Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend 1

We've experienced our first weekend with the house.  We only got to really get our hands dirty on Saturday.  I'm not going to lie; it was exhilerating!  We got a lot accomplished, and we had a blast doing it!  I was very intimidated by all of the work because I've had less responsibility and strenuous activity in the past year and a half, and liked it that way.  I think I may have just forgotten how much fun it is to be an integral part of something big...something like this huge, light at the end of the tunnel, goal to work towards.  Something just comes over me, and I am able to kick it into high gear.  I did notice some not so desirable habits that came out during my short teaching career, reappear on Saturday.  Those things being: 1. sucking down mad amounts of caffeine and sugar, this time in the form of sweet tea.  2.  Working until I'm absolutely famished, at which point, I eat junk food at an extremely fast pace.  (for example, I ate a whole package of fruit snacks in one bite.  That wasn't enough so I ate another bag, also in one bite, followed by 2 small baggies of sun chips in about 7 minutes.  I was then good for another couple of hours. un-health-y!!!)  3.  Working 14 hour days because once I get going,  I just....can't....sttooooop!  Unlike teaching, though, this task does not require me to be thinking about it constantly on my time off.  Also, if I do decide to think about it, it is wonderful and exciting, as opposed to....not.  :)  That is why, for me, this is so much better than teaching:)  However, I did find it interesting that I felt the same restlessness and hopped right back into the same habits as the last time I was in a stressful sitution.  I really didn't know that was how I dealt with life!  I thought it was something that crept in during a year of "suffering," as I like to refer to it, as that was the first time I noticed it.  I definitely don't think it's healthy, as there were a lot of negative physical, mental, and emotional changes during my teaching days.  This isn't a long-term project, and it is a far more fabulous situation, so I'm just going to run with it.  It helps me PRODUCE.  I'll learn a better way later! Ha!

With all that randomness being said, here's a little lookeeloo at our progress:

Wes got the carpet out of most of the main level, with the exception of the bathroom (grosss! don't blame him!) and the master closet.

I got a wee little bit of wallpaper off (what is shown, and the refrigerator area), removed all of the cabinet pulls and all of the shelf liners on the main level.

We picked up the desks from the Salvation Army!!  We got an excellent deal on both of these desks, that are great quality and in pretty good shape.  However, The current plan, as mentioned earlier, is to paint them white.  Also, I plan on getting some really sleek, modern pulls for the drawers!  Can't wait!

This is just a picture of some things in the amazing cabinets we have in our garage and john deere room.  We packed 3 truckloads and 3 SUV loads (= a whole FREAKING lot) of stuff into the cabinets, and there is still a lot of space left!  Our Christmas trees even fit in the upper cabinets.  We were so amazed, and love our house even more now that we know the capacity of those puppies! 

Wes and his brother are ridiculous.  The two of them loaded our 1000 pound doghouse onto Wes's truck by themselves.  Then, today, Wes and his dad put it in it's spot.  They are tough.  Seriously.  I'm shocked no one got hurt!

We plan to paint it a teal-like color with white trim.  We bought the paint last fall, and never got to the painting because the house was against our deck.  Hopefully I'll make it happen this spring!  I also have dreams of making a sign that says, "Dixie," putting flower pots around it, and making her a faux welcome mat out of cement pavers.  Wouldn't that be cute!?  If only dogs weren't colorblind...
 Hmmmm....looking back at those pictures, it looks like Wes did the bulk of the work.  It must be nice being a man and having all of those strong muscles:)  I promise, I worked hard too!  I did a lot of the unseen work, like cleaning all of the nastiness, running errands back and forth, and organizing our mass amounts of crap:)  Look at me justifying myself :) 

Anywho!  I love that the progress this weekend was so visible!  It makes the road ahead seem a bit less scary!  Maybe even fun!

Stay warm and safe!  I hear there is some nasty stuff coming our way!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Elementary School Science Project: The Volcano

As I was running some vinegar through my coffee pot to clean it, I was googling how to remove wallpaper.  Want to know how?  Vinegar.  Apparently you mix some with water, and spray it on the wallpaper.  If you let it soak in, it helps loosen the adhesive.  It got me thinking about all of the amazing things this stuff does.  It's so STINKING versatile!

