family · life

Almost the start of fall

Yesterday was the first time that Richard and I did not get up to complete our workout. We did it when he got home instead. Well then both of us were achy and slept like crap. I guess we need to get up and workout in the morning from now on!

Since we were tired and so were the boys we had a slow morning today. Richard decided to go on a bike ride by himself and then he needed to take his bike into the shop. The boys headed off to the playground with a football and I decided to clean and put up some decorations. For the last few weeks I’ve been saying I need to put out my fall decorations. Well since it’s already half way through Sept. I decided to put up my Halloween decorations too. I did not put out the outside ones, just the ones in the house.

I always like this time of year. Time to open up the windows. Time to decorate for the upcoming holidays and so much more. This is the beginning of the craziness of the holidays, but also the beginning of the fun.

This week I have salsa stoup and chili on our menu. Since the 21st is the official start of fall I guess I’ll get into the fall spirit. (One of my students tried to convince me that fall already started, ummmm nope sorry it hasn’t. Labor day is the unofficial start of fall… the autumnal equinox is not until Sept. 21)

This means plans to go apple picking, pumpkin picking, decorating for Halloween and so much more.  I can tell you one thing I won’t do, have anything pumpkin spice. I don’t like pumpkin spice. I do not get the fixation everyone has with this smell and taste. Personally it does nothing for me. Oh well to each their own.

Are you ready for fall? Do you like pumpkin spice? When do you decorate for Halloween?

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life · through my camera lens

More painting! Basement this time

If you have been following my blog for any length of time, then you know that we moved into our house in Sept. Yep, it is almost a year since we moved into our house. We have lived in PA for over a year now.  We built the house we are living in and I will tell you one thing about building a house… builder paint sucks! Plus putting a coat of paint on the walls is a simple way to transform a house into a home.

Before we moved into the house, I took a week and moved all the kitchen items into the house and painted the boys rooms. I did Colby’s room in a fish/ocean theme (blue with a painted tank with sticker fish), and Blake’s as an American sports theme (cream walls with a burgandy stripe). (Click on the boys’ names to see the posts and pictures of their rooms.) We wanted their rooms to be done before we moved in the furniture and it was settled before the boys moved into the house.

Richard then picked out a gray/silvery color to paint his office. Again we wanted it done before all the furniture was settled and into the room. This room was done after we moved in, but before all was settled.

I then moved on and painted the downstairs bathroom (hunter green) and then the boy’s bathroom (slate gray). Then Richard and I painted the kitchen, morning room and living room.

This weekend we tackled our next project, the basement. When we built the house we had a majority of the basement finished as part of the building process. We already use this room a lot. It is where we have our larger tv, most of the boys stuff (including all the Lego sets), all the games, the gaming systems and so much more. In the future we plan on getting a pool table, dart board and build in a wet bar. So, this paint job needed to be fun!

We went with two shades of green. The darker green is even named “billiard” green. Richard thought I was crazy when I explained how I wanted to use the two greens in the room, but when we were done with the combo wall he agreed that it looks good.

We aren’t quite done yet. We need to paint the stairwell the lighter green color. Then we will paint darker green in the area where we have the tv as well as the wall the bar will eventually go on. (pretty much any way you see beige in the pictures still needs to be painted)

We are almost done hanging the shelving unit I built for the Lego bins. We will also use this to display some of the built Lego models and possibly put games on as well… we will see once we get everything moved onto the shelves.

I say this is a great start! I’m ready for some organization down there to make it feel more functional.

family · food · life · through my camera lens

Baking and Tile Work… all in two days

Ok I guess I am continuing on the oops I didn’t post mode of late. Friday I went into full baking/cooking mode. I started the day by making homemade vanilla ice cream. I haven’t made ice cream since before started packing to move to PA.

When the ice cream was done, I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies.P1080247

Then, I realized we didn’t have bread to use to have sandwiches, so I baked a batch of rolls.P1080250

While the cookies were cooling and the bread was rising, I started applesauce in the crock pot to go with the pork tenderloin we were having for dinner.

