Thursday, August 28, 2008

Settling in

At last, here are the photos I promised! I hadn't forgotten, I was just having a heck of a time getting them transferred from the camera to the computer. Until I figured out that I had the camera cord plugged into the wrong place. Not that I'm technologically challenged or anything. Ahem.
I think my roosters look happy, perched up on the top of the fridge.
The previous owners left all of the blinds and window treatments. I love the wood blinds and the awning-style valence in the kitchen. A-a-and looking at this picture, I'm thinking the lamp needs to be hung a bit lower. It's running into the valence. But, the valence looks very cute with my rooster theme. However, the curtains in the rest of the house will be changed, eventually. A few yards of fabric, and presto!
The kitchen leads right into the family room, and the door on the right leads out to a deck. Hubs already has a plan to expand the deck, cover it and screen it in.
Here's a closer view of the family room. (Note the soon-to-be-removed valence. Upon closer view, it's rather artsy the way it is sewn together. But I still look at it and see two pieces of fabric thrown over a rod.)
The house is sorely in need of bookcases! These two flanking the fireplace are it, with the exception of a few that we brought with us. So, there's another project. These will be retrimmed and painted, and we've yet to do some furniture shopping for a new sofa. This one will go up in the loft to recreate a reading/sewing/hobby area.
The rest of the house still has a lot of this:
So we won't go there!
So, you can see I have a lot of work to do. I'm off to unpack a few more boxes, and do some laundry and cleaning. What's up with your day?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This and that

I've changed my Comments Moderation feature, so as to screen all my comments before they are posted. Some character came through last night and left a big mess in my comment section. I hope I got there to clean it up before any of you had to see it. I apologize if you got there first and had to "step in it", so to speak. I hate (and that's not a word I use freely) when people spoil the fun. On a lighter note, we had a wonderful weekend with Joe home. I was able to find him a cheap airfare, so he could come home and see the house, unpack some stuff, see his friends, help me with my computer. . . wait a minute. He never got to the last part. I still have no sound:( That's okay. I have enough noise in my life. I'm used to my computer being silent, and I kinda like it this way. Our weather here is still warm -- high 80s and low 90s. But fall is in the air. I love the coolness, the clear, blue skies. The plum tree in our front yard is already starting to drop its leaves. Yesterday after school, I took the kids to the mall to get new soccer cleats and shin guards for Emily. We passed by the Yankee Candle Co., its front windows full of fall and Halloween decorations. The scent of pumpkins, candy corn and cinnamon wafted out to the mall. Oh, it was delicious! Hope you all have a great day. I will get the kitchen pictures up later today. In the meantime, there are some bananas in the kitchen that are just ripe for banana bread;) I have some baking to do!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ladies, start your rollers!

Today we took the plunge and opened our first can of paint! One of the many things I'm enjoying about our house is that the interior has been painted in colors that are very neutral and liveable. The mainfloor is a soft beige, with the exception of the kitchen and family room, which are sage green. Green isn't my favorite color, but this is a shade I can live with.

However, the upstairs is all white. The previous owners just hadn't gotten around to decorating up there, which is fine with me, because it is soooo much fun starting with a clean palette. Kind of like having a brand new coloring book.

So, today Emily and I painted her bedroom. It was a good place to start, because she knows just what she wants. I was just eager to dip a paintbrush and get started painting something around here!

Here's what we started out with.




















We painted two facing walls blue -- "Thoughtful Spot" blue to be exact. (ala Winney the Pooh. I just love that my 11 and a half year old girl is still okay with having a color named after the Pooh Bear.)





















Then we added this yummy shade of pink. "Princess Power" pink to be exact.


























We had some fun before getting down to business with the pink.























Oh, look! Freshly painted walls!





















We still have lots of stuff to hang up on the walls, but here's what the room looks like so far.





















