Archive | December, 2010

christmas tour of homes

13 Dec

I know I’ve done a couple of Christmas decorating posts, but I wanted to link up to The Nester’s Christmas Tour of Homes. So this is one consolidated post with all the tweaks I’ve done (including the “tree in a bucket”) plus a bunch of new pics. It’s JUST pictures, none of those nasty words getting in the way *wink*. So if you’re interesting in all the deets, you can look here, here, here and here.

Let’s go!
 

Mantle


Trees

Kitchen

Other Stuff

Kids’ Bathroom

Outside

That’s it! Thanks so much taking the tour. I wish you all peace this holiday season, and a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I call her buttercup

11 Dec

I don’t know if I’ve ever told you, I used to be a bad, bad, BAD cook. I burned everything. The kids used to joke that they knew it was time for dinner when the smoke alarm went off. I’d like to pretend to be offended, but I’d be lying to myself. I really was that bad. So I took it upon myself to learn to cook. I’ve been watching Food Network, Martha Stewart, scouring how-to blogs, and going back to basics. Over the past year, I’ve turned into a pretty good cook. I’m not a 5-star chef or anything, but I’m pretty darn good. And the crazy thing is, I enjoy it. Who knew that was even possible.

So for months, as I’ve watched these bona fide chefs and domestic goddesses cook, I see them throw everything into their Kitchen Aid mixer. Oh how I longed for one. I mean, that’s how you tell the men from the boys…or in my case good cooks from crappy ones. Have you ever priced them? Even at the best deal I could find (and I’m sorry, I can’t seem to find where that was located), I was looking at at least $300, and that was for the Artisan mixer, not even the Professional, which was about $500. I guess the difference is the Artisan one the head lifts up, and the Professional one the bowl lifts up and down, not the head. Anyway, one night a couple of weeks ago, I was lamenting my loserness of not having a Kitchen Aid mixer when I happened across QVC. They were offering the Kitchen Aid Professional Mixer at a ridiculously low price. I emailed Chris a picture of one of the mixers with the word Swoon. He wrote back, You want it, it’s yours. You deserve it. Long story short, I wanted, I got. Did I not tell you how awesome Chris is? He totally is.

Even though white is supposed to be the great vintage color of the Kitchen Aid, and all the cool kids have a cobalt or a red one, I chose a color called “butter”. It is the most fantastic vintage yellow, and I’m so glad that I listened to my heart and got what I really wanted. Here she is in all of her buttery deliciousness.

Swoon.

I think it’s one of my favorite things ever. One of my concerns before I got it was that I wouldn’t use it enough to justify spending that much money on a kitchen gadget. Not a problem. I use it ALL the time. I use it for even mundane things that I could easily just stir by hand, like the filling for my stuffed shells. I don’t need a mixer for that, but stirring hurts my wrist (carpal tunnel and all), I have a beautiful mixer, it’s a win-win.

Really, everyone loves it.

Kat loves to watch it spin.

Davey loves to lick the batter.

Chris loves the things I make with it. Most recently I made The Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon bread. Oh. My. Gosh. So freakin good. Ridiculously good.

He’s testing it.

Yup. He likes it. Like I said, ridiculously good.

Gorgeous. Can you even believe *I* made this?! By myself?!

I know, I was pretty shocked too. This mixer is one of those things that is SO worth the money. You’d think I was getting paid for a review or something the way I’m raving, but nope. I just really love it that much.-

this ain’t no charlie brown christmas tree

10 Dec

Remember back when I told you about the tree that my new and wonderful friend gave us? Here’s what you saw.

Pretty, right? Well here’s what you didn’t see.

Yup. Those are zip ties holding our pretty tree up. My friend didn’t have the original base that went on the tree, but did give me this tree stand to use. Now, I’m sure that for a normal person, this was a great solution. It was completely hidden by the tree skirt and no one would’ve ever know. But I’ve never been accused of being normal. I thought about it all the time. It haunted my dreams. And even though Chris secured it with the zip ties, I was terrified it was going to fall over, it wasn’t perfect enough, even though you couldn’t see it, *I* knew it wasn’t quite right.

So in my daily perusal of blogs, I found this post by The Inspired Room, all about creative tree stands. I drooled over this one.

Oh dear Lord, look at that bucket! The silver, the galvanized, the country-ness of it all! The tree is sitting IN the bucket! I had to have this in my house. This was going to solve all of my tree problems! I’d just put the tree IN the bucket! Yeah, I know, great idea in theory, bad in application (like so many of my ideas!). Long story short, the tree stand wouldn’t fit in the bucket. But I’m not about to let a little thing like measurements stand in my way. I. Had. A. Plan…

Ok so, you’ve heard of play sand, right? It’s literally what you fill up sandboxes with. It costs less than $4 a bag at Home Depot, and is sold in 50 pound bags. We also got the bucket at Home Depot, and it was about $20. Normally I wouldn’t spend that much on something like this, but I’ve been wanting a bucket like this for awhile and I really think I can do a lot more fun projects with it. I had my wonderful husband haul 3 bags (150 pounds) of sand and dump them in the bucket. I should also take this opportunity to say that Chris (as usual) was pretty awesome about this. He didn’t even raise his eyebrows when I told him we were going to stick our Christmas tree in a bucket full of sand. He simply said, ok baby. If that’s what you want. He’s such a good husband!

Then we stuck the tree in, and wouldn’t you know it? It stayed up. I mean like, it’s not moving, it’s like it’s in cement! I used a burlap feed bag I had and put it around the base to cover up the sand. Then, because I was feeling very Martha-esque, I got some fat red sparkly ribbon and wound it around the tree. Put all the ornaments back on (I probably didn’t have to take them all off, but after all the moving and wiggling around we had to do to get it into the sand, it was for the best), and all I can say is, WOW.

