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Throw Back Thursday – Day #1 of House on the Market

Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 in fun | 0 comments

Today marks an important change in our family. Today our house hits the market. We have spent months (if not years) getting this house whipped into shape. Sweat equity doesn’t even explain it.

We’ve also “lived” in it for 11 years come April 1st. We started here with just Mike, myself and our beloved Samoyed, Kody. 11 Years later, we have added two adorable girls to our family. We lost our Kody bear. We adopted our ferocious cat, Leo, who has no problem scaring off coyotes. We also adopted our sweet Allie cat (who we lost in 2012), our crazy Ariel kitty, and our heart-healer, Royal (who we lost a few months ago).

Mike and I are the only ones that remember living somewhere else. We are also the ones that remember every little change that has happened to this house of the years. So, in honor of this new fad of “Throwback Thursdays” here are some photos of how this house has changed over the years.

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This is the before and after of our kitchen. The before is actually how the house was staged when we bought it. Little did we know the work we were in for.

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Mike and his Uncles quickly went to work on the privacy fence. Notice how tall that grass was before? It definitely looks a lot cleaner now and a perfect place for kids and dogs to play.

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At one point we had the front living/dining room combo as our pool room. It then turned into our TV room. Needless to say, I like to move furniture and rooms a lot!! By the way, that is Leo and Allie in the first photo – too cute!!

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This is what the living/dining room combo look like now. Awesome, right?? I still can’t get over the color thanks to our fabulous friend and interior designer.

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We added on this killer deck. Now, we obviously had fun before with our little slab of concrete, but the deck was able to expand our entertaining possibilities.

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This bedroom was where we slept the first months after moving into the house while we put hardwoods into the master. Then it turned into an exercise room and office. I also did a stellar paint job supporting all the University of Florida fans. Well, we eventually put hardwoods down in here too and made it into our first daughter’s nursery – and now nursery.

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This is the fun experience of putting down hardwoods. This bedroom was a guest bedroom for a while and there were some not-to-be-named decoration experiments in here thanks to the inspiration of Trading Spaces. (Remember that show?) Well, this is also the room where I started my business after having our first child. It is now the nursery to our second daughter. I just love the decals on the wall!

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This is my favorite. I just mentioned that interior designer, right? She turned this old craziness of a shared master bath into a master bathroom retreat + a powder room for the guests.

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That closet turned into our powder room. I prefer the new way.

Well, those are just a few pictures of our house. I’m excited and scared to death of the changes that will be coming in the next few months. But no matter what, we made this house our home for years and we are so thankful to the 4-sided brick ranch for keeping us together, nurturing us, and loving us for 11 years.

 

Cleaning House

Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in family | 0 comments

You may think I’m writing figuratively here, but nope! This is all literal about cleaning the house. I love our cleaners, but they went on vacation – during Christmas Break! How dare they?!

Seriously, I am so happy they get a chance to go spend time with family and get a break. On the flip side, when you combine being complete slobs with being home straight for two weeks with no cleaners, this place is horrible!!

There are so many little things that need cleaning that it is actually driving me crazy. While loading the dishwasher this morning, my mind was crazy with all the things I need to do and get to clean this place!

Through my conversation that I had with myself in my head (moms – you did this all the time, right?!), I realized that some of these things we should probably be doing quarterly. Guess what?! It’s almost the beginning of the quarter, so now is the perfect time to get this stuff done!

Here is my list that I’m going to try to accomplish this week (with the help of my husband).

