Wednesday, November 30, 2011

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things!

One of the bloggers I read, The Nester, is holding a link party today about some of our favorite things.  
The things on the list have to be less than $30, so I thought I'd join in the fun.

Best.Ice Cream.Ever!

And this is only one of two drawers filled with polish.
This is one of three animated Christmas scenes from Avon I own.
I started collecting these after I became a grandma.
It seemed like a grandma kind of thing to have and
the grandkids love them, by the way!
This only comes out at Christmas and I can't always find it in the store,
but I found it just the other day and was ecstatic.
I found this "B" at Pottery Barn a couple years ago on the clearance rack for $4.
How about you? What are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giveaway Reminder & Baseboard Project Preview

Hey!  Don't forget to enter to win a copy of
More Than Just A Pretty Face, by Karen Morerod!
Last day to enter is November 30 and the winner will be chosen December 1.

Even if you don't want the book for yourself
(although I can't imagine why you wouldn't),
it would make a very fine gift.
I can probably get my friend, the author,
to autograph it for you, too!

The next project to be tackled is the baseboard.  My Dad, the floating carport genius, will be heading up this one, too.  The thing that makes this tricky are the curved corners the previous owner installed when they drywalled over the support beams.  An obvious solution might be to enclose those rounded, bumped out areas with decorative casing giving it a real old fashioned look, like this doorway:

Colonial trim
image source
I really like the look of casing, however the budget doesn't allow for that at this time.
(It'll be on the list for future updates, though.)

Here is a quick peek at the rounded areas.  Six of them in all.  That's twelve rounded corners.  Twelve.  No small task.  Dad is researching as we speak, and I know it'll look great when we're done!

Front door/entry
Livingroom - east wall

Livingroom/dining area corner
Dining area/Kitchen - south wall
Hubby, Brian, is enclosing this beam with drywall and matching rounded corners.
Dining/Kitchen - north wall

Thanks for stopping by today!  Don't forget to enter to win today!  See you again soon.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving Goodness & My First Ever Giveaway!!

*giveaway now closed*

Even though pretty much everyone else is blogging about Christmas right about now
I'm going to show you the new recipes I tried for yesterday's feast.

New Recipe #1
Homemade Stuffing with Bacon and Macadamia Nuts

The recipe was in the Thanksgiving issue of Woman's Day Magazine.  It had three variations and I had in mind to try the Bacon and Chestnut variation.  One problem....I couldn't find any chestnuts.  Then I wondered if they meant water chestnuts, but decided against that and bought macadamia nuts instead.
I used all the fresh veggies and herbs.  It smelled wonderful and looked beautiful!
Best of all.....everyone liked it!  Even the ones who thought they didn't like stuffing.
Let it be known!  I have repented!
I will never again make the popular instant boxed variety of stuffing for Thanksgiving ever again!

New Recipe #2
Maple Pumpkin Pie

I usually make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and we eat the entire thing every year.  My daughter told me about this recipe she saw on America's Test Kitchen that uses maple syrup and fresh ginger, 
so I thought I'd give it a try.
(You might have to log in on their website to view the recipe.)  
It was a little labor intensive.  There is simmering, a lot of stirring, then forcing the whole thing through a sieve, but the end result was absolutely lovely.  Excellent texture.  So full of flavor.  
Using fresh ginger really makes a difference.
I topped it with real whipped cream that was flavored with vanilla and cinnamon.  Yum!

I can't really talk about Christmas, because I haven't done anything about it yet.  Since we're moving soon, it's likely the only thing to go up will be a tree.  I hope there's a live one with the needles still on it by the 10th!

My day was filled with caring for the animals of friends and family that are out of town and painting at my house.  I didn't do Black Friday shopping this morning either.  I slept in alittle, then had breakfast with my excellent friend.  She is an author and presented me with a special autographed copy of her new devo book,

More Than Just a Pretty Face

We've been friends for over a billion 25 years and have been through it together.
More Than Just a Pretty Face, based on the life of Queen Esther, is a delightful mix of humor and spiritual truth as only Karen can tell it.
Is this a plug for her book?  Yeah.  Did she ask me to do it?  Nope.  
I just wanted to.  

And I have a copy to give away!

