Saturday, August 27, 2011

Foaming Hand Soap

A while back, I bought several bottles of foaming hand soap, and a large refill, because I like how it never leaves globs of soap in the sink.  I thought it would last longer because it adds so much air to the product.  About a week after I bought the stuff, the bottle in the hall bathroom was half-empty!  It didn't last long at all!

This will seem disconnected, but it fits...I promise.  Last night, my darlin' and I had a little discussion about how we need to change our budgeting strategy.  Last time I wrote about budgeting, our life was much different.  Now, with a larger, more expensive house (that is still not complete), and two teenage boys to feed, we really need to be mindful of where our money goes.  You make sure we don't go bankrupt. ;)

This morning, I was all excited about our new "challenge" to stretch our dollars further.  I was researching things like rice and bean recipes and how to cook a whole chicken, when something crossed my eye....a link called "Make Your Own Foaming Soap."  WHAT!?    I totally thought it was some scientific concoction that could only be made in labs.  As it turns out, you can make your own with liquid soap and water!  THAT'S. IT. 

I thought I'd try this out to see if it actually worked.

It did.  Like a charm.  And I didn't even measure...
The blog post says it can stretch your soap 75% further.  This means that gallon of hand soap I bought right after we got married (and are just now finishing up) could have lasted another 6 years if I would have started this back then:)  Crazy, crazy! (mahahaha...)

Here's the recipe, right from the blog:

How to Make Foaming Hand Soap

  1. Obtain a bottle of liquid hand soap refill.  You should easily be able to find a 32 ounce bottle for under $5, especially if you are coupon savvy.
  2. Reuse an old foaming soap dispenser, or purchase a new one.
  3. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of liquid hand soap to the bottom of your soap dispenser. {You can also use Castille Soap, a frugal must}
  4. Fill with warm water; slowly!
  5. Shake gently, to combine.  Pump the pump a couple of times to get the foaming started.
  6. Voila!
And here's the link:

The top of the blog reads, "Keeping the Kingdom First- balancing faith, family, and frugality," and the mission of the blogger is to,  "Honor God with my finances, encourage and equip others to do the same, discover new and creative ways to reduce spending in order to increase giving, and balance this journey with marriage and motherhood."  I just thought that was wonderful.  It was a nice little encouragement this morning, and a reminder to strive to honor God with every part of my life.  ...and I learned how to make foaming hand soap!

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's About Time!!!

Guess what I got today!!!!!

The Internet!!!!

Not the best.  The slowest internet AT&T offers (it's so stinkin' pricey!)...but the internet none the less!

People wonder why I haven't been blogging...

It's hard when you don't have the internet...


But be not sad, ye friends and family who only get updates on my freakishly insane life through my random and lenghty blog post, for I am back!  (and I am probably butchering the English language...what can I say, I'm out of practice!  Oh...and I have 2 ESL students living in my house.  I also blame them for my bad English...and for the 5 pounds that are residing on my thighs since I started eating meals at regular )  I have LOTS to share!

Our life has been changing at a very rapid rate.  Within a 2 week span, our family went from this:

Just Wes and I.  This picture was actually taken some holiday a couple of years ago;)
To this:

Meet Daniel (top left) and Val (top right).  They are living with us for the semester.  Daniel is from Slovakia and Val is from Germany.  As you can see, they are loads of fun:)  I think we are going to make lots of fabulous memories together.

Also, our house has gone from this (obviously, it has taken more than 2 weeks for this transformation, but I have yet to share the "afters"):

To this:

I absolutely cannot wait to get back into this whole blogging thing!  I have missed it!

I'd love to get started right now, but I'm taking the boys on a field Target!  Haha!  They've never been there, so hopefully it's as exciting for them as it is for me:) 


Monday, June 6, 2011


The Internet is much faster at the in-laws!  lucky me!  I can now download pictures fast enough that my computer doesn't die! are a bunch of random pictures from life:) random order, of course.  It's how I roll...

Precious Preslie:)  This pic was taken at my cousin, Tracy's baby shower. 

Brook and Dave tied the knot!  And it was lovely...

I made a tiered brownie for them:)  It was so heavy!

Some lovely ladies I met my freshman year at SBU:)

Putting all of our furniture on a trailer made me VERY nervous.  I think it all made it okay.  Hopefully it does when we move it again!

