Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My New Baby

Hello friends! Hope everyone had a great Christmas with your loved ones. John and I had a great one with our family here and on the other side of the world thru Skype.

As you all well know, we have moved... we have been gifted a house. So what I thought was going to be another thorn on my side became my new baby [project]. It was hard starting all over again [thus 'thorn on my side'], but I believe this is going to be fun. I think I just needed to get out of the bungalow mind set and get this new ranch home all put together. :) You all have seen my kitchen, here's my living/family room:


Since this photo was taken, we have taken down the border and painted the walls a light grey-ish blue.  It is from Sherwin Williams, called Rock Candy. It took us forever to decide whether we wanted to get new furniture or keep the ones that we already have. However, Christmas came and all the sales and doorbuster deals came up on my computer screen and then I decided, we are going to get a sofa and I am DIY-ing the wall art... and make it my new baby! It is my new bundle of joy.

We still have quite a ways to go but it is getting there. :) This room has so much wall space, it's not funny. John is working on containing the cords where the TV and the home theater system are. I will be sharing photos of the different other sides of the room when we get done with them.

We snagged the couch from Weekends Only the day after Christmas for a very very good, I can't pass it up kind of price. I don't normally get up early in the morning for ANYTHING, but I did for this one. That is how badly I wanted this family room put together. I spent $25 on the wall art. Did it all by myself with stuff I already have [except for the stretched and mounted canvas].

There is still lots to do... John and I have been busy bodies. During the day, he goes to our other house [the bungalow] to finish what we started there while I stay here [in the current house] and do what needs done here and make food... If there is one thing that never changes is John's appetite! LOL

Got so much to show you soon. We can't wait!

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Monday, December 12, 2011

A Foodie's Kitchen {Doesn't Look Like This!}

Hey all! I hope all of you are keeping warm and not having sneezing fits like I've been the past couple of nights... Or have not hurt your backs like John has. It's just crazy. Yesterday at church, Quinton and a couple other guys were telling John to go to the chiropractor so he can get his back pain figured out. Not that this is something new, John has always had back problems from drumming... Those drums weigh a ton! Then a few hours later, I get a text from my friend Sara telling me that her hubby, Quinton our pastor and very very good friend, hurt his back too so we had to cancel the youth meeting. LOL Those two hurting is no laughing matter, but we have all been realizing how old we are... our conversations are starting to revolve around doctors, chiropractors and medication, and that is is a laughing a matter. We are starting to talk like old people! LOL

Well, today, I have to say, I did a thorough sweeping and dusting of the whole house and I am very proud of myself. I am not tired yet, and my hips aren't hurting. And I got done in an hour! The last time I did this, it took me almost 2 hours. So that's a good thing. I have to admit though that this wall vacuum system we have has helped a lot. I have been so used to pushing and pulling a heavy upright sweeper for years, it feels sooo good not to be doing that anymore. :)

When I got done sweeping and dusting all rooms, I was looking at my house with so much pride while patting myself on the shoulder. ;) I'd like to show you all my kitchen... [while it's still intact]. It is getting ready to get discombobulated because I am getting ready to make supper and a couple Christmas goodies. Notice the stuff on the island?


I am not about to chug two bottles of Guiness Extra Stout beer. I am getting ready to make something tasty out of them today if I have the time. The other stuff on there are two huge bags of Ghirardelli chocolate and 2 small bags of the same and a sack of almonds for making macarons. 

This kitchen never stays sparkly and shiny like this. And I have left the post-its on the cabinet doors because John still couldn't find stuff. And I do not like listening to cabinet doors slamming every time he is in the kitchen looking for something.


The dessert keeper is empty. There used to be cupcakes in there but they are all gone.


I could only wish my kitchen could stay spotless like this... but I am one of those foodies who can't sit still when there is nothing baking in the oven or something bubbling over on the stove.There is always flour on my cabinet pulls and there is tapioca spilled all over the lazy susan! I couldn't help it. But I am savoring this very moment of spotlessness because I know it won't last long. lol


My pink room is still a work in progress. We are going to wait until after the holidays to pick out furnishings for that room. I couldn't wait to start crafting in there and entertaining girl friends in that room. I have such big plans for it.