  • Clean the Dishwasher – The spots on the dishes are driving me crazy! I’ll probably get something like this Finish Dishwasher Cleaner. I love how they say I should do this monthly. Baby steps!!
  • Clean the Keurig – So, apparently Keurig calls this “descaling”. You can either buy their cleaning solution or buy White Vinegar. Hmmm…. I’ll go with the vinegar. Here are the descaling instructions from Keurig. I’m also going to change the filter on this sucker.
  • Change the Air Filter – My husband has been putting this one off for too long because our unit is placed strangely under the house. BUT – it’s the beginning of the quarter and it MUST get done!! I like the Filtrete brand – even though their website apparently SUCKS! I’m thinking we need the Allergen Defense type since we are coming into allergy season and we have a dog and two cats. Also, did I mention we are slobs?!
  • Change the Water Filter on the Fridge – My husband has us on some sort of reordering system through FiltersFast.com. Supposedly they ship them to your door when you need more. We seem to have a backlog currently, BUT if we follow this quarterly plan, we should get back on track! Progress!!
  • Clean the Washing Machine – Since I have to pick up some more White Vinegar, I might as well add this to the list! Here are some instructions to clean up your clothes cleaner. I’ve never done it before and I’m curious how it will help the washing machine.
  • Wash the Shower Curtains – Ever notice how those suckers never end up in the wash? Well, now is the time to get it done! Those suckers are going in the washing machine once I’m done cleaning it!  (And, if I can’t get them clean, that means another trip to the store because they are going to get replaced.)

What else should be on my quarterly list of cleaning? Honestly, most of these things are really quick and the machines do all the work. The others are where I’m hoping my husband will do the work? Please, honey, change that air filter!!!!

The Reality of Parenting

Posted by on Dec 26, 2013 in family | 1 comment

Have you seen that article running around Facebook called the 21 Parents You Meet After Having Kids? I saw it several weeks ago on a friend’s page and have been referencing it ever since.

Of course I remember it a little differently. Anyway – we are #6 The Overwhelmed. As I remember it, we are #6 The Hot Messes!

I was prompted to write this post this AM because just as my husband was leaving to take the kids to Nana Iris’s house, the 4 year old dropped (and broke) a bottle of nail polish on the ground. My husband grabs for the paper towels and I yell, “Wait, I saw this on Pinterest, let me go look up what to do!”

And, I did! You need to pour sugar on top of the nail polish and it will clump up so you can sweep it. To be honest, I haven’t swept it up yet. I’m scared that the reality of this awesome idea will bring me to my knees with nail polish remover on the floor later.

But, that brings my back to our life. We are the Hot Mess family and I’m really starting to embrace it. If I didn’t, then I would definitely just be the Overwhelmed parent.

Here are just a few things that make us the best Hot Mess Family around – just from the past few days over Christmas break.

  • Izzy ran into the bathroom this morning while Mike was taking a shower to say that he forgot to put the trash out and the trash guys are out picking it up. He goes running to check, she says they are gone, and then says “You’re Welcome!”
  • Our ceiling fan broke several months ago in our family room – no notice! So we’ve had no light or fan for a while. We finally go get one and Mike goes to install the new one and realizes all the screws are stripped and the bracing is different. Soo… we have the old fan on the couch in the other room, the new fan in the box, and wires coming out of the ceiling. Don’t worry – they are facing all different directions, so we are good! Right?!
  • We have an almost 1 year old barely walking. Plus, our house is a mess. That leads to wonderful surprises. Like the coffee Mike tried to have yesterday morning that got tipped over on the coffee table. He promptly had to clean-up the computers that were underneath. No worries though because our cat was able to knock over the rest of it about 20 minutes later when it was on the kitchen counter.
  • I ordered new sheets and a quilt for Christmas for Mike and I to unwrap. While we were having our wrapping party, I realized that we only got one sham out of the two that I ordered. Thankfully, Target is sending out the second one! They were super nice once I got them on the phone. The first day I tried, the phone system kept hanging up on me – but the second day was successful! Maybe I should check my packages once I get them and not wait until 2 days before Christmas?
  • While we were opening presents with family yesterday, Leo, our cat, got into our fresh roast beef. So, instead of throwing those fabulous pieces away, we gave them to our dog, Royal. Then, a few minutes later, Leo decided to join us in the family room and do the sprinkler hack and throw up some for us. I was on the floor closest to him and trying to scoot away as fast as I could. Those sprinkler hacks suck! You never know where it will end up. Fast forward to the end of the day, where Mike and I enjoy a nice dinner at the coffee table and Royal sees the roast beef. He swipes a piece off of Mike’s plate and keeps on walking!!