A double rainbow the evening of the Joplin tornado.

Eric, Tiffany, and the Boys came over for a slumber party in the safe basement.

I think this picture is the cutest!  They were so goofy before bed.  Who knew fart noises were so funny!?

My grandpa (far left) and his siblings.  This is the Woemmel side of my family.  I haven't seen a few of them in a very long time!  It was nice to see them this Easter!

Seminole senior girls at Ocean Zen:)  Congrats graduates!

Happy cakes for Brandt's first birthday.  I couldn't get to my camera when he smashed into the snail.  Sad, because it was so cute!  Apparently blue icing looks exactly  the same after it is digested.  Haha!  TMI? Sorry!


Jaxon...always mesmerized by cake:)

Joplin destruction:(  It is true that pictures do not accurately depict the devastation.  I'm still praying for them!

Schenck wedding cakes:)  I'm bummed I forgot my camera...the wedding was lovely and the bride was stunning:)

The end!  Now I can lose my SD card and be content:)  Yay for blogging!

Have a lovely day!

A Light at the End of the Tunnel

My, my, has been a very long time since I've blogged.  We have been very, very busy!  I obviously cannot share all of the fun things I have been up to, but I know lots of people who are very curious about the progress of our house and our housing situation:)  I'll update you as best as  I can!

First of all, we are currently living in my in-law's basement!  Our house was under contract within a month of us actually putting it on the market, and closed on May 23rd.  We feel so very blessed that it was such a fast sell!  To us, it was just another confirmation that God truly is taking care of us and wanted us to move!  Also, to many, living in your in-law's basement doesn't sound appealling at all.  However, my in-laws have beautiful walk-in showers and a front loading washing machine in their basement (among many other fantastic things), so, though I am extremely excited about the new place, I am QUITE content right now:)  We are so very thankful to them for letting us stay with them! 

Now...onto the house stuff!  Here is a not-all-inclusive list of what's been extremely random order...
  • Walls and basement ceilings re-textured
  • Wood floors installed and finish
  • upstairs hall bath, laundry room, basement bathroom and vanity areas, and most of the basement bar area is now tiled
  • wainscotting installed in dining room
  • wainscotting mostly installed in the laundry room
  • cabinet refinishing is a little further, but definitely not finished (and won't be when we move in, as I haven't had a place to work!
  • Master closet rebuilt
  • shelves added in laundry room closet
  • Awkward wall in laundry room moved about 6 inches back
  • French doors added in basement
  • duct work re-vamped
  • Gutter system altered
  • Kitchen cabinets altered for new appliances
  • Columns in basement decoratively wrapped
Also, we have had TONS of help cleaning and preparing for the painters to come.  Fred and Libby, my sister Shawn, and my parents have helped us big time, and I seriously would have gone crazy without them!  (Thank you so much!)   I absolutely hate all of the little things that have to prepare for the big things, such as cleaning EVERYTHING, taping windows off for the painters, and removing cabinet doors from every cabinet in our entire house, but it all has to be done, and is all very time consuming!  There is no way we would be ready for the painters if they hadn't helped so much!

I've mentioned the painters a couple of times.  We originally wanted to do all of the painting ourselves.  However, we ended up doing a lot more work than we first planned, and the project is taking much longer than I expected.  We have 2 foreign exchange students arriving in July (which I do believe is new, extremely exciting, news since my last post)  We definitely want them to have a comfortable place when they arrive, so we need to complete this mongo project asap!  This is why we are hiring professionals:)  The painters are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, I do believe.  They are painting all of the woodwork, the kitchen cabinets, all of the walls, and the ceilings.  It is going to be the most significant progress on the house thus far.  I am sooo excited!

The week after the painters finish, we plan on adding carpet and granite, grouting the tile floors, and putting the final finish coat on the wood floors.  After that, we plan on moving in!!!  We definitely won't be as finished as we originally hoped to be when we moved in, but the finishing touches are definitely not necessary for living in the house.  For example, our light fixtures will be dated, and we won't have shiny new plumbing fixtures on the sinks...but we will still have light and water.  No big deal :)  We plan to finish those projects as soon as we are able:)

Here's a little picture update:)

Finishing the wood floors.  They are so dark and lovely!  (and covered in resin paper, so I can't enjoy them!  But it's keeping them safe!)