Davey says it’s the prettiest tree he’s ever seen. I can’t say I disagree with him. I love how it looks so full and…I don’t know the right words…decorated? The bucket is perfection.

So for now (for good?), I deem this, our perfect tree. It’s even Vivvy approved!

I linked to Thrifty Decor Chick’s Christmas Tree party!

happy anniversary

9 Dec

December 7 was a big day for us. Big, like huge. December 7 marked the one-year anniversary of us moving to Georgia. I thought it’d be fun to have a little trip down memory lane (thanks to facebook), just see how far we really have come.

December 5, 2009 at 12:45pm: I wish it would wait one more day to start snowing. We’re supposed to leave at 7 am tomorrow…not looking too good.

December 6, 2009 at 10:03am: And we’re off…
It didn’t wait to start snowing, by the way. There was snow everywhere when we left.

December 6, 2009 at 12:10pm: New Hampshire

December 6, 2009 at 12:26pm: Massachusetts
It was about the time we got to Massachusetts that we really realized that driving 1800 miles with 3 dogs and 2 kids in a Grand Am was a bad idea.

December 6, 2009 at 2:26pm: Connecticut

December 6, 2009 at 4:27pm: New York

December 6, 2009 at 5:19pm: New Jersey
I should say that Chris did all the driving. And while I always knew he was awesome, I never really knew how much until we hit New Jersey. I’m sorry if this offends anyone from New Jersey, but New Jersey SUCKS. I’d never seen so many psycho drivers in my life! And this was AFTER we’d gone through New York AND Massachusetts, which, let’s be honest, is the mecca of psycho drivers. Chris kept his composure (for the most part) and only yelled at the kids once. *wink*

December 6, 2009 7:42pm: Delaware

December 6, 2009 8:01pm: Maryland. Delaware sucks, we paid a total of $7 just for that state.

December 6, 2009 8:15pm: just checked into the a Motel 6…there are porn magazines on the shelves. Errrr….
Grossest. Hotel. Ever. You could HEAR the cockroaches when the lights were out. This was, I think, the worst night ever. We all ended up yelling at each other. Chris was snoring so loud none of the rest of us could sleep. The beds were dirty…it was awful. Have you ever seen the movie “Vacancy”? Yeah, well, that’s the kind of place we were at. Terrible. What made it worse was the image that WE left for someone. We checked in with two kids and left bloodstains on the sheets. This was because Layla (one of the dogs) was in heat and bled on the sheets before we left in the morning, but I can’t even imagine what housekeeping must’ve thought.

December 7, 2009 7:55am: Here we go. Day 2…
If we knew how long of a day Day 2 was I think we would’ve slept in. Then again, the roaches probably would’ve carried us away.

December 7, 2009 9:52 am: Virginia
Virginia was loooong.

December 7, 2009 1:40pm: North Carolina
We thought we’d never get out of North Carolina! It seemed like it went on forever.

December 7, 2009 4:24pm: South Carolina

December 7, 2009 7:11pm: WE’RE HERE! WE’RE HERE!!!!
That was just was we were pulling into our subdivision. We were so tired, but so relieved to finally be off the road. The kids were absolutely giddy. It was the first time they’d seen the house and they just couldn’t believe that we were really here. I think we were all pretty shocked, honestly. We did it. We really did it.

We had some major lows when it came to our house. Ok so, I redid the kitchen four times and repainted the whole house at least twice. Sure, we had an 8 foot hole in the front yard. And yeah, the bathroom walls had to be torn down to the studs because we pierced a pipe with a nail gun and mold grew in the walls. Yes, our plumber was the worst plumber on the face of the earth because not only did she suck at her job, she didn’t show up for weeks at a time and we had to live without running water for days at a time. (My favorite status from all that, which is just so perfectly descriptive of our life together and how we dealt with everything: May 4, 2010 at 11:10pm: I was just trying to scare Chris in the shower, so I stuck my head through the hole in the wall, and it got stuck. Now I have drywall all over my hair and a scrape on my cheek 😦 ) Yeah, the air conditioner sprung a leak and made a lake in the hall, ruining the carpet. Yes, we had to pull up the carpet and live with bare concrete for three months until we finally just broke down and painted it. Yeah, we had the first snow in Georgia in like 150 years, as well as the hottest summer on record since before the Civil War, but we had so much fun. And we did it together.

In a year of hard times, we also had some incredible highs. We adopted Luke from the shelter, who has been one of the greatest gifts of my entire life. He makes me smile every single day, and if it wasn’t for the four legs, tail and fur, I’d swear he was my own child. I love him that much. We took our first real family vacation, and went to Disney World and Universal Studios. I learned to cook, and I’m telling you, coming from a girl who burned water and set the smoke alarm off every time I cooked dinner, this was no small feat. And you know what, I’m a GOOD cook, and I ENJOY it. Who knew that was even possible? The kids, who I’d been so worried would have a hard time adjusting got to be a reporter on the school morning show, a 4-H president and both inducted into the National Elementary Honor Society. I’d say the adjustment went pretty well. Chris and I made our own group of amazing friends, our marriage is a million times stronger, and we have learned to appreciate each other in a way that I didn’t even know was possible.

So this past Sunday the four of us spent the day talking about how much had changed and how much we felt like this was finally our home. We talked about the highs and lows. We talked about the funny stories and the times we thought we were going to break down. We bought some Christmas lights and all worked together to hang them. When we were done and the sun had just set, we stood back and admired our work. Yep, this is definitely our home.