Monday, July 30, 2007

Menu Plan Monday July 30-August 5

Monday: Cheap take out pizza from Mad Greek. Jeff has bagpipe lessons tonight and I have a to do list that's a mile long.

Tuesday: Santa Fe Soup w/tortilla chips

Wednesday: Asian Orange Chicken, rice, egg rolls, shrimp sauce (Thanks Carrie!)

Thursday: Lasagna, garlic bread, salad

Friday: Easy Baked Fish and chips, potato wedges (From Kraft magazine)

Saturday: Hamburger steak w/onion gravy, mashed potatoes, steamed green beans, salad

Sunday: Fish tacos, chips-n-queso (I'm still looking for a good recipe for the tacos)

I'm also looking for a gyro recipe if anyone has a good one. As promised, here' the dressing recipe I whipped up this week that was oh so yummy!

Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing

1/3 cup mashed strawberries

3 TBS red wine vinegar

1 TBS sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk oil, vinegar, and sugar together until blended. Add mashed strawberries and whisk until blended. Come to think of it, I added 1 tsp more sugar after whisking it together because my strawberries were a little on the tart side. I'd say just add sugar to taste if this isn't sweet enough for you. Mine was tart with a hint of sweetness. Just the way I like it! You can use it right away or chill it to use later. I also made up a batch using balsamic vinegar but I preferred the recipe above.

Have a great Monday!


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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weekend Reflection # 25

Man do I love my life. I mean I really love my life. Every week it seems that I am blessed more than the last. How is that possible? God is good and makes that known to me all the time. Whether it's spending time with friends, or enjoying a good pizza with my family, He is there with us, with me. I take comfort in that and I wish that everyone could feel the love of God like I do. I am so glad that He called me out of the world and to Him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

The first part of our week was relatively normal. No big happenings, just mostly hanging out around the house. On Wednesday, I decided to sew up some things for my secret mailer partner. I got involved with secret mailers through a blog I happened upon late one night and I've had the most fun gathering things for this package. I'm late in getting it out but that's ok. One of my favorite mottos is the old "better late than never" phrase. I decided I'd make a table runner and some place mats for my partner. She doesn't have a blog so the only thing I know about her are things I found out through the lady who organized the mail swap. I hope she likes them. It was my first time making anything like this and I'm happy with the way they turned out. The thing you have to know about me is that it's hard for me to have patience while doing something like this. Sometimes, I do great. Other times, problems arise and I lose my patience. That's when I resort to name calling with my sewing machine. This project should have taken me a couple hours at most but it took me nearly three days. Why, you ask? Well, let me just tell you! It could be that I'm a little OCD when it comes to cutting out material. I have to measure, re measure, and measure again before I touch it. There's good reason for this. Even after measuring three times, I still cut some of the material too short. Go figure. That was the first night and believe me, I wasn't EVEN going to try and sew them together that night! The next night consisted of me attempting to sew some of them together but my bobbin decided to have a party. Literally, the thing kept getting tangled which resulted in a huge mess of thread attaching itself to the back of the place mats. Great. Just what I needed. Needless to say, I dealt with that for a little bit and then called it a night. Night three was even more funny. I was really on a roll with these babies. I was going strong and I noticed my thread was getting low. Ok, I thought. I can do this. I've got plenty left to finish the last place mat. WRONG! Can you believe that I had ONE corner to finish and the thread ran out?!! Where's the justice in that! I put it away for the night and actually I do have to sew that corner up real quick before packing them into the box. Sheesh! That'll make me think before I decide to whip something up quickly again!

The table runner:

Back of table runner. The place mats look like this also but I didn't snap a picture of them:

Here are some the beautiful zinnias that are planted in the garden. I just love these colors!

On Friday, the hubster took me to BAM and bought me that fabulous book I mentioned earlier in the week! He's such a wonderful hubby. He would do anything, within reason, for me :-o) I love that about him. After BAM, we ran to the video store and happened to see Jeff's brother there. So, he and my nephew came back to our place to watch Ghost Rider with us. Nicholas Cage fans, close your eyes and plug your ears! Better yet, just skip this whole part! Who told this guy he could act? Please, enlighten me. Seriously, am I the only person in the world that thinks he should be mowing a lawn or cleaning a pool somewhere? A Cage fan, I am not. I knew that I wouldn't like this movie before we even watched it. Partly, well mostly, because Cage is in it and also because the story line is just too silly to be entertaining. Harsh, I know. I also thought the female actress, can't think of her name, did a terrible job too. A complete waste of a time.

