Friday, October 30, 2009

Whatcha eatin' there sport?

So, since it's taking between 4-6 months to build our house, Chad and I were lucky enough to have parents that love us and are willing to take us in for a couple months a piece so we aren't wasting money on rent in the interim. We moved in with Chad's parents first, and so far, so good!

Everyone has asked me on a daily basis, "So...ummm... how is living with your IN-LAWS?!" like it is a fate worse than death. Certainly I can imagine that being the case for many people, but we're blessed that we both get along really well with each others parents (complete with calling them mom/dad, saying "I love yous," etc.) But I'm sure a few weeks in, it will be a little strained only because Chad and I are used to it just being the two of us.

But for now - I am loving it. For one, my m-i-l has had dinner made for us every night we've come home from work. Homecooked dinner... on the table... and I didn't have to do any of it. Do you know how AWESOME that is? The best part is, Chad's mom I think is purposely making some of our favorite things - just because she's sweet like that. On Monday, she made pan-friend pork chops which is one of Chad's great loves - me and swine.

But last night -ohhhhh last night- she made one of MY favorites.

Two words: Apple Salad.

I have no clue what sort of hallucinogens she puts in that stuff, but it is like crack to me. I could eat a large mixing bowl of it. My m-i-l knows it is my weakness. I think I caught a little sparkle in her eye when she was listing what was for dinner last night... "We're having pot roast, potatoes, collards and... *twinkle* apple salad."

For some reason unknown to me- Chad is not a big fan of apple salad. Freak. But it's just fine by me because that means I don't have to share -and that whenver his mom makes it, it is because it is a treat for me -not him. Remember, we're competitive when it comes to parents. So on this Friday afternoon, I'm happily eating nothing but apple salad for lunch. My heart is happy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A time of transition

Sigh. It just dawned on me. I think I'm getting...

...well...

old.


I just realized I haven't bought, or even LOOKED for, a new pair of designer jeans in at LEAST 8 months. That used to be a seasonal treat for myself. I haven't checked BlueFly, Nordy's, Neiman or JCrew in probably two months. Maybe longer.

ME. I don't even know who I am anymore.

Six months ago it wasn't a rare thing for me to send Chaddy weekly emails saying, I want ______ (fill in picture of new pair of jeans, leather handbag, cute blazer, etc.) This just hit me because I sent him an email saying, I want...

and...

Instead of seeing what's the hot new coat for the fall, I'm looking at plates... and... FLATWARE.

I google plantation shutters. Going to a light fixture store is the highlight of my coming weekend. I've been grouchy the last few days not because I haven't been able to go out to have martinis with the girls, but because I haven't been able to cook a homemade meal in 2 weeks.

Waaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

I'm hoping this is temporary since nesting is on the brain. Or else, next thing you know I'll be wearing frumpy mom jeans and seasonal brooches.

Vote for Doc Hendley as CNN's Hero of the Year

I was lucky enough to get to write an article for the university about a family friend and fellow graduate for his awesome work - which has gotten him recognized as one of CNN's Top 10 Heroes. Here it is (in part):

Hero Turns Water to Wine

Doc Hendley, a 2004 graduate of North Carolina State University, has been named a CNN Hero for tapping into his bartending experience “to save thousands of lives on the other side of the world.” He is founder and executive director of Wine to Water, an international faith-based organization in Boone that installs running water and sanitation systems in the neediest parts of the world.

Wine to Water raises funds by hosting benefit wine events, such as tastings, to support water projects around the world. To date, Hendley's group has worked in five developing countries, including India, bringing safe drinking water to more than 25,000 individuals in refugee camps, orphanages, schools, hospitals and a leper colony, as well as directly into hundreds of homes through the installation of bio-sand filters. Wine to Water is also building two training centers in northern Uganda to teach locals how to access clean water without having to rely on foreign aid.

This is CNN’s third global search for ordinary people accomplishing extraordinary deeds. Hendley was chosen as one of the top 10 heroes of 2009 from among 3,700 nominations by a panel of world leaders and luminaries recognized for their own dedication to public service – including Gen. Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg and Sir Elton John . People can vote for CNN’s Hero of the Year on their Web site from now, until Thursday, Nov, 19.

