Friday, August 31, 2012

Neighborhood Wildlife

A month or two ago, my father-in-law made a facebook post about how we should all leave some water available for the squirrels and birds. We were having such a bad drought this summer, and I thought this was a really good idea.

I used the bottom part of one of my planters, and left some water under the big tree in my front yard.

Very quickly, I noticed we had some thirsty critters in our neighborhood.

This squirrel lives in our tree. We watch him go in and out of his squirrel hole way up at the top of the tree.

Look at his (her?) cute little front feet perched on the water dish! Adorable!

I had a chance to get a few pics of the adorable squirrel before it scampered away.

This squirrel also came out for a drink. He (she?) lives in my neighbor's tree. I can tell this one from the others because it has an injured tail. See how it's tail is all flat and not fluffy and squirrel like? Poor baby!

Last week I was sitting on my screened in porch and I noticed a hummingbird fluttering around just outside by the small tree.

A HUMMINGBIRD!!!! I love hummingbirds!

So a few days later, Timmy took me to the hardware store and we bought a Hummingbird feeder.
Tim picked this one out. We liked it because it's a little different than the regular hummingbird feeders. This one is glass and shaped like a globe.

We hung it from the side of the porch so I can watch the Hummingbirds from inside the porch when I'm out there.

And look!!!! A Hummingbird!!! How cute is that??!!

Next we hung a regular birdfeeder and a birdhouse to the tree outside.

I got this feeder for $3.00 at a garage sale last summer. Bird feeders and birdhouses are SO expensive and I guess I'm too cheap to buy a new one. This one still has some life left in it.

And this is one of those $1.00 birdhouses from Michael's Arts & Crafts. I painted it orange and purple. I don't think anyone has moved in yet. We might have to wait for spring to see baby birdies in there.

Sigh....I guess I'm getting old. I am perfectly content to sit on my porch and watch the neighborhood widllife, and to watch the neighborhood kids ride their bikes and play up and down the street. I think I need to get out more!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


It has occurred to me that I may be confusing some of you with my house renovation posts. I suppose it would be hard to try to make sense of what we are doing if you don't have the big picture.

So here is the big picture, a tour of our house:

The floorplan (main floor):

This isn't the best looking floorplan, but it's the best I could do for now.

And the basement floorplan:

And now for a tour of the different rooms in our house, all of the rooms are in some state of construction or progress. We have a long way to go before we get this house just the way we want it.

Home Sweet Home! We bought our house in November of 2008.
This first pic was taken more than a year ago, when the giant ugly bush was still there under the front window. The old porch was still there, and my curtains were red.

Today, the house looks more like this:

We rebuilt our screened in porch, replaced the red curtains with gray, and the giant ugly bush is gone.

 By next summer, (hopefully!) this house will look completely different. Major facelift coming soon!!

This is pretty much how the living room looks now, with a few minor changes since this picture was taken.
The curtains aren't red anymore, the front door is painted black now.......

The other side of the living room looked like this for a while,

Recently, we moved a few things around, and now this side of the living room looks more like this:


This was our kitchen when we bought the house in 2008:

By 2010 our kitchen looked like this:

And today, our kitchen is still in progress. I have plans to paint the knotty pine walls in the dining area this winter, and a few other things...
We will replace that old oven soon! I can't wait!!! It's the last major thing in the kitchen that needs to be replaced.

New table and chairs,  and a new table under the window.....


The bathroom as it looked when we bought the house in 2008:

We haven't done anything major to the bathroom yet, but we did decorate it a little. Major bathroom renovations coming soon. We plan to gut this bathroom and start all over. I can't wait to get rid of that ridiculous sink!!

This is our master bedroom (for now). Future plans include adding a master bedroom and master bath to the back of the house.
This is our bedroom on moving day in 2008:

And a more recent pic of our bedroom. We have actually made quite a few changes to our bedroom since this pic was taken, and we have plans to completely re-decorate this bedroom soon. We have a new color scheme coming for this room, and plans for new furniture. Every piece of furniture in this room was given to us when we moved in. It worked fine for free, but now we have an idea of how we want to proceed with this room, so the klunky 80's furniture has to go!  Tim and I will continue to use this room as our bedroom until we build our new master bedroom and bath. After that, this will most likely be a guest room.

Not much to show here. My son Chris just moved out of this bedroom last week and into his own place. His room is waiting for a complete overhaul (hopefully this winter!).
This room will be my craft/sewing room and a place to keep my Ebay stuff when I open my Ebay store back up.

Here is my inspiration picture for what my future craft/sewing room will look like. See the shelves and built in work surface along the back wall? Yeah, thats what I want! I love the orange and yellow, I may use those colors too.