If you'd like a chance or two or three to win a copy of More Than Just A Pretty Face, by Karen Morerod:
  1. Please become a Follower of A House and Yard.  That's one entry.
  2. Leave a comment here.  That's two entries!
  3. Share about this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or post about it on your blog, then leave another comment here telling me how you shared.  That's three entries!
If you enter anonymously remember to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win.  The giveaway will be open through Wednesday, November 30 and I'll announce the winner of the random drawing on December 1.  Giveaway valid in USA and Canada.

Thanks for stopping in at A House and Yard today!
May your day be merry and bright!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We Have Set A Date!

Our moving date goal is Saturday, Dec. 10th!!  Yippee!!

There are just a few things that need doing before we move, though.
Last time I promised you a list, so here goes.

1. Finish painting our bedroom.  Isn't that a yummy caramel color?  Love it!
(It's a little browner in person.)

2. Get the new walls in the entry and front bathroom ready for paint.

3. Install baseboard in the living room and dining areas.
The piece leaning against the wall is a sample of trim Brian had stashed in the garage,
but I'm thinking I'll go with something wider.  It will be painted a glossy white.

 4. The bay window area needs to be sanded and painted to match the living room.
5. The new header beam will be boxed in and painted.

6. I'm going to put in a contrasting tile to make a nice border all the way 
across the opening between the two areas.
This is where that half wall came out.

7. Ummmm - yeah.  This countertop and backsplash is going 'bye-'bye.  That'll be fun.  :-)

 8. The kitchen cabinets are getting a facelift.  I plan to restain 
for a darker, reddish finish.  There will be new countertops.  
Also, I've picked a pretty amber paint for the kitchen.

9.  Here's the view from the kitchen side.  The old appliances will have new homes
and this area will also be freshly painted.

10.  Okay.  Now, here is where I have a decision to make.  
To carpet or not to carpet, that is the question.
It's a laminate wood floor and I thought it looked pretty good when I cleaned it up for my bunko party last week.  It's kind of growing on me.  This area we're looking at now will hold the comfy furniture and entertainment center.  
This is what you see looking left from the front door.

This is what you see from the front door, looking right and straight back.  
I definitely want to keep the flooring in that area.

So, if I do carpet the space, how far should it go?  I kind of like the idea
of having a larger, uncarpeted area by the front door and walk through space.
I might just buy a large room-sized rug for the TV watching area and 
live with it for awhile before deciding on carpet.  

What do you think?  What would you do?
To carpet or not to carpet?  That is the question!
And, if to carpet, how much of the space should be carpeted?

That's our list of projects we'd like to complete before moving in 17 days!
(Not to mention getting all our stuff packed!)
Think we can do it?
Yes, we can!

Time for me to go make some pie and other yummy things for our Thanksgiving feast!
I'm trying a couple new recipes.  One for a pumpkin pie filling.  
The other for homemade stuffing.
I'll let you know how it turns out.

Happy Thanksgiving!
God bless you and your family!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Painting, Entry Closet, Fall Fun and Other Stuff

It's been a full week at the house and yard....

Solomon making a leaf pile.
Arianna is less than thrilled with this activity.
The living room & dining area got a paint job.

Brian & Silas started prepping the deck for the sunroom.

Directly to the right of the front door was a door to a large bathroom.  Awkward!!

We decided to remove the bathroom door, add a wall with a new door, and put in an entry closet.  Brilliant!!

Recognize my new closet door?
It's the cool old door from the cellar!
(Anyone know how to clean a rusty doorknob?)
The view from the newly enclosed bathroom looking out to the front door.
The house isn't the only thing being remodeled.  I visited the dentist again this week.
This is a shot of my new crown.  Looks great, doesn't it?
Thursday night was my turn to host the monthly Bunko group.
Here we are in the freshly painted dining area.

Saturday morning I attended our Crafty Brunch at church.
This is what I made.

Like I said, it's been a full week!
Hope you enjoyed the update.

Coming up next, a list of my projects to 
complete prior to moving.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Outdoor Kitties

I really like kitties.
I find it hard to resist them.

My brother's cat had kittens several weeks ago.
Six of them and they need homes.

Since I'll be living on a short acre....
I'm going to need a couple outdoor kitties.


We have two cats already.
This is Hershey, the Great Hunter.