CNN will announce the 2009 CNN Hero of the Year and honor the Top 10 CNN Heroes in a star-studded gala celebration, "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" on Thanksgiving, November 26, from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

So please, please, please vote for Doc as often as you can!

Click here to vote for Doc!



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Custom Mantle and Fireplace Voting

As part of our package, our builders will make a custom mantle for the house. We just have to find them a picture of what we want (within reason), and they'll build it. However, I don't make a habit out of checking out mantles... though I've been trying to thumb through some magazines like Traditional Home, Southern Living and Country Living for ideas.

If you find any neat custom mantles, please share them with me! I could use the h
elp.

For now, here are some ones that our builder has done before. Vote and l
et me know which ones you prefer.

Mantle #1:


Mantle #2:


Mantle #3:


Mantle #4:

Sorry the picture quality isn't the greatest - but try clicking on the photos to make them a bit bigger (if that helps).

Voting is now open! Thanks for helping, friends.

Porch and Patio Ceilings Voting Has Ended

Voting has closed! It looks like white beadboard barely edged out dark-stained...

will keep you posted!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hardwoods

Don't think there is much of a need to vote on this one - since I think we're pretty set on the hardwoods we're going for. So thought I'd share pictures.

Our hardwoods are going to be very natural - with some darker and lighter woo
d. Not all one flat, stained color.

Take a peak:



Monday, October 26, 2009

Fill 'Er Up

While sitting in the car yesterday while Chad filled up my tank at the gas station (remember, I don't pump my own gas. Boy job.), I remembered that two of my little pet peeves have to do with gas stations.

1) People that only put like a dollar and fifty cent's worth of gas in their car. Are you KIDDING me? Being that pumping my own gas is like dying a second death to me, I can not possibly comprehend why someone would want to put so little gas in their car that they'd likely have to stop a mere couple hours later to put more gas in. If someone has a logical explanation of why you'd only put a couple dollar's worth of gas into your car, please enlighten me. For now, I just assume those are the same people that smoke cigarettes while pumping gas or hold golf clubs up in the air in open fields during lightning storms.

2) People who insist on adding more gas to their car after it has already popped to indicate its full so that they can stop on an even amount - WHEN THEY ARE USING A CREDIT CARD. I can maybe understand this when you're paying cash and you want to make it easy on yourself. But even then, in how many other situations when you're paying cash for something do you pay a even amount like $5 or $25? Hardly ever. But it just kills me when people want to make sure they stop on an event amount like $19, and I ask why they do that and they respond "It's easier to balance my account." Does that mean when you go grocery shopping, pick up your prescription at the pharmacy, go out to grab dinner, etc. that you make sure to calculate your taxes ahead of time so that you're paying an even dollar amount with no change? I don't think so. Don't be a change hater.

I'm done.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Teary

You'll have to forgive me for my lack of blogging yesterday - things were a bit crazy!

So yesterday evening was our last night in the townhome. The final packing will be done today, and we close next Wednesday. It's funny, because the last few weeks I have been frequently heard saying things along the likes of, "GET ME OUT OF THIS HOUSE." or "UGH. CLOSING CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH!" But after weeks of packing up, and finally laying down and reflecting in our nearly empty house last night before we fell asleep, I actually started crying.

Because despite all the things our townhome is not - there are so many things it was that our new home will never be.

It was where Chad proposed to me. In our little living room - the weekend after he moved in.

It was our first home as a married couple.

It was the home to endless friends, memories, laughter and love...

... and who am I kidding - quite a few heated arguments as well.

It was where I navigated the new waters of marriage...and what it means to be a wife.

It held "our closet" - the master bedroom walk-in where when we both caught ourselves in it at the same time, we'd shut the door, sit down on the floor and take a few minutes to just talk and be together.

It was where we celebrated promotions and birthdays.

It was where we put up our first Christmas tree as "family" - meaning me and Chad, and not us and our parents.

I could go on for awhile... but you get the point. It might not have been a fabulous home - but it was OUR home. And we made wonderful memories there. So I hope the woman moving in finds just as much happiness and love in it as we did.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Porch and Patio Ceilings

I'm super excited that the new house will have a nice front porch - perfect for a few rocking chairs - plus a screened-in patio out back. Both patio and porch will have beadboard ceilings... and I love the look of them.