Wainscotting!  Wood detail, and wall area enclosed with wood will be white, and the walls will be a medium-brown.

Adorable wainscotting in laundry room.  It is not finished in this picture, and the cabinets now have 2 coats of stain.

Wood floors are covered, and cabinet doors and island are out.  Ready for painters!  (I love the light fixtures that Wes installed!)

Basement.  The columns aren't completely finished.  It looks so much more open without the brick half-wall!  Also, notice the lovely french doors and the light from the window in the other room pouring in.  (happy sigh:))

New master closet organization:)
Tile in the basement bathroom and vanities.  It makes the space look so much larger!

.As you can see, it doesn't look amazing in there just quite yet, but we are getting so close!  I think the paint is going to fix the majority of the eye sores, and make it look so much cleaner, and obviously more finished.  Even though it still feels we are a long way away, the schedule shows otherwise.  Thank goodness!  I  hope to be able to share beautiful pictures soon!!!

:)  Have a great day!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thrifting and Homemade Decor

Our current house is 1600 square feet, and our next house is over 3500 square feet.  Do you know what that means?  That house is gonna look pretty darn sparse for a good long while!  Because I'm not a huge fan of overly "sparse," undecorated spaces, I've been hunting for great deals!  I can't buy large pieces (furniture) because we have no place to store it (well...and we're on a tight budget!).  But small decor, I can do!  Let me tell you, it has been a blast. Now thrifing and creating (or watching others create) things on the cheap are my latest addictions, and I'd like to share a few things I have learned!

There are a few things that I find in thrift stores that just gross me out.  You likes.  Pillows used to be one of those things.  Not any more!  Well...not some.  I ran into a dilemna a while back.  I wanted to make a cute little pillow, so I went to the FM store to buy a pillow form.  It was $5 for a tiny 12 X 12, synthentic fiber filled pillow!  Ridiculous!  Then, one day, I was shopping with my thrifting buddy, Sheila.  We found some really nice feather throw pillows.  They were super clean, and, the case had a zipper, so you could easily remove the pillow form.  The awesome thing about feather pillows is you can wash them and they fluff up perfectly when you dry them!   Now I always keep my eye out for feather throw pillows.  They can come in many kinds of cases, generally ranging from okay to hideous...

Once the cases are removed and they are washed, they are fluffy and fabulous!  Actually, most times the pillow forms look clean once you remove the cases, but I still wash them in hot water (with detergent) ...twice.  I don't believe you are supposed to wash your feather pillows with hot water, but I want them to be as clean as possible.  I haven't ruined one yet.  I just throw them in the washing machine on the gentle cycle, and tumble dry them with 3 tennis balls.  It takes a while for them to dry.  Also, if you have ever washed a feather pillow, you know it can smell kinda funky when it's wet.  The pillows generally cost $2-$5, and you can cover them with whatever fabric you want!  (The pillows I paid $5 for are probably at least 18x18)  I can't wait to cover these puppies with some of that lovely fabric I bought!

Today, I got this lovely (and heavy!) brass bird.  I saw it a couple of weeks ago, and thought it was just dandy!  It was priced at $5.98.  It isn't in perfect condition (and I'm extremely cheap) so I did not get it.  I could not stop thinking about it, though!  (Don't ask me why I love it so much...I just have a "connection" with it...haha!)  I actually went back today, just to see if it was still there (and if it was marked down).  To my surprise, it hadn't been bought yet!  Still 5.98:(  However, it had a B written under the price.  I saw some items with a B that were marked down elsewhere in the store, so I asked a worker if the price was going to be reduced soon.  He said the Bs are being marked down this week, but the home items changed on Thursday and Friday.  Then, he took it from my hands and wrote 2.98 on it!  lucky  me!  Lesson learned:  when in doubt, ASK!