A while back I wrote about saving money.  I gave as a resource for making laundry detergent, and said I was going to check out the website because it looked neat.  Well...I checked it out.  It's neat:)  Just as the name would lead you to believe, the website is full of ridiculous amounts of extremely practical tips!  While I was browsing, two of the articles that made the biggest impression on me were on the many uses of vinegar and baking soda. Two things that nearly every household has in their pantry all of the time.  If you don't have them...go getcha sum!! They are super cheap and uber effective:)  Because this post would be extremely long if I shared all of the tips, I'm just going to lin k the articles.

More Than 20 Ways Vinegar Can Help Your Kitchen Sparkle- I often soak my drinking glasses in vinegar when they develop that weird film from the minerals in the water.  It keeps them crystal clear!

10 Laundry Boosters Using Vinegar- Save money on those stain removers.

Homemade Citrus Vinegar Cleaner- I haven't tried this, but I would like to.  I would think the citrus would improve the scent:)

Baking Soda-

50 Household Tips for Baking Soda - When I was student teaching, the FACS teacher at Rogersville taught me that baking soda is the best stove-top cleaner ever!  Just sprinkle it on, and use a wet brillo pad (or stove-top pad, if you are worried about scratching. They are like brillo pads but softer and pink.  I haven't had this problem, but I would hate to give you bad advice!)  It's amazing.  Far better than the expensive stovetop cleaner I bought.

15 Beauty and Health Tips for Baking Soda- Strawberries and baking soda whiten teeth?  Who knew.  I'm not going to lie, this tip makes me wonder if all of the tips are a joke.  I might try it to find out because that's super interesting!  Haha!

There are so many links!  From unclogging toilets, to treating gingervitus!  Relieving itchiness from insect bites to tenderizing meat!  Cleaning cat urine to removing warts!  Just follow the links or go to and search "vinegar," or "baking soda."  You'll learn something new...I promise:)

I guess vinegar and baking soda have a lot more uses than creating that volcano that we all made in elementary school.  I know you remember!

What are your favorite uses for vinegar and/or baking soda?  Any clever tips?   I'm seriously contemplating NOT replacing that bottle of windex and 409.

:)  Happy Cleaning! :)

Forming a new habit...

I'm writing a house update, not because anything significant happened, but because I want to make blog updating a habit through this whole process!

Here's what happened today:
1.  City Utilities fixed a leak and turned our water on!  Let the real work begin!
2.  I cleaned the countertops so we can use them without feeling disgusting.
3.  I peeled about 3 square feet of wallpaper, and decided it is going to completely suck!!!  (I also realized I need more tools.)
4.  I changed some light bulbs.
5.  We bought a huge desk and a credenza desk for the office/craft room/future nursery!  We got an excellent deal at the salvation army, and have big plans to make them BEAUTIFUL!  Crafty people all around are going to be envious of my space!  Just kidding.  Kinda.  :)  I'll take pictures tomorrow, and reveal the plan.  However, like the free kitchen table that goes with the chairs I refinished, these babies won't be painted until we spray the rest of the stuff in the house, to save effort.  We must be patient!  Booo patience!!!

I know that was probably boring, but it is so significant to me.  The ball is rolling!  I can hardly believe it!  We waited so long, and the time has come!

Hope you have something you are excited about right now:)  It's the way to live.

Good night!

P.S.  If you have any tips on removing wallpaper, or are bored and in the Springfield area, let me know:)

House Tour!!!

Hey Everyone!
We FINALLY closed on our house Wednesday at 2:00, and I must say, we are VERY excited!!!  Right after we closed, I took some pictures of the house to use as our "before" pictures for all of the transformations that will be taking place in the coming months!

How about a little tour, so you can see what we are working with :)?

(So...I've been working on this post for about 3 days, and my computer keeps overheating and passing out, so this is not the whole tour!  Sorry!  Hopefully, I can start working with just a few pictures at a time!!)

The outside is definitely not very exciting.  I have been known to say it is the ugliest house in the neighborhood:)  Not because it's so ugly, but our neighborhood is sooo stinkin' cute!!!