So, I hope I’ve proven my theory about us being the Hot Mess family. It can be exhausting at times, but the rest of the time it is just straight comedy time. What else can you do but just laugh?! Now, wish me luck with the nail polish!

She’s a Stellar Peeler!

Posted by on Oct 2, 2013 in food | 1 comment

So, tonight while Mike was getting dinner ready, I took a leap of faith. See, dinner time always seems to be an ordeal in our house. The family gets home around 6 pm or later and Mike usually does the cooking – so that means a later dinner time.

Mind you – I’m not complaining! But, that doesn’t mean a certain 4 year old doesn’t complain. Usually Izzy wants something to eat as soon as she walks in the door. We have to explain that she’s already had two afternoon snacks (thanks to her school!) and it’s almost dinner time.

Combine an anxious 4 year old and a teething 9 month old and things can get pretty crazy (and loud) quickly. Well, this week I’ve been trying to do little things to make dinnertime easier on all of us. Tonight I took advantage of Izzy’s need to help us and asked if she would like to help make sweet potato fries!

We’ve had a few sweet potatoes laying around unused for weeks and I determined it was time to use them! So, I did a quick search on Food Network and found these baked sweet potato fries by Paula Deen. I’m not a huge fan of Deen’s, but at least I was able to figure out that I need to peel, slice, season and bake these suckers.

Here’s the recipe:

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

3 Videos | Photo: Baked Sweet Potato Fries Recipe Save To My Recipe Box Success Ingredients Olive Oil, for tossing 5 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch long slices, then 1/4-wide inch strips, using a crinkle cut knife 1 tablespoon House Seasoning (recipe follows) 1/2 teaspoon paprika Directions Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

 

Here’s the leap of faith!
I let Izzy do the peeling – and come to find out a 4 yr old can be a stellar peeler!!

How did I do it? I got a bowl and showed Izzy what to do. Hold the bottom of the potato, put the peeler at the middle of the potato and swipe away from you. ALWAYS SWIPE AWAY!! I made sure she knew she could hurt herself if she wasn’t careful.

Within seconds, she went to town! I had to help every once in a while because the sweet potatoes got slippery – especially when you have to flip them and peel the other sides.

The best part? This task kept Izzy busy while Mike made dinner and there was no whining!
The bonus? We have the sweet potatoes all cut up ready for dinner tomorrow!

Now, I think it is important that you have a really awesome peeler if you are going to try this out with your kids. Here is the one Mike got us and may I say it is AWESOME!!!

Kuhn Rikon Piranha Swivel Peeler

It takes no effort to peel – unlike my Mom’s where I’d always end up with a callous by the end of the peeling session. (Mental note – perfect gift for Mom for Christmas!!)

So now I have questions for you, what cooking have you done with your kids? and how young did you get them to start helping you in the kitchen?

Costco – I’m not mad, just disappointed

Posted by on Sep 25, 2013 in family | 0 comments

I had some alone time with just Sophie last Saturday. Mike was at the GT game and Izzy was with Papa. It was such a nice and relaxing day until my visit to Costco.

Let me preface this by saying – Some might say that it was my fault for going out alone in the rain, but I just expect more from the people at Costco.

It was raining cats and dogs on Saturday and I thought I could knock out our weekly grocery shopping. It had been a few weeks since we visited our local Costco, so I thought it would be a perfect time to stock up on some things since I just had one child to worry about.

So, here is the life of a Mom…

I have an 8 month old and I want to go shopping at Costco. The dilemma is it’s raining like crazy, so how do I get the baby inside the store? Well, I park right next to a cart return for one.