I also got this little bird cage for 99 cents!  It was unmarked.  Generally, this particular store doesn't let you buy things that are unmarked, so I asked the same employee about the price.  He priced it well.  Needless to say, I'm going to hunt that man down any time I have a question:).  I see it being used as spring decor, and as a cute Christmas ornament.  I'm thinking I should start collecting adorable little cages for my Christmas tree:)

I felt a bit badly about these apothecaries because I told my friend that she would be hard pressed to find them at a thrift store because they are so "in" right now.  Then, one day, I went shopping without her and found 2 for cheap!  This proves, one person's treasure is another person's trash!  You can find anything at a thrift store!  Sorry, Sheila!  Had I have learned this lesson earlier, I wouldn't have said that! :)  There's also a story behind the green bottle.  I was looking for a bud vase because I wanted to cut some tulips from my yard, but the only vases we had at home are very wide mouthed.  Filling it would require me to chop down my entire garden.  I made another trip to my beloved thrift store and found a green bottle, much like this one, but smaller and cuter, and for only a dollar. I was all like, "WHAT-EV-ER!  I could totally buy a drink in a bottle like this, and have something to drink, and a bottle for the same price!"  I went to the store and found a beverage in a lovely green bottle for 1.30.  Sadly, the stuff was NASTY, I spent 15 minutes trying to get the sticky label off, and the size of the mouth compared to the size of the bottle do not make for a "balanced" arrangement!  Not a huge loss, but still annoying:)

The last thrifty thing I am going to share really deserves it's own post.  I've been planning on writing about it for quite some time, but I haven't yet.  I really don't want to forget about it, so I'm just going to tag on the end of this thrifty decor post.  There are some lovely and talented young ladies who were willing to help me re-create an expensive piece of art for my mantle.  I got the large canvas from Michael's with a coupon, as well as some modge podge.  I also bought a hymnal from a used christian bookstore.  We spent a few evenings modge podging, and painting, and ended up with this beauty.  (actually...I did not paint at all.  I just watched and admired their skills...and realized how big of a disaster it would have been had I have done it on my own!!)  The colors look much much better in person...and the mood that it portrays is exactly what I was desiring.  It cost a mere $30 compared to a whopping $1920.00!!!

It seriously makes me giddy when I look at it.  Thanks Rachel and Lauren Denny!!!  The beautiful original piece is pictured below, and can be bought on Ebay.  It is actually one of three paintings that go together.  Absolutely lovely.

So there you go.  You don't have to sacrifice style when on a budget!  Now, I understand that many of you might not LOVE the items I shared in this post.  I have been told that I have a unique style.  However, I truly believe there are great deals and inexpensive options for every design style.  You just have to hunt for them!  (Or be brave and attack those projects)

Wishing you luck in your hunt!!!

Weekends 10 and 11

Hey There! 
I hope everyone has been enjoying the absolutely amazing weather!

The past couple of weeks have been fairly productive, not only on the house we are remodeling, but also on the house that is for sale!  In fact, weekend 10 was completely dedicated to whipping our yard into shape for showing, as it is now on the market :)  I've never mulched more in my life!  I must say, it was rather enjoyable, except for the ridiculous barking of the dog that lives in the yard caddy corner to ours.  It barked for several hours straight.  Grrrr!  I was so annoyed.  Seriously...annoyed.  I came to the conclusion that animals have the tendency to make me very irritable.  I truly wish I were an animal lover, and I do think I'm getting much, much better (Thank you better behaved Dixie dog and Michelle-loving Piper).  However, the truth remains, I most definitely am not.

After all of that yard whipping, our house was looking pretty snazzy, but one sad fact is that grass grows.  We had another showing today.  I got the call around 11, and realized our lovely yard hadn't been mowed since last weekend!  I almost broke a vow that I made to myself to never mow the lawn (because the hubby was at work).  I changed my clothes, got out the lawn mower, put some gas in it, and tried to get it going.  Then, I realized how much of a pansy I really am.  I could not start the thing!  I had 2 issues.  1.  I'm not strong enough, and 2.  I really don't think I'm long enough.  I had to change positions to get the stringy-starter-ma-bob completely out...and my arm had to move at an angle that is not so strong.  Oh, how being short (and delicate...haha) complicates things!  Did you know I can't even effectively stir things, or use a rolling pin at the counter top level without a step-stool?  It's really quite frustrating.  Hmmm...that gets me thinking...maybe I should have used a step stool to try to start the lawn mower.   ...Nah!