Not much to see here either. Eventually these stairs will be painted or carpeted and the walls will be painted. We removed the door at the top of the stairs so the basement is more a part of the house, rather than just a basement.


Really, it's a laundry hallway.

 Tim built me a raised platform for my washer and dryer. No more bending over for me!!
Future plans for this space include paint, carpet, shelves and a little decorating.


Tim built this little bedroom downstairs when we first moved in the house in 2008. It was going to be a bedroom for Tim's son, who requested the walls be painted red. Patrick never moved in, so this became a storage room. You can see the red walls peeking out from behind the lamp.

Earlier this year, my daughter needed a place to stay, so we painted over the red and made a girl's room. Cody Leigh only stayed here for about 2 months : (

We plan to leave this room as it is for a while, but eventually this room will be turned into a workout room for me.


This is the screened porch when we moved into the house in 2008

And this is how it looked in 2009/2010

This past summer we had the porch rebuilt and re-screened. Here it is is it looks today (with temporary furniture). 
This porch will be fixed up and decorated soon. We have a few ideas brewing for the decorating and furniture we want. Mostly we are waiting to paint the entire outside of the house. At the same time, the wall on the left in the above picture and the ceiling will be painted too. I can't decide if I want to paint all over the cement floor with stencils, or lay carpet. Tim wants carpet. 

And a pic of the outside of our new screened porch

That's it for the House Tour for now, but I'll be back with more pics as we continue to renovate and redecorate.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Finally!!!! I have a cruise booked!!

Another cruise!!!! HOORAY!!!! OK, to be honest I actually have TWO cruises booked, DOUBLE HOORAY!!!

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Here is whats going on with the cruise(s):

Some of you may have heard me talking last February about having booked a 15 day Hawaii Cruise. Tim and I were excited about this cruise at the time we booked, but there were a few reasons we ultimately decided to cancel.

One of the main reasons we decided to cancel Hawaii was that there are a few people going on that cruise that I had come to "meet" on a cruise website I frequently spend time on. The attitudes and antics of a few people have definitely colored my perception of that cruise, and after thinking about it I decided I would rather not be on a ship for 15 days with the likes of this "group".

Along with that, Tim was having a hard time with taking 15 days off of work. He is quite a work-a-holic, and  although he would have taken the cruise if I insisted, I knew deep down he wasn't thrilled with being away from his job for over 2 weeks.

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Before we cancelled the Hawaii cruise I started looking around for another shorter cruise, but when I thought about it I was a little bummed out. I was really excited about being on the ship for 15 days on the Hawaii cruise, and now I was looking at much shorter 5 and 7 day cruises.

I came up with a plan, but it was going to take a lot of work to pull it off. I was thinking I could book another Back-to-back cruise (actually 2 cruises, one after the other). Tim could cruise with me on the first 5 day leg of the cruise, and my best friend Christina and I could go on the 2nd leg together - a "girlfriend" cruise!!!

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Sounded like a great plan to me!!! Now only if I could get Tim and Christina to agree.

I asked Timmy what he thought first..........he warmed up to the idea pretty quickly, especially when he realized he would only be gone from work for 5 days instead of 15.

Next, I asked Christina what she thought..........I was a little skeptical about Christina agreeing to go on a 5 day cruise. Christina is the type of person who NEVER EVER does anything special for herself. She's a single mom, and she puts all of her energy into her kids, her job, and taking care of her parents. In the 24 years I have known her, she has taken only 2 vacations........and she took her kids on both of them. The chances of getting her to agree to a "girlfriend cruise" was slim.

I have to say I was shocked when she agreed to go!! WOOHOO!!! She also thinks a "girlfriend cruise" sounds like fun!!

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So, in May Tim and I cancelled the Hawaii Cruise, and we made plans to book these back-to-back cruises.

Before I even had a chance to book the new cruise(s), there was another glitch with Tim's job. He was thinking that taking a week (really only 5 days) could still make things difficult at work - even though the cruise is still a year away. So I asked him if he would rather skip the cruise altogether, to stay home and work. I also mentioned that I would still like to go on the cruise(s) and that maybe my sister Lisa could take his place on the first part of the cruise.

He agreed that he would feel much better if he skips this cruise - and truthfully, this is the exact same cruise he and I took in 2010 for our honeymoon. He has already been to these islands, so he really wouldn't be missing anything.

So I spoke to my sister, and she has agreed to cruise with me!

We also decided to take my 2 youngest kids with us (Chris and Cody, ages 23 and 21).

So here is the "new" cruise plan:

My sister, my 2 kids , and I will take the first 5 day cruise together.
After the first cruise is over, Lisa and my kids will fly back home and I will stay on the ship.  My best friend Christina will join me for the next 5 day cruise. After Christina and I get off the ship, the two of us are planning to stay at a spa/resort hotel in Ft. Lauderdale for a few days.