We then had lunch. After lunch I took the cooled cookies and the homemade ice cream and turned them into ice cream sandwiches. P1080253

Saturday was busy in a different way. We started the day with Richard and I heading to Lowes and the grocery store. We picked up lunch from the grocery store so that we could get to work on the back splash.

This was another long process. We had to go through and make sure that there wasn’t too much mastic between the tiles. This involved using a utility knife to cut out the extra mastic and there are a LOT of seams in this tile work. Then we sealed the tiles for a second time. When the seal was drying we went around and removed the tape and paper we had put up originally and re-protected the marble the best we could while still having the bottom of the tiles available for the grout to get into the seams.

Then we began grouting. This means mixing the grout. Wait 10 minutes. Apply the grout, which takes a while since you have to go over it over and over with the float to make sure you get it into all the groves, there are no air pockets and then make sure you take off enough so that it isn’t a pain to clean up in the next two steps.  Ok now wait 15-30 minutes for the grout to dry.

Next, you take a damp sponge and wipe off the excess grout. This was easy on the glass tiles, but the stone pieces… not so much! Both Richard and I were working on this and our arms were screaming when we finishes.

Then you wait! This time you give it an hour and you wipe everything down again with a clean damp rag.

Today we are going to have to go back and add the matching caulk to the bottom and edge of the tiles. Then we need to put the plates back onto the outlets and switches. We are planning on sealing the granite counters too since the ones under the tile are already empty.

Today, well we don’t yet know what else we are doing today. There is rain in the forecast so that will play a role in whatever plans we make.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend so far!

 

family · life · through my camera lens

A long weekend means working in the house

I can’t believe that this is the first time I’ve picked up my laptop since Saturday, when I wrote my last blog post. We decided to take on the project of putting up the back splash in our kitchen this weekend.

Saturday Colby was at a sleepover. Richard, Blake and I went out for dinner at Burgatory. All three of us got milkshakes as a treat. I had their Fluffer nutter butter Shake (vanilla ice cream, nutter butter cookies, peanut butter and fluff mixed together into a delicious concoction!)

We then headed to Lowes to pick up a few things we needed. I decided to pick up new drawer organizers for my silverware and cooking tool drawers. I love the new bamboo dividers we purchased. (I actually purchased another one on Monday). I now have enough to organize 3 drawers in my kitchen.

We decided to let Blake stay up and watch a movie. Richard suggested Happy Gilmore since Blake keeps talking about wanting to see it, and Colby has shown no interest in it. Blake ended up not feeling well part way through the movie so we never did finish it. Oh well… another time.

Sunday we had already decided to have a quiet morning. It rained over night and was gray and overcast for the beginning of the day. Perfect day for working inside. So Sunday and part of Monday we worked on getting the back splash up. Other than working around the outlets/light switches, it wasn’t too painful.

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We got all the tiles laid out so we could put the sealant on them before putting them up on the wall. Richard set his new wet saw up in the garage and we got to work.

I really like how it is turning out. We did not get around to putting up the grout yet, but all the tile is on the walls now!

The boys are off to school today for their last Tuesday. They have a full day today and tomorrow and a half day on Thursday and then they are off for the summer. It’s been a crazy busy year, but it was all good. Hope you enjoyed your long weekend.

family · life · through my camera lens

Spring Weekend

This weekend found us with nicer weather, so that meant we were outside. The boys and I went out after they got home from school on Friday. They rode to the park and brought a basketball and soccer ball to play on the court and field down there. I took the dog for a walk around the neighborhood. We walked about 1.5 miles.

We just realized that that bug protection we had been applying to Dixie didn’t cover ticks. Great!! We have already pulled 4 off her. It’s not easy to find them since she has very dense fur in some spots, plus most of her fur is black. We have given her the flea and tick stuff the vet told us to try at her last appointment. Hopefully this works, last thing we need is for her getting ticks on a regular basis.

