shopping in my immediate area, but our (tiny) local mall does have a TJ's. Which means I can grab a fun new top or shoes when I feel like it. And today, I felt like shopping :)

I found a pair of shoes, and a new top and then I went back to the food aisle. I just usually browse there, sometimes I'll pick up an interesting candy to add to a gift basket, or I'll find a yummy looking box of tea.

Today I hit gold!

Big bottles (8 oz!) of really good vanilla extract for $12.99 and a large bottle of French sea salt for $3.99.
My pantry needed both.
(I actually put the last of my last bottle of sea salt into my salt pig last night)

Happy day!

Have you been pleasantly surprised during a discount shopping trip?

Friday, August 21, 2009

i love cuppie-cakes

Who doesn't love cupcakes?

I love to read Bakerella. Her photography is inspiring, her content delicious and she's just fun!
I clicked over yesterday and found out I had missed a giveaway (sad face), but she had the yummiest-looking banana cupcake pictures.
And I had two overly ripe bananas.

It was kismet.

the most-perfect banana cupcake I have ever tasted
(and the cream cheese frosting is fab, too)

The recipe called for one banana, but I had two so I added them both and just baked the cakes for a few minutes longer.

Don't you love that cupcake liner?
It came from Bake It Pretty, my most favorite bakery supply shop :)


i've been busy

Eating my delicious fish!

I doubled the recipe (because our fish was frozen in huge amounts) and had to substitute cooking sherry for the white wine. Normally a substitution like that would have made me physically ill, but you can't buy wine on Sunday in our county and every single bottle of white wine in my house was a dessert wine (I have since restocked the cellar), so it was either cooking sherry or super-sweet wine. I cut the sherry with water so the flavor wouldn't be as strong, and all of the ingredients played nicely together in my pan. Since we have a lifetime supply of bow-tie pasta I decided to serve it as a side - I wish I had served it with rice, I think the sauce was much better suited for a grain than a pasta.

Zucchini and summer squash sauteed in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt and coarsely cracked pepper was a perfect, simple veggie - and since they are currently in season (and from the local farmers!) they were especially delicious.

We had a ton of leftovers, and I have to admit that I gleefully ate them all week long for lunch and never once shared them with my husband :)

we like...


We like to eat eat snacks in our tent...

And pizza for dinner...

Chocolate chip cookies are extra yummy...

And sometimes we even like to lick the beaters :)

cream cheese frosting...goodness..yum!

*I promise I feed my baby more than junk food - I just never seem to pick up the camera when he's eating yogurt, grapes or turkey.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

project: let's eat fish!

In June our little family vacationed with friends in Destin, FL.
We had a great time :)

The guys chartered a deep sea fishing boat for a day.
They had a great time :)

There are approx. 25 lbs of frozen fish in my freezer.

The Proud Fisherman and his Spoils

I love fish, but I really don't cook it all that often. Maybe it's because we live in Ohio (read: land of little water), and I don't trust most of the fish I see at our local grocery. Maybe it's because I'm just lazy when it comes to cooking fish (that's probably it). At any rate I need to start cooking up this fish so that I have room in my freezer again (so I can fill it back up with ice cream).

The Exhaustive Fish List*
(what's chilling in the freezer):
Amber Jack
Red Snapper
Wahoo (I have no clue what that is)
Black Fin Tuna
Trigger Fish

Tomorrow I am cooking Spicy Red Snapper. I'll let you know how it goes!

*the proud fisherman would like you to know that he also caught a barracuda, but they are apparently inedible

Friday, July 31, 2009

breaking news

A nugget from our local docket:

"A Benton Ridge woman reported Monday that upon returning home from vacation, she found her pet fish missing."

Please keep a look out for any lost fish wandering through your area.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

forts are fun

JJ and I have been building forts.

We rock.

Monday, July 27, 2009

a tidy little space

Generally, I am not a morning person.
My 18 month-old son, is.
It can make me crabby.

But a quick cleanup of the dressing area of my walk-in closet has brightened my mornings considerably. I had intended to clean-up the area for months, but never got around to it. Then at the store I noticed a new 3M Command Strip product - a key rack, which would be perfect for hanging up a few of the necklaces I often wear.

Here's my closet before:

Here it is after:

It's made my mornings much brighter!
The little chotkies and boxes are all out of my son's reach (very necessary), and they remind me of some of my favorite people. My mom made the name banner for my bedroom when I was 3, I really love seeing it every morning :) Plus, it's just so much easier for me to find my accessories!