Saturday we had the pleasure of being invited to supper. The P's hosted us and also invited another family from our church, the Mc's. This was such a wonderful evening. I can't even begin to tell you how much fun I had! The P's served up some awesome cheeseburgers, brats, grilled onions and peppers, and baked beans with bacon on top. We took along a salad with some homemade dressing I whipped up. The Mc's brought some pasta salad and one of those jello pretzel salad things. It was so good! It was orange, which is one of my favorite flavors in the world! Mrs. P and her daughter made blueberry cobbler. We were so stuffed after the meal but that didn't stop me from guzzling the coffee concoction Mrs. P made for me. It had caramel and sugar mixed into the coffee and on top was foam with chocolate shavings and another drizzle of caramel. Heaven in a glass! We feasted and laughed until around 9:30. I came home refreshed and recharged because of these two ladies. We were able to exchange cooking stories and ideas and also talked about all things homeschooling. Fellowship with the body of Christ is the best!

This morning, worship was just wonderful. I feel very blessed in the church we currently attend. The church community is unlike anything I've ever experienced. After worship, we came home and had a quick lunch before taking our Sunday nap. We rested well and the hubster headed back to church for the men's meeting tonight. I am passing the time by baking some chocolate chip pumpkin bread. I'll have to let you know how it turns out. If it's good, I'll share the recipe :-o) We're watching Premonition tonight so I'll give you a review in a day or two. Oh, one more thing to mention. Remember earlier this week when I talked about how we were being over run with cucumbers from our garden? Well, I took two bags to church this morning and I'm happy to report that they were all taken home by families there. There wasn't even one left. Now, I just have to run out and pick the other ten that are waiting on me today! Tomorrow it'll be cucumber avocado dip making day plus any other recipes I come across with cucumbers as the main ingredient!

Here are a couple of the girls and what they've read this week. We got the HP book at the midnight release last Friday at BAM. Logan had the thing read by Sunday evening! I told her she could have read it slowly so that she could have prolonged the end of the series! Caroline really enjoyed A Bear Called Paddington, which we checked out at the library.

I hope your week was wonderful! I'll leave you with the link to one of my favorite Psalms. Have a great week!

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Visit Jenny

I'm a little late with this but please go visit my RL friend, Jenny over at Gus' Gang. As part of Blogathon 2007, she is trying to raise money for COTA (Children's Organ Transplant Association). You can read about many children who are currently waiting for transplants and also learn about her son, Gus, who passed away while waiting for his transplant. It's a great cause folks so hop over and see her. Donate if you can. If you're not able to, consider praying for some of the children you will read about while at Gus' Gang. Be sure to send Jenny some bloggy love too, as she has been blogging all day and has several hours to go!

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Things Are Looking Up

Today I'm feeling a little better after the meltdown I had yesterday. I was so darn irritated at myself for being so wasteful. This morning was a new day and I jumped right into the plans I had! You see, yesterday I observed that the bananas were over ripe. The same bananas that my oldest tells me she'll eat if I'll just buy them. In her defense, she is usually the only one who will faithfully eat them but occasionally she "forgets" about them. Anyway, I noticed that they were about to be gross so I decided I'd find a way to use them before that happened. There's nothing like the smell of gross old bananas in the trash can!

I looked online and found a recipe for banana-oatmeal bread. I thought I'd give it a try since I LOVE oatmeal and Logan likes bananas. Of course I cheated and tasted the batter before baking it. It's just something I do. I can't help myself. I can usually tell whether I'll like what I'm making from the taste of the batter. It smelled pretty yummy while it was baking and it tasted really wonderful! You have to like bananas to like it so if you like them, I'd encourage you to try making this. I was impressed and happy that I found a good recipe to stick in my collection.

I'm feeling better about the issue of our waste. All it takes is a little attention to detail and we can stop doing what we do. The day looked brighter as we munched on that yummy bread! Then, I got an email from Paulette over at Capturing Today informing me that I'd won one of her baking accessories goodie bags! I must have visited 300 blogs during the carnival hosted by Shannon. I am feeling a little tired of my computer right now but I'm sure that'll pass soon enough! After all, I did win a prize! Thanks to Shannon for hosting this cool event and to Paulette for the wonderful gift I'll be receiving! If you haven't visited these ladies, please do so. You will not be sorry.

My day/night couldn't get any better, right? Wrong! To top off my already wonderful day, the hubster took me to my favorite Japanese place, Moto. Mmmmmm! It was so yummy and I had leftovers so you know what that means. Bonus! Lunch tomorrow! I can't wait to gobble it up! After Moto, the hubster took me to Books-A-Million and bought me a book I've wanted for awhile but was too cheap to buy. I'll give you a hint. It's the diary of the owner of Pemberley. I'm tickled pink and can't wait to read it! I am afraid I'm gonna have to put down the book I'm currently reading and dive into this one! He also got me the new issue of Real Simple, which I love!

