Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day After Thanksgiving

I have never gone shopping the day after Thanksgiving. I have thought about it, but always heard that it's not worth fighting the crowds. This year was no different. Patrick and I slept in, fixed breakfast, and then began decorating the house for Christmas while listening to Christmas music on Pandora. I have been itching to put up our new Christmas tree ever since I bought it a couple weeks ago. So here it is!


I have always been frustrated that Thanksgiving gets overlooked. Thankfully, Patrick and I feel the same about this and we both refuse to listen to Christmas music or put up Christmas decorations until after Thanksgiving. I will admit, however, that I was very tempted this year because of the new tree. There will probably be more pictures of it up soon because I love it! It was so much better than putting up a real one.

In other news, we've had a productive weekend around here and I'm not just talking about Christmas decorations. I will have to post about all of it later this week though. Some of it is not quite finished so keep checking back. November's project is also just about complete and I'll post pictures. Now, go drink some hot chocolate and listen to Christmas music. You have our blessing! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

He called an electrician!

Ever since we moved into our house we've been needing to call an electrician. The main reason was to get our garage doors wired up for some openers. It's crazy to me that neither of the previous owners thought it appropriate to park in their garage. I do not know this to be fact, but I find it highly unlikely that they got out of their car every day to manually lift the doors open. So while we were at it, we had the electrician do a couple of other things on our list.

Our lamp is actually functional now.
The plug we had installed in the floor.
The light above the sink is now functional as well.

New outlets for the garage door openers.
The outlet in the floor hides underneath our couch and those flowers are from Patrick. They were waiting for me when I got home from work last Friday. The light above the sink had never worked. We'd tried replacing it ourselves and couldn't figure out the problem. I cannot describe to you in words how excited I was to have this work get finished. My goal is openers by Christmas... We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Our injured bear

Tuesday night I arrived home from work to a bloodbath in the kitchen floor. Patrick had already informed me that Hurley seemed to have cut his foot on something. So when I got home, Dr. Elizabeth and Nurse Patrick set to work. I grabbed my headlamp to evaluate the patient. (Yes, I'm sure we looked pretty funny.) Nurse Patrick had the job of holding down the bear so he was voting to just crate him until morning, but I was determined to figure out where the blood was coming from. Eventually (like an hour later), I caved and agreed that it would be best to go with Nurse Patrick's plan of care. P.S. If you don't like blood, skip the next few photos.

about half the roll of paper towels
Hurley blood on the scrubs
We patched his foot enough to get him down to his crate without trailing blood through the house and then spent another hour scrubbing the carpet, cleaning the kitchen floors, and getting blood out of my scrubs. In the morning, all seemed well. No more bleeding. We figured it had scabbed over night and that we were in the clear. We were wrong...

I was pretty busy Wednesday getting ready for our annual Thanksgiving dinner with our d-groups. I was also cooking a Turkey (all 14lbs) for the very first time. With all the business inside that needed to be done, Hurley was having a nice "outside" day. Around 4:00, I heard him barking at the back door. I mindlessly walked over and let him in the house and watched helplessly as he created another blood trail across the carpet. I quickly gated him in the kitchen, called Patrick who was on his way home, called the vet who said to come on in, and by 4:15 we were pulling in to get his paw looked at. Long story shorter, the vet didn't do anything about it. It wasn't a wasted trip though because I asked that they go ahead and do his annual exam and vaccinations. The whole time people kept popping into our exam room and commenting on how bloody we were making it. Because I was concerned about the turkey at home, I was ready to get out of there. If the vet didn't think it needed stitches, then we were good right? Of course not...

When we arrived home, our bleeding bear went to his crate wearing the "cone of shame" and I cleaned the kitchen floor for the second time while Patrick worked on the carpet. The turkey, thankfully, turned out just fine. 

Not a happy camper
Hurley stayed crated all through dinner (which was fantastic, by the way). Around 9:30 when everyone was gone, we let him upstairs to see how he was doing. The vet had thought that after being crated again that it would stop bleeding. Not true. He trailed blood all through the house and all over the kitchen floor for a third time. This ridiculousness had to stop. So we grabbed some gauze and taped up his paw so that the blood trails would end. Hurley was not thrilled about this new addition either, but we left him like that until Friday. It sort of worked. Patrick and I were out of town this weekend on a Jr. high retreat and apparently there was a little more bleeding last night. Either way, I am not cleaning my floors for a while...

Our Thanksgiving Feast
Dessert and drink table
love them

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My new love...

I forgot to mention something I found on Saturday when Aubrie and I went shopping. We went next door to Southeastern Salvage and I fell in love with a table that was right as we walked in the door. So I took pictures...


