Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Tuesday's Tidbits

  1. Our Internet and cable are being hooked up tomorrow. Do you know what that means? PICTURES! PROJECTS! I'm excited, are you?!
  2. I have a really funny story about painting this weekend. Well, it's funny now. I will save it for when I post the pictures about the master bedroom, but you should know that we painted the main hall {includes entry way, main hall, stairs going upstairs, and the hallway by the bedrooms}, master bedroom, girls' room {although I still plan on adding stripes soon}, girls' closet, kitchen/nook, living room, office, and craft room {which I need to fix down the road because the banana yellow color it was before threw off the pretty paint I picked out}. The main bathroom was primed since it was red and is ready for the first coat, which I aim to finish tonight. Mind you, all of the said areas above needed two coats of paint. Yeah, I was busy, and the blisters on my hands prove it. But, unlike apparently 99% of people, I actually enjoy painting! I don't like cleaning up afterwards...but the effort itself is therapeutic in a way and I love watching our home come together. Our goal is to finish painting, stain the deck, and get the landscaping under control before B's birthday party...which is in just under 3 weeks. Wish us luck!
  3. Last night I was reading a sample of a book I heard about on the radio, Fifty Shades of Grey. I was allotted 140 pages, and I'm really hoping for a Kindle Fire from my hubby {hint, hint ... his suggestion, by the way} for my birthday so I can download it and read the book in its entirety. I also have Hunger Games on my list for future reads. What are some good books you have read recently that you would recommend?
  4. Pinterest is the best. Follow my boards - my user name is "mrskotlow". Wow, Mrs...weird.
  5. I miss scrapbooking. I need to get my craft room in order! Anybody a pro at painting stripes? I'm intimidated by it!
  6. Right now our extra bedroom is being used as a "catch all" for all the stuff we have until we get a grip on what's going on with the house. Clothes, home accents, toys, blankets...you name it. Ugh. I hate it! I can't wait to get closet units so I can organize it all. Plus, I want to get it painted and have that out of the way. {I can't believe how often I talk about cleaning and organizing - I'm sure my mom and dad would be surprised since I was a Clutter Queen when I was a kid!}
  7. What is with the protagonist in recent literature falling for someone who is "pretty"? Perfect tousled hair, light skin, manicured hands, sweaters and fitted boot cut jeans, using terms of endearment such as "Miss Swan" or "Miss Steele"...give me a man who is a bit scruffy, knows how to get his hands dirty, gets tan from working outside, and calls me babe {hmm landed me one of them already!}.
  8. My wardrobe could use a face lift.
  9. I just received a phone call on my work line for a free quote for carpet cleaning. Um...no thanks.
  10. Saturday night I noticed we didn't have hot water, but J and I both assumed it was from cleaning the painting supplies all day and we just needed to wait until morning. Morning came, and the water was still icy cold. After a few phone calls we discovered the water heater needed to be replaced {it would have cost more to repair it}. Oh, the joys of home ownership.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New in Town

On my way to pick up B on Sunday, I had to stop and snap this picture of a small lake and farm near our new home (which I love, by the way):

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In My Head Right Now

Right now I am very, very grateful. I have a wonderful family, amazing friends, and everything I need. My girls are healthy, smart, beautiful and loving. My husband and I have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and a bed to sleep in at night. We have plenty of luxuries that are taken for granted. Our life is good, and I am grateful to God that he has blessed us so abundantly.

This isn't to rub it in to anyone going through a hard time or struggling with health or anything like that. It's simply a reflection of my appreciation of the things I have in my life. I say many prayers for those facing medical struggles and one recently has reminded me that some face these hardships much sooner than they should. Bad things happen to good people. I need to remember all the things that truly make my life blessed and remind myself not to get upset over the petty things, because those won't matter even a week from now.