I'll leave you with a picture of the book I got and also the recipe for the banana-oatmeal bread.

Banana-Oatmeal Bread (from Mr Breakfast)

  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 additional large egg whites
  • 7 TBS veggie oil
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • cooking spray to coat pan

Preheat oven to 350. Combine brown sugar, veggie oil, and all eggs in a large bowl; beat well at medium speed with mixer. In a separate bowl, combine banana, oats, and milk; add this mixture to the sugar mixture, beating well. In another bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon; stir with a whisk. Add this to sugar and oats mixture; beat until just moist. Spoon batter into a 9x5 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Have a great Saturday!

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Mad At Myself

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before today but we have an abundance of cucumbers from our garden. They have been our biggest producers so far and we are thrilled...except that there's only so many things you can do with a cucumber. I have the big kind, not the small ones for pickling. I didn't think about that before planting them and I certainly had no idea that three cucumber plants would produce so much! I certainly don't want to waste them and I have found a few recipes for dip or gyro sauce. However, I fear that I have too many and will not be able to use them all before they start to get mushy. As I sat around thinking about that today, something else struck me. Am I being a good steward of God's gifts? Am I thinking things through before doing them? Or, am I doing things without considering the consequences?

Obviously, this can apply to several areas in ones life. The thing I've been thinking about today is our waste. Generally speaking, we are not terrible when it comes to this but we do waste things. The biggest thing right now is food. As I looked at those cucumbers today, I was thinking that I'd have to throw out three or four of them if we don't eat them tonight. Then I considered that we are eating Mexican food tonight and that doesn't really go with a regular salad. The point is, those cucumbers will sit in the refrigerator for another day at least. Untouched....getting mushier by the minute. It bothers me that I'm letting that happen.

This morning I decided I'd clean out the refrigerator and get rid of the things that had been in there for a week. Let's see, I think I threw out some leftover mashed potatoes, some sauteed onions and green peppers, some pasta and sauce, some freezer burned veggies (because I failed to cook them soon enough), and some freezer burned sherbet. I'm irritated at this. It's totally unacceptable. As I threw out those things, I thought about this post I read over at AfricanKeli's recently. She talked about her recent trip to Africa and a lady she met in a village there with a malnourished daughter. All Keli had with her was a protein bar and she gave it to the child to eat. When I think about that child dying a little more every day because she doesn't have any food, it makes me really dislike myself for having wasted so much of it this week. So the answer to my question, am I being a good steward, is a big fat NO!

I don't know if any of you have this problem but I do and I refuse to let it continue. I know there are things that go on all over the world that I have no control over. I can't create world peace or feed all of the starving people in third world countries. However, I can live in peace and I can stop wasting. I can't make people believe the Gospel but I can still tell them about it. I can't make someone else be a better steward of God's gifts but I can be a better one. Are there other areas I need to work on? You bet ya! My second biggest failure is my time management. That warrants another whole post though!

How about you? Do you or did you have a problem with waste? Particularly food? If so, I'd love to hear about it and what you did to remedy the situation.

Have a great Thursday!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Almost Wordless Wednesday...again

Another almost Wordless Wednesday. I can't help myself with this one. It deserves a little attention. Let me introduce you to "The Brank", also know as the "Iron Bridle" or "Scold's Tongue". Ladies, if this type of device were still in use, I'd be in one most of the time.

In case you can't read the description of the device, it says that it was used to humiliate women who nagged (my specialty) , questioned authority (uh-huh) , or gossiped (check) . This is what I'd look like if it were still used today:

We saw this lovely device at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Fair when we were on vacation in Lancaster County, PA last year. If you're ever up that way, stop in for this. It was worth every penny and we could have spent a whole weekend there. My favorite part is always, always the food! At the fair, we ate some wonderful soup bowls. I had the chili soup bowl and it was out of this world. Mmmmmm, it may have been the highlight of our trip!

Happy WW! For more, go here.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Weekend Reflection # 24

Another week in our lives has come and gone. I always enjoy writing about my week since it helps me to recollect all of the things I have to be thankful for! This week is no exception.

Last Sunday we attended worship and afterwards visited my BIL in the hospital. He recently started dialysis, which has helped him feel much better. Last weekend he was admitted to the hospital due to some blood count levels being low. We sat with him on Sunday for a few hours to keep him from being so bored. He wasn't sick but the doctor wanted to be extra cautious and so decided to keep him in the hospital all weekend. I think he appreciated the company since there's nothing to do while you're in the hospital besides watch tv. He was released the next morning and is doing wonderfully!

Logan had been gone to my grandma's and then to my mom's since Friday. She returned on Monday evening and we were glad to have her back! She had fun in Virginia with my grandma for a couple of nights and then went to West Virginia to stay with my mom for a few nights. They had fun visiting with each other and just taking it easy.