It can seat up to 8 people and I love the chunky legs.


It's exactly what I would love to have as our dining room table. Not too formal yet large enough for big family dinners. They had one that was the exact same style but longer so it looked like it was made for the Dugger family.


Did I mention that I love the chairs too? The high backs were something I appreciated.


The table itself is less than $500, but when you add in all the $80 chairs it gets a little expensive. If only I had a fairy godmother.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

For a few weeks now I've been looking for an artificial Christmas tree. Really it started last year when I wanted to get one before Christmas. However, I was convinced by many people that I should just suck it up and do a real tree for a second year. The plan was to get a good deal on the artificial one when they all went on sale after Christmas. Guess what, that didn't happen.

After last year I was more convinced than ever that it was the last time I would put up a real tree. Sure, they smell great, but you have to crawl under it to water it, the needles go everywhere, sap gets on things (like our ceiling where we bumped it), and last year our tree was droopy by Christmas with the back branches looking brown. Real trees are right for some people, but I was over it.

Here was the criteria for our new artificial tree:

1) It had to be green (I guess some people love pink ones, but it's not for me).
2) It had to be sturdy (we've got a large dog).
3) It had to have a good price tag (under $300).
4) Pre-lit was a must.
5) It needed to be in the 7 to 7.5 foot range.

I began my search online and then moved to some stores. I went to home improvement stores and a couple other places, but none of them caught my eye. Many were too sparse. I wanted the tree to be full so that I couldn't see through to the other side of it and I didn't want to see the center "trunk".

Well, I think I found exactly what I was looking for!


And yes, the price tag says $299 but I actually purchased it for $199. I found it at, one of my new favorite stores, Garden Ridge. I was informed of this store just last Thursday while I was at work. Some of my coworkers were telling me to look there for a tree. They said it can kind of be a hit or miss type of place because it's first come, first served. I got on the computer and began searching their inventory and decided I had to go Saturday. Then, (you are not going to believe the coincidence here) I got on one of my favorite blogs and what had they blogged about that day?...Garden Ridge. You can read about John and Sherry's experience here.

It is a crazy place. I could spend a few hours perusing through all the stuff. There are hidden treasures everywhere. They have art, plants, rugs, furniture, and even scrubs! Aubrie even found her knight in shining armor. I found myself asking, "who buys this stuff?" quite a bit.


It wasn't all like that though. There are a lot of great things to be found in the store and I'm sure I'll be going back.

Patching Drywall

I got to leave work early on Thursday and figured Patrick and I could go ahead and patch the hole in the wall. It was actually a very easy process. For those of you who didn't see before, I'm talking about this hole right here. You'll also notice the culprit lounging right next to it.


First, we cut out a square around the hole using a keyhole saw. Seemed odd to me at first, but apparently you have to make a hole bigger before it can disappear.


Next, we cut a piece of drywall that was the same thickness to fit the new hole. Then, using drywall screws, we attached wood that would later help provide support to our piece


Below you can see Patrick placing the new piece in the wall. It did require a little shaving here and there before it would fit.


After putting the new piece in we were supposed to use more drywall screws and secure the piece to the wood backing strips. Well, we forgot that step. I never noticed until I started blogging the process and saw the pictures. I guess we got a little ahead of ourselves. So, moving on... We then used mesh tape to cover the edges (the yellow you see below).


Then it was time for some drywall compound. The first coat is pictured below. We read that it was better to do thin layers than to goop the stuff on.


Then it was time for the second coat and a little sanding.


As you can see, no more hole! Now we just have to pick out a new paint color for the wall. We've been planning on re-painting the main living areas of our house and Hurley has just moved that item up on the time line.

Supplies you'll need for this project:
- keyhole saw
- square
- drywall (same thickness)
- wood strips
- drywall screws
- drill
- measuring tape
- pencil
- mesh tape
- drywall compound
- sandpaper

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Sneak Peek

November's project is getting squeezed in among lots of other things but I will post all about them later. For now, here is a sneak peak at the planned project for the month.


I'm continuing with what now seems to be a foyer renovation/face-lift. Goodbye brown moldings and trim!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Drywall Damage

Patrick and Hurley were rough housing last night. Well, Hurley was rough housing and Patrick was doing what he could to tame the beast. In the midst of it I stepped out for less than a minute to come back and find Patrick (red faced and clearly upset) and pinning Hurley to the ground saying, "You're not going to be happy when you look up." Confused, I looked up at the ceiling (it looked normal). Then he said, "No, look behind me." My jaw dropped at the sight of it. Really, there were no words for the giant hole that was now so obvious to me.  That is when I realized that Patrick had Hurley on the ground to prevent him from excitedly bashing holes in the rest of our walls.

