26 July 2011

See ya later alligator...

We're moving.
Perhaps I jinxed us by putting those photos up, or maybe its just someone bigger than you or me telling us its time.
Either way...let the packing begin.
So here's how it went down because I need to vent and share what not to do when you are a renter.

The owner of our house decided to sell. His realtor, who shall remain nameless (but rhymes with Pasim Mishati) basically is getting us moved on our of here because I hurt his feelings.
This is all speculation by the way.

A showing was scheduled for 6 pm. At approximately 5 pm Madelin starts throwing up all over herself and the living room carpet. I called him to cancel after I got her cleaned up. The dogs beat me to throw-up (too much information?) So this was shortly after 5.
He proceeded to argue with me about wanting to come in the house, which I vetoed seeing as Madelin was tossing her cookies and there was a putrid substance on the living room floor.
Call me old fashioned, but you don't let company in your house in that condition.
He also argued with me about being an hour early. I have e-mails and texts printed from his company stating the time, 6 pm, so argue with that!
I usually end up crying when people on the phone frustrate me, but I got heated this time. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I was covered in Madelin's lunch I don't know.
I called him back.
I'm not going to go into detail, but I let him have it.
He called me back and told me to leave in 30 days.
This my friends, he is not allowed to do being a realtor and all.
The next day, he fed the owner some cockamamy (that is a word I looked it up) story to get him to agree and verbally give us our thirty days

Still haven't seen it in writing, but that's good enough for me.
We're outa here.

So, I'm just giving you a heads up. You may not hear from me for a couple weeks. We'll be preoccupied.

23 July 2011

A little place I like to call...home (part deux)

Alright people, please allow me to redeem myself after leaving you with that mess of a kitchen. All I've got left for you are the living room and miss Madelin's room.

Remember those new furniture purchases that I could count on one hand.
They're all in Madelin's room (go figure). We couldn't buy a hand-me-down crib, believe me, we tried. Something about drop sides squeezing baby heads...I don't remember but it didn't sound good. So we steered the other direction.

Here's my wonderful daughter...coming at me all big foot/ monster style. She doesn't wake up nicely from her naps, at least for me. I think she gets that from grandpa. (If you're reading this...sorry...its true)

Do you see those curtains, the white ruffled ones? Clearance aisle at Target. They just so happened to have three (exactly what I needed). I don't remember the exact price. I just remember being really excited about the price; like way more excited than anyone should ever get over window treatments.

Originally I didn't want the typical pink girly room for her, but you can see how well that worked out.
That's okay.
I like how it turned out.
The first piece I bought was her rug. I had been eye-balling that rug for months. Then one day a little bird told me to go check out the price on target's site. Yahoo! Marked down to $50...for a 5x8.
I was sold.
I told you. I like a good sale.

Next, we needed something to change that cute little tush on. Since I was never too keen on the idea of buying a piece of furniture specifically for wiping her bottom on I moved my red dresser in for her changing table.

As far as the changing table accessories go I wanted them to be an easy reach because we've got quite the wiggle monster. And if the diapers had to be displayed, by golly, they were going to be put in something pretty.

The diaper rack/shelf was a wall decoration at TJ Max that was given to us at her baby shower. (Thanks Inneke and Adam!) That Madeline book sitting up top, the one next to her cute Madeline doll, it was the inspiration for Madelin's name.
Sadly Madeline doesn't sound as good with Anne (her middle name) as Madelin does, so we had to compromise.

We were able to get her crib on sale from Target after watching the adds for a couple of months. We wanted to get one that looked like it matched the rocking chair my grandmother found for us. (On a side note, the chair cushion was 5, yes 5 dollars at Pier 1) Besides getting the sale price, if you bought a crib from the add they threw in a free mattress.

Her room was also lacking in the storage department. Her room doesn't even have a real closet.
We had already acquired an enormous amount of baby items before I was six months along so I utilized the "closet" as best I could and bought a small bookcase.
Luckily my mother had saved most all the books I had when I was younger and gladly passed them on to me. (I can't wait to read her some Dr. Seuss, because when I try to now she just shuts the book on me)

Just when I thought I was done "nesting" Andrew's mother came bearing a car full of gifts.
As in diapers.
I'm not even going to go into how we were able to fit the years worth of diapers into our house. It wasn't pretty.
I'm not kidding either. It was exactly a years worth of diapers. We didn't buy any until this June. (thanks Cindy!)
Well, there was one exception. She grew out of 2s too fast so I sold some boxes via craigslist to go buy some 3s. So really, we just traded.