I have mixed emotions about this. First, I am really excited about this vacation, but also it's hard to get so excited when I know my Sweetheart isn't going. Of course, it's completely his choice not to go, and he knows if he changes his mind I will add him to the cruise(s). He has plenty of time to change his mind.

The hardest part will be waiting so long until our cruise gets here............I have never had any patience whatsoever when I am waiting for something, and we don't cruise until September 2013. UGH! I'll be a basket case by the time it gets here.

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I will admit though, I need every bit of that time to save up for this vacation. It's definitely a whopper, and so is the price tag. (and by the way, I'm paying for my part of this shin-dig myself. I am taking a little out of each of my paychecks each month. Chris, Cody, Lisa and Christina are each paying their own parts too)

I am very happy that we have 12 months to plan. I think half of the fun of a vacation or a big event (such as a wedding or a surprise party) is the planning! I have shopping to do too! Of course I'll need cruise clothes. It's nice to have time to take advantage of sales and not have to be in a hurry to get everything all at once. I have an entire year to shop around and find the things I want.

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Here is the entire itinerary so far:

Saturday, August 31st- Travel Day - Lisa, Chris, Cody and I will fly to Miami and stay the night in a hotel at the Port of Miami.
Sunday, September 1st - Spending the day in Miami
Monday, September 2nd - Boarding Day - The 4 of us will board the Carnival Victory!!!
Tuesday, September 3rd - Sea Day
Wednesday, September 4th - Grand Turk Day  - The largest of the Turks Islands, but it's only 6 miles by 2 miles
Thursday, September 5th - Half Moon Cay Day - Carnival's private island - It's PARADISE on earth!!!
Friday, September 6th - Nassau Bahamas Day  - Spending the day at Atlantis Resort and Waterpark
Saturday, September 7th - Miami - Turnaround day. - I'll have to say goodbye to Lisa and the kids. They will board a flight back home and I'll already be on the ship when Christina boards.
Sunday, September 8th -  Sea Day
Monday, September 9th - Ocho Rios Jamaica Day -  Christina and I are looking at a ziplining excursion
Tuesday, September 10th - Grand Cayman Island Day - We are looking at swimming with the dolphins
Wednesday, September 11th - Sea Day
Thursday, September 12th - Miami - Christina and I will have to get off of the Victory :( We will head to Ft Lauderdale to spend a few days at a resort and spa.
Friday, September 13th - Ft Lauderdale
Saturday, September 14th - Ft Lauderdale
Sunday, September 15th - Travel Day - Heading home to see my Timmy!!!

So with this plan, I will get that 15 days anyway, even if I'm not going to Hawaii.

If you ask me, The 5 Islands I will visit in 10 days, plus the time in Miami and the resort in Ft Lauderdale sure beats Hawaii!

Ready to read all about my 16 day cruise vacation???  Look HERE!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

YAY! A new bed!!!

Our bedroom needs HELP!! It looks so sad, and I hate to admit it, but we have done nothing at all in the bedroom since we moved in. Well, not much anyway.....

Here is the plan for the bedroom overhaul. We are waiting for a certain 23 year old to move out, and this may or may not happen in the next week or so. We'll see. If my son does move out, we may see some bedroom renovations this fall.

As soon as he moves, Tim and I are going to tear down and re-hang most of the drywall in his bedroom. More on that in another post.
After we re-do the drywall and get the 2nd bedroom put back together, Tim and I will move in there temporarily while we re-do the drywall in our bedroom. It's going to be a pain, but it has to be done.

I'm really excited to get to the bedroom renovations, but for now, here is a reminder of what our bedroom looks like:

A pic from 3 and a half years ago, on move in day. Two walls are hunter green, and the other two are a grayish tan color.

And that same space, FULL of furniture. Yes, we can really pack it in!
This pic was taken about a year ago. Since then we gave away the tall dresser. Next to go is that giant dresser and mirror.

The only actual work we have done to this bedroom is to remove the closet doors, and build shelves for our clothes. It looks like a mess right now, but it will make sense when we get to finish the renovations.

But this post is supposed to be about our new bed, so I'll get back to the subject.  Our old bed was a double bed, so tiny and hard. I have no idea how we managed for the 4 years we slept on it (with 2 dogs too!)

I *hated* this bed!! I hated the headboard, I hated the footboard, and I hated the size. I am SO GLAD it's gone!!


Clearing a space.........


I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our new bed!!! I'm pretty sure Jack  agrees.

It's so soft and there is room for everyone!! Well, by "everyone" I mean me, Timmy and the dogs.

I am also in love with our new's perfect with the gray and black colors and will fit in with the new color scheme we have planned for this room.

I'll keep you updated with the bedroom re-do's, we hope to be able to start ripping out drywall next month.