The tick find on Dixie spurred me to get out and treat the backyard. We sprayed the area she has access to as well as the perimeter of the woods of our yard with the insecticide spray and then put granular over the rest of the yard. That was my task Saturday morning before we left for the gym.

This was the boys last week of little lifters. They really enjoyed this program. It would be nice to see my places provide this type of training to kids their age. The program was for kids 8-13. This is the prefect age to introduce correct use of gym equipment that they can use independently. They aren’t ready to get out and use the circuit training or free weights yet, but they can use a step bench, resistance bands, light weights, a medicine ball and many other equipment. Colby is very excited to create his own workout for next weekend and keep working on getting stronger.

We headed to DiBella’s and Lowes. We needed an extension rod for the new fan we purchased at Costco for the morning room. We also picked up rollers so we could paint the garage. Over the last few trips we have been picking up their discounted paints. We were getting gallons of paint for $9. It is a great way to get paint if you don’t really care about the color.

So Saturday we painted the garage. We mixed together a quart of navy blue, a gallon of purple, a gallon of sage and a gallon of a light blue. The color ended up sort of a cornflower blue. It works. Richard also took the cans of white and painted the ceiling in the back section of the garage. We still have 3 cans of different shades of green and may mix them together to paint the basement since we were already talking about painting it green. That is still in the lets think about this stage.

Today we got up and headed to North Park. All three guys took their bikes. I’m’ still nursing my hip and knee so I decided to just walk. The boys rode the paved path to the pump park where I caught up with them. I ended up walking about 1.5 miles again. I was glad to see the distance here because soon the boys will be taking mountain biking lessons here and I’ll walk while they are at their lesson  Richard rode his bike on the actual bike trails.

When we were leaving, we ended up stopping to watch an auto cross in the pool parking lot. There were just regular cars, or regular-ish cars, racing around a cone course. The boys enjoyed this. I liked that I captured a few good photos of them up close. 

What a great way to get out and enjoy the fact that we are finally seeing spring temperatures and the sun!

Hope it is nice in your part of the world and that you had a great weekend.

 

family · food · life

It’s Friday

Image result for it's friday

It’s Friday. I have to keep reminding myself about that fact. The boys didn’t have school yesterday or today so this is totally throwing off my days of the week feeling. Richard is home today too so it feels even more like a weekend day.

Today we got up and went to take Richard’s truck to the garage so that he could get his regular maintenance. We decided this would be a great opportunity to go out to Kelly O’s for breakfast. We have never been there during the week and were sort of shocked to walk right in and sit down. The food did not disappoint! Colby had 2 chocolate chip pancakes with bacon, Blake had a build your own omelette (ham and cheddar cheese) with Italian Toast and shredded potatoes, Richard had a Philly cheese steak omelette with raisin toast and shredded potatoes, my dad had blueberry pancake, my mom a Belgium waffle and I had a breakfast sandwich (scrambled egg, bacon, cheddar cheese on a bagel).

After, we drove to the Container Store and walked around to get ideas for the master bedroom closet and the mud room. I have so many thoughts, but we need to find the time, money and what not to get them done. We then headed to Toys R Us. This store was among the original closure stores so they only have 13 days left. The boys still found a few things they wanted to pick up and who can say no to those prices? I need to go to the other one we have nearby that was in the second round of closing so they haven’t been liquidated as much. I want to see if I can get some more games and a few other things.

The boys are going to a flashlight egg hunt tonight. I wonder if it will still be outside since it has rained every day since Monday. It isn’t raining now, but the world is mushy! I was glad to find an egg hunt that is geared towards older kids. Bringing a 9 and 11 year old to an egg hunt were the eggs are just toss around for all age kids doesn’t work very well. Plus my kids won’t eat 90% of the candy in the eggs anyway. This one says it has bigger prizes too. We will see tonight.

Hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend… if you celebrate Easter, Passover or just are enjoying the start of spring… enjoy your weekend!

family · life

Some days you just have to slow down

Colby woke up and wasn’t feeling 100%. In getting ready for school he ended up getting sick, this is an automatic ticket to stay home for the day. I sent him back to bed. Colby then slept until about 10:45am. I guess he was tired. He woke up and was hungry. I told him to have something light and he started with dry oat squares. We almost always have dried cereal when we are over coming an upset stomach. He then went on and had a larabar and then a bowl of oatmeal. I think he was tired! He also has been slacking on taking his allergy medicine, this resulted in a stomach full of snot!

I was originally going to a meeting for the boys’ school district dealing with math and computer science curriculum. I wanted to attend this because I feel strongly that math should get just the same attention as reading when thinking about district curriculum. I know for certain that neither of my sons’ teachers use the text book to teach their math curriculum. If they are going to revamp the curriculum and/or consider new text books, they need to take into consideration the needs of the teachers and students. The books need to match the standards set by the state and be worth the money.

Oh well, so instead of going to this meeting I spent the morning cleaning. I swept and steam cleaned the floors, vacuumed the rugs and cleaned the bathrooms. I turned Food Network on and worked around the house. I took this time to get the jobs done that need to get done. I slowed down and am enjoying the day. Colby seems to be feeling well enough to go to Blake’s open house tonight and back to school tomorrow.  He will camp out of the couch for a while and slow down too.

Speaking of Colby, when we were at his open house last night there was a wall with writing from the students. The topic was the person I admire most. I asked Colby who he picked. I was curious. He has a few scientist that he admires such as Einstein and Edison. He has many adults in his life that he looks up to as roll models. But, he did not pick any of these people. Colby chose Blake. I can only hope that Blake appreciates this for what it is, an honor. Colby and Blake love each other. Colby and Blake annoy each other to no end. But in the end, they know they are there for each other. They know that when push comes to shove… they are brothers.

 

family · life

Weekend business

This weekend was busy on so many levels. Saturday we slept in and then the boys worked on their homework. We got a late start to the day and then headed out to Lowes. We went to buy a garden wagon, but decided to go look at tile for the backsplash. Lowes was having a sale for their credit card members… we saved 10%. We decided this was a good time to buy the stuff for the backsplash. When we first looked I couldn’t decide which one to get. We ended up buying three different styles and bringing them home. I then made a decision. We decided to head back to Lowes to get the tile and all the accouterments needed to put up the backsplash in the kitchen. So Saturday felt like all we did was homework and shop at Lowes.

Sunday found us heading out the door again. First we went and dropped Dixie off at The Dog Stop for their Sunday daycare. She LOVESSSS this. On Saturday she was asking to go for a ride first thing in the morning, and we realized she thought it was Sunday since Richard didn’t work on Friday. So Sunday when he was home again, she was trying to get to the car as soon as she went downstairs. When she found out that she was going in the car and going to doggy daycare she was bouncing.

When we got to the gym, the boys were disappointed to find out that the kids size circuit training equipment has been removed. The person working in the kids zone was one of the trainers. He decided to work with the boys an put them through a workout. They said they had fun doing it. We signed them up for a “Little Lifters” workout group that they are starting there. This will take place Saturdays from March 17- April 21. This will be really good for both of them.

Then we went to lunch and then back at Lowes. In the process of painting Friday and doing everything on Saturday we failed to get the paintbrushes cleaned… so back to Lowes we went to buy brushes to paint the gray.

After picking Dixie up and heading home the guys went outside and drove their Traxxas trucks. This provided me time to shower, fold laundry and then do some reading. I read quite a bit on Sunday and am now getting to a better place in Lilac Girls and can read it quicker.

Sunday night Richard and I painted the gray wall. I’m so happy with the choices we made. The windows pop, the furniture goes well, and it just wraps up the space.

Hope you had a great weekend.