On a side note, these are so easy and cheap to make. Don't go out to buy them...can you say "overpriced".

Enough about Madelin, I'm sure you're going to be hearing much more about her anyway if you decide to follow me (I fear I'm just talking to myself here).

On to the living room/family room/hearth room.
By the way, anyone else think its weird that I was raised to call it the hearth room. You can't even imagine the look Andrew shot me the first time he hear me refer to my parents hearth room.
I thought everyone called it that.

Oh where do I start...okay the furniture. Couch is an IKEA couch via craigslist. Its a slip-covered couch. This is crucial when you have dogs and kids, believe me. Chair and ottoman are hand-me-downs from my parents. The bookcase and media cabinet were bought new back in my college days.

ha gotcha... college days..I'm still in college people.

Oh and for those of you who still manage to think we have anything worth stealing. See our little 32 in tv...that's it. (we don't have cable, no need for a big one) That may be your one shot at 20 dollars at a pawn shop.
Not that I've ever pawned anything and would know what a TV is worth.

The large mirror and clock are from Andrew's grandma. Everything else on the mantle are table decorations from our wedding, believe it or not.

That my friends was a black and decoupaged table from hobby lobby that I repainted to better suite the room. Oh, and those curtains...they're from Home Depot...painting department...drop clothes. I love 'em though.
There's also random baskets of toys or wooden toys set out all around the room in hopes of catching Madelin's attention before say the jade Buddha on the side table.

Well there you have it, our home, and now that you've all been to my house it's only polite that we should be invited to yours.
Too bold?

Anything you've done in your house that you're particularly proud of lately or a good diy project?

18 July 2011

Money, Money, Money

We're on a budget.
I mean a hardcore, penny pinching, belt-tightening budget.
We're on day two and it sucks. I want a soda so bad... That's pathetic huh.

Money has always been tight, but especially now that I only work part-time (if that). On top of that, if I get into nursing school - fingers crossed - then I won't be working at all.

I was raised in an upper middle class family, and was the only girl, so I never really went without. I can admit that now. I'm alright with us not bringing in that much, but old habits die hard.
Plus, I love a good sale.
By the end of the month I couldn't figure out where all our money had gone. Well, lets just say Dillons, Target, and QT should have a personalized parking spot for us. Its a little ridiculous.

After reading up on some different budgets, I chose the envelope system. Look here if you want some more information.
Its basically your grandma's way of budgeting. We've got six envelopes: Food, Gas, Clothing, Misc, Tithing, and Personal Items. I estimated high on all our bills as well as what I thought we'd need in each envelope. Lets hope this works. I'm sure we're going to have to tweak the amounts a couple times to get it right, but its worth a try.
What doesn't kill you can only make you stronger...that's how it goes isn't it?

We've also decided no more soda (that's a drain on my wallet) or monsters (Andrew's vice). They're not good for ya anyways.

And to top it off, I may be checking out this lady's site every once in a while. Please don't tell anyone...its embarrassing. I cross my heart I won't stock pile anything.

Have any tips or helpful hints for us? Please let me know. We're also not above handouts (I prefer coke zero...just kidding...kinda).

17 July 2011

A Second-hand Home

First of all, we're not homeowners. Please keep that in the front of your mind as you read through this. As renters we're not typically allowed to change major cosmetic eyesores (i.e. the kitchen cabinets) and even if we were, it wouldn't be the best investment of our time or money. So those, we're just going to live with.

Now that being said, I'd like to give you a quick tour of what we call home. I would estimate that 98% of our furnishings were either given to us our bought via craigslist. I could count on one hand the furniture that we've bought new.

Am I complaining: no. I don't mind. In fact, I prefer it this way. We have a baby and dogs (and my klutzy self)... things get broken. Seeing as we haven't made a large financial investment in anything we own, its okay. A house is meant to be lived in.