On Wednesday evening, we invited Jeff's parents over for supper. I made meatloaf, mashed potatoes, soup beans, cornbread, and salad. My MIL brought her famous mac-n-cheese. I'm convinced that NO ONE in the world makes mac-n-cheese as good as this woman does. We had a wonderful meal together and an even better time relaxing and chatting. Since they've been so tied up with helping my BIL while he's been sick, we've not had alot of time to just spend with them and focus on them. We tried to do that with this meal and I think it worked. After supper we headed outside to build a fire in our new outdoor chimney that my mom brought to me last week. We ate strawberry delight for dessert and the kids roasted a few marshmallows. It was the most fun, relaxing night I'd had in a long time. The in-laws enjoyed themselves too because they called the next day to rave over the meatloaf I'd made! It really was a good recipe! Thanks Kraft Foods!

On Thursday the girls and I did our normal errand running and took Caroline to piano lessons. When we came home, our house felt like a sauna. It was bad. After a little investigating, I determined the heat pump was messed up. I called Jeff at work to let him know and we tried to figure out what to do. We couldn't get in touch with the regular repair guys so we did without air for the night.

Friday brought a new day and the first order of business was heat pump repair. I decided I'd flip it on to see what would happen before I called the repair guys. I was speechless when cold air started blowing and the fan on the heat pump was going like a charm! How's that for answered prayer! It's been working ever since! Not sure what the problem was and it still may break but for now we're chillin'! Friday night we took the kids to Books-A-Million for the midnight release of the last Harry Potter book. I had fun sniffing, I mean looking at all the books I wanted to buy! I even came home with one called The Same Sweet Girls. It was on the clearance table for $3 so my hubby was kind enough to get it for me! I wanted to buy Mr. Darcy's Diary but just couldn't bring myself to pay $14.95 for it, even though hubby offered to buy it for me! He's such a swell guy! Anyway, the girls had a blast waiting to get their copy of the book. BAM was packed and that made it all the more fun. I was amazed at the adults who are so crazy about HP. They were dressed up like characters from the book/movie so our eyes were busy looking at all that. I forgot to mention that before going to BAM, we took the kids to Chili's. We ordered chocolate molten cake for dessert and shared it. This is a big deal for me because I love me some chocolate molten cake. I like to have my own chocolate molten cake...all to myself. You get the picture. It was hard to share all of the warm, chocolaty goodness but I did it!

Saturday we were invited to have supper with our friends, the O's. We showed up at their house around 5:30 and were greeted by the wonderful smell of homemade Carolina pulled pork bbq. I love me some bbq! Mr. O had smoked it on his grill and I mean this stuff was the best bbq that anyone has ever served me! It was restaurant quality. We also enjoyed grilled corn, homemade salsa (yummy), baked beans, and caesar salad. Mrs. O served waffle cones filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with chopped up Snickers bars and Reese cups on top for dessert. This young wife sure knows the way to my heart...waffle cones and chocolate! This was one of the best meals I've ever had! After the meal, Jeff, Caroline, and myself enjoyed whipping up on Logan and the O's during our game of Pictionary. We had a blast and called it a night around 9:45. We came home and put the kiddos to bed and Jeff and I watched Pursuit of Happyness. We liked it pretty well although Jeff thought it wasn't much to write home about. It got a "just ok" from him. I liked it because it was based on a true story and I love to see someone triumph after such hardships.

A few things I'm thankful for this week are:

  • a wonderful church family and pastors who teach me so much week after week
  • a thoughtful husband who constantly does things that cause my love for him to grow more and more each day
  • two beautiful daughters who are loving and obedient to their parents
  • my friend Jenny, who constantly makes me laugh or inspires me (go visit her on the 28th and help her raise money during blogathon)
  • answered prayer concerning our heat pump
  • the abundance of cucumbers I'm pulling from our garden
  • wonderful people I've met in the blogosphere
  • the cool new outdoor fireplace thingy my mom gave us

I hope you've had a good week and that the coming one proves profitable. I'll leave you with a few photos:

A few garden crops:

Outdoor fireplace given to us by my wonderful mother:

Another one of my favorite man-kitty, Tumnus:

Have a great day!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

There's Another One?

Anyone who has ever read this blog must know by now that I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan. Particularly, I am a HUGE Pride & Prejudice fan. I own three versions of the movie. I have watched all three of them multiple times. I just love it! Yes, I own the book, I've read it and I love it. I nearly laughed myself to death while reading it! Mrs. Bennett and her nerves! LOL!

