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Good-bye linoleum!
The demolition phase of this impromptu bathroom make-over adventure (which all started because we got new garage doors) is just about over.  Alex is planning to take out the plywood subfloor on Tuesday and then we can start installing a tile floor!  I can’t wait to see it start to come together.

We’re going to the store today to buy the tile (as long as I don’t go changing my mind).  And I need to decide if I want to square or on the diagonal.


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About time I have something to blog about again.
Do you know those cartoons from the newspaper where you have to find the difference between the two pictures?  I used to love those!  Heres your chance to play.


Lately I’d been feeling like our curb appeal was lacking and this GIANT shrub had a lot to do with it (okay, and the abundance of springtime plants at the local market has made me want to plant anything and everything!).  I suggested to Alex that we rip it out.  He thought we should just trim it down.  The deciding vote from our neighbor sealed the plan to trim it.  And then we started.  I went inside to make a snack.  When I came back, there was no saving it.  Apparently some beer and hard liquor and Alex gets a little quick with the pruning.  (What? Drinking makes yard work so much easier.)

I love the end result.  Now we just have to deal with this.

Note to self: We need another case of Bud Light.

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Welcome to the Jungle

While strolling the aisles of Target last month, I came across some fun curtains.  After shopping for a duvet cover for over a year and deciding I couldn’t justify the cost of anything I absolutely love, these curtains became the inspiration for a quick bedroom makeover.  At half-off (because they were an online purchase returned to the store) I couldn’t walk away.  And I found an inexpensive solid duvet cover that works great.

I can’t believe we lived without curtains for over two years.  The window was so naked.

Next up, a new quilt for the bed.  I washed and dried the fabric earlier this week.  Time to get cutting and sewing.

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Half Price Plants

I have this thing about rescuing plants.  Home Depot. Lowes. The local nursery.  Anytime I see plants on sale, I have to see if there are any that I can rescue.  That’s how I brought home this guy.


It’s a Dieffenbachia.  I was checking out the Christmas sales at a local nursery and home store and found him1/2 off because he had a couple broken branches and was sort of lopsided.  For $7.50, how could I say no?  I trimmed him up and hope that my dining room table is bright and warm enough for him.  Wish me luck in keeping him happy.

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My favorite part of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is when they move the bus.  I mean, who doesn’t love the look of surprise on everyone’s faces?
Well, we had our own big reveal of our family room remodel at Thanksgiving.  We finished with just a couple days to spare.  It feels so good to be done with it!  So everyone yell with me “Move that bus!” and enjoy these before and after photos:

From the front door:

From the living room:

From the kitchen #1:

From the kitchen #2:

From the family room #1:

From the family room #2:

We absolutely love the new space!  I enjoy the extra light that comes through the opening.  I love that on Thanksgiving I could watch the Macy’s Day Parade while I was stuck in the kitchen cooking.  I love that Alex can be in the family room and I can cook and feel like we aren’t so separated.  We love it all!

At one point we thought we’d put french doors in.  Logistically, it wasn’t worth it (we would have had to move the door to the garage over to make it all work) and the cost didn’t make sense.  We knew we’d have the doors open 90% of the time too, we’d only close them to separate the dogs on occasion, so why bother?  Instead, I got smart and bought a gate (and one additional extension to fit it for our opening size).  It’s tension mounted, so we can take it down if we want for parties, but it’s great to keep the dogs out of the family room when we aren’t in there to supervise them.  I highly recommend this gate for anyone with dogs or kids.

 So that’s it!  No more drywall dust.  No more  shop-vac as a furniture piece in the family room.  And especially, no more painting or caulking.  Give us a couple months though, we’ll find a new project to tackle.  (Like, a new door to the garage, new white trim in the rest of the house, or new carpet in the family room since ours has a hole in it where a wall used to be and is a hideous blue… I haven’t thought about it at all though, can you tell?)

Don’t forget to check out how we got to the finish line:
Cutting the opening
Sanding, sanding and more sanding
Painting trim

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Thanksgiving was amazing.  I had so much fun cooking and playing hostess.