Lets start with our bedroom.

This is probably the least decorated room in the house. It's a little plain jane. A work in progress. Lets just say we keep the door closed most of the time. Its also tiny, has an awful layout and almost nonexistent closet. Hence the hand-me-down armoire (that's how you spell that right?).

In fact the whole house is lacking in the closet department. I love old houses, but if you're not going to build in usable closets, please have a basement (both of which we're lacking).

On that note, let see the only picture I was able to get of the bathroom. Perhaps if we had a tripod and better camera I could have gotten a better angle. Oh well, without further-a-do here's where we get pretty.

There's not much to it, right? That's how we like it. It didn't look this way when we moved in. Okay, close your eyes. Picture a mauve colored door (trim included) bead-board peeling, mauve and brown wallpaper, peeling wallpaper, made to look like sponge painting crap. It was bad. So bad in fact that I had Andrew start peeling that wallpaper in the last month of my pregnancy because I just couldn't take it any longer.

So we painted it a very neutral beige (isn't near as yellow looking in person) and refinished the bead-board. Oh we also painted all the trim and door white.

Alright, lets move into the kitchen. I've done what I can in here people. Until the cabinets and trim are painted it remains our black sheep. I make no excuses for the previous owner. I just hope they were color blind and I pity their current house.

Maroon cabinets....really...poop colored trim..I'm at a loss for words.

That's my homemade chalkboard...what do ya think?

I made (still have one to go) some temporary window coverings out of curtains I bought at World Market (similar to these). The second one is a temporary table runner. Our current table (free) was handed down to us by my older brother's girlfriend. It came with a melted wax stain. I plan to refinish the top and paint it with some chalkboard paint (like this).

Lets see, what else... The tea and coffee tins, which I still love, are from the Paramount Antique mall.

And our "desk"...let me explain. When we got a second dog (Tosha was lonely, depressed, and getting fat) we needed a room to kennel them up. So our office is now the dogs' room.

All our files and paper work just got piled up. I'm a visual person. If I don't see a bill, it probably won't get paid. I'm sorry that's just the way it is. Case-in-point, I needed a desk. This whatever you call it was only 20 dollars on craigslist. It provides adequate storage and with 5 dollars worth of walmart became my desk.

I added a layer of cork board to the back, a dry erase on the upper cabinet door (for bills) and bought some tacks. It serves its purpose.

I planned finishing up with the living room and Madelin's room, people, I am tired. Those rooms are better, I promise. Besides, leaving you with the kitchen (not our strong point) I'm going to need to redeem myself tomorrow,
So stay tuned...

15 July 2011

Stick a fork in me, cause I'm done...

You know, I've never tried that whole frying an egg on the sidewalk trick, but perhaps I should.

This heat is bananas...
What's summer good for if its too hot to go swimming, to hot to walk the dog, to hot to grill out! Well, me and Madelin had enough of this indoor play business. We went to the mall.
Don't worry I don't have any money to spend anyhow. They do so happen to have a children's play area though. Its great. (no I'm not being sarcastic) Its carpeted, has a slide small enough for her, and all the other equipment is made out of some rubber material.

On a side note, I don't know about your kids, but I've seriously considered getting mine a helmet more than once. I swear its like she tries to fall down.

Ah here she is practicing her boating skills. Gotta be prepared with a daddy who likes to fish.

So that killed a good hour or so (and at least a couple calories because you know I was following her around the whole time).

A word of warning though, keep an eye on your kid! If they aren't taken out by the older kids running around, they will be pushed down the slide by another- MARK MY WORDS

Oh let me add, if you aren't watching you kid don't get mad if I reprimand them for bad behavior (it takes a village to raise a child right).

13 July 2011

Dinner anyone?

I struggle with dinner ideas, and when I say struggle I mean if we aren't eating tacos, pasta, or mac and cheese then Andrew is probably the one cooking. Not only that, but we're in need of a grocery trip...bad. This was one of those times, you know, when you're staring at your pantry scratching your head....then you order pizza.