I'm wondering how in the world I missed this version of the movie! It was released in 1940 and I've never seen it or even heard of it. I just happened across it today when I was doing some general Jane Austen research. Amazon even has it for sale! I'm not sure why I'm surprised since you can find almost anything on Amazon! So now I'm itching to see this version and maybe buy it in the future. I'm wondering if any of you have seen it. If so, I'd love to hear your comments about the movie. I'm also thinking I should check the library to see if they have a copy.

I still can't believe I didn't know about this version! Where have I been?!!!

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100th Post

It's time for my 100th post so here is my 100 things list!

  1. I was born in Pennington Gap, VA in December of 1973.
  2. My parents were divorced when I was around 7 years old.
  3. I have one sibling, Jason, who is almost three years younger than me. He is a VA state trooper and lives in Charlottesville. I rarely ever see or talk to him.
  4. I have a step-sister, Courtney, who is about 20. She lives with my dad and I hardly ever see or talk to her.
  5. Haven't talked to my dad since June of 2005 when he attended my grandfather's funeral.
  6. I graduated from Appalachia High School in Appalachia, VA in 1991.
  7. School was a social outlet for me and the only other interest I had was sports. I wasn't a terrible student. Just average.
  8. I thought life really began when you graduated from high school so I couldn't wait to get out.
  9. I went to college for 2 years but didn't go back because Jeff and I got married. College or married life? Huh, I got the better deal!
  10. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life anyway!
  11. We have two daughters.
  12. We have a miniature schnauzer named Sadie.
  13. We have 5 cats. Tabi, Tumnus, Molly, Lucy, and Jasper. We got Tabi from the animal shelter and all of the other cats were wild and came out of the woods behind our house. They're no longer "wild" since they know we have food! LOL!
  14. We have two fish and they do absolutely nothing for me!
  15. We had three other kittens but had to take them to the animal shelter last year. Long story but basically our house was overrun with cats and we had no choice. We can't save them all although for a little while we were trying to! I cried the whole way home from the shelter! It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.
  16. I love animals (in case you couldn't tell). Especially kitties!
  17. I can't understand why people do not spay or neuter their animals. If everyone was responsible and did that, we wouldn't have such a problem and precious animals wouldn't have to be killed each day.
  18. I played basketball in high school (guard and forward).
  19. I ran track (1600meter and 3200meter runs).
  20. I ran cross-country. A standard course was 3.2 miles long, over mountains, hills, etc.
  21. English was my favorite subject.
  22. Spanish was my second favorite.
  23. Everyone thought our gym teacher, Mrs. Berta, was like a drill sergeant. I loved her!
  24. Coach Jervis was my basketball, track, and cross-country coach. He lived on the hill above me and really was like a father to me.
  25. Caroline was born the day before my birthday. We're able to celebrate our birthdays together and that's just neat!
  26. Logan and my MIL have birthdays on the same day. That's also neat!
  27. Jeff is 4 years older than me.
  28. One side of my family is Scottish and both sides of Jeff's family is.
  29. I cry every time I watch Brave Heart. I don't watch it often because it hurts!
  30. Pride & Prejudice is my all-time favorite movie. I have every version made.
  31. I love reading Jane Austen.
  32. I also like Charlotte Bronte.
  33. I love, love, love pizza!
  34. Chocolate is a must after supper!
  35. My favorite color is pink. Any shade of it will do!
  36. I love Glad!
  37. I've never had a broken bone.
  38. The only time I've ever had to stay overnight in the hospital has been during childbirth.
  39. I'd love to learn to ballroom dance.
  40. I'd love to lose 20 pounds so that I could ballroom dance :-o)
  41. I used to bite my nails terribly when I was younger. I didn't stop biting them until about four years ago. (Gross, I know)
  42. I'd like to think I'm pretty frugal. I love to price match at Walmart! LOL!
  43. This year is the first time I've ever planted a garden.
  44. I enjoyed it so much that I'll plan to plant one every year!
  45. I'm a bit of a pack rat...mostly books and fabric.
  46. I would love to travel more if our budget would allow it.
  47. I have an under active thyroid (hypothyroidism).
  48. I think my hubby is the coolest guy I know.
  49. I have no idea how he tolerates me.
  50. I'm so glad he does!
  51. I sleep on my side.
  52. I can't sleep with socks on. They drive me crazy!
  53. I almost always have a blanket on me whenever I'm sitting around the house. It's a security issue, you know, like Linus Van Pelt.
  54. I do not like to talk on the phone unless I absolutely have to. I much prefer email.
  55. We only have cell phones in our house. We got sick of telemarketers years ago and haven't had a regular phone in about 6 years.
  56. I shop at Walmart at least twice a week. I don't plan to but I live 10 minutes away so it's convenient.
  57. I do not like to put up laundry after I fold it. It usually piles up until the basket overflows and then I put it away.
  58. I really enjoy homeschooling the girls.
  59. My favorite drink is Diet Sunkist.
  60. I love, love, love Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough PopTarts.
  61. I just finished reading Animal Farm by George Orwell and I loved it!
  62. I'm a computer nut. I love to surf, get email, and blog!
  63. I make a pretty mean meatloaf!
  64. I hate to talk on the phone.(Did I say that already?!!! I really hate it)
  65. My favorite beach thus far is Panama City Beach, FL.
  66. I love to cook for people.
  67. I vacuum the carpet everyday. I can't help myself.
  68. Our neighbor across the street is not very nice. He yelled at our kids one time and Jeff went over to "handle" it. He had a shovel over his shoulder and it was just the funniest sight!
  69. I love Sunday afternoon naps. I almost always take one!
  70. I love the church we attend.
  71. I love pictures....especially old ones of my mom or grandmother.
  72. I love Japanese maples.
  73. I just got a wide screen LCD monitor because my old CRT blew up. I love it!
  74. Jenny at Up the Hill Gang is my RL friend and I just love her!
  75. I'm a yes man. It is so hard for me to say no because I feel like I'm disappointing someone. It's a character flaw, I'm sure.
  76. I love my hammock. It's handmade from Brazil and was given to me by some folks we used to go to church with. They were missionaries in Brazil for most of their lives and came back here to retire. They are wonderful, wonderful people.
  77. I love online bill pay.
  78. I write everything on my desk calendar. That's the only way I can remember it.
  79. I don't care for shoes. I'd rather be bare foot anytime, any place.
  80. I'm not crazy about driving.
  81. I do all the painting around our house. Jeff doesn't like to paint and that's ok.
  82. My two favorite board games right now are Scattergories and Fact or Crap.
  83. I love bookstores, especially BAM, B&N, and Mr. K's.
  84. I love Paper Back Swap! I can't tell you how many books I've received and sent out over the past six months! It's wonderful!
  85. I enjoy going to thrift stores.
  86. I have a terrible habit of eating sweet things late at night.
  87. Lisa Whelchel called me once. She was doing some phone interviews for her book So You're Thinking About Homeschooling and she chose to interview me. I can't even remember how that happened. It was cool though since I was a die-hard Facts of Life fan growing up.
  88. I do not find Adam Sandler funny at all. I don't think I've ever laughed at a movie he's made.
  89. I do not like snakes. They terrify me.
  90. Spiders are equally as terrifying.
  91. I once found a black widow in our house. I covered it with a drinking glass and left it all day until Jeff got home!
  92. I hate the smell of a nursing home. It always smells like death and that bothers me.
  93. My grandfather was diagnosed with bladder cancer in early 2004..
  94. He had surgery to remove his bladder in April of 2004.
  95. It spread to his lungs and he died of lung cancer on June 19, 2005 (Father's Day).
  96. He always called me Sony (pronounced like the company...So-nee)
  97. I had two other nicknames growing up that I remember. Gravel Girty (I loved to play in the gravel and get dirty) and Neat (when I was clean).
  98. I remember having a Strawberry Shortcake doll as a child. She was one of the scented ones and every time you washed her hair, she smelled like fresh strawberries.
  99. I love sports (NFL and college football, college basketball (men and women), and tennis. Football is my all time favorite. Go Colts! Go Vols!
  100. I love to sit on a porch when it is raining.