Front Porch.  It's a tad bit lopsided right now, and we don't know exactly what we are going to do with it as far as making it beautiful, but I love that it's so big!  I think some fabulous seating is definitely a necessity!!

Living room

Beautifully wallpapered formal dining....NOT!

We have big plans for this room! :)
Lovely office/future nursery.  One of my FAVORITE rooms in the house!  My mother-in-law and I actually hugged the first time we walked into this room  And that is how I knew, this house was "the one."

Master Bedroom

Master Bathroom.  Imagine all of those walls knocked out (along with the lovely murals)!  I hope we get to do it, as it is in our long term plan, but not necessarily in the 3 month plan:)  Hopefully we have leftover funds, so we can do it!!!  Even if we don't knock the walls out, we are still don't worry!

The island getaway that's in our very own basement!  Don't worry, it is coming down!  This is the wet bar and the dining area in the basement.

Basement Living Area

Jack and Jill basement.  It is connected to two bedrooms and the hall.  Also, each bedroom has it's own vanity area.  How fortunate for our future children!!  :)

One example of a basement bedroom.  I just love all of the light!  It doesn't even feel like a basement!

The Backyard:)
 Like I said, this isn't every angle and room of the house, but it's a nice teaser!  As you can see, there is a lot of work that needs to be done!  We see definite potential in the place, and I hope, that as time goes on, you can see it too!

Have a great day!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Annoyed Yet?

We are buying a house...promise!  If you're not annoyed with my meaningless updates, you can be assured that I am!  Sorry.  I feel like I'm "leading you on!"

I've been hesitating to update on the house because everytime I open my mouth, something changes!!  I don't think this is a false alarm, though.  At least, I hope not:)

Earlier this week we were given the appraised value of the house (after renovations), which determines how much our loan for construction will be, and is one step closer to closing.  It was good...real good, and we are thrilled:)  Now that the bank has this bit of information, they have all they need to finalize the loan.  We are supposed to close next Wednesday!  I was about to say it is only 2 weeks later than our first closing date, but that is not true, is it?  It is months later, because of that silly little hold! (I'm going to stalk my own blog, because I don't remember when our original date was.  I knew this thing would come in handy!  Ha!)

When I think about it, it could sound like the process to get this house was a real pain in the rear, but it was actually the opposite!  We were definitely a bit anxious to get the house (still are) but it has definitely been bearable, and we see so many benefits to the way things worked/are working out!  Don't you just love looking back at life and realizing that YOUR plan was definitely not the BEST plan?  I do!  I also love how everything just falls into place.  De-lightful!

I can't help but wonder why I am so blessed when I am sooo completely undeserving.  Every time Wes and I receive news on the house, we are just amazed and humbled (because, for some reason, the news just keeps getting better and better).  It's really a rare opportunity, and we have not doubt that it is God given!  We feel like all along the way we have been getting His confirmation that we are following Him with these decisions.  His timing and His plans are perfect, and we thank and praise Him for that!!


I'll be relaxing until then:) Ha!  (I'm affffffffraid of all that work!!!)

I hope your eyes are opened to see the goodness and the grace of the Lord today!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Easiest Dessert Ever!

I think it is so funny that people think I cook frequently and immaculately.  I rarely try new recipes (I love it when I do, though!).  I often make up my own, non-gourmet concoctions with whatever I can find in our freezer and pantry...and a lot of the time, I don't even like my own creations.  Also, most of the foods Wes and I eat at home come from a box.  Tonight was jambalaya night.  Let me tell you, we LOVE our jambalaya...and tuna helper:)

If I try a new recipe, I am cooking because I want to.  Every once in a while, when I'm cooking because I want to, I come across a super easy and inexpensive recipe.  I commit those recipes to memory for emergencies, like unexpected company...or over-procrastination:)

This is one such recipe.  I made it after my freshman year in college for my dad and I when my mom was visiting Korea for the summer.  It is sooo good!