 

family · life · through my camera lens

Painting time

Richard stayed home from work today to help paint our main living area! Which is a good thing because it would have taken me many days to do it on my own and there are a few points in the rooms that I couldn’t reach even with a ladder.

Last night we spent time moving all the furniture. This made it easier today.

We woke up late and had to rush to get the boys up and moving and off to the bus on time. We did make it!

After having breakfast ourselves we set to work putting down paper on the floor. The roll  of paper we got this time was really nice. The paper is nice and thick and held up well to walking on and moving the ladders over it.

Next is cutting in all the edges. With 7 windows and the sliding glass door… there was a LOT of cut work to do. Richard worked on the upper half of the wall and I slid along the floor and worked on the lower half.

We were almost done with the cut work and stopped to have lunch. We both ended up being lazy and just having peanut butter sandwiches. Richard had chunky with honey and I had smooth with jelly. After this we set out to finish, and just did. Or well almost. We didn’t paint above the top cabinets.

I call this a successful day.

We will paint the gray wall another day. Hope your Friday was as productive as ours.

(please excuse the quality of the pictures they are SOOC)

 

life

Looking into my rear view mirror at my week.

This week we have had all four seasons. On Saturday, we had snow. Sunday and Monday we had spring. It was warmer, but not warm. Tuesday we had temps that reached 78F. Wednesday and today we are having rain… lots and lots of rain. I guess the fact that its not cold enough to snow is one thing. If all this rain was snow… gesh that would be a lot of shoveling. But, it means flooding. We are appreciating even more that we are at the top of the hill in our neighborhood. There was flooding in the city of Pittsburgh this week.

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This week found me dealing with lots of workers, but the more that gets done the better. The more perfect our new home is for us! We aren’t done, but getting close.  We have picked the colors we are going to paint our living space. My kitchen, living room and morning room are all open to each other. We are going to paint most of the walls a color called cinnamon sugar. The large arch wall in the morning room (second picture is morning room, the all behind the chairs) we are going to paint elephant gray.

I’ve done a pretty good job with my new food goals. I’ve drank 70-90 oz of water each day. I’m eating more fruits and veggies. I’ve also focused on making sure I have protein in every meal, I need to find ways to do this at breakfast beside eggs. I hate having the same thing day after day after day. May have to start making smoothies again? Hmmm that’s a thought.

This week found us playing a lot of Uno. Recently we started playing Uno for points. When the kids were younger we would just play for fun. Now they are at an age where things that are more competitive are fun. And ALL four of us are competitive. We enjoy playing games together, but it can get a bit cut throat at times. The boys love ganging up on the Richard and I when we play games. Yesterday the boys and I played Rummy and Kings in the Corner. They couldn’t agree on which game to play so they decided that each time we dealt we would switch games. This was really strange as you had to keep changing your mindset on what you were playing.

I had to go get my fingerprints done so that I can volunteer at the boys school. The last few times I’ve done this (all teachers need to do this too) they have struggled to get my prints to read correctly. I’ve never had to go back and have them done again, but I guess I don’t have deep enough grooves on my fingertips. When I arrived I realized first that I was there on the wrong day or more specifically week… oops! I did get the results back that same day and even thought they struggled to get the machine to say my fingerprints were done correctly, they were able to get me my results!

The other thing I did this week was finally sign up to take my three teacher exams here in PA. I’ve sort of put this off on principle. I hate that I have to jump through these hoops. What other profession do you have to jump through so many hoops and yet get so little respect? The other thing is I still haven’t decided what I want to do. part of me wants to continue to stay home, there are so many perks to me being home full time. Part of me wants to go back into a public school classroom, it’s what I’m trained to do, and that salary would make life a bit easier. Part of me thinks I should look into teaching at a pre-K, private K or day care center, still teaching, but less stress! Well at least if I get my certification complete I will have choices. So I go in April, that was pretty much the first opening at the location I was comfortable driving to.

Well… I hope everyone had a good week. I hope you have a great weekend!