Now don't get me wrong I know how to cook. At least I feel like I do (Andrew may beg to differ sometimes). I just have a bit of an issue with deciding what to make. Andrew says I have a problem with recipes. I like recipes. He doesn't. Its cheating...so he says.
So this time, I cheated.

Whatever it may look like...it was goooood.
And this was Madelin's:

So running low on ingredients as I was I turned to our garden (more on that later). If this garden is good for anything its herbs. Our two basil pots are thriving.
So what's a girl to do...make some pesto!

First go pick (or buy) yourself as much basil as you'd like. I picked enough for around 4 cups.

I would recommend washing it first no matter where you get it. Ya know, just in case. Pesticides, fertilizer, dirt, whatever...its gross...and grainy.

Okay moving on.
Just pull the leaves off to measure them out. Don't pack them in the cup.

So after you get done pulling all the leaves off (which is sooo much fun wouldn't ya know) gather the rest of your ingredients.

You're going to need 2/3 cup olive oil, 1 cup pine nuts (or whatever suits your fancy), 1/2 to 1 cup of parmesan (whatever kind you have) and 2 cloves of garlic.

Now wait, I know I didn't use garlic, but I told you I was running low on groceries. Get over it.
I will next time...promise.

So go ahead and toss all your basil in the food processor.

And top it with everything you've got; pine nuts, parmesan, and oh, I almost forgot, salt and pepper (to your liking of course).

Then blend away.

It should look like a paste of sorts. It may be broken into clumps, but remember, we haven't added the olive oil yet.
I added my oil slowly, blending in between pouring, just to make sure it got incorporated thoroughly.

When its all said and done, this what you are left with:

It's beautiful isn't it. Okay, maybe not the most appetizing for some, but I do like the fresh green and knowing I grew the main ingredient. But hey, its a nice alternative to store bought tomato sauce (which I sadly admit may be the norm around here). I added a couple spoonfuls to my pasta along with some marinated artichokes and leftover grilled chicken.
Don't worry about following my recipe though. Pesto is almost fool proof. Change the nuts, the cheese, add some extra spices. It doesn't matter, that basil will shine through.

Have you made anything out of the norm lately that you were pleasantly surprised with?

12 July 2011

Party Time

Its been a year.
Approximately 365 days, 24 million feeding sessions, who knows how many diapers, and only 3 hours of sleep later, we made it.

I don't know what I was thinking when I found out I was pregnant. Images of mothers cuddling their (sleeping) infants, quiet walks, and family dinners flashed through my head.Wrong-O!
My eyes have been opened to say the least. In fact, I'll never see straight again I fear. Now don't get me wrong, I love our Madelin, but she's made me see a side of myself I didn't know I had. This side Andrew probably wishes he'd never seen. On the other hand, I love being a mother. I don't even mind the dirty diapers and spit up. I like having someone else home with me other than the dogs when Andrew is at work.

Boy am I glad that first year is done. New babies are precious, until the lights go out. At night they become wailing little monsters. No one tells you that. "How are they sleeping?" the nurses ask with a smile on their face as you sit in the hospital on your last night. "Oh, great. If she's not nursing she's sleeping." They give you no indication as to what you're about to get yourself into as you walk out that door. I'm sure its a cruel little joke of theirs.
Anyways, moving on. I'm not bitter or anything...right. So, Madelin's party. She wasn't supposed to have a party. We're not those kind of people. Wait, yes we are. Originally we had just planned on having family over to our house for a cookout and cake. As I started making the guest list the party took on a mind of its own. Just family ended up being around 30 people. Thirty people in a house under 1000 sq feet. I don't think so. Ok ok, we'll move it to mom and dads. Done. I decided to make the cake. It would be cheaper. Four dozen cupcakes and one smash cake later...we had cake. I also decided to make a couple decorations. Mickey Mouse. Not this stupid bright colored Mickey mouse clubhouse. More like the old silent Mickey. About of weeks worth of man hours later we had decorations. This party ended up being much more than I thought, but what the hell its a party for the sake of not having partied in over two years. (I didn't go out much while I was pregnant..one word....awkward)

All in all, it turned out great. She smashed a cake, everywhere, got WAY to many new toys and we got all the family together for the first time since our wedding. Success!