Have a great Friday!

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Four Things Meme

I saw this over at Jenna's and thought it would be fun.

Four jobs I've held: (besides being a mom):

  1. Medical records clerk
  2. Cash office for a clothing store (accounting type work, which I loved)
  3. Front end supervisor at an office supply store (Met my hubby through this company! He worked at an alternate location)
  4. Fast food joints (worked in several after high school)

Four movies I could watch over and over again: This one will be easy for me!

  1. Pride & Prejudice (this could count for three movies since I own three versions of the movie!)
  2. Emma
  3. Little Women
  4. Sense & Sensibility
  5. Facing the Giants

Four places I have lived: (I've only lived in two states)

  1. Appalachia, VA
  2. Kingsport, TN
  3. Dryden, VA
  4. where I am now in TN

Four tv shows I watch: (Don't watch alot of shows since I prefer movies or sports to "regular" tv)

  1. LOST
  2. Paula Deen
  3. Rachel Ray 30 Minute Meals
  4. ESPN, it has to count because I don't watch any other shows

Four places I've been on vacation:

  1. Panama City Beach, FL
  2. Lancaster, PA
  3. New York City, NY
  4. St. Augustine, FL

Four favorite foods:

  1. Pizza, almost any kind will do. I could eat it 5 nights a week!
  2. Soup beans (pintos) and cornbread
  3. Potatoes, and I'll eat them anyway you can fix them!
  4. Bread, any kind of bread will do! I love yeast rolls and sweet breads.