She has been known to leave lovely presents on our porch
and has jumped on the backs of doggies who dare to threaten our territory.
She follows when we go on a walk and meows loudly if we venture past the stop sign.
When the family plays wiffleball in the back, you will find her in the outfield.
Occasionally, she will even chase down the ball.
During schooltime, her favorite place is in the middle of the schoolroom floor.
She is the one snoring.
Very cool cat!  :-)

This is Snickers, the Freaked Out.

She is a lovely tortoise-shell kitty we got from a friend's grandpa who couldn't care for her anymore.
Snickers was declawed when she came to us and we try our best to keep her inside,
but she inevitably bolts for the great outdoors when the opportunity presents itself.
A ridiculous scaredy-cat, it's unlikely you will see her if you visit me, 
the moment she gets outside she heads for the deck so she can get back in 
or hides until we come looking for her.
Her favorite place in the house...someone's lap.  (Unless there are strangers in the house.)

The new kitties

We're only taking two, but we have picked three.

Isn't this guy adorable?  I've always wanted a gray one, but this guy might be my nephews' favorite.
If I'm going to retain my status as favorite aunt, I guess I better not take their favorite kitten away from them.

Here are our next favorites.
This little black and white....

And this little splotchy one.

So cute!
Hope they like being outdoor kitties!

I'm wondering about the best way to introduce them to each other?
Should the new kitties go to the House and Yard first?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Remodeling the House or the Marriage?

So, there's nothing like working on a tough, long-term project that brings out the best in each other....right?  (You don't have to answer that one.)

In the last month since we signed - Well actually, almost a year ago when we started looking at houses to buy, but I won't take you back that far....  (You can thank me later.)

In the last month since we signed the papers on this house, Honey and I have had opportunity to make lots of decisions together, share lots of opinions with one another, and find some things on which we disagree.  *Gasp!*  However, we have found many areas where we agree, i.e. he will crawl around in the creepy space under the house and I won't.  (By the way, he found another crawl space.)

Wouldn't you know it, on the way to church this morning, what started out to be a simple discussion about the addition to the house (an area where we agree) turned into volley of statements, each vying for importance over the last statement made by the other.

"Yes, I know, but blah, blah, blah...."

"Well, of course, blah, blah, blah, but...."

And so on and so forth, until the van was parked in the church lot and we parted company to our separate classes.  I was thankful I didn't have to teach this morning.  Yes, I was murmuring under my breath as I entered the church doors and managed a smile and cheery hello to the people I saw walking down the hall.

My mantra the last few days has been, "The Fruit of the Spirit IS in me.  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control are qualities I have in me.  Thank you, Lord, for giving me what I need."  This mantra was generally recited through gritted teeth after I'd asked myself (murmuring under my breath), "Why is it so difficult to communicate?"

Coming upstairs to the lobby after class I saw my Honey standing there handing out fliers for their next men's event.  He saw me, smiled, and moved my direction.

Putting his arm around my waist and giving me a squeeze he asked, "You're not mad at me, are you?"

"Of course I'm not mad."

The way he looked at me was reminiscent of when we were young and he wanted nothing more than to please me.  Be still my heart.  :-)

On my way through the lobby, our daughters were standing with their friends.  "Mom!  We just saw you and Dad being all precious over there.  You were smiling at each other and talking.  Danielle saw you and said, 'Aw - look at your parents!'"  The girls seemed pleased.  So was I.

Thinking about this whole thing later, it occurred to me that the conversation we had before church and countless other similar conversations are really about being heard.  It's not even about being right.  He just wants me to hear that he knows what he's talking about and the budget is always at the forefront of this thoughts.  I just want him to hear that while I have definite wants, I'm really willing to make adjustments if it's needed.

Here are some truths I was reminded of today:

  • Jesus didn't die on the cross so I could struggle with life.  On the contrary, His Spirit lives in me and I walk in the Fruit of the Spirit.
  • When confronted with a truth about myself, I need to decide to take action.  Why sit through sermon after sermon, class after class, and daily quiet times and not take action on what I've heard?
  • God IS love.  His love is in me.  Through Him I can love.  Unconditionally.
I guess I say all this to say that "A House and Yard" isn't just about a house and a yard.  It's about a house, a yard, and the people who will live there very soon.  It's about God and family and life.  All the rest is icing on the cake.  With sprinkles on top.  And ice cream.  

I have decided.  No more murmuring!

 This is me and Brian being all precious.
photo taken by Sasha Logan @ rantings of a tomboy mom