Stay close with your family, say "I love you" often, hug and kiss your children as often as you can, create memories to last a lifetime, and remember that even through hard times, you are blessed and not forgotten.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday's Tidbits

  1. My hunt for Ikea Expedit shelving has paid off. I scored big time with the 5x5 shelf, desk attachment, 2x4 shelf {those numbers represent the number of cubes tall and wide, not a measurement in inches or feet, if you aren't familiar with the product}, along with drawers and cubbies. I can't wait to put it together in my craft room!
  2. Oreo Truffles, St. Patty's style. Yep. I broke down and made them. My arm was being twisted by myself, and if you aren't flexible {which I am not} it's very hard to do and it hurts. So I gave in. Some crushed chocolately creamy goodness and melted-dyed-green chocolate later, I had a little ball of happiness. B loves them, she called them "Oreo Ruffles". I will definitely make them again, they are super easy to throw together! {Will post recipe when I can get pics online!}
  3. I finally asked B what she wanted from me and J for her birthday. She told me she wants new clothes and sparkly shoes. She's such a girlie girl, and it's perfect too because with summer coming she will need summer clothes. I'm excited to do some shopping for her knowing she won't be disappointed if she doesn't get toys from us {after moving this weekend and seeing how much they really have, I think I will buy anything but toys for the next five years...}. Oh, and she also wants Dr. Suess books. I love that she's turning into a little bookworm!
  4. The clock on my computer at work is all screwed up after Daylight Savings last weekend. It still shows an hour behind, so I am confused for most of my day, double checking my phone to see the time and make sure my computer didn't automatically adjust without me knowing. If I manually adjust it, it goes back again if I lock my computer for a few minutes. If I check the box to automatically update with Daylight Savings, it updates but the appointments on my calendar in Outlook get adjusted to an hour later. Can't be late for meetings or anything...not that I really have any, but I do have daily reminders that would be an hour late if they didn't pop up at the correct time. Blah. Technology.
  5. I'm having a hard time figuring out what color curtains and paint to go with in the master bedroom. We originally picked out a gray {grey?} for the walls, but I'm questioning it. I like the gray {grey?}, I love it actually. I just don't know how it will all look with the sage, champagne, and chocolate bedding we have. I found quite a few pictures of those colors together and it looks great, just unsure of how it will look in a big room. I don't know. Blah.
  6. Yesterday I felt really sick all day. I'm feeling better today though, thanks for asking!
  7. Speaking of yesterday, while I was laying down B came and snuggled with me for a little while. Amidst listening to her precious breathing match my own, I heard the wind blowing quietly outside, children laughing and playing, birds sweetly chirping in the trees, excitedly telling one another "Spring is here!", and the beautiful sound of a distant wind whime...and I found peace. I felt, this is home. This is the perfect beginning to our life in this new home. I am so grateful that B gave me that moment, she's always been so considerate whenever I am hit with a migraine or not feeling well. She's my angel.
  8. Is it only Tuesday?
  9. I've been doing a lot of soul searching lately. Where I've been, where I am, where I'm going...what's been fulfilling in my life and what hasn't. Who has been there for me, who I've been for, who I need to be there for. What kind of memories I want my kids to have, what kind of memories I want to have, who I've become and whether or not it's a good thing...there isn't one thing I regret. Not one, thankfully. There are petty things I might have done differently, but there isn't anything haunting me. There are things I need to improve on and make a better effort with, but nothing I can't handle. My life is good and it will only get better from here. In fact, I want to celebrate my life every day. Starting with now. Hooray!
  10. Anybody else feel like they need a vacation?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Here it is.... THE BIG NEWS!

OK I really didn't want to wait this long to post this, but with how busy this weekend was and the lack of Internet {I'll get to that in a minute...} I couldn't get to my blog.


That's right! Us! We bought a house! And it's beautiful! And we LOVE IT!

No more condo...
No more busy street...
honking horns...
drunk people leaving the bar and yelling...
parking lots...

We have a garage...
a yard...
a driveway {B and E played with chalk yesterday for the first time in the driveway...I nearly cried watching them lay down and trace each other}
neighbors with kids...
a deck...

We can paint...
hang home accents {hubby hates when I say "home decor"}...
change the lighting fixtures...
update appliances...

And, for my hubby...he has a yard to MOW!

It was such a whirlwind weekend. Closing on the house was Thursday. That night, we ran to good ol' Menards to pick up lighting and door handles. Friday we tried to pack some more {I spend the last two weeks packing what I could, but it's a lot when you work all day, come home and have to make dinner, keep an eye on the kids and spend time with them, take B to gymnastics, get her ready for bed, put her to bed and have time to shower...oofta} and get things ready.