You don't have to tell me, the appliances need to be updated. But they still work... Until these babies quit, we are not replacing them. They work perfectly... except I know that I need a bigger, roomier fridge. And the one I want has a price tag of NOT CHEAP. So, we may save up for it for a few months before getting one. We are not big fans of financing stuff if we could help it. We like peace of mind and happiness. :)

Now that I have shown it off, I get to douse my kitchen with milk and flour. :) 

See you all later. I do have supper to make!!!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Christmas Cards

I don't normally send out Christmas cards... but this year, I am going to do it. I may mail some of them but the bulk of it will be sent electronically. :)

I wanted so much to send everybody something handmade. However, time just slipped away... [and we are moving!] So I had to get creative. And think quick! I wanted to send everyone a piece I made or put together, [but I thought] it didn't have to be a handmade card either.

Instead of making everyone a card, after I put my white tree together the other night, I decided I would take a million random photos of it and choose two to send out. I have a themed tree each year. One year, I did blue on white. I have done red on white. I have gone multi-colored.


This year, I wanted to do white on white, silver on white and blue on white. All of those together results into this fresh-looking, merry and bright tree! I LOVE IT! I stare at it in the morning when I get up and at night when I light it up.

Here are my cards!


That's my reflection on the ornament. I didn't notice me on there until I uploaded it on flickr. John says it looks intentional. At any day, I would say I intended to put me in there, but honestly, this time I didn't. My eyes are so bad I don't see very good with the view finder at night. So I had no idea I was in it when I took the photo.


In exactly ten minutes, I had a card for every person I know. I am so patting myself on the back right now. LOL And yes, I timed myself! Now if only I could get caught up in everything else. I still have to go get my sister's camera but of course I haven't gone out of town in what feels like forever and that is where it is... I have to pick out a couple furniture pieces for my living room so I can get rid of this squeaky clean but frat house-ish look at the moment. LOL

I tell ya, this has been the busiest we've ever been! This is our fourth house, but we have not been so tired like we are this time. We have less stuff now too, because we have let go of a lot when we bought the other house. And moving in the dead coldest time of fall is nothing new to us, we have always moved at the most inconvenient, coldest, windy-est, stormy-est time of the year. That's just always the way it's been! Thank God for friends who [after a little bit of arm-twisting and bribing] have helped us and moved us every single crazy time. :) 

Speaking of GREAT FRIENDS, I do have treat boxes and cookie tins to fill!!! Gotta dash!

Stay warm friends!

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


We are getting close to getting all moved in to the new house. We haven't done a lot of moving this week, since Thanksgiving weekend is almost here and I have been in such a great mood and have been cooking and baking a whole lot.

A couple of days ago, we celebrated our Aunt Betty's 88th birthday and I made her a buster bar dessert/cake. I am not a big fan of making those because they take days to make, but I would do anything for Betty and months ago when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday she asked for it, so that's what she got. :)

This week, I thought I would try anything pumpkin. So last night, I made some pumpkin snickerdoodles. It's that huge stack of cookies in the background of the photo above. Grandpa R and Uncle Charlie both love pumpkin and snickerdoodles respectively. Turns out, if you put pumpkin puree and some other spices in snickerdoodles, it takes it to a different level of awesomeness!

Tonight, I made pumpkin cupcakes with vanilla cream cheese frosting. [Photo Above] John and I both tried them at the same time, and also at the same time as we took a bite, we couldn't help but do our happy dance because that stuff is Mmmm... Mmmm... Good!!! It's good with milk, chocolate milk and coffee. Don't ask me how I know... [maybe because I tried them all!]

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. We sure are looking forward to ours!!! :)


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

We Are Moving... Again!


Two years after we purchased our yellow house, John and I got a text from his parents saying that their house is ours if we wanted it... I wish I could've taken a picture of our faces. We were in different places when we got the text messages... But I am pretty sure, we had the same expression on our faces and I am sure we said the same thing, "WHAT?!" 

Apparently, they have been discussing this a while with Aunt Betty. Guess it finally made sense and they finally all admitted to each other that there was no way they will be able to go through selling the house to a total stranger. So they took it off the market, discussed the details, gave us the keys, and said, "Knock yourselves out, kids! You deserve it!"

So here we go again... Packing our bags... Loading my whole kitchen in an itty bitty car... Moving... Again! There is not much to change in this house other than it needs fresh paint. I have managed to move my kitchen by myself, a few trips at a time. I was itching to cook in this kitchen to get rid of that empty house smell. I hate that! The house has been on the market for about a year, and it has been sitting empty for about 9 months... So I have been baking and cooking and have had all my tart warmers going for about 2 weeks now [in this kitchen] and it is now smelling like people actually live in it. [picture of the kitchen above]

I don't have pictures to share yet, but I should be able to post some soon. John's schedule has been so tight because of marching band season, he has not been able to do anything but eat what's being cooked in that kitchen. LOL And the MIL and I have been busy with our 87-year-old Aunt Betty keeping her on track with doctor visits and the other things she needs done. Old age and Alzheimer's aren't being nice to her these days so we make sure that we help her remember important dates and make sure she takes her meds on time at the right time. So other than my kitchen, nothing much has been moved at this point. 