Although our yard is not the yard of my dreams, it has a couple of things going for it.  Three seasons of the year, I can have fresh flowers in my house!  (Below are the tulips I planted in February.  That's right all you who said they wouldn't grow!  Booyah!)  I hope that will be a pleasant suprise to whoever lives in our house next because it has really been enjoyable for me!

During the 10th weekend of our house renovation, we also had the ground breaking ceremony for a new childrens' wing at church.  It is much needed for our growing children's ministries!  God has really been moving at Seminole Baptist Temple, and all of the childrens' classes need more space!  Our high school class has actually been one person shy of the fire code!  We are all so excited about the new building and are praising God for all He does!

Everyone was supposed to bring shovels to help break the ground!  Once again, here are my cutie pie nephews going after it!

It was such a fun time!

Zane learned a valuable shovelling lesson...use your foot for more POWER!

And...I just really liked the picture below, so I added it :)

After week 10, I spent a lot of time price shopping and solidifying our budget for plumbing fixtures, lighting, and hardware for the house.  One tip for those of you needing to price shop for things of this nature:  take a camera with you!!!  Most of the time, the price is near the product, so when you look at the picture, not only do you remember the price, but also what the product looked like!  I took pictures at several stores, and Wes and I made our decisions at home (so he didn't even have to go shopping).  It also allowed us to put products from various stores side by side, so we could make sure they coordinated. 

The roofers also started their work.  They are almost finished.  The new shingles look sooooo much better than the shake roof (that was in terrible condition, I might add).

Sadly, especially for our neighbors, the roofing supplies are still in our yard until they finish (I don't know when they are finishing it, as they are on a commercial job right now.  However, I do believe Wes knows!)

During weekend 11, Wes started framing the tub skirt.  We have a fantastic idea.  It's going to be very spa-esque!  I'm pumped!

He also moved a doorway to one of the bedrooms in the basement.  Because the bedroom has a door to the john deere room, we would prefer to use it as a workout room or play room unless we absolutely need it as a bedroom.  At this point, we most definitely do not!  Because of that, we decided to add french doors.  The space to the right that is still open is where the old door used to be.  It still needs to be drywalled, but you get the idea.  The reason we  moved the door instead of just widening it was because we did not like how the soffit cut into the trim.  I love trim, so that just would not do!  Also, the french doors will (hopefully) be rather centered behind the couch, adding some architectural interest.  I think it will be lovely!  I also like the fact that the window is now visible from many points in the living room.  It adds a lot of light and opens up the space.  I don't have a before picture at this angle because that big brick wall was in the way!

Last weekend we also had another SWITCH event for our high school and middle school kids.  If you are unfamiliar with SWITCH, it is an outreach event that our church does for our youth.  The wonderful youth pastors coordinate some super fun event (this month was the Skinny Improv), kids invite their unsaved friends, and they are presented with the gospel!  6 kids got saved!  It is amazing how many people are so hungry for the word of God, and all they need is to be told about it!  We are excitedly praising God for all He has done through the SWITCH events.  I've never seen life changes like I've seen the past year and a half!  It's beautiful!

This week, we are having some work done on our HVAC and the drywall finishers are coming!  I will be gone for the weekend, so I am excited to see what it looks like when I return!  Also, there has been a lot of movement and "whatnot" on our house!  I was quite surprised that people are actually coming to look at it because our realtor said after the first week the number of views online were really low.  In fact, she said that there were only 9 views from non-realtors online.  I was sad to inform her that I had probably looked at our listing 8 times, and I think Tiffany looked at it once!  Baha!  I don't know how the online viewing is going now, but we have had a handful of showings the past couple of weeks, so it proves there are buyers out there!  It's shaping up to be a fan-tastic week!  I am so incredibly blessed!

Have a lovely evening!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Weekends 6, 7, 8, and 9- Let There Be LIGHT! (MEGA-post)

Last time I posted I apologized for my weekend update being so late.  I don't know what to even say about the tardiness of this post!  Haha!

I will say, I have been extremely busy the past few weeks.  Sometimes when I get this busy, it is better for my sanity to drop some of the guilty pleasures in my life like stalking people on facebook and blogging (baha!), and give my full attention to the other tasks at hand.  However, because I enjoy looking back at our house progress (and I'm sure you all are dying see the progress and know what was keeping me so busy, right?  ;) ), I will give you a quick run-down on what has been going on.