Saturday we were up before the sun came up. J's parents and older sister came out to help move, along with two of his friends {we are SO grateful to everyone who helped this weekend, we couldn't have done it without you!}. After not-as-many-trips-as-I-thought and eight hours later, everything was moved! It's funny how you don't realize how much stuff {ahem, CRAP} you own until you have to pack it up and move it. I have bruises everywhere but they are all worth it {funny how some bruises can be "worth it"...like when I played volleyball and dove into a row of folding chairs to make a play, which I did and we got the point and I felt like a rockstar. So worth the humongous bruise on my side. Others, like flying over my bike handles after running into a branch trying to sneak off to the corner store and be back before my parents came home, just as an example, are not so much}. I will flaunt them...THIS IS FROM MY HOUSE AND I LOVE IT! Bruise me up, buttercup.

The kitchen is unpacked. I had more help from my older sister and aunt to set up the beds so we had a place to lay our tired, sleepy heads. The playroom started to come together. It wasn't too late before it was time for the girls to sleep since they didn't get a nap...and boy did B fall asleep quickly. I was tired too, so when E started fussing it was the perfect opportunity {sounds much less lazy than "excuse} to lay down with her and drift into dreamland.

Sunday we were up early and at it again. J had some work to attend to, so I kept moving on vacuuming and rearranging, dusting and cleaning, unpacking and organizing. Boxes were piling up in the garage ready to be broken down and recycled. My younger sister, mom, and youngest sister came to help clean and organize the garage. My BFF and her daughter came over to check things out and finish putting the playroom together. Eventually, it looked pretty decent. After everyone left, I cleared out the master and J and I arranged the living room, then sat down and decided on paint colors. It hasn't quite sunk in, but having a movie running on the TV {cable and Internet will be hooked up on the 28th, so that's our entertainment for now} and being able to rest our busy butts on the couch made that little voice in my head a little louder when it screamed, "THIS IS HOME!"

Our appliances are being delivered tomorrow. The plan is to paint this weekend with some help from some AMAZING people {once again, can't believe I am so blessed to have these people in my life!}, then we can add blinds and curtains and hang our home accents. We need to add closet shelving too, at least to the master and girls' room. From there, maintenance and updates can be done slowly, but B's birthday party is in a few weeks so painting needs to get done ASAP so we can put the house together for guests without scrambling.

Since I don't have any of my own pictures, there won't be any right now of the house. I know, shame on me, But I also need to make sure that I'm keeping some privacy with my family, so showing the world the link to the property listing wouldn't be very subtle.

This was a bank-owned home, so the previous owners removed things like interior doors, light fixtures, trim, parts of retaining walls, railings, and bathroom mirrors, but that just leaves more options to make it our own. It's strange, but can't change it so that just leaves us with more options to make it our own! Lighting is up already {funny how you don't notice chandeliers and what you like or dislike until you have to buy your own}, paint colors are picked out, and the door situation is workable for now. They are all projects on our to-do list and I am super excited to get going on it. You will probably find me spackling the walls tonight!

Of course this is going to be the basis for future posts: our home projects. Painting, installing, updating, decorating...it's Christmas in March for me!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tuesday's Tidbits