There is really no hurry. The only thing is, the sooner we put our current home on the market, the sooner it will sell. :) And the sooner we take out unnecessary furniture out of it, the sooner we can clean the whole house up and prep it for stage-ing to get it ready to show. 

I'm not too worried about the house we are moving into. It is move in ready. Funny thing is, almost all our furniture came from that house, so I know I will have no trouble getting them back in there. In a year or so, I know John will find something he will want to re-do. :) My husband never sits down, and he is never content. He is always out there looking for a good DIY challenge. 

So, til the next post, folks!!! 

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Reward and Punishment... and What's Brewin' Around Here

John and I are Skinnerian's. We believe in Reward and Punishment. :) It is easy and it mostly works done the right way.

I don't know how many weeks ago it's been but John's drumline did a really awesome job at a competition they didn't think they could win. These kids have worked so hard and have put in so much time rehearsing and memorizing their parts that I knew when I found out that their section had gotten first place, I knew I had to come up with some kind of reward... And here it is:



I made them a chocolate french silk cake.... Made it out of my favorite Lindt Smooth Dark Chocolate and Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate and fresh whipped cream. I am not a big fan of Cool whip, but you could very well use it to make this cake. :)

I can't promise I could share the recipe because I have totally had to eye ball everything because I had to use the biggest spring form pan I have so I could feed all 16 kids [that includes John and John, the directors] Yes, their names are John. 

We are getting ready to do some major overhaul in our house, so you may not see me here very often like you haven't been the past how many weeks. We are getting ready to put our house on the market and move into a better house [read: house with a big kitchen]. So we got to get our house sold fast because the faster it sells the faster we could move in to the new house and play. 

We have been anticipating this in the past year, but it is just recently that we and the family have made the decision about this. This is going to be a very slow process. This is the 4th house John and I will be moving into since I got here. So we know how stressful moving is. We know better than rushing into things and moving everything all at once in one weekend. :) We are just really thankful for friends and family who have been patient and moved us in and out of all the house we have lived in. 

I will see you all very soon. We may be posting updates here and there when we get a chance. :) Our new home doesn't need much but a fresh coat of paint. And we are so looking forward to not having a house payment, not to think about major remodels and all that goes with it all. LOL $0 house payment alone makes it a much better deal. :)

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Living Room Update

Remember this? 

It looks like this [check out the pic below] now. I still haven't done anything about my photo wall art, but I did change up my end tables, and I like these two Broyhill ones. They are not really new, I have had them forever with a different living room set we used to have. I went ninja on them and ran John's Dremel tool on them to sand them a bit and picked up some Rustoleum paints and I have two mismatched end tables like I always wanted! Ignore the Sterilite things underneath my end tables. I was trying to get an idea what size basket I am gonna get so I put them there. But they are not staying. 


I am also scouring the internet for new lamps. :) I am thinking about moving those two in my bedroom. I have such big plans for them in there. The cornice/valance was a great DIY project. It was easy, inexpensive and totally totally dressed my windows up. The fabric, I got from for $5.98/yard I only used a yard. John built the frame with an 8 foot 1 x 6 piece of pine for $6. I ran self-adhesive velcro all the way across the frame so if I do get sick of my curtains and the valance or when it's time to wash them, I can just take them down and put a new set up without having to pull staples out!!! Clever huh! 

The silk drapes I totally didn't pay for. : ) They were from my Mom-In-Law. She has very good taste in window treatments. Can you tell? The thermal roman shades, they are JC Penny but I didn't buy them from JCP because I didn't want to pay $39/piece. I got them from ebay. Lucky me, someone bought too many of them and the person listed them on ebay when I was looking for them! I got both shades for $20 + Zero shipping.

It took me about three weeks to get all the stuff in the mail, but it sure all was worth the wait. It is still not over yet but it is getting there. I have been blessed with a 25-foot living room, there is still this big long wall to dress up and a drop ceiling we are wanting to address. We had someone come and look at it so we can know how much it would cost to get rid of it and we should get an answer very soon. The drop ceiling is nothing urgent at the moment, but we just wanna know so we can plan on it.