So we have a couple options for the ceiling.

We can do a white-painted beadboard...




Or a dark stained beadboard...

Let me have it! Voting is open.

Dining Room Ceiling Voting Has Ended

Alas, the vote for the dining room ceiling ended in a dead heat between tray and coffered ceilings.

I'll let you know what we decide!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Life in a Box

We close on the sale of our townhome next Wednesday. I'm super excited to have at least one big thing off my plate. This move has been made more difficult because we've been out of town for the past couple of weekends, which has made packing quite the chore. Especially considering we don't often have week nights that we spend at home.

But little by little, we're getting it done. Here are some things I've learned during our move.

1) Always start with packing your most fragile and valuable items first. For instance, we began with wrapping all our fine china. We were all over it - lots of bubble paper, wrapped in news paper, and then stuffed between buffer newspaper. The UPS store couldn't have done a finer job. A few days and several boxes later, I noticed Chad stacking three decorative serving bowls one on top of the other and just laying them in a box with all sorts of knickknacks. I start to ask, "Chad, why did..." but am interrupted with "Too bad. If it makes it, it makes it."

2) It appears your kitchen (or maybe just maybe kitchen) has nearly the same amount of boxes devoted to it than the boxes that packed the rest of the house. I seriously think half our storage space is devoted to kitchen items. Yikes. Even worse, most of these items are so oddly shaped it makes no sense to pack it in a box. So right now, in our storage space sits TWO coffee makers (one traditional and one Senseo since that's how we roll), one KitchenAid stand mixer (I heart you), blender, toaster oven, food processer, crock pot, waffle maker, can opener, and the list goes on. My favorite item is the nearly 10 pound (at least it feels like it) marble mortar and pestle given to me by my bff Kel. I took pleasure in telling her the first time I used it was not for making guacamole - but rather for crushing Chad's pain pills after he had surgery last year. Chaddy can't swallow pills (and don't try giving him tips either because he'll yell at you and tell you to leave him alone and that you married him for who he is), so I had to crush his pills into a fine powder and stir it into yogurt or applesauce. Yes - if you walked into my house while I was doing this, it would appear that I was poisioning him. And three-days post surgery, it probably wasn't too much of a stretch - but that is for another blog, another day.

3) SpaceBags are the bomb diggity. I found some on sale at Bed Bath & Beyond, and have used them to pack up every towel, bedset, clothing item, tablecloth and curtain that is going to storage. Transporting a giant ziploc bag that is void of any air is much better than stuffing about 15 boxes with various items of fabric.

4) Husbands get anxious to just get it done. Since we've been packing little by little over the past month, Chad has had to restrain himself (or more likely, I had to restrain him) from packing items that we'd need to use in the interim. Like last week, he was practically throwing my toothbrush in a box. "Slow it down buddy, I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to use that in the TWO weeks before we actually move."

5) If there is an item of clothing you have not worn - or even seen - in the 2 years since you moved in last... it's probably a good idea to give it away. And if said item still has tags on it - needless to say, you probably didn't need to buy it in the first place because your husband will not buy the excuse, "But, but... this white wool blazer was originally more than $200 from J. Crew and I got it on super clearance, plus 20% off, plus my student discount." With that said, I'm pretty sure Chad is not going to let me go shopping for the next 7 years.

6) Use a realtor that you know and trust - or one that comes highly recommended from someone you know and trust. Needless to say, one of agents we used to sell our townhome was less-than-stellar, so we used a family friend of Chad's as our buyers agent. The difference is absolutely night and day. Oh yeah, and if you ever have the bright idea to sell/buy a home on your own... you're crazy. A great realtor is worth every stinking penny.

7) And last - if you decide to pack your home yourself... do it together. Like anything, completing a big project that you and your spouse worked on together is rewarding and makes for great bonding time (when you're not arguing over a $200 J. Crew wool blazer you got for $30.) Turn on some fun music, laugh with each other and make what could be a ridiculously boring activity at least a little bit fun.

There you have it. My blog - making every day life activites a wee bit easier... one post at a time. You're welcome.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Burnt.