1.       TWO DAYS until I can share the big news…I’m anxious, excited, stressed, and optimistic. Waiting is the worst! I’m trying not to let it all get to me, but it’s harder than I thought it would be!
2.       B moved up in her gymnastics class and I am so proud of her! She has come so far in this last term and it’s so fun to watch her grow and play like that. She can even do a handstand for a decent amount of time!
3.       I really wish I got paid to do something I love; like being at home with my kids, scrapbooking, taking photographs, or even playing volleyball.
4.       For a while now I’ve been searching for a good deal on a black/brown 5x5 Ikea Expedit Book Shelf, along with a smaller one with the desk attachment. I found some decent ads this weekend on Craigslist but of course they haven’t responded yet. Ugh. I don’t want to drive to Ikea and pay full price. I’m not at that breaking point yet.
5.       The losing weight and toning up wagon is moving and I am hanging on to the back of it with just my fingernails. For the record, my nails break easily. Although I haven’t gone completely junkie, I haven’t been watching the health factor in the foods I’m buying and all I want to do is eat. I think a huge part of it is the stress I’ve been under, but I can’t seem to curb the cravings. I’m hoping in the next few weeks I will be so busy I will drop some fatty lbs and at least feel OK for summer. Where the hell is that motivation hiding??
6.       One of my BFFAEs made Oreo Truffles last Thursday (courtesy of Pinterest) and brought them over to share when I had her over for dinner. Oh. Em. Gee. Those were so devilishly delicious and I have literally been dreaming about them. We have a St. Patty’s day potluck here at work on Thursday, and although I’m not Irish I may participate and bring these because I love food. Or maybe not because I was just ragging on myself for eating too much…que sera, que sera.
7.       I have one month to throw together a super flippin sweet birthday party for B. She will be 5. FIVE. A lot of people comment that I don’t look old enough to have a 5 year old. I’m not. I was way too young, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! I have been thinking about what to get her for a gift too, but what do you get a girl-who-gets-everything for her birthday? We’ve spoiled her way too much…oh boy.
8.       Let me start this one by saying I get easily annoyed by the Kardashian sisters. However, Khloe is growing on me. She seems much more down to earth than the others, she’s dedicated to her husband and puts him first, and she just seems to be the voice of reason among the other clucking beauty hens. She’s interesting, and I like her show.
9.       Not that we had much of a winter around here, but I am so so so glad that it is starting to warm up and look like spring. I’ve been going on daily walks during the week with a coworker and on top of watching spring … well, spring {hardy-har-har}, getting out of the office, and getting some exercise, she’s a really cool person who shares my odd sense of humor so I don’t feel so stifled all day {haha!}.
10.   I went in to get my tattoo fixed on the 1st and it is healing much better than last time! There’s one spot right on the bone of my pinky toe that looks like it’s coming off, but so long as the rest of it stays on I’m fine with it. There isn’t much they can do about that anyway, but at least it’s looking pretty again! I will post a picture once it’s fully healed.
Here’s to the rest of the week going by quickly!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