Peach Cobbler Dump Cake

2 (16 ounce) cans of peaches in heavy syrup
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter
ground cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 375.  I sprayed a 9x13 inch pan with PAM, but I don't know that you really need to.  Pour both cans of peaches into the pan.  In a separate bowl, melt the butter.  Mix the cake mix and the butter until the butter is evenly incorporated (you want it to be very crumbly).  Spread the cake mix-mixture evenly over the peaches, and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.  If you struggle with the whole "to taste" thing, I would recommend about 1/2 teaspoon.  Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is a bit browned.

Note:  I've seen recipes that say to spread the cake mix over the peaches, then cut the butter into small pieces and spread the pieces evenly over the cake mix.  I'm sure that works great too, I just do it the other way:)  Also, you can use cans of pie filling instead of peaches.
Eat it warm with a big scoop of ice cream!  It is so delicious and homey, and takes 5 minutes or less to prep!  Also, I almost always have the ingredients on hand!  Can't beat that! 

So there you go!  Now go buy yourself some peaches and a cake mix!  It will pull you through in a bind, or warm you up on a cold day!  You won't regret it...I promise!  (unless you're on a diet, or are extremely healthy...then you might!  ha!)

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Tiffany!

Today is my sister-in-law's birthday.  (Here's a picture of her and her precious family)

Pre-cious.  As you can see, she has her hands full!!
She is a wonderful friend, and a graceful mother.  I know graceful is an interesting way to describe motherhood, but I know that raising 3 boys 3 and under is not an easy thing.  She does such a great job with them, and makes it look like a piece of cake! 

Speaking of cake...

I made her one...

It was a tiramisu cake, so I made it into a giant coffee cup:)
I had an absolute blast making it.  It had been so long since I have had the opportunity to make a cake, and I really missed it.  I seriously smiled the whole time I was decorating it, despite the fact that I started it at midnight!  Ha!  I got the recipe here.  I was trying to make it semi-healthy/low-cal, so I made the sponge cake with splenda (with fiber.woot!), and bought low fat and fat free cream cheese (I doubled the recipe).  However, on my iphone, the measurements and the ingredients didn't line up.  I thought there were only 4 tablespoons of heavy whipping cream.  When I started making it, I realized I needed 2 cups!  Ahhhhh!  There goes any hope of being healthy!  Oh well, I guess it was better than it could have been!  The whipped, creamy filling was to die for!  I would totally make this cake again (it turned out fine with all of the lower fat/calorie changes I made).    If I were to do it again, I would make a change.  In case you want to make it, here it is;  the recipe says not to soak the cake in the coffee mixture.  It says to brush it.  I was afraid the cake would fall apart when I decorated it, so I did just brush it.  Next time, I will use the most possible without drowning it, or use a more moist cake. Also, for the coffee liqueur, I used really, really strong instant coffee.  It worked great!

Because the cake had caffiene in it, Wes and I bought some non-caffienated cupcakes for the boys, so they would actually fall asleep at nap time:)  (You're welcome, Tif!)  It was great because they thought I made them, and they loved me for it!  I know I'm totally taking credit for Price Cutter's creations, but it makes me feel special, so I don't really care:). 

Jaxon, the cutie pie middle child, LOVES cupcakes!

He melted me today.  I don't have pictures of everything that happened because I couldn't get my camera ready fast enough, but it was so adorable.  We looked over, and he had stuffed his mouth with a whole lot of cupcake.  It was on his hands and face and all over the floor.  BaBa (grandpa) rushed to fix the messy situation, created by his abandoned love for cupcakes.  It drew too much attention to the poor little guy.

 He got SOOOO embarrassed to be caught in that situation.  And everyone was laughing because of his absolute cuteness.  He kept squeezing his eyes shut...because kiddos that young think the world can't see them when they can't see the world.
 Look at him!  (I'm dying inside with compassion and love for this precious kid!)  He's like, "I can't believe this is happening..."
 Poor, sweet child couldn't handle it anymore.  The second he was clean enough, he fell into BaBa's arms...

He needed a huuuuug!

I talked about that little incident all afternoon.  My fabulous husband listens to me when I share my re-occurring thoughts to him over and over and over again.  :)  He's great.