"Show mommy what you did!"
The imprint of Hurley's backside.

I think I handled it well. I didn't raise my voice. I think I might have even cracked a smile at the situation. I am pretty sure Patrick was more upset than I was. If it had been up to him, Hurley would have stayed outside all night in the cold. All I could think about were the times we put holes in the wall (or door in my case) as kids. It's a normal part of life, I guess. No big deal, it's a wall. There are way more important things in life. Plus, I'll learn how to fix it and blog about it :) I have already started learning about the process, so check back to see how it goes!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stretching our Dollar

Patrick and I have been on this money saving kick lately. It is largely due to the fact that we had a very expensive summer. I spent an insane amount on midwifery school and then decided it wasn't what I needed to be doing, our air conditioning needed some work, our internet got struck by lightning, our monster needed to be fixed, and Patrick's car finally bit the dust. Needless to say, our "emergency money" is looking pretty slim. Money is tight for a lot of people right now, so I thought I'd share some things that we've come up with to stretch our dollars.

1. Mint, mint, mint. No, not that kind of mint...We love mint.com. You can enter in all of your information (credit cards, checking accounts, savings accounts, stocks, etc) and the site will budget for you. If anything do it for a few months to have a look at exactly where your money goes each month. It was definitely an eye opening experience for us. Most people greatly underestimate how much they spend on groceries and eating out each month. The site also helps you create goals. For example, if you want to go on a great vacation that costs x amount of dollars then make it a goal by setting the date. The site will calculate the rest. Did I mention it is free?

2. Redbox in, movie theater out. We love watching movies, but watching them in the theater is pretty ridiculous. The times that we have gone I have to take a big purse to sneak in our own cans of coke and popcorn. Movie night now happens in the comfort of our own living room. We can snuggle up on furniture that is way more comfortable than stadium seating and pause any time we need to for a bathroom break or refill. Total cost = $1. Way better deal if you ask me.


3. Build up points. After our move we quickly consolidated as many bills as possible onto the credit card. It is a lot easier to track because we know exactly what day they all get paid. We pay it off every month so we don't end up paying interest. Plus, paying online means no stamps to buy or paper to deal with. We don't have to worry about checks getting stolen out of the mailbox either. Also, our credit card gives us points that we can cash in. I think plane tickets are in our future.

4. Dining in. We eat out together once a week (Thursday night), but the rest is at home. Patrick eats out during the week with students but gets to write those expenses off each month. I've started packing a lunch the days I go to work. I got out of this habit over the summer but am happy to say that I'm back on track. Not only do we save money by dining in, but we end up eating a lot healthier.

5. Personal grooming just a little more personal. For as long as we've been married Patrick has cut his hair himself and now I get to help sometimes. While I do pay to get my hair cut I will confess that it's not even every 8 weeks. It's probably more like 12 to 14. However, I like my hair long so it works out okay. If I had more stupidity guts, I'd learn to cut it myself. I also do my nails myself. I can count on one hand the number of times I've paid money to get my nails done. I can't seem to keep nail polish from chipping and have always preferred a natural look anyway.

6. Free cups of joe. We do our best to utilize our coffee maker at home and my sweet husband makes me breakfast and coffee every morning before I leave for work. This way, I'm not tempted to stop at the starbucks I have to walk past. But starbucks has a clever marketing scheme going on with their bags of coffee grounds. Did you know you can turn in your empty bag of coffee for a free cup at any starbucks? We go through a bag about every week. So Patrick swaps them in for a cup. This way, we don't feel like we're completely depriving ourselves.

7. One plan. We have one cell phone plan from T-mobile and no land line. Getting rid of the land line can save lots of moolah. In this day and age we realized that we really didn't need to spend the money on both and that cell phones are way better anyway.

These are just some of the things that we've been doing. Hopefully, there will be more to come.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Homemade Costumes

Hope that everyone had a fun and safe Halloween. Every year we have a costume party at the youth house. Patrick and I like to go all out for it. So this year I was a washing machine (front loader, of course).


Patrick decided to be a sock monkey (random, I know).


These were both 100% homemade. The washing machine was pretty straightforward. Grab a cardboard box, cut out some holes, paint it, add knobs, and tape the plastic tray to the front. Here's some photos.

cut the holes first

I was a Maytag version
Complete!
The sock monkey was an adventure to say the least. We got a lot of help from Patrick's mom who, thankfully, has a sewing machine and knows how to use it. We found a website where a lady had posted about how she made a very similar version. We copied a lot of what she did and made a few adjustments. If interested, you can find her directions here.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera and so there are no pictures of the making of the sock monkey. Here are some from the night of the party though.

blurry, but it is the only one I have of us...