I decided that certain foods are just better cooked to a crisp.

Like bacon.


Who likes limp bacon? Certainly not me. I like mine super crispy... to the point that it crumbles when you pick it up.


Oooh, and sauteed zucchini.

I think Chad thought this was odd (since my mom always makes ours a little bit crispy.) Now, whenever he makes it, it is completely charred. We both prefer it this way. Next time you saute your zucchini, don't stir it around. Let it sit on one side until it is practically burnt. Then flip and repeat. Trust me. It's worth it.

And onion!
Last night we had chicken sausages for dinner. I served it with a side of sauteed spinach (I can eat a whole bag by myself. If there was a way to burn spinach, I'd probably eat two bags.) and a side of sauteed sweet yellow onion. I pretty much sauteed thinly sliced pieces onion in a bit of butter in the same pan with the sausages until the onions were nice and charred.

Yum.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Grammar Queen

I love to write. Even more than writing, I love to EDIT. There is something therapeutic about slashing through words... horrible of me, I know.

So here are some words/phrases that people frequently get wrong that dr
ive me CRAZY.

1. A lot. It is beyond me how people have made it through years of schooling - and often times with a college degree - and still spell it alot. It is not one freaking word.


2.
Compliment vs. Complement. If you are telling someone something nice, you are complimenting them. If something is a nice addition to something else, it complements it.

3. Over and More than. Over is an actual direction - you are
going over something. If you are talking about something that can be counted, you should use more than. Ex. I have been with this company for more than 20 years. (Since you can count the years.) The one exception I usually grant this rule is when you're talking about someone's age. It sounds better to say "She is over 30." instead of "She is more than 30."

4. Toward vs. Towards. Backward vs. Backwards. Here in America, we do not use the plural versions of these words. You say we're going toward something, or heading backward.

5. Obtain vs. Attain. The best way to remember this one is if you are referring to an object, you can use "obtain." If you're referring to a condition or state of mind, use "attain." Ex: She wanted to obtain that new JPK purse (eh hem... take note Chad... this is subliminal messaging. I'd like navy or dark brown please). If I received that JPK purse, I would attain a sense of unbridled joy.

6. Insure vs. Ensure vs. Assure. Though there is some debate about this among nerds like me, I believe that unless you are talking about insurance - do not use the word "insure." If you are tempted to use "insure" in a sentence that is not talking about insurance, you probably want to say ensure. Use the word "assure" if it is in relation to a person. You would assure someone that everything is okay, not ensure.

7. Misuse of commas. At my former place of employment, I was known as "Comma Queen." People would frequently send me sentences to show them where to put commas. The weirdest thing, I have absolutely no hard and fast rules to share about how to use a comma
- it is like a freakin' sixth sense to me. Sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch and commas. So I don't really get irritated with people about their poor use of the innocent little comma... because I have zero clue about how I got to be a comma queen. I think it has something to do with the insane amount of reading I did growing up. That's my best guess.

So if you really wanted to ruffle my feathers, you should send me an e-mail saying:

Hi Caroline,

I loved the blog today alot. I thought your post on grammar was a nice compliment to some of the other more trivial posts you've written. I hope you're moving towards doing more posts about important things like grammar and not about which stupid pair of shoes or purse you want to attain. But even if you did write those stupid posts I insure you that I would still read
your blog because I love it alot. I've been reading your blog for over 6 months and I'm a huge fan.

Backwards, Loyal reader

And truth... I had to go back and remove every comma from that sentence because initally, it was spot-on with the comma.

Thus concludes the most boring, nerdy, ridiculous post I've written.

And since Chad told me that he doesn't read any posts that do not have a picture included, here you are... a completely random picture that is not at ALL something I want or have any interest in whatsoever.



Thursday, October 15, 2009

The favorite

I think when you come from a large family, competition is just part of life. Unless my family is just crazy... which is entirely possible. I mean, you've read the posts about my dad... you can't expect us children, who share half of his DNA, to come out unscathed.

So anyway, when all the siblings are home together one of our favorite things to do is play "Who is the favorite child."

The game involves us all arguing - loudly - about who are mom
and dad's favorite children and why. Yes, yes, I know. You thought debates like this are supposed to happen when you're in elementary school.

