April 20, 2012

All Decked Out

Howdy, friends.  Welcome back to the ‘burb.  I’ve got a really, super duper FUN little ditty for you today.  It’s all about our deck.


Here goes nothing:

So we’ve got this stellar deck

On the back of our house

It’s Trex and lumber and pretty big

And was built by a totally moronic louse.


See, he didn’t use treated lumber.

Or cedar or redwood.

He just screwed those composite planks on pine

And decided to call it good.


The joists, the beams, and the skirting boards

Are now all rotten through.

So we get the pleasure of rebuilding this deck

Oh yeah, and tearing it down, too.


Now you might say “that’s not so bad”

But how about some icing for the cake?

Plywood squares separate cement from wood

And too few case-ons make it quake.


So in swoops the deck guy

To take a good look around.

He exclaims “This is like, WAY unsafe”

“And must be rebuilt from the ground.”


Later came the estimate

And boy, it surely stank

But we want our deck to be usable again

So we’re breaking out our piggy bank.


Mr. Deck Guy is busy

For another few weeks

But the new deck should be completed

Before June starts to peek.


We’re bummed it’s so pricey.

But glad it’ll be fixed

And at least we get to say right now..

Our squishy rotten deck is soon to be nixed.


The End.

April 17, 2012

Switch Your Switch

This post brought to you by Leviton. All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm constantly amazed at the cool stuff out there on the market today.  And honestly, I wonder where these ideas have been for the last 10-20 years!  Back when I was a teenager, decorating my bathroom in a safari theme, the only option for a better-than-average switchplate were the clear ones you could put wallpaper into. 

But NOW....there are so many better options out there for addressing those tiny, devilish details in a room. Like the "Renu" collection of switches, wallplates, outlets, dimmers, and MORE, made by Leviton. 

Leviton Image.png

What's so special, you say?  How about the fact that they come in 20 colors (goodbye white or beige only!) and are interchangeable!!!  I'm not just talking about the faceplates here, peeps.  I'm talking about the switches and outlets themselves, too.

Anyone else have this class-act going on in their house?  An updated plate in white, with the old beige switch or outlet in the middle?

Two Tone Outlet and Cover

I'll give the previous owners of our house props for attempting to update our electrical covers at all.  But now going around to update the actual outlets/switches to match is a nagging item on MY to-do list.  Yay.

Since I'll have to disconnect the wiring to remove the old beige ones, installing a Renu switch or outlet would make a lot of sense.  I could blend our outlets into the tan walls of our living room or the blue walls of our bedroom, go bananas and pick a contrasting color, or stick with white....doesn't matter.  What matters is I like having choices! 

This wall and its collection of "white plastic rectangles" has always bugged me.  If I blended the two switches into the wall color with Renu, the wall would look a lot less cluttered.

Collage of white plastic rectangles

The Renu collection eliminates the hassle of dealing with wiring to change a switch color.  Imagine if this became the standard? 

Renu<sup>®</sup> > Brands > Solutions from Leviton Web Site

To give folks a chance to try out the new Renu products (or just go on a shopping spree - your pick!), Leviton is hosting three Twitter parties where they'll be giving away Home Depot gift cards. 

The Twitter parties are:

Wednesday, April 18th 9pm EST
Thursday, April 26th 9pm EST
Wednesday, May 2nd 9pm EST

All you need to do is follow @Leviton and #Renu for the Twitter events and participate, and you'll have a shot at those gift cards!

You really need to check out Renu.  It's a great idea and it would be FANTASTIC if it became the norm.  You can get additional info from the website or from their Facebook site.  If you stop by their Facebook page, be sure to "Like" them!

Leviton on Facebook

Thanks for stopping by!  I love hearing about the neato new products on the market (since I don't make it a habit to go aisle-by-aisle at the home improvement stores), and I hope you do too.



Visit Sponsor's Site

Bow Time

I mentioned yesterday a quick little project I was doing to get Avery’s baby barrettes and headbands organized.

Barrette organizerI actually started out with a huge oatmeal container and realized it was way too big for what I needed, so I made some black bean brownies (crucial detail!) and ended up with an empty cocoa canister, which was perfect.