I quickly determine that I can’t put my 8 month old in the front of the cart, because it is soaked! So, I take the carseat and put it in the bigger part of the buggy. I cover Sophie with the umbrella while I quickly walk to the store.

The guy checking ID’s at the front, wiped down the cart – of course he was barely paying attention and started with the side of it. Handles, buddy! I would like the handles to be dry! I nicely say thanks and go inside.

I stock up on supplies all the while keeping my 8 month old entertained. She was talking up a storm (pun intended?). Just one Costco employee said hi, which is no big deal, but this girl usually a BIG deal where ever she goes.

So, it’s nice and all. I leisurely walk around and get my things and then it is off to the dreaded checkout. This is when things start to fall apart.

The lines weren’t actually bad and we get through pretty quickly. Then, I find out a new Costco rule. Employees can’t reload the cart if there is a carseat in there. OK, I get it. But, now I feel rushed like I need to load up this cart really quick so I don’t slow down the checkout line. Did the attendant ask if I needed a box? Nope. She just watched me load my cart. I’m glad I could offer her that break.

All done and paid. Ready to go, but wait, it’s still raining!! I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do. I walk towards the door and see a strange sight. There are a ton of cars up in the fire lanes – behind the barriers so they can load their cars. That’s nice, right? I see a few Costco employees helping Dads load their cars, but I don’t have a Dad with me.

Instead, I have to fight my way through this crowd – which was clearly a hazard in case there was a real emergency. Dads are almost blocking any way to get out of the store and walk towards the parking lot. The place was just chaos and not one person saw me with a baby in a carseat and offered to help. Mind you – there is a guy that counts your items when are you leaving the store so there was ample opportunity.

What happened next? Pretty much the same as I came in. I cover Sophie with the umbrella and walk to the car. She gets wet, but I get her in the car first. Then, I hold my umbrella and with the other hand, put in my items one by one into my trunk. The cereal box is soaked. My veggies are soaked. I’m soaked. But, I do what I have to do to get this done because I’m a Mom.

All the while, I’m thinking, what if I were a single Mom? What if this was my normal? Why didn’t anyone offer to help? In fact, they made it more difficult on me. They didn’t manage the crowd. They didn’t offer me a box. They made me load my own items into the cart because I didn’t want to put my baby in a soaked cart. They made my shopping experience harder – and it had been such a nice day!!!

As the title of this blog post suggests, I’m not mad – just disappointed. Costco has no obligation to help me, but I expected more than what I got. Honestly, that’s why I don’t shop at Sam’s – I don’t expect much there. I mean, the door attendants have made caricatures on my receipt for my daughter before, but this time, we were just left out in the rain. alone.

Poached Eggs over homemade hash browns? Yes please.

Posted by on Sep 3, 2013 in food | 0 comments

Poached Eggs over Homemade Hash Browns Hollandaise Pork Belly

So Cathy and I had a nice quiet night withou the kids and got to sleep in! After we woke up, I made what Cathy had suggested the day before. Glad I did!

I started off with the hash browns. The trick to good, crispy hash browns? A potato ricer! Wash then grate the potato (I use Russets). Take the grated potato and put it in batches into the ricer. SQUEEZE! When you are done, you can almost knock it out and have a perfectly shaped portion of nice, dry potatoes. Butter for taste and bacon fat for flavor, heat and throw the potatoes in and don’t let get thicker than 1/2″ anywhere. Let it sit until you start to see the oil start to sizzle THROUGH the potatoes to the upper layers. Then check to see if ready to flip by testing an edge with a spatula or lift and shake your pan. If the whole thing moves as one… FLIP, but only after you add your salt, pepper and any other seasoning you may want. You don’t want to add the salt before, as it will draw more moisture out of the potatoes and steam the potatoes more than you want. We want crispy, not mushy.

When those were done I topped it with some diced Campari tomatoes, cubed pork belly and poached eggs. Finished it off with a douse of hollandaise and some fresh, cracked pepper and a couple of grapefruit mimosas.

Nom.