Well, not in my house.

The funny thing is we all assume someone else is the favorite. Well, except Kevin... who is convinced everyone loves him most. I think he only says that because he never gets votes from anyone else saying that he is favorite.

My votes? Mom loves Mike the most and Dad loves Samantha.

My mom always listens thoughtfully to our arguments for who i
s her favorite. For instance, "Mike is mom's favorite because they are the most alike." Or "I'm moms favorite because we're the closest friends." Etc. She's very diplomatic in that she always says that we're all right... we're her favorites in different ways.

Weak.

My dad on the other hand - he doesn't worry so much on being fair. During one of our heated debates, we asked dad what kid is his favorite.

Dad: "Easy. Baby Foxy!"

Gah is he not the freaking cutest thing in the world. We love his parents too!

"Baby Foxy" as we like to call him is my parents' neighbor's 2 year old son, David Fox. Do you know the sad thing? He probably means it. Baby Foxy doesn't call to ask him for money or argue with him about mowing the lawn. Baby Foxy is all smiley and adorable all the time. In fact, I'm pretty convinced the only thing Baby Foxy knows how to say is "I luh you!" (maybe because his momma has him tell us that frequently)

Just wait until he starts getting mouthy. Then we'll have a recount.

Leaving Comments on Posts

I've had a few different people ask me questions about how to leave a comment to a blog post. It's pretty easy... at least if you have a gmail or google account. When you click "comment" select Comment as "Google Account." If you're already signed into your gmail, it should let you go straight in! If not, you might have to sign into google again.

So there. Easy peasy.

If you say, "Hey, how do I comment if I don't have a gmail account?" Then you are seriously behind the times and need to get.on.it. People have probably been making fun of you behind your back. "See that girl over there? She doesn't have GMAIL!!"

And if you don't know, now you know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dining Room Ceiling

In trying to design this house, my biggest concern is trying to make selections that I will like long-term... not just something that is trendy for the time being.

When we originally met with the builder's agent to make some initial selections (enough that they could price some of the upgrades in the house), Chad and I both agreed that we'd prefer a tray ceiling in t
he dining room, as opposed to coffered ceiling. I think tray ceilings are more traditional, and Chad just personally thought the coffered ceilings makes rooms look smaller - which brought us to that decision. However, after looking at a few Parade of Homes houses this weekend, I'm second-guessing myself. Help me!!!

(Note: All these images I'm using are from homes designed and built by our builder, so that the end-result will be exactly like the ones shown.)

If it helps in your selection, we'll be have pictureframe moulding like this in our foyer and dining room...


...as opposed to beadboard moulding.


So here are your choices:

Coffered ceiling:



Tray ceiling:

Also, for your own interest - my dining room will be painted a nearly identical color to this blue pictured above. (Benjamin Moore's Santorini Blue if you're interested. I have it in our master bedroom and guest bath right now and l-o-v-e it.)

Make your voice heard!

Granite Countertop Voting Has Ended

Even though there was an early rush of voting for the chocolate brown granite, the white-grey granite quickly caught up.

Will keep you posted on our granite decision!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Walk of Shame


My dear husband Chad takes a turn at blogging about his adventure-filled day golfing with my dad.

Caroline has been asking me for awhile to make a guest appearance on her blog. I just explained that I do not want her to be hurt if I draw more comments, posts or whatever you do to respond to blog posts. Do not try to tweet me after this because I do not even know how to sign up for Twitter.

So this weekend, while Caroline was gone, her father and I decided we would play golf. We had not played in over a month, as opposed to this summer when we were playing each weekend. We had not reserved a tee time, so it was going to be hard to find anywhere to play. We had heard about a new course in Holly Springs called 12 Oaks, which has been getting great reviews. One drawback: it is not open to the public yet and only has 6 golf carts for the whole course. We spoke with the right people and were able to get on the course Saturday at noon, but we would have to walk the course because they had no available carts.

Now as you can imagine, walking a course requires much more effort than jumping into a cart after each hole. One of the primary reasons I took up this sport is because it still gets recognition as being a "good" workout when we all know that having that wonderful cart is the key to fooling everyone. This cart allows me to save most of my energy for hurling insults my father-in-law and throwing my clubs.