Some scrapbook paper, Mod Podge, ribbon, and a spray-painted candle holder brought it all together.

And headband storage!

The vertical ribbons are glued at the top and bottom, and they hold the barrettes perfectly.  Headbands fit nicely inside. 

I thought about putting the headbands around the can on the outside, but then I’d be removing multiple headbands if the one I wanted wasn’t on top.  Plus, the barrettes would get lost inside the can and their cuteness wouldn’t remind me to put them in Avery’s hair.  Sometimes you just need to see the options, right?

Baby barrette and headband organizer

It’s a cute little organizer and decoration for the top of her dresser, right next to her mom and dads’ baby pictures.  And now that her hair accessories are visible (rather than in a jumbled pile in her dresser drawer), I’ll be more prone to remember them.

So excuse me, while I go make my kid a little cuter with a bow or two Smile


Linked to The Shady Porch

April 16, 2012

Wreath a Little Patience…

“Hiya everybodeeee!” (Apparently, Grover from Sesame Street talks like that, because that’s a direct quote from one of Avery’s board books!)

Summer Wreath

I finally got a non-holiday wreath up on our front door.  How long have I been talking about this?? Too long, I know.  Y’all are the most patient blog readers I know. Winking smile

Wreath rosettes

It’s a simple spring wreath with some moss, a burlap bow (a holdover from the fall wreath), and rolled fabric flowers.

Fabric rosettes

I used leftover strips of the “roman valance” fabric from the kitchen window (I KNEW I kept those scraps for a reason!) and some burlap for the rosettes.

Burlap wreath bow

It should look cute for summer too, in case I don’t get around to putting together a new one.

PLUS I’m working on a little hair accessory organizer for Avery’s adorable barrettes and headbands.  I’m just waiting for some paint to dry in the basement before I can assemble it and take some pictures Smile  Stay tuned!


April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

Neighborhood egg hunt

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a fantastic Easter Sunday.  We had a great time celebrating Avery’s first Easter. 

Our Easter bunny

A lot of family were out of town this year, so we had a small group at our house for church and dinner.  It was a really nice dinner with one of Nick’s sisters and my mom.  It worked out well because our tiny dining room table barely fits 4 adults comfortably.  Any more people and we would’ve been hard-pressed to find seats for them. 

On Good Friday we bought a jumperoo for the munchkin.  She loves it!  She goes bananas in that thing, and she had a great time keeping us all company in the dining room while dinner was prepared.  We checked out several from Craigslist and at second hand stores, but the prices weren’t great, and the ones we saw were dirty and more than gently used.  So we sprung for the new one. 

A model of a molecule? Or a baby toy?

For dinner, I served ham, “Velvety Mashed Potatoes” (a Tyler Florence recipe that I will use forever), some fun asparagus spears wrapped in strips of crescent roll dough lined with sliced ham and cream cheese, fluffy orange salad – gotta have the jello/condensed milk “salad”!, and strawberry rhubarb pie with fresh young rhubarb from the garden.  My mom was a huge help getting everything prepared.  I’m not great at organizing all the recipes so that everything is done at the same time.  I guess I need more practice Smile

No food pictures, sorry.  My food photography skills aren’t very complimentary to the dish being photographed!

Avery and Mommy

We had a neighborhood egg hunt ….

Avery and Daddy

And we did a little egg hunt of our own with 5 plastic eggs for Avery to “find” (with help from her aunt!)

Something pink in the grass!

Love those chubby little baby legs! 

What's this?Yum!

Avery’s definitely at the stage where everything goes into her mouth, and plastic Easter eggs are no exception! 


By the by, we’ve met twice with the deck contractor and we expect an estimate by the end of the week.  What a fun story that is.  (Not.)  To be shared at a later date.

In the meantime – hope you all had a great Easter and a great start to your week!


April 5, 2012

Pinterest Picks of the Week

Happy Thursday!

I just found myself distracted by Pinterest (as usual) and thought I’d “round up” some of the cooler ideas I’ve seen on there for all-y’all’s reading pleasure.