All this for the love of older homes and their character and history. : )

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Be Nice

Here's a thought we would like to share with you today. We try to live by this every chance we get. :)


Hope your weekend was wonderful!!!

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

This is What's Bubbling in my Kitchen Tonight

Well, here it is. I made chili. I am not the chili maker in this house, John is. And he makes a mean chili. But this girl was too hungry to wait until 4 [when he gets home] so I went to the store got the makings and voila!!! I got chili. We got chili. :)

John will just have to suck it up and eat the stuff because it is made. Not that it is any different from what he makes... I know what he puts in his chili, I just put a little bit more kick to it than he would want. John isn't one of those people that like spicy stuff, but I do. I love my food to kick me right in the nose the second it touches my mouth. This chili though isn't too spicy. I just put a tad bit more of chili powder in the mixture and a few other wonderful things. 

I would love to share the recipe but this is my husband's, and he has been trying to perfect it for 2 years now. So unless he says I could share it, I won't be posting it. :) But feast your eyes on this masterpiece. I am eating from that same mini crock as of this writing. It is Mmmmm... Mmmmm... Mmmmm... good!

Hope you all have a wonderful dinner!!! :)

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This Beautiful Day


Hello friends! It is beautiful here on my side of the world. It is 59˚F and I can feel fall coming our way! Other than the allergies and the flu that comes with this season, I love it all. I love the pretty colors the leaves turn, and when burn weekends start, the sweet smell of leaves burning is ever so heavenly!!!

We have been very busy the past week. We are still working on our living room makeover, we only need a few things, but our indecision has gotten in the way so now we are kindda stuck waiting for stuff to arrive in the mail. John still hasn't decided on the size baseboards he wants to install while it took me until Sunday to decide that I wanted a fabric-covered cornice for my big window. Our SUV is in the shop being fixed from John's accident a couple of weeks ago so he is now driving a rental. We are just thankful that John didn't get hurt and the guy who rear-ended him had really good insurance coverage, and paid his premium promptly. :)

However, since Monday I have been keeping myself occupied with some baking and cooking to keep from going crazy. John has been loving it! There has been a new treat every time he got home from work.  have made pretty much all his favorites. I made him some divinity, decorated sugar cookies, and fabulous gourmet dinners! But last night, I thought I would make something John and I both loved... Something that had coffee and chocolate in it!!! So I made these things:


I call them coffee cupcakes. The recipe is originally from Ina Garten, but I changed it up a bit and loaded these cupcakes with a ton of coffee! I even used flavoring oils in coffee. I used my favorite Dark Blend K-cup variety from Newman's Own and a good quality epresso granules brand. To make it extra extra special, I took a whole tub of hazel nut spread [I used Nutella] and mixed it with my favorite chocolate buttercream recipe and finished it up with a chocolate-covered espresso beans on top. Oh Yum! I had these with my coffee this morning and oh my golly!!! They are tasty! You can find the recipe in my personal blog, there is a printer-friendly recipe there too so you can try the recipe at home. These cupcakes aren't the kind I would necessarily feed to little kids because of the caffeine content. ;) So keep these treats to yourself, or share it with friends!!!

Have a great day all!!!


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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Put Yourself in their Shoes


We learned this lesson today and we would like to share this: 

Whenever you start getting upset with someone because they are starting to annoy you, put yourself in their shoes. There is a good chance you won't be upset with them anymore when you do. :)

Happy Sunday evening all!!!

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Door


John and I have been wondering what the heck is wrong with this door and it won't look good [to us] no matter what we do with it. We have argued and brainstormed over this door more than three times in the past how many months but still haven't come to an answer. I have wiped this big giant door over and over and have ran through painting it with different colors in my head but I still don't think that will fix that.

We don't have any idea what to do with this door. Scratch replacing this monster. We are not getting rid of it because it is a heavy wood door... Good quality heavy doors are rare these days and if you find them anywhere, they are expensive.

Tonight, John installed the trim I painted a couple of days ago. It was all up in less than an hour. If there is anything my husband will not say no to, it is the opportunity to plug in those big boy tools! I like them too... but not as much as he does.




And Voila!!! I hope we figure out what we need to do to this door to make it pretty in our eyes. It works to our advantage that our neighbor is a pro in refinishing wood furniture and he adores me and John. He has been truthful and has been so encouraging and has taught John a few carpentry tricks during this whole process. He fixed my closet doors when John did a mis-cut. So we will ask his opinion next time we see him.