So we start walking the course at the 14th hole because the clubhouse is not finished and the starting hole is at the front of the neighborhood. The clubhouse is half a mile down the road so this should have been the first flag that this was a horrible idea. We played the first three holes and we in complete awe of this wonderful course. The greens were some of the most beautiful greens I have played on and the course layout was fantastic. By the third hole, my father-in-law begins to develop his famous "half sweat." This is a phenomena where half of his face says " I'm ready for formal dining" and the other half says " I have no business even going in McDonalds for takeout." Half of his face is bone dry and the other half is pouring with sweat. (Caroline's note: This medical phenomenon is an unfortunate side effect from a surgery my dad had done years ago. The "half sweat" is one of our favorite things to tease dad about.)

So after the next hole, I offer to switch bags because I figure why not, his seems to only be a little bit heavier. I was sorely mistaken....it was extremely heavier than my bag. We head the wrong way to the next hole and end up backtracking 200 yards to get to the correct hole. This is about the time we look at each other and do not say anything but we both have that look on our face "what the hell were we thinking??" We were slowing with each hole and then we see a glimpse of light. Graham, the manager of the community, rides by in a cart cheerfully to ask us if we are enjoying the course. We smile and say yes, even though we had just climbed a small mountain that nearly brought both of us to our knees... still, we do not even try to ask him to just take us back.

Now when my father-in-law and I are playing bad, we usually create our own tournaments to encourage each other's play. For instance, we had the "Bojangles Classic" at the Campbell University golf course a couple weeks ago. Well, to keep us motivated, we started the "Garlic Fry Playoff" (named after our favorite side item which is Tyler's Taproom's garlic fries). But this time, I think we both know we invented it to keep our minds clear of our obvious fatigue.

To cut this short, we play about 4 more holes and admit that neither one of us are "MAN" enough to do anymore. I actually have the nerve to call one of our friends to beg him to come pick us up and take us to our car. That failed. We continue to walk and see the clubhouse up on a hill like a safe haven. The only problem is that 10 foot embankment that is completely covered in underbrush separated us from that safe haven. Now we have no clue what is crawling around in this, but my father-in-law commences to push me in front of him to clear the path like a bush hog. So if there was anything in there to bite us, it would bring me down first and he could just use me as a stepping stone to make it to safety. We make it up the hill and then he gives me this speech about he would give me the keys to go get the car a half a mile away. This speech included phrases like "act of mercy" and " good son-in-law helping the elderly." I reach the car and at this point cannot feel anything below my knee caps. I pick him up and it goes like this:

F-I-L: "Did you thumb it?"
ME: " Are you asking me if I hitch-hiked a ride in a half a million dollar home neighborhood from people who are doing the Parade of Homes Tour?"
F-I-L: " Yeah that's what I am asking."
ME "NO I WALKED!"
F-I-L: "See that is the difference between you and me. I have no shame. I would have had my thumb out within 20 steps. Thanks for picking me up big guy."
ME: "No problem man...lets just get the hell out of here."

Friday, October 9, 2009

Check, please!

When we decided to get married, both Chad and I agreed that we'd prefer to just merge all our funds together and simply have a joint account. I know people have different ways of doing this - keeping two separate accounts and splitting bills, having a joint account to pay bills and keeping separate personal accounts, having joint accounts but giving "allowances" of what each spouse can spend each month for fun. Options are endless.

The joint account works just fine for us. There are only a few problems. The first is when trying to surprise each other with gifts. You either have to pay cash, or tell the other "Hey, I bought a gift for you on the credit card. Don't look at the statement or you'll see where it's from."

Gosh. That can be awfully tempting sometimes. Especially considering I'm awful with gift secrets and usually manipulate Chad into opening his gift/giving me my gift before its intended date. Sigh.

The other area that is tricky is when we go out to a dinner, movie, etc. I noticed for awhile that since waiters usually hand Chad the bill, I ended up saying "Thanks for dinner honey."

Whoa whoa whoa. Since we both have jobs, shouldn't he just as often tell me "Thanks for dinner!" Just because he signs the paper doesn't mean he is the one that paid!