I know I write about my nephews all of the time, but I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!!  They are CUUUUUTE!  :) 

And for the birthday gal:
I hope you had a fabulous Birthday!  You are a great friend, and I'm so glad I've gotten to know you!  Your family is precious to Wes and I, and I am inspired by the way you mother your babies!  (As you know, mothering babies is intimidating to me right now...and you, my friend, impress me!)  I hope someday to be as compassionate and loving to my kiddos!  :)
Love Ya!!

P.S.  If you know Tiffany, she has a blog too!  It can be found here.  Eric, her husband (my husband's brother) writes some entries.  They have a crazy full life, as you could  imagine with 3 boys, so they have lots of entertaining things to write about.  AND if you read it, you might fall in love with my little nephews too!  I am NOT a partial aunt.  At least, I don't think I am...  :)

Have a great week!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

So. Close.

The holiday season is over!  I look so forward to the holidays every year, but this year I am thankful they are over!  Don't get me wrong, I had a blast, but this traveler is weary.  This shopper is spent.  This party goer is pooped.

I came...

My mom and my sis at Grandpa and Grandma Woemmel's house for Thanksgiving
 I saw...

Sunset on Venice Beach in Florida.  (Stewart Family Vacation)
I conquered...

I had my Christmas decorations up and down in a timely manner!
 (And there you have the only 3 pictures I have of myself the whole season....well...not quite.  But close!  It's the downside to being the camera girl!) 

Since Thanksgiving, we have visited my parents twice, gone to Florida and Texas.  I feel like all I do is pack, drive, PARTY, drive, unpack, ridiculous laundry, re-pack, drive, PARTY, drive, etc....with the occasional stressful shopping trip and mini-party at my place. 

I'm tired.  I miss my routine...




Those aren't the real reason why I am excited the crazy festivities have come to an end.  They aren't the real reasons at all.  If you know me at all,  I bet you can guess why I'm glad.  I mean, if you have been around me even once since...say...October, you know what's on this chick's mind.


Let me tell you, I am beyond excited for the day to get here! It's like I am in some sort of purgatory-in between 2 crazy great things!  The excitement from the holidays has left me feeling a tad bit antsy.  I'm sure I could find things, but I don't really want to start new projects either.  Mostly because I fear I won't be able to finish them before we get the house.  Basically, I'm trying my hardest to just rest because life is about to get very hectic...for several  months.

I will say, Wes and I have been doing a few things to prepare here and there.  For example, we picked out our kitchen appliances (JOY!!!) and I refinished these chairs for the kitchen:
If you look closely you will see stains on the fabric, and the wood is just a little worn and sticky looking.

I got the chairs and a table from my parents for free.  I think my dad bought them off of craigslist for about $75 for my parents' temporary home.  I don't think my mom liked them.  I like the style, but they were icky.

LOVE IT!!  I know the transformation isn't that dramatic.  In person it is a bit more noticeable.  The chairs are darker and shinier.  It looks fresh!

Lovely fabric!  I wish I could get more!  I bought a remnant at the FM store for $5.  It was just BARELY enough to finish all four chairs!  I'm so glad I had enough!

Now she wants them back!  I simply sanded them a bit and added a couple coats of tinted glossssssy polyurethane and new fabric to the cushions.  I love them!  I almost feel like it is unfair to show them in a corner rather than the fabulous kitchen that is in my head.  Haha!  Someday you will see what I see.  Someday.  I wanted them to be really dark, but after 2 coats and not a lot of change in color, I decided I am good with  them the way they are! The table has a few more imperfections than the chairs did (which is why the momma disliked them so!)  I plan on filling the scratches and sanding it this weekend.  Then, it will be painted the same cream color as the trim and the cabinets.  We will actually paint the table at the same time we paint the cabinets, to save time and effort.

The time is coming.  I am excited.  Until that time comes, I am going to relax and get as much alone time with my hubby as I can!  He's a very focused man, so, though we will be together a lot when we are making the not so beautiful house into a gem, I have a feeling it won't really feel like we're spending tons of time together.  I will definitely miss our Saturdays when we sleep in until 10:00, and lay on the couch watching house flipping shows until noon.  However, it's kind of neat because instead of watching other people's projects and dreaming of our own, we will actually be doing it for ourselves!

8 Days!!!  (unless the bank needs more time...which it might:)) Yay!!!

Have a lovely day!!!