Tomorrow, I'll take you on a tour of the kitchen:)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jason

I have the coolest nephew. Let's call him Jason. Because, that is actually his name. When my youngest brother, Matt, married Lois about 10 years ago, I got not only a great Sis-in-Law, but two terrific nephews to boot! Jason, and his older brother, R.J. Jason is 17 now, a senior in high school. He and my 15-year-old hang out together and I like that. They're both good kids. Here's an example of how cool Jason is. Last Tuesday was Lois's birthday. As I've mentioned before, Matt is stationed in Iraq, and this is the first time since they've been a couple that he hasn't been with Lois on her birthday. So Jason, my very cool nephew, came up with an idea. He went to the store, with Luke in tow, and bought a birthday cake. He brought it over to my house and cut a piece from it, then carefully placed the piece of cake in some Tupperware, wrapped the container in bubble wrap, then packed it in a box. Then he took the box to the post office and shipped it off to Matt. We froze the rest of the cake until the day of Lois's birthday. And on her birthday, Jason presented her with the cake -- all lit up with candles, and missing a piece. At the same time, he had their laptop set up, and there was Matt on the webcam, enjoying the "missing" piece of birthday cake. (I still tear up just thinking about it.) Now, how cool is that?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Back to School


The kids started back to school today. For some reason, this typically momentous occasion was without the usual fanfare this year.

There was no unfurling of the flag on the front porch, a long time family tradition for the first day. Our flag has been hanging every day since my brother, Matt, left for Iraq in March. And it will be waving until he comes home.

We were low key in gathering school supplies. In fact, most of the shopping was done as we blasted through Target in search of shelving, robe hooks, shelf paper, and assundry items for the new house. Almost as an afterthought, we grabbed pencils and pens, notebook paper, spirals. Stuff that needed to be replenished. I told the kids to go through last year's supplies for rulers, pencil bags and such. Emily got a new backpack, since it's her first year of middle school, but generally I like to make them last a couple years. They did both get new sneakers -- definitely a ritual of the new school year. It's still so dang hot outside, they're wearing summer clothes, so we'll take inventory in a couple weeks and see what they need.

However, we kept our tradition of Dad's special "first day of school breakfast." This year it was pancakes, sausage and OJ. And coffee for me:)

Emily was quite independent when I dropped her in front of the school, heading off without a glance back. Dan and I are both missing having a child in grammar school. No more field day, no more costumes made out of paper or sheets for school plays, no more construction paper artwork for the refrigerator. Sigh.

Once the kids were out the door and Dan gone to work, I drank in the deliciousness of a quiet house and being able to fall back into my Monday morning routine. I spent much of the day on work, had coffee with my dad and Lois (my SIL who happens to be Matt's wife:), and made a big pot of spaghetti sauce for supper. The kids were home by 3:30 with lots to tell about their new teachers and classes. And both of them had homework already.

Tomorrow, Day 2. I can't wait:)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Over my new back yard fence

One of the hardest things about leaving our "old" neighborhood, was saying good-bye to our neighbors. Granted, we're not that far away. But it's far enough that it would be more practical to just drive to the store for a cup of sugar or an egg, rather than send one of the kids over to borrow one. I'll miss meeting my neighbor, Peggy, at the mailbox, where we would chat about her 15 grandkids, my three kids, and any number of subjects. On the other side of us, lived a couple that we had a connection with, in one of those inter-twangled ways of a small town. Their son married the daughter of the rancher who my brother worked for a number of years ago. I remember the daughter as a little girl. We would go up to the ranch every so often for brandings or whatever. Now, this grown up girl is raising her child up there. My neighbor, Val, was an excellent cook and one of the few people I know who still does home canning. We enjoyed her plum jam by the jar full each year. So, I couldn't help but wonder what our new neighbors would be like. And they've been wonderful in throwing out the Welcome mat. On the north side of us lives a retired couple. They're military folks. He is a large, barrel-chested fellow with a deep voice and a firm handshake. "We've got a good neighborhood here," he assured us. "No crime." And she is just lovely. "We're here if you need anything at all. A loaf of bread or a cup of sugar. Just ask." They have no children at home, but they have two Maine Coot Cats that are their obvious pride and joy. Until now, I hadn't even heard of the breed, but they are beautiful, long haired, docile, and HUGE! The male weighs 20 pounds, and is black with white markings, reminding me of Sylvester. On the south side is a young family with two boys, ages 5 and 7. They came over with their mom, shortly after we moved in, presenting us with a box of chocolates and a card, signed by the whole family. The boys have become Emily's fan club. Whenever she's out in the yard, they call over the fence, asking her to "come over for a play date if your mom will let you!" She may have a good babysitting job. Another neighbor welcomed us with a bag of Colorado peaches (the best!) and yet another brought over some produce from her vegetable garden. We haven't met the back door neighbors yet. The fences in our neighborhood are high, privacy fences, so I feel a bit like Wilson on the show, "Home Improvement," peering over the fence with just my eyes and nose showing.
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We're finally seeing some progress around here, with all of the unpacking. We have a ways to go -- no pictures on the wall yet -- but at least we know where most everything is (except, ironically, the GPS! Thank goodness we know our way around here.)
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I have to share a recipe that I made tonight for Chicken Enchiladas. They are scrumptious! I got it from Kim at Mom Musings. She has a wonderful recipe website called Happy Tummies. Oh, did this make some tummies happy at our house tonight. .
Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
6 tablespoons honey
5 tablespoons lime juice (1 large lime)
1 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 pound chicken, cooked and shredded (I used a rotisserie chicken)
8-10 flour tortillas
1 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (I had cheddar/Monterey Jack combo)
16 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream
Mix the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken. Let it marinate for at least 1/2 hour (Kim does hers in the morning and puts it in a ziploc bag in the fridge for the day). Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking pan. Fill flour tortillas with chicken and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream and leftover marinade. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thinkin' out loud

We've been in our new house a week now, and have we unpacked everything? No. But, I think I'll have it all unpacked and put away by, oh, 2015. The week didn't go as smoothly as we'd hoped. Dan developed a reaction to some antibiotics he's been on, so he was under the weather for several days. On Thursday, the kids and I took a break and went to our local water park. We met my SIL, niece and nephew, and Em brought along a friend. The kids had a ball, and it was nice to sit by the "wave pool" and pretend I was at the beach for the day. I managed a ride on one of the giant slides and a few laps around the Lazy River. But that was the extent of my water activity. I'm anxious to get the whole house set up and hang all the pictures, but Dan reminds me that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time! So, I've been concentrating on rooms. The first day, I set up the kitchen. Then the next few days I concentrated on bedrooms and closets. On Wednesday, I set up my office, because I need to start working again on Monday. So, if I don't look at the living room, dining room or basement, or the loft -- I feel somewhat organized. We're enjoying the deck in our backyard, at least later in the day, as it's on the east side of the house and the morning sun has been beastly. Dan is already planning a cover for the deck and screening it in. I love the back yard, as the parameter has plenty of room for a rose garden on one end of the yard, and a perennial garden on the other. There are more trees than I remember seeing when we looked at the house, so it's somewhat private and the birdbath we brought with us is nestled in amongst some sweet William, and nicely shaded by aspen trees. If you look at the top picture in my last post -- the top window is the window in the loft, my favorite part of the house. It's spacious and has wonderful light. I can't wait to set up my sewing machine and put in a table to work on photo albums and whatever project comes my way. The kids are loving the finished basement, where the former owners left a HUGE t.v. with surround sound. Once we get some furniture down there (the kids are using our camping chairs!), it will be wonderful for family movie night. I'm thinking we should join Netflix, but I'm afraid I'll never come out of the basement once I'm able to see movies like Gone With the Wind on the big screen. I'm looking foward to getting back on a routine. Things like planning menus, having milk delivery started again, meeting with my Bible Study on Saturday mornings. The kids start school on the 18th, and I think we'll all be glad. And, Joe is coming home for a long weekend later this month. I have missed him terribly throughout this move. I'm glad he can take some time before classes start to come back, (sort through some of his stuff), and see the house. It will be good to pull up an extra chair to the kitchen table, know that he's sleeping in the fourth bedroom, and even have to share my car with him.
Slowly, the place is starting to feel like home. It was so overwhelming the first few days. Luke commented, "It doesn't feel like home yet. But the old house doesn't feel like home anymore either." I sympathized with him and felt so sad! But, last night, my dad and Carol came over to see the house, and today Dan's parents and his aunt and uncle came. Just having family here makes all the difference. Already, it's feeling a bit more like home:)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Call off the search party. . .

We've arrived! Sorry to be so out of touch, but good old Qwest messed up and we were without phone and internet for 4 days. Not to mention up to our necks in boxes. I will write a "real" post soon, but in the meantime, here are some pictures of the new place. Once things get settle inside, I'll post some of the inside as well.