So I've started to make sure I signed the check - thus prompting HIM to thank ME, or kindly reminding him, "I hope you enjoyed dinner honey. It was my $50 that paid for dinner." ;) I had decided that "his" money pays for boring stuff like car insurance and mortgage payments, while "my" money goes to fun things like vacations, presents and dinners out - you know, things that merit a "thank you!"

I don't think Chad appreciated that mindset either so now after a nice dinner out:

Me: "Thanks for dinner honey."
Chad: "No, thank you for dinner!"

Can you even believe he puts up with me?!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Prepare for a tear

I look at a LOT of news channels and outlets - as part of my job - and have become pretty immune to most news stories. I see it all - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Nothing out there really surprises me that much.

However, this picture I came across literally brought tears to my eyes.


The story, courtesy of Philadelphia's NBC affiliate, says:

Little Soldier Girl "Didn't Want to Let Go"

Four-year old Paige didn't want to say goodbye to her daddy before he was shipped off to Iraq

A family photo that shows a little girl beside her father and his fellow soldiers in uniform as they prepare to go to war has resonated well beyond the tight knit Bennethum clan.

Four-year-old Paige Bennethum really, really didn't want her daddy to go to Iraq.

So much so, that when Army Reservist Staff Sgt. Brett Bennethum lined up in formation at his deployment this July, she couldn't let go.

No one had the heart to pull her away.

And if that doesn't make you count your blessings, I don't know what does. We need to remember to constantly keep in our thoughts and prayers those who sacrifice their safety, family and lives to protect our country. I know there are a lot of people out there that have different views of whether or not our country should be at war right now, but I hope people from all sides don't let that get in the way of recognizing the tremendous service of our men and women here at home to protect us, those unable to protect themselves, and the real families that are there to support them all.

The skinny

So a blog I check from time to time, Photoshop Disasters, recently posted about a Ralph Lauren ad that features a model whose head is actually bigger than her body. Which unless she is unhuman, I'm pretty sure is not possible.

But even if it was, it is certainly not attractive.

See it for yourself.


If that is what the fashion industry is leaning towards as the picture of "beauty" - I find it very, very sad.

Our future homesite

Y'all will just have to forgive me with all the house talk - because really, at least until we move out of the townhouse, it is all that is on my mind. I think once I'm at least moved out of one house, I'll have a little reprieve before having to get geared up for the new one.

That said, I thought I'd share the picture of our future homesite. Chad and I went to take a picture of it this weekend so we could document the building process.


From this direction, the house would be facing the camera. At some point, we'll try to fill in more trees in the back yard to have some additional buffer around the yard. But it's a great corner lot in a quieter part of the neighborhood - and its nice and flat, which will be nice for children... once we get there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Granite Countertop Selections

When we found the original home we loved, I think the part that I loved the most were the kitchen cabinets. They were an almost antique cream with a small brown inlay. I decided that I HAD to have those cabinets. I would marry those cabinets and have their cabinet babies. So they were at the top of my list for upgrades when we decided to build.

Here is a pic of the cabinets:

The original house we looked at had black granite countertops with them... which I did love, but now that I have a CHOICE, I want to explore my options.

Here are a few I found. Try to ignore the cabinets (though it's nice they are a
ll white and similar to what we'll have) and just try to picture my cabinets with these different color granites.

Choice #1 - Neutral White/Gray


Choice #2 - Neutral White/Tan

Choice #3 - With a warmer, bronze-almost finish

Choice #4 - Slate

Choice #5 - Black

Choice #6 - Chocolate Brown
So there are some options. As always, leave a comment if you have any insight to granite countertops. If you love your black ones because of X or dislike that your gray does X. Keep in mind that we'll be choosing a tile backspalsh as well, so that might be a vote at a later date!

And vote, vote, vote!

PS: If your a Blogger novice, you should be able to click on the pictures and it will hopefully make them larger.

Interior Door Voting Has Ended

The beadboard door gets the majority vote!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Smart Man

So baby brother Kevin brought home his new girlfriend this weekend. The fact my sweet, darling, PROTECTED baby brother has a girlfriend would be enough to fill up a whole blog... so I'll move on for now.

My dad met the girlfriend first, so of course I wanted his opinion. I asked him if she was nice/good personality/friendly/etc. to which he replied yes, yes, yes and yes.