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I think every home needs to have this sign up in it. I think it is a must that we control the kind of energy we bring into our homes as much as we need to control the clutter we bring or cause. : ) I found this quote from Pinterest the other day and I made this printable [myself] to hang on my wall.

It has been the greatest two months. John and I have accomplished a lot and we have had such a great time working on our house and planning the next 2 rooms we are making over. And I don't want anyone or anything to ruin this great momentum we are in. So if you happen to be invited to come to my home some time, keep the above image in mind. I have been known for kicking people out and not feeling sorry for it. ; ) 

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I am Back!

Hello folks! It feels like centuries ago since my last post but it has been hectic around here with John starting back at work, finishing up the living room makeover, me and the flu, etc etc. I have a boring list of excuses!

Today, I finally feel a lot better, so I thought I would do a few things. :)

I painted door trim and took fanciful pictures of stuff... I can't help it.

And, Whitney and I finally finished her french memo board! John and I felt bad that she had to wait because none of our hardware stores in town had a 2' x 2' piece of ply wood in stock, so we picked her up one at Lowes last night and voila!!! Instant happy girl!!! :)

And here's Foozie and Mr Peapers with their cat-nipped toys. If you don't know what catnip is and what it does to cats, it's like crack! It makes them crazy. John and I enjoy getting them all doped up and watching them go all nuts running around the house.

Laters gators!

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Take a Peek!

This [year] summer, we haven't done as much updating on our house as we did last year with my craft room. But still, we got something done. :) I have been waiting for this since the first day John and I stepped foot on this house. We both knew the minute we looked at it that the shag carpet needed to go... It was old, ugly and nasty! 

Just to give you an idea, [I cannot stand to look at this picture, but I will show you anyway] Here is a picture from fall 2009: 

Take note: Since I took this photo, we have had family over for dinners, had a new year's party, 
have had friends and their families over for other things, I have had sleep overs here with church youth. I really can't complain. My house is awesome as is. But you know some of these things needed to go!

Here's one of those gatherings we had last year. I remember there was a huge discussion about whether we should keep the paneling or not... but everybody agreed to get rid of the carpet! ;) The guy who stuck his foot out? We call him the Sermonator and he hates the flash. 

I know what you're thinking. Trust us, we were thinking the same thing, "Yuck!" John and I would joke to each other about it... One day he said, "Hey Vanessa, the 70's called and they want their shag carpet and paneling back!" However, the one thing we love about this house is the fact that IT IS OURS and we can do what we want with it. Buying a house I believe is the best investment decision a married couple will ever make. Many times have John and I almost resorted into renting, but our Aunt Betty would always talk us out of it, she always tells us, "You can't cash in on those rent receipts, honey! So be patient." And boy, is she right!!! 

I still have to decorate the walls, re-vamp the fireplace cover thingy [or whatever that thing is called] I don't like that brass finish on it, the ceiling needs to go, and I need to pick up a few knick knacks. But here's what it looks like now.

Don't judge, that oscillating fan is my best friend. I didn't know getting old came with being hot all the time even with the air at 72 degrees and the ceiling fan on! ; ) That ottoman by the blue chair is something from Aunt Betty. Her and her boyfriend  from years ago chopped off legs from an old library table and made a coffee table and this ottoman out of the parts. It used to have a shag carpet top, I recovered it yesterday.

Here's the other side. The photo is crooked I know. I am old and I can't see very good in the dark through my view finder, it sucks! 

Notice the green end table? That is not gonna be staying there. I painted that to use in my craft room. It just happened to be sitting there when I took the picture. I love that thing!!! And I have stuff to put on the walls, I just need to decide HOW I want them on there... That always takes me the longest. We decided to keep the paneling for now and painted over it and we will decide the next step when we get sick of it. That's how we roll around here... We live with stuff until we are so sick of them we can't stand them then we find a way to get rid of them. :) If you have noticed, the ceiling doesn't look as bad now that the walls are lighter than when it was just that scary wood color. But we are still getting rid of it. Period. 

I will show off my photo wall art when it's done or when I make up my mind, which might not be soon, but trust that it will happen. :) These small crafty projects and decorating shouldn't take long... Except that clean up and helping John transition into the new work environment is kind of priority right now. Yes, I am the cheerleader behind this very happy, handy man. 


Have a beautiful Tuesday!!! 

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