Four websites I visit:

  1. MSNBC
  2. Bank
  3. Highlands Study Center
  4. School Express (for homeschooling worksheets)

Tag, you're it! If you want to participate and haven't yet, please do and let me know you have so I can come learn more about you!


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Many Faces of Caroline

I had planned to do a Wordless Wednesday post but after further thought, I realized there was no way to do that with these photos.

Caroline is one of those kids that "marches to the beat of her own drum". That's not to say she's disobedient to her parents because she isn't. She just has her own idea of how things should be and that's how she works. Sometimes it's very entertaining, sometimes it's very exhausting! It's never dull :-o)

Anytime I pull our camera out, Caroline wants to take a picture. Since we've been making improvements to the house, I've been more than happy to let both girls take as many pictures as they want. I thought it would be a nice way to get a ton of photos of our projects so that we would have plenty to look at later on when we sat down to see how much we'd done. Let me chase a rabbit for a minute. The camera we are using now is fairly new. Jeff and I bought it before our New York trip back in December. We got it a few days before we were to leave and didn't have alot of time to "learn to use it" properly. I scanned the user manual but never really figured out how to change the settings, etc. I took time only to figure out how to switch it to night view so that we could take pictures at night. It does all kinds of neat tricks that I still haven't figured out. It does video and all that jazz. I've just not taken the time to learn about all the features it offers (I will soon though because I take terrible photos!). Imagine my surprise when, after a day of the girls having the camera, I go to download the photos and there are all of these avi files. I'm not even sure what avi stands for but I know it means those are video files. The kids apparently found the video button and experimented with making their own movies of various things (mostly kitties). Kids just amaze me!

Anyway, during the building of our deck and planting our garden, I remember Caroline asking me several times if she could take pictures. I agreed many of those times and just had to crack up at some of the things she photographed. This set is particularly funny to me. You have to understand that she was all alone when she took these. That makes it even funnier to me because I can just see her "striking these poses" when she knew no one was watching! She was supposed to be putting the camera up! I guess she just couldn't help herself!

Have a great Wednesday!

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Monday, July 16, 2007

The Family Table

Lori, over at Glass Half Full, has invited us to share our "family table" and I thought it was a wonderful idea!

We are a family that eats supper together every night.We don't have a dining room but our kitchen is sort of divided into two areas. One area is where I cook and the other houses our meal table. The table also serves many other purposes throughout the day. The girls and I use it for school. At any given time, it may be covered with books, crayons, coloring books, or small toys. Jeff also uses the table when giving chanter lessons to his bagpipe students. He also uses it for practice as much as possible since it's just the right height to rest his chanter and arms on.

The table seats 6 but we've had as many as 10 eating Thanksgiving dinner around it. I purchased the table at a Goodwill store in West Virginia while visiting my mother a few years ago. It came with 4 rather flimsy chairs for $75. You see now that it has six chairs that do not match. That's ok with me. The more important thing is what the table represents. We've made many memories at this table whether it be solving tough math problems, learning the answer to a new catechism question, or enjoying a new recipe for supper. We talk about family matters at this table. We laugh at this table. We eat with our friends at this table. We celebrate our Lord at this table. We feast at this table.

I love being at this table with my family. I hope that our children grow up remembering all of the wonderful things that happened around this table. More importantly, I hope that when they have families of their own, they have their own family table that means as much to them as this one does to me.

Have a great Monday!

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weekend Reflection # 23

No matter how hard I try, I just can't get excited about my WR. I've had a fine week. I have nothing to complain about. I am just not in a blogging groove this week :-o) Maybe I'm a bit crabby because I haven't had much reading time this week. Maybe it's because my monitor is dying and everything I look at is distorted. Everything looks like a giant, dull rainbow. Yep, that's it. I just can't get happy about blogging because my monitor is making everything look ugly. Not to worry. A new monitor has been ordered and will arrive on Tuesday. I'll be happier on Tuesday! LOL!

This week has been pretty uneventful, which is just the way I like it. The girls and I went to my grandma's house on Friday. We had a wonderful time visiting with her. She just turned 84 in May and is not as active as she used to be but her mind is still pretty sharp. Her reflexes and reaction time have slowed but she still has a strong opinion about most things. She's a fiery little thing. She still reads the newspaper everyday and is fascinated with the weather. She used to keep little logs about what the weather was like in certain parts of the country on particular days. Well, when I say logs, I actually mean little slips of paper that she tucks into her pocketbook and digs out years later. Before we started to leave her house on Friday, she told me she had to give me something she's been carrying around for years. I waited patiently as she dug around her pocketbook and a few minutes later, she pulled out an old Wendy's name tag. It belonged to me and that was the first job I had right out of high school. Just so you can understand what a big deal this is, that was 16 years ago. I worked there for about a year so that means that my dear ole' granny has been carrying this thing around for 15 years! I would have tossed the thing but not granny. She held on to it for dear life so that one day she could reunite me and my name tag! LOL! Gotta love that woman!