Let's see here...

Between weekends 5 and 6:  I bought 33 yards of fabulous fabric to make window coverings for the main living areas in our new house.  Everytime I'd go to the FM store, I'd get so distracted and throw all of my design plans out the window.  I finally realized I needed to set an "inspiration" in stone, and I found this picture:

It's sideways....Oops.  I tried to fix it, but it didn't work, and I'm not trying again because I have better things to do :).  Anywho...I love it.  It is just the cover of one of those paint color pamphlets  Not what I was originally going for, but is definitely what our new house needs to look like.  It is lighter and airier (thank goodness!) than our current "look," yet very similar.  It has some of Wes's nice/expensive, dark wood vibes and some of my light and airy, assymetrical and creative vibes.  I think the detail I loved most was the fabric on the pillows.  I looked all over the place for similar fabric with no luck.  Then one day, I drove by the FM store and just pulled in to the parking lot (no, it was not my intended destination)  The first fabric I saw was this:

I love the similar colors and the pretty design!  Though it is not excact, it is definitely close enough for me!  The FM store had just gotten a new shipment of fun fabrics.  I also found these beauties amongst the new fabric and fell in love:)
I will use them for the curtains for the kitchen, laundry room, living room, and the red will be in the dining room.  I love how they have a rough texture but an elegant design...just perfect!  Can't wait to get sewing!

Weekend 6:  CAN LIGHTS!  Lighting is the thing that has taken up the most time the past three weekends.  Here is a semi-before picture of the basement.  We only had the two lights that are shining on the fireplace in this picture.  Needless to say, at night, it was super dark down there!

Not anymore!  The lights made such a huge difference in the basement.  We are now kinda can-light-happy:)  We are adding them everywhere...and loving it!  
 He also added 3 canlights and the wiring for 4 pendant lights around the bar area in the basement.  He actually removed a wall sconce and a plant light in that crazy brick wall thing and used the wiring and the switches for the new lighting:)  The can lights are hanging, and the wires will be connected to the pendants once the drywall finishers finish the ceiling and the walls.  (We don't want them to get nasty:))

Isn't it pretty!?

Between Weekends 6 and 7:  I spent much of my time planning a reunion with my friends from high school.  Also, Wes took a couple days off of work to help build a cardboard box maze for a youth event at our church.  I helped them a little on Friday.  It was SO FUN!  Sadly, we had to miss the actual event.  I heard it was AMAZING and I think 8 kids got saved!  Praise the Lord!!!

Weekend 7:  We did not work on the house at all because we were having a blast in Branson!  I do not have a good picture to sum up the weekend, sadly, but it was so wonderful to see everyone!  There were 15 of us total...a mix of high school buddies, their spouses, and their babies.  It had been several years since I had seen most of them, but we decided that must change.  I'm thinking our reunion is going to be an annual thing!

Between weekends 7 and 8:  We finally got our current house on the MLS!  I cleaned a lot, and Wes installed a new stainless steal dishwasher and cleaned the garage a bit.  I feel it looks cluttered and unimpressive online, as there are pictures of the INSIDE of my closets and pantry! Yikes!  Hopefully, someone will see beyond the pictures and come check us out!  No one has looked at it yet, but I've been keeping it nice and tidy!!  It's kinda funny, I don't think it looks a whole lot different than it has the past year, but every time people come over (like...every single time someone has visited) they comment, on how certain things are so clean, or it feels so much more open.  I did't think that much had changed (furniture is the same...I didn't re-organize the closets or pantry...), but maybe I'm a bigger slob than I thought!  Haha!

My cousin, Missy, came over one day.  She has been watching cake shows on TV, and wanted to learn some cake tricks, so I baked some cup cakes and she baked a cake and we dug into my 5 gallon bucket of frosting:)  Not to shabby for her first try, huh?  ;)  They look awesome!

Weekend 8:  We shopped a lot on weekend 8.  We picked out our granite for the counter tops and tile.  Wes also did a lot of plumbing and ripped out the tub in the basement and put in a new one.  It looks a lot worse than it did before, so I don't have before and after pictures.  He also scraped all of the popcorn off of the ceilings in the entire basement.  It was MESSY!  He also got rid of a lot of our trash.  That sounds like a minor thing, but when you are doing this much demolition, it is a BIG job!  I'm sure he did more, but it was a less "noticable" weekend.