American Idol: Top 13

It’s been a long while since I’ve gotten into American Idol. For a while they were continuously adding all the twists and turns and the beginning of the show is just boring for me to watch. I like the battles between the top 13 and watch it dwindle down. Here’s MY recap of last night, which means these are solely MY opinions.
Last night the boys sang Stevie Wonder songs and the girls paid tribute to the late Whitney Houston. It was a tall order for the girls and I have to say that they blew me out of the water.
·         Joshua Ledet – “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder: There’s no denying Joshua has immense vocals. He’s spot on, can sing ballads and upbeat songs, and has a very humble attitude. His performance kicked off the night with a bang and did not disappoint. I would fall over in my chair if he went home this week, but in the future I think he will need to prove how he can fit into the recording industry if he continues on.
·         Elisa Testone – “I’m Your Baby Tonight” by Whitney Houston: I have high hopes for Elisa, but I have to say that this just wasn’t her song. She’s very strong in her comfort zone, but Whitney Houston was a stretch, regardless of when the song was changed for her. Her jazzy, raspy, blues sound is one of my favorite kinds to listen to, but she will have to learn to adapt if she wants to stay in the competition. She may be in trouble this week.
·         Jermaine Jones – “Knocks Me Off My Feet” by Stevie Wonder: I think Jermaine can emulate Barry White perfectly, but I don’t know how that translates into a modern-day record. He can hit the notes, take direction, and sing a song, but at the same time he sounds the same when he’s talking and doesn’t quite have the performance part down. There’s no denying he can carry a tune but I’m not positive he’s American Idol material. We’ll see how he steps it up in the entertainment sector because I was pretty bored with this song from him.
·         Erika Van Pelt – “I Believe in You and Me” by Whitney Houston: Erika was a favorite of mine from the beginning. I love me some rocker chicks. What’s great about Erika and what I think puts her ahead in that genre is she can also sing. She has a beautiful tone to her voice but can hit those “rocker notes” with the growl and I love that. I hope she sticks around in the coming weeks so she can really belt it out. I wasn’t a fan of this song but I think she sang it with her own style which made it interesting – I wanted to see where she would go next with it.
·         Colton Dixon – “Lately” by Stevie Wonder: Speaking of rockers, this guy has the look to a “T” but he can actually sing too and I loved his performance last night. As the judges mentioned, his vulnerability is where he sings his best from, and he showed everyone that with this song. I didn’t expect it from him which made me like it more, and let’s face it, that last note was sick. I was really impressed and for me, he’s the frontrunner for the boys.
·         Shannon McGrane – “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston: Oh Shannon! She admitted she was shaky and the judges said it all, but I think her fan base is too big for her to go home this week, even though Jennifer pointed her out of the group at the end of the show as possibly being in trouble. If she does stay, she needs to figure out a way to shake those nerves and teach herself how to recover so the whole performance doesn’t go down the drain with one mistake.
·         Deandre Brackensick – “Master Blaster” by Stevie Wonder: When I first saw this kid I really wasn’t impressed. His performance in the Top 24 threw me for a loop because I didn’t understand how he had made the judges cut over and over again. Last night, however, he sure showed me! He truly performed that song from the tips of his curly swirly hair to his itty bitty pinky toe. He felt it, he moved, he entertained. I really liked it. I think he redeemed himself a bit for some of the “haters” and will stick around this week. Personally, I hope he avoids the Mariah Carey note in the future because it just isn’t fitting.
·         Skylar Laine – “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” by Whitney Houston: I have to admit, Skylar is one of my picks for the final two. I thought her performance of this song was amazing and I absolutely loved how she brought her country style to a song by Whitney Houston. Her climatic notes gave me goosebumps and if she goes home before the final two I doubt I will ever watch American Idol again. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next week!
·         Heejun Han – “All in Love is Fair” by Stevie Wonder: I don’t get it. I don’t see it. Heejun is an extremely hilarious person and brings some life to the otherwise dull conversations on the show, but his singing is only tolerable at the big notes, but before he hits those I think his lower register is “off” for some reason and I just don’t like listening to it. Sorry, kid. I’m not saying you’re a bad singer, just not cut out for this competition.
·         Hollie Cavanagh – “All the Man that I Need” by Whitney Houston: WOW! This was the first time I have heard Hollie sing and I was impressed that little person had a voice like that! Her performance was flawless and I really hope to see her advance very far in this season. I think she has the spirit and the willingness to take on any song given to her, and delivers.
·         Jeremy Rosado – “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder: Jeremy seems like a very sweet kid, and he can definitely sing to the swoony songs. However, I’m not convinced. I found him very quiet and safe, but hopefully if he sticks around he will prove me wrong. Otherwise, he may just be the boy in trouble this week.
·         Jessica Sanchez – “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston: I was telling my husband at the beginning of the show that I wasn’t sure if anybody would dare take on this staple song of Whitney’s. I heard Jennifer Hudson’s rendition and was extremely unimpressed, so I was prepared for another disappointing performance when they announced Jessica would sing it. Oh. My. God. She nailed it! She sounded absolutely perfect and it was a well-deserved standing ovation! My one constructive criticism for her, though, is that the judges give her a break in terms of her own style. She sang the song note to note, but I don’t feel like brought “Jessica Sanchez” to the song, which is what they were encouraging for every other contestant last night. I know she will be in the finals, but I’m hoping we see a little more of who she really is and some songs outside of the powerful ballads she can sing. Either way, this 16-year old has a bright future ahead of her in the entertainment business.
·         Phillip Phillips – “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder: They were absolutely spot-on when they said that Phillip is a rare breed of musician who can actually sing. He absorbs himself in the heart of each song and he is 100% performing from his soul. He has a very unique sound and I’m glad he made it to the top 13; I’m sure he will be around for the long haul this season and look forward to his interpretations of the songs week to week.
Well, there you have it, my two-cent rambling on American Idol contestants just because. I probably won’t watch the results because they drag on and on and although Ryan Seacrest isn’t sore on the eyes by any means, I get very bored with those shows. Hopefully I’ll be watching the show next week in its entirety and can retract, emphasize, or alter otherwise any of the above opinions.
If you were on American Idol, which Stevie Wonder or Whitney Houston song would you sing?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm Alive!

Hey folks! No, I didn't fall off the face of the planet or get abducted by aliens or anything like that...unfortunately my laptop battery died. And obviously posting at work is a no-no. However, I am on my lunch break at the moment and decided to drop in a few lines...

Yes, the Scrapbook Challenge came to a halt with the passing of my laptop battery {for posting} but also for creating as something HUGE personally is going on right now. I can't share the deets yet, but rest assured in the next week or so I will be bombarding you with all the juicy gossip. I know you're at the edge of your seat right now. I'm bursting at the seams here and am very excited!

There are a few small projects I was able to complete over the last few weeks and as soon as I can, I will post pictures and get back on track with revamping my blog. I have lots of ideas, and soon I will be able to refocus on it again.

Thanks for checking in on my blog even without the new posts! I haven't mastered juggling personal life and blogging life quite yet {on top of working full time}, but there is a bigger, brighter future ahead for projects!!