Then I asked, "Was she cute?"

And this is was the answer:

Dad (thoughtful for a moment): "I don't really know. I don't make a habit of trying to decide if teenage girls are cute. I think your mom is cute."

Now that is a good answer!


And aren't they just the sweetest ever?

Horrah! A delicious frozen meal!

Despite incessenant nagging by my dear friend Hannah for eating frozen lunches on a more-regular-than-I-like-to-admit basis, I continue to try Lean Cuisine after Smart One after Healthy Choice.

Most of the time I walk away extremely disappointed. However, my mom gave me a head's up last week that Healthy Choice has a new meal... and that it was really good.

Being that Healthy Choice is generally my least favori
te out of the three devils, I was a bit skeptical. But when I saw them at the g-store this weekend I decided to try it out.

Health Choice Pumpkin Squash Ravioli ---pumpkin filled ravioli with a butter-sage sauce, asparagus and butternut squash.

It was absolutely delicious. The ravioli is a bit al dente, asparagus is still bright green and crisp, and the sauce actually has a hint of cinnamon to it - giving it quite the "autumn" feeling.

So next time your at the store, please try it. I don't want them to discontinue it - since there are so few options for people like me that eat meatless frozen meals. Now I'll add it to my weekly rotation of Lean Cuisine Vegetable Eggroll and Smart Ones Mac n' Cheese.

Friday, October 2, 2009

And it was all yellow...

I'm pretty sure I want to do a yellow in the kitchen/foyer/living room downstairs at the new casa. Since it is such a big space, I want it to be a soft, neutral yellow. As some of you may know, yellow is a hard paint color. I don't want anything too lemony, too mustardy, too gold or too Easter pastel.

If you've used a great yellow paint before, leave me a comment with the brand and color name. For now, here are some samples that I might look into. I'll obviously buy a few sample cans and test some areas just to see how it shows up with the lighting.


But here are some options.

Sherwin Williams Butter Up:


Valspar Carolina Inn Yellow:

Benjamin Moore Concord Ivory:
Restoration Hardware Butter:

I won't put this to a vote - since they'll obviously look different on the walls than on a computer. Right now I'm leaning to RH's Butter. But feel free to share your two cents. And again - I welcome suggestions!

A WHAT for dinner?!

As you can imagine, things have been busy for us lately. Three nights out of the week we're usually committed to outside activities, which really only leaves us one night at home to get stuff done.

And when you're trying to pack up an entire townhome - that simply isn't enough time.

But we're making it happen. We've packed our china, picture frames + art, decorations, and some of our kitchen items. We've still got a loooooong way to go.

So last night, since I had to run out to get some invitations printed and knew I wouldn't be getting home before six and would have NO time to make dinner before having to pack some more, I decided I'd have to pick up something quick.

Me: "Hey hon,
I'm not going to have time to make dinner tonight."
Chad: "That's okay."
Me: "I'll just pick us up smoothies."
Chad: "WHAT?!?!"

The man acted like I just told him I decided to shave all my hair off and start living in the woods.

Me: "A smoothie?!?! What is so weird about that."
Chad: "Why would we eat a SMOOTHIE for dinner?"
Me: "Why are you acting like this is the most ridiculous thing in the world. It's fruit and yogurt! This is NOT weird."
Chad: "It's like having a milkshake for dinner."
Me: "NO it's NOT. But if it was, why would that bother you? You'd probably LOVE a milkshake for dinner. But whatever. Figure something else out on your own."
Chad: "Fine."

I mean - this was a borderline fight. Like hanging up irritated at each other. Over a damn smoothie. Needless to say, a few hours later when I'm on my way to pick up my dinner smoothie, he had changed his mind and wants one. He even says how delicious it is. But then last night, when we were about to fall asleep he gently whispers:

"Remind me to NEVER drink my dinner again. I'm STARVING."

A day in the life, let me tell you...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Door Selections

Might as well get the home decorating surveys going now, right?

To begin with, our home is definitely going to have more of a cottage feel - not modern.

We get to choose between more traditional four panel doors:

and a more cottage-y beadboard door:
Vote your favorite in the survey block at your top right panel!