The table linens looked fantastic.  It’s the first time I’ve served dinner with cloth napkins and I think they’re such a nice touch.  I look forward to using them again and again.

I started my day in the kitchen at 8 AM.  I baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins and delivered them to my favorite neighbor (who I knew was cooking and would be as busy in the kitchen as me).  I may have dumped half the pan of mini-muffins on the bottom of the oven and the oven door.  I cursed.  I took a deep breath and said, at least it wasn’t the turkey or the pie.  (The dropped muffins weren’t the only mistake I made though.  I also forgot to put the blade in the bread machine so the bread didn’t mix and flopped.  Oops.  We never missed it though.)  I moved on to start baking the pie and setting up the house. 

We stated the day with munchies.  Everyone came around 12 or 12:30.  We all skipped lunch and just grazed and socialized.  The starters included:
–  mixed nuts, m&m’s, and chocolate covered almonds
–  chex mix
–  nuts in the shell for cracking, and salt & pepper pistachios
–  fresh veggies and ranch
–  coconut shrimp with dipping sauce (thanks Jill and Paul!)
–  artichoke crab dip  (thanks again Jill and Paul!)

Meanwhile I was cooking in the kitchen with a lot of help

Jill was the most amazing kitchen assistant on Thursday!  Near the end, I was roasting more than the turkey and my amazing cousin-in-law was so kind to put a cold cloth with ice on my neck.  She also read my mind and helped with everything from mixing mashed potatoes to swapping casseroles in and out of the oven to warm them at the end.  I couldn’t have done it without her!

Alex filled many roles from bartender to turkey carver.

The food hit the table about 3:02 (my cooking schedule worked out just right for our 3 o’clock dinner).  The final menu included:
–  turkey
–  mashed potatoes
–  gravy
–  stuffing
–  green bean casserole
–  green salad with oranges and beets (thanks Lynda!)
–  butternut squash stuffing casserole (thanks Donna!)
–  mom’s brussels sprouts
–  sweet potato casserole
–  cranberry sauce

After we all stuffed ourselves to the brim, we watched one of our family holiday favorites, Christmas Vacation.

Following the movie, it was pie time.  This year we had two:
–  Pumpkin Pecan Pie
–  Apple Pie (thanks Jill and Paul!)
Both were made with the famous family pie crust.  The Pumpkin Pecan Pie is a recipe my mother-in-law passed down to me last Christmas.  And, the Apple Pie was made with heirloom apples from Oregon.

Everyone had a great time.  I was surprised how different it was to be the one in the kitchen instead of sitting on the couch.  But it was so much fun!  All the housework, cleaning, cooking and dishes were all worth it.  I would do it again in a heartbeat.

PS. The family room remodel was completed in time for Thanksgiving.  Official before and after pictures coming soon. 🙂

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I Love a Good Deal

I had one of those days that every bargain hunter dreams of.

First, Gap celebrated Veteran’s day by offering 25% off every purchase.  I happened to be downtown for a meeting, only 1 block away from 3 stories of Gap goodness.  I found a cute shirt on final sale for $2.97!  So, naturally, I bought it in 4 different colors.  A bit much?  Maybe, but for that price, I couldn’t go wrong.


Of course I modeled one for you!  I also picked up a super comfy pair of sweats, and a cute, light sweatshirt.  Both for less than $10 a piece (that’s cheaper than I could find at Target!)

In preparation for Thanksgiving I’ve been shopping for a few critical items, a large platter for the turkey and a gravy boat.  I wanted something simple and classic that I can keep forever, but inexpensive as they’re pieces that may only be used once a year.  After coveting items from Crate and Barrel, I found the Tar-jay equivalents for less than half the price.  They are perfect.


And that vase?  That vase is the central element of a grand plan for a Christmas dessert event centerpiece.  I couldn’t believe I found such a great piece and on sale for $18 at Cost Plus.

Shopping success.
PS. Have you heard about the coupon for 30% off at Old Navy this weekend?  I’m avoiding going anywhere, so that I’m not tempted to go shopping again. 🙂

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