My mom was also there so we were able to spend some time with her too. Logan stayed overnight at my granny's and then went home to West VA with my mom for a few days. She'll be home Monday and we've missed her. Caroline came home with me because we were supposed to go to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games on Saturday. We ended up staying home because my BIL was admitted to the hospital again. He's doing well overall but had to start dialysis. This made him feel better and he will now be having it three times per week. On a good note, two of his children who are over 18 were kidney donor matches. His daughter is now going through the necessary testing so that she can donate as soon as she gets the medical ok.

Saturday night we had a quiet night in and watched The Last Mimzy with Caroline. She enjoyed it and we thought it was just ok. Speaking of movies, I recently watched Goal and I liked it. We watched Happy Feet with the kids and I was not thrilled in the least. I'm just not one for animated movies. The only animated movie I've watched lately that I liked was Flushed Away . Now it was pretty funny.

I finished reading Animal Farm by George Orwell and I really enjoyed it. Lots to think about after reading this one! I'll be starting The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis this week. I'm also reading The Patron Saint of Liars that Jill was kind enough to send me. I'm really enjoying it Jill!

That's about it from our little home in TN. I hope all of you have had a wonderful week! I can't wait to read your reflections!

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 7

Since we will be going to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games this weekend, I give you thirteen things I love about these games.

  1. Funnel cakes, duh! Anyone who reads this blog knows that I love my sugar! I always splurge and treat myself to a funnel cake!
  2. The breathtaking views from McRae Meadows, where the games are held. I cannot tell you how majestic it feels to be on the mountain in the early morning, when the fog is still rolling off the hills. Just amazing!
  3. The bands in the Celtic Groves. The groves are neat little places notched out in the hills where bands play. There are a few groves scattered on the grounds and each grove has a different band playing there. Although my favorite band, Off Kilter, is not scheduled to be at the games, I think I'll manage. I'll give one of the new bands a chance in hopes that they will take my mind off of Off Kilter not being there!
  4. Watching the caber toss. Scroll down and watch video clip 6. This is amazing. They make it look so easy!
  5. Watching the Scottish dancing competition. See video clip 7. The young ladies and men who compete in these things have to be in superb shape. It looks like alot of fun but I can tell it is very hard.
  6. Not eating haggis. No way, no how. That stuff just shouldn't be eaten! Jeff tried it last year and I almost got sick watching him eat it. (I don't think he cared for it either)
  7. Getting to see the Forrester clan from Georgia. Jeff and I are included in this photo but all the other members you see are from the Atlanta area. (Don't you just love our standard tartan!) Our hunting tartan is pretty cool too!
  8. Seeing almost everyone in a kilt or Scottish attire. Some of the tartans are just lovely.
  9. Watching the children during the kids activities. There are some really small children who show up dressed in their kilt and run around playing the games they have set up. It's way too cute!
  10. Parade of Tartans. All the clans line up and walk around the field as they are announced one at a time. It's pretty neat because you get to see each clan and their tartan as they are announced, which helps you learn to associate each clan with their tartan.
  11. Massed Bands. See video clip 9. This is where all of the pipe bands march and play together. It's really awesome to see so many bagpipers and drummers together in the open field. The sounds of their playing is even more awesome.
  12. Getting to talk to Ben and Laura about their trips to Scotland. We hope to go one of these days and talking about it with Ben and Laura make us want to go even more! All of the places in the pictures belong to the Forrester clan or are important to Forrester history.
  13. Knowing that although we have to say goodbye to the Forresters from GA after this weekend, we'll see them again in October at the Stone Mountain Highland Games!

For more Thursday 13 posts, go here.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wordless Wednesday....Washed Out

For more Wordless Wednesday posts, go here.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ten on Tuesday # 6

Ten Favorite Things

It's hard for me to only name ten of my favorite things but I'll try. I have lots of favorite things. I think I should be able to include at least twenty!

1. My bagpipe playing, kilt wearing, animal loving, computer genius, bluegrass music loving, sports loving, dog hugging hubby.

2. Chocolate Molten Cake from Chili's.

3. The Lady Vols!

4. Family. I did not have a picture of all of our family but they all know I love them! I thought I'd post this picture of my oldest daughter, my 84 year old grandma, myself, my youngest daughter, and my mom.

5. Homeschooling my kids.

6. Football. I am a big sports fan and I love many sports but football is my favorite. I love college and pro.

7. Pizza. Any kind of pizza is acceