Thursday, January 29, 2009

Saving a buck where I can

We are very aware right now of how granite can break the bank faster than you can say "formica sucks"...

So I am aiming to save in every area that I can when it comes to our new house.

When we bought our current house 3.5 years ago we upgraded from a queen to a king bed. Praise God. A king size bed is the ultimate indulgence.

That of course required new bedding. Buying new bedding sounds fun...until you actually have to do it. I could never find anything I loved. Well, most likely what I loved was $1,200 and I don't ever in my lifetime see that being in the bedding budget!!! Anyway I found one at Target that I could live with.
Our "new" bedroom is small and I think our dark bedding will shrink the room even more.

Here is my inspiration room in my quest for new affordable bedding ...
Step #1 I found a creamy matelasse bedspread, like in the picture, on Craigslist for $25. Yep $25 and yep I bought it! Bedspread AND shams...$25. Sweet.

Step #2 I found a Ralph Lauren bedding line, "Charlotte", which I adore.Being RL makes it very unattainable in the budget area....UNLESS it is a discontinued line!! Which translates to EBAY! Woo hoo! It found it readily available on Ebay...sheet sets, new in the package, that I will make into a quilt to put at the foot of the bed like in my inspiration room.

Step #3 is that I can use some of the curtains that were left behind in the house, and embellish them with the RL sheets.

Don't you love it when a plan comes together in an affordable way?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Work day #1

I like that title because it sounds like an episode of HGTV.

We camped out at our little new house on Saturday night. We mostly piddled around and talked about all the different things we wanted to do to the house. I of course dreamed of decorating and arranging furniture!

We have a contractor hired to do a teeny tiny add on of a master closet, enlarge the master bathroom, some trim work and new counter tops. We are trying to tackle any & all work that we can possibly do ourselves and avoid paying the contractor to do it!

Like for instance, I have been crowned the official painter. No sense paying someone to paint when God gave me 2 good arms. No doubt, the quality of my painting skills is questionable and level of soreness in my arms will be the topic of many posts to come. I digress.

Work day #1 was demolition. The first item up for the do-it-yourself wrecking ball was the spindle opening in the entry way.
See it over there? Very circa 1986. It was a great year for my hair but not so much for spindles. This is the only picture I have of the spindles and it was while the former owners were still living there. Also a great shot of the white formica....I said almond before. People with kids....or husbands.... do not need a white surface anywhere in the kitchen.

Anyway hubs ripped out the spindles, in a very manly fashion I might mention. That is going to be a solid wall.

Also, in most likely another regrettable 1986 decision, there was cedar planks on one wall of both the guest bath and one bedroom.
(Blonde rascal worked very hard to be in every picture I took that day. After viewing all of the pictures, I can assure you he succeeded!)

We ripped the planks right off the wall along with the cedar baseboards, door & window trim. Hubs thought (hoped) that the wall behind the cedar was in fact a finished textured wall, that is until we removed the first plank. Luckily it will all even out...we saved on demolition but we will pay for texturing the walls and new trim. BUT then factor in me painting the said trim and walls. Oh yeah baby we are firmly in the black.

Yesterday "the breakfast club" which consists of myself, sweet Mary and nutty Lori/Jen A. took a road trip. We have started getting together for breakfast every other Monday. Yesterday "the club" decided to drive to Snyder so they could see the house. It was a raucous good time, as all road trips should be, with lots of small town entertainment like a visit to a deathtrap, dusty, smoky junktique store. I would go into detail, but if you want to know more you'll just have to go on a road trip with me to Snyder and experience it for yourself.

I wonder if they will get suspicious if I suggest another road trip in the near future and suggest they wear some painting clothes?

It is like 18 degrees right now and all gray & icy. We hoped (and prayed at bedtime last night!) for no school or at least a such luck. I am about to leave to go do my weekly volunteering at the school library. Which I normally love, an hour of handling wonderful children's books... puhhhleezze what is not to love about that? But on a day like today I would prefer to stay snuggled up inside as long as possible. Oh well the understaffed and underpaid public school system needs me! We will be coming home right after school and get a fire going in the fireplace.

Stay warm friends!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We are going to replace the kitchen counter tops in our "new" house. Today we went shopping with the contractor. Ouch. I'm pretty sure purchasing a granite quarry in Brazil would turn out to be an ace business venture. Someone is BANKING off of that racket.

Lordamercy...our kitchen is not big at all and it still amounts to a lahhhrge chunk of change. Perhaps I will begin a plasma donation schedule tomorrow or start picking up aluminum cans. Standing on the corner by the liquor store holding a sign "will work for granite" perhaps? Or there is always the hope that maybe almond color Formica will make a comeback real soon and we could just leave the kitchen as is. After all, they say styles are cyclical.

On the up shore is gunna be purdy!!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Why peanut butter again? Why can't raisins or brussel (sp?) sprouts or turnips get contaminated with salmonella instead?

Peanut butter is one of the great joys of my life. At least I can still eat it straight from the jar this go round.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


It was a busy week and now I am dog tired. So much to tell you about, but sadly not enough brain power to crank it out.

I will tell you though, I cleaned out my underwear drawer this week. That made me really happy. I threw away all pairs that....A. gave wedgies or B. had holes in them. Why would I keep such things? Just ridiculous I tell you. I mean seriously.

Well, now they are gone and I bought 2 shiny new packages of, actually really cute, Hanes Her Ways at the Wal-Martz, which are neither hole ridden or wedgie prone I am happy to report.

I have just satisfied the weird lobe of my brain that delights in spewing completely random information. Hopefully (for your sake) I will have something much more important/interesting/worthy to say soon....


Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I have an obsession with houses. I love to look at other people's houses. Old, new, big, small it matters not. Driving through neighborhoods when it is dark and going by a house with the lights on and blinds open, love it. Not for any freaky voyeur reasons...but because I love to see how they have it cozy, sterile, too modern, too outdated? Going to someones house that I have never been it! Sometimes if insomnia hits at 2am, I lay in bed and think about how I would decorate a house I have been in.

I love all "home" magazines, not because I aspire to have the latest decor, but more because I like to gather ideas. I even love looking at houses for sale online like on Coldwell Banker or whatever...the still lived in houses, not the already vacant ones. And blogs...oh have mercy that is why I spend waaaaaayyy to many hours blogging....I get to see inside houses! Oh bliss.

Maybe I should join a 12 step program?

My dream career would be that of a realtor. They get to see houses for a living!

On Thursday hubs and I will own the 3rd house in our 14 years of marriage.

When we got married we lived in an apartment for the first almost 3 years. Hubs wanted a little piece of land so he could keep his horse there. We searched and searched to find one in our budget. Our budget was...small! Hubs was a police officer and we knew we didn't want to buy including my salary because our goal was for me to stay home after babies.

So we found a little fixer upper on an acre. I would show you a picture but that was before digital and I am too lazy to scan right now! It was a little 1700 sq. ft. house with a basement. It was really cute, all stone on the outside. When we bought it, it was horrible on the inside. In need of updating and rather dirty. But we could afford it, so we worked our fingers to the bone cleaning and doing all of the cosmetic updates ourselves. The only thing we hired out was getting new carpet installed.

We made do with what we had, hand me down furniture, my couch from college and a wealth of frugal decorating ideas from my beloved magazines! And it turned into a warm, inviting, cozy home.

We lived there for 7 years. By then the Marine was in the teenage years, blonde rascal was 5, the street we lived on was going down hill, the school district was not the best, we knew any further improvements on the house would not be recouped in a we decided to move.

Hubs had retired from the P.D. at that point and gotten his job in the auto resale field so finances were not quite as tight and we made a pretty good profit on the sale of our little stone house. We found our 2,400 sq. ft. house that was only 2 years old. We loved everything about it. Hubs loved that it was on 10 acres & had a roping arena. I appreciated that it was his "country" living but it was still a neighborhood, so I could borrow a cup of flour when needed!

That fact that it was relatively new was great. Everything is fresh and current...but I never could get that cozy feeling that I love. I have told hubs that while our house is nice, it just isn't me.

I miss something about our old small house. Was it because that was our "first" house as a married couple? Was it because that is the house we lived in when we brought blonde rascal home from the hospital? I am sure those both have a lot to do with it, but I think it was because it was lived in and quaint!

The plain truth is that I am an old house person. Granted wherever I live will always be "home" because the people I love live there with me. However, my preference would be to own an older house. It doesn't sound right when I say that I don't like our house because it is very nice and we are certainly blessed to have it...but it is just not me!

The way I see it now, after having owned both an older and a newer house, is that a new house with all the bells and whistles dictates how you will decorate. Whereas an old house that you have to paint and primp...takes on your own very unique thumbprint. Our current house with columns and arches and curved ceilings, trendy paint techniques, high ceilings... has led to a more stuffy feel. New homes have beauty & style and older homes have charm. Sign me up for charm.

(This is all MY opinion of the house YOU are in for your own reasons!)

We would have stayed in our current house forever, and I was fine with that, had our life plan not changed a little!

So tomorrow we will own our 3rd house. A 2,000 sq. ft. house built in the early 80's. We have to give it some paint, love and TLC....but then it will be "us". My goal is to have the house be warm, cozy, a little quirky, charming and welcoming. I have no doubt that we will achieve that and I am very excited about it.

We have been to see it 4 or 5 times and every time we go, you know what it feels like? A vacation. Not a fancy 5 star resort (there is NOTHING fancy about it I can assure you!) but more like renting a cabin in the woods type vacation. A get up and watch the sun rise with a quilt and coffee on the porch type vacation. Or watch deer from the porch at dusk. BBQs on warm summer nights. Swimming, exploring, entertaining friends. And then best of all ending up back in the small cabin, snug as a bug, with my family.

I honestly can't wait for my old, small, quirky, charming house!

What about you? What do you love about your house? Are you an old or a new house person?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Uhh...ohhh. I am in trouble now

Small town living lesson to be learned #1.... everyone knows everything.

The very day last week that hubs got the commercial building permit for his car lot, a reporter from the newspaper, The Snyder Daily News, called him to ask a few questions.

Yesterday that story was on the front page of the esteemed Snyder Daily News. (Slow news day?)

There were "kin folk" (you know, relatives) calling my MIL asking if that was her son moving to Snyder. It seems hubs has a handful of distant relatives in Snyder.

Heaven help me. I am going to have to keep my antics and foolishness on the down low. Or else I'll be in the paper and my MIL will get phone calls. I am going to have to stay locked up in my sewing cottage instead of painting the town red.

On to a different subject....after 2 days of looking for the remote control for the tv in the living room, I am relieved to say we found it. In the artificial Christmas tree storage bag, that was already packed and ready to store for the year. Whew, that was a close call.

A special shout out to my girls, my girls that I adore more than life itself, who are acting morose like I will never see them again! I have told them me moving will be like nothing has changed. It is only a 1.5 hour drive to Lubbock and I will always have a place to stay, with MIL, if I need to spend the on scrapbook night!

Remember that I am moving to a town of 10,000. There is no Target, no SteinMart, no Super WalMart (there is a plain WalMart...but I have my standards), no quilt shop. I will still be going to my dr. and dentist in Lubbock, going to my quilt clubs, book club and most of all heaven knows I WON'T be getting my hair cut in any small town beauty shop!!!! So you will still see me, lots of me! I lurve you girlies!

I bet when the big town scrapbook girls come to Quilty Chick's house for slumber parties that WILL make the newspaper! Yeehaw, can't wait! MIL will have to take her phone off the hook those weekends!

***Disclaimer***I don't totally mean to dis my new hometown(in case the newspaper has found my blog). I have done some shopping research during many of our trips to Snyder. There is a bitchin' cool antique-junk store. A huge ancient rambling building that goes on for ever and you wonder if the floor might cave in at any point. It is stuffed full of enough treasures to keep me wondering around in there for the next 20 years. On the square, yep the small town square, there is a kind of a cool little coffee shop (it's no Starbucks, but it will do), a scrapbook store, the token small town pricey gift shop (where all the local girls do their wedding registries) which honestly had really cool stuff and a small craft mall type shop. The only down side is I am not real sure on clothing stores....small town clothing stores will most likely be scary. I will have to drive to Lubbock to keep my Target wardrobe in tact.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

"I'm going off the rails on a crazy train"

Sing it Ozzy. Hey, don’t judge...he makes me giggle, the old brain fried coot.

It’s a new year and my thoughts are all willie nillie. I need to be going in many directions all at once...but need some kind of a plan.

It’s a new year and should I be spouting resolutions I ask? Aw heck no. I don’t believe in a list of resolutions that get acted on for a month and then turn into a miserable failure. Who has time for that?

I do resolve to do whatever it is I need to do improve myself. No stringent rigid changes just a few areas I am working on improving. SUCH as....

1. Eat more fresh fruits & raw veggies, grains, etc... Admittedly too much processed food is going to kill us all, right?

2. Work on my running schedule. From about Thanksgiving on, through the great strep epidemic of 08 and on into the Christmas holidays my running was sporadic at best. I bought a new pair of bouncy Shox yesterday...and splurged a little on the Nike chip thing that goes in the shoe and corresponds with your gives you your pace, mileage, calories, power songs that kick on when you start sucking wind, computer tracking of your workouts, competing against other Nike+ users all over the world. Way soooo cool. I am ready to resume some now high tech running! Those Apple folks are brilliant. Love them forever.

Even though I adore my early morning first thing runs, ("my runs", not to be confused with "the runs") if I don’t get up exactly as early as planned then my workout length is just not adequate. So I am going to start alternating those shorter run days, with longer run days happening after blonde rascal leaves for school. And then also try to change it up and run outside a day or two weather permitting. Varying your distance builds good lung capacity. I love me some good lungs.

3. Time management. Can I get an amen? The main thing is that I want from the time I pick up blonde rascal at school until he goes to bed to be family time, instead of a time where we squeeze in homework while I hurriedly do the things I did not finish earlier in the day! I feel like my “coffee-start the day-read a few blogs-loaf around" morning routine is taking WAY too much of my time, so I am going to limit that. Which will then allow me to accomplish more before blonde rascal gets home!

I gave this a trial run yesterday after school. I let blonde rascal play the Wii for 30 minutes, after a day at school he does need a little down time for crying out loud. Then he worked hard on homework, he cleaned his room, he played outside while I made dinner, he showered and we leisurely read 2 library books...all with time to spare. I laid in his bed after the books and we chatted & giggled.....unlike so many nights where it is past his bed time when he is finally getting into bed and I am cranky!

It was so much more enjoyable (and productive) this way. By the way we read this book which was adorable. I will be buying it for my already too large childrensbooksthatIadoreandwillnevergetridof collection.

The large time consuming event of 2009 will be us moving! That is my big news that has been lingering around my blog. Life changing events here. I didn't really want to waste my time blogging about it until it was 100% for sure. Now it is, so here goes....

We are moving to Snyder (technically about 5 miles outside the city limit in the middle of nowhere) which is 90 miles south of Lubbock where we now live. Hubs is jumping into self employment and starting a small retail used car lot. He has been in the dealers only wholesale auto auction business for the past 4 years, which he has excelled at tremendously. Car trading has always been in his blood and for our entire married life I have said he needed to be in the car business, even while he was a police officer.

So this is big, huge, life changing and crazy. Bad economy you ask? It has not affected used car sales much, at least not in our neck of the world. Everyone needs/wants a car and no one can buy do the math.

All of that aside, the man I married is a hard worker (too hard most of the time!), he accepts nothing less than success, is driven like no other and is very resourceful. This has been brewing for a long time with much research and homework done by hubs. We have prayed and prayed for guidance and wisdom over this decision and all doors have been we are going forward with confidence!

We close on our house in Snyder next Thursday but will stay in Lubbock until school is out in May. So there is where all of my scatter brained chaotic thoughts are centering... Packing, cleaning out, organizing, what to do with the boxes of x-mas decorations still lingering...

The up side is that the new house has 2 huge ginormous barns just waiting for us to junk up!So that means come next Thursday I will be able to pack crap up and store it in the barns at the new house.

I would rather take a hot poker to the eye than deal with the moving process. Have my toenails ripped off one by one...

The saving grace obviously being that we do have a long time to move. So we can slowly pack it all up and then we will hire movers for the furniture.

On to more exciting things like the house!!! It is not new actually, built in 1984 or something. It is just a simple small ranch house...but I am in love.

More on the house tomorrow.....or more like for the next 6 months!! We will be doing some small renovations and cosmetic stuff to the house. Blog fodder galore. That, combined with the fact that Snyder’s population is 10,000 will have blog worthy nonsense FLOWing out of me like a river!

So if home improvement is not your cup of tea and you could potentially be bored by the foolishness that a big city girl moving to a small town can provide...then you better not stick around.

I will leave you with a hint of why I love our "new" old house...

This will be my quilting room/cottage/sweat shop/place where I will spend all my time...WOOHOO! The current owner is a hair stylist, I guess her clients drive out to the middle of nowhere and get their hair cut. Here is the inside as her little hair salon...
Dreamy. Yep it even has a bathroom. And look what it overlooks in the backyard...

...that would be the pool! We were with the Realtor while I was rapidly taking pictures, so my pictures are not so hot.

(I envision it like this....I will be sewing away in my sewing cottage probably sipping a margarita some cold ice tea, with the door open while gazing at the pool boy cleaning the pool watching blonde rascal and friends swim.)

When I get tired of the sewing cottage then there is the little sweet front porch where I will be spending lots of time.

It looks out over the front and driveway...
When I get tired of lounging and loafing on the front porch I will just move to the back porch...
...which overlooks the pool and barns and my little quilt cottage!

Hubs went and looked at the house before I did. He knew in a heartbeat that the cottage would get me and if that failed then the porches would do it. He was right, I was sold!

I am off now to make no less than 46 lists of all the tasks that need to get put into motion on this crazy train!

Sunday, January 4, 2009's over.

We had a great holiday...but don't you kind of love that it is all over for another 11 months?

I am glad the hoopla is over, but I am NOT ready for school to start back on Tuesday. Uggh. That means a schedule and I love NOT having a schedule.

We had a sweet, quiet Christmas day. It was just hubs, blonde rascal, MIL and I. MIL spent the night Christmas Eve so she could be present for the early morning Santa frenzy. We told blonde rascal there would be no getting out of bed until sun up Christmas morning. He made it to about 6:30 which was acceptable. It was an enjoyable relaxing day.

On the 26th pesky brother-in-law Mark & family got into town and we celebrated with them. On the 27th blonde rascal and I drove to Houston (10 hours for pete's sake) to celebrate with my family. It was like a never ending opening of gifts! Have mercy.

On the 29th we all drove to Galveston to stuff ourselves with some de-lish seafood and see how the island looked after hurricane Ike. While we were there my sweet Mom stumbled on a curb and fell. Thankfully it was nothing too serious. However her arm was in pain and she was a little panicked. She struggles with anxiety so the fall was frightening for her. EMS came and determined she did need medical attention for her arm...but the hospital in Galveston was still closed from hurricane damage. There were no bones sticking out or blood, thank goodness, but she was in pain and combined with her anxiety, EMS decided that instead of a 50 mile ambulance or car ride back to Houston that they would call the helicopter! No kidding!

After a lot of excitement with the helicopter and a long night in the ER, they discovered 2 cracked ribs and a fracture in her shoulder. Also her blood pressure and heart rate were elevated. They admitted her so they could try to figure out what was causing that to happen. They never found a cause but she had to stay in the hospital until Thursday when they could get it all regulated with medicine.

My brother was in town for the holidays and my sister lives in Houston, so I was glad we were all there to support my Dad and encourage my Mom. She is doing fine, thank goodness for pain meds!

I am a wet dish rag...after all the celebrating and then the worry. We got back from Houston last night and I totally vegged out last night...and today. We skipped church and just chilled. The house is a mess, decorations still up, car only partially unpacked, suitcase still full...but that will all be there tomorrow! And the Marine is in town until Weds. but most of his schedule involves his friends and not us!

Let's have a pictorial review of all the madness, shall we? (Feel free to stop reading've been warned!)

Christmas Eve, cookies (or cupcakes as the case may be) for Santa...Blonde rascal took a little nip from the milk. Excuse the lighter fluid in the background, hubs does not believe in having any sort of struggle with lighting a fire in the fireplace!

Ooohhh I love the glow after Santa comes......not that I was still awake or anything.

Then there was lot of present hugging...

It did my heart good that the quilt that caused me lots of blood, sweat and tears got a thrilled look upon opening....
We all had sore "Wii arm" by the end of the day...That Wii boxing is way incredibly fun. I let out a lot of frustration! Good times.

My sweet hubs got me a 300mm lens for my baby love Canon Rebel! I could not be more happy! Cool close ups...
...and loving getting close ups from far away...

Or how about a close up of little snookum cakes all fresh from her pre-holiday bath and foo foo Christmas collar...
.... after rolling in the grass.

On to frolicking in the surf while in Galveston...
The devastation from hurricane Ike was mostly cleaned up but we did see lots of destroyed homes and random boats in parking lots. The weirdest part was that the sand was all gone from the beach....or I guess you could say the beach was gone.

Sand was being brought back in. That was cool to see the dump trucks and tractors working in the water.

On to the "bird" experience!

See you in the ER Mom!
She said the helicopter ride was scary. The best Christmas present is that she is OK! (By the way Mom & Dad, I will be hitting you up for that missed seafood dinner the next time I am home!)

So there it is, Christmas 2008 in all of its glory. Happy New Year friends!