After weekend 8, I had an absolute ball buying pretty things for the house!  Wes's mom and I went and picked out the specific slabs of granite we thought would be best (because each slab is a little different), and found lots of other goodies!  If you are doing any type of construction project and are in Springfield, you must know about Creative Associates.  It's amazing, and you can find great deals!  Here are a few of my finds:
Most of them are iphone pictures, so they are not the greatest.  I just love this slate herringbone tile.  The plan is to use it for the backsplash.  It is only $4.90 a square foot!  My second choice was $17!  Yikes!  The smallest square tile is a sample of our granite.  There is more color and movement in the larger slabs, and the bottom tile is the tile we chose for the flooring and for the showers.  It is not travertine, but is the best imitation travertine we have ever seen.  And at only 1.50 a square foot, for a very rich look, we'll take it!  Wes is super excited because it comes in 20X20 tiles, which means he can throw up about 15 tiles, and an entire shower will be finished! 

Pictured below is one of the things I'm MOST excited about!  There was a battle raging in me...between oil rubbed bronze light fixtures and brushed nickel.  I love brushed nickel, especially in bathrooms, but I felt many of the rooms needed some grounding (something "solid") with all of the light colors and white I will be using.  It needed some dark elements.  Then I found this beauty.  It is a mix of dark antinque gold (but looks more like a pewter) and brushed nickel.  Now I can use darker fixtures and brushed nickel, depending on the needs of the room, and these lovely things will tie everything together!  I think I'm going to lose the lamp shades, though.  This particular chandelier was a little over $50 and is BEAUTIFUL!  I got one for the dining room and one for the master bathroom, and a giant version of it for our entry way.  Can't wait to see them up!

The fixture pictured below is for the office/future nursary.  It is the dark pewter color.  $68! LOVE!

And we got 2 of these lovely fixtures for over our soon to be giant and amazing island in the kitchen.  They remind me of Restoration Hardware, and have bubble glass!  $49!  Ahhhhh!!!!  I looked at lights for the rest of the house at Metro Builder's Supply and Lowe's after finding these great deals and was appalled by the prices.  Sadly, I will have to suck it up for the bathrooms and some of the other rooms because Creative Associates was lacking when it came to brushed nickel fixtures. 

I also made a cake for a kid from my church.  It should have been easy, but turned into one of the most stressful cakes I've ever made.  I used colorflow, and I guess I didn't give it enough time to dry, or mixed it wrong, because it did not solidify.  I had to carefully cut the wax paper around the designs and put it on the cake because everything was breaking.  It looks great in the iphone picture, though! 

Last weekend (Weekend 9) Wes's dad and brother came over and helped.  It was so nice of them to sacrifice their time.  They did a lot of drywalling in the bathrooms, and Eric cleaned and organized a TON!  Cleaning is something we have a hard time keeping track of  because it doesn't FEEL productive when we have SO much to do!  It is, however, extremely necessary, so it was nice of him to take care of that icky job.  And for those of you who don't know, Wes's dad is an exceptionally professional drywaller, so our walls are looking GREAT! :)  Wes also added can lights to the kitchen.  Now it can look like daylight in the middle of the night. 
 Much better with more lights!

 I didn't mention that the past several weeks I have mostly been bashing out all of tile in the house.  I think it is pretty much all gone now.  Sometimes I get violent.  In one such case, I knocked a huge hole in backsplash of our kitchen and made a grand discovery!!! 

The huge and awkward bump-out in the wall in the laundry room is being used as a ginormous vent! (the picture below shows the bump-out on the left wall)  Wes said we can definitely make it smaller, and add some space to our cramped laundry room!  Yay!  We also think we will probably be able to add some sort of a nook in the wall.  I'm thinking at the very least we will be able to add a much needed hanging rod and some shelving for cute baskets, but I'm dreaming of a small bench with shelving and a hanging rod.  :)

And that's about it.  Really.  Haha.  Thanks to those of you who stuck around to read the whole thing!  We have a lot going on this week.  Hired professionals are making their first appearance and I only have one non-house related plan, so it should be good.  Can't wait to see what happens!