If you want to follow me on Pinterest, just click the Pinterest button in the right sidebar.

And now let’s get this ball a-rolling:


How about this idea for hiding cords?  Pretty nifty.


Or a welcome post with a hook for changing out signs?  SUPER cool.  I have a 4x4 in the basement I could use for this project.


Of course you know I have to include some yard ideas.  These tiered raised beds would be perfect for a sloping yard that may or may not have the best soil to begin with.  And aren’t you digging those mini pergolas!?  Perfect for hanging baskets, supporting a trellis for climbing plants, and just providing that wonderful appeal of good hardscaping.


Have a nice big tree in your yard?  I LOVE this idea to hang an upside down papasan chair from a branch, and then use fabric tied to the chair as a little tent.  For a garden wedding, I think this would also make a gorgeous wedding arbor or a neat place for the cake or guest book!



Because I’m just in a pergola mood.  Not sure this is really a pergola – it might be better described as a fancy trellis, but it’s cool regardless.  Many of us live so close to our neighbors that a little backyard privacy goes a long way.


Hello!!!  Who has kids?  What a fun water toy to make with them out of super-cheap PVC pipe? 


For another fun kid idea, here’s a SLIME recipe!  I know, because we all need slime in our lives.  But really, I remember making slime for the first time at a 5th grade summer camp, and I still remember how COOL it was and even how it smelled!  Babysitters take note: taking crafts like this to your babysitting jobs will make you the favorite sitter Smile


And finally, here’s a great way to clean up old, water stained terra cotta planters.  I have a few that stayed out all winter that are in serious need of a paint job like this. 

Hope you are as “pinspired” as I am!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Smile

April 4, 2012

Spring Updates

Howdy and happy-beautiful-spring-day to you!  Hopefully you’re having a beautiful spring day.  Our temps here are typically in the 50s this time of year, but this week and last they’ve been in the 70s!

DSC_1059 edit

Here’s a cute spring shot taken over the weekend. 

Is she not the cutest munchkin ever?  Me = Mush. 

So what’s new with us?

Well, I just have to announce to the world the best news I’ve heard in 5 months!

My insurance company – on Avery’s 5 month birthday – finally paid the last medical bill from her birth.  Between the four bills, we were denied at least a dozen times, each time for a different reason.  But we persisted!  We had a claims denial specialist working with us, we had the medical providers working with us, and I got very “squeaky” with the claims department at the insurance company.  Lemmetellya, it was a pain, but it paid off.

This calls for a celebration!!!  Those bills had been weighing on my mind for months, and we had even been sent to collections. I don’t have to say how infuriating it is to have a normal childbirth and maternity coverage….and still have our medical claims denied.

But it’s over!!!! Wheeeeeee!  SKIP! HOP!

IF our claims were finally covered, and IF we didn’t get stuck with the bills, we had two goals.

One, finally get our glass shower door installed on the master shower.  Let’s just say we’re both a little “over” the crummy, white, spring tension rod currently holding up our (temporary a year ago) shower curtain.


Two, revamp the laundry closet – INCLUDING (teehee!) a new washer and dryer.

Because this is a hot mess and doesn’t work very well:


But this would:


This super-artistic rendering  - why yes, I do look like that -  shows a stacked washer/dryer on the left, and a custom closet unit on the right.  With this new layout, we’ll make use of some currently blocked square footage in the far right corner, and our laundry closet will suddenly have room for COATS and SHOES! (In addition to laundry supplies, of course.)  It might even have room for our vacuum!  I’m giddy just thinking about it.  Oh boy.

One last update……a contractor is coming over in a few minutes to bid out a new deck.  Our deck has deteriorated to the point that I can feel it give under me as I walk across it, so it’s time to get it fixed.  We’re also going to give some serious thought to a pergola as well.  The western sun makes our back deck almost unbearable in the summer, so a little shade from a pergola could go a long way in increasing our outdoor living space.

I’ll keep you posted!  Meanwhile, I’m off to check the crock-pot taco soup and text Nick to pick up some Ben & Jerry’s on the way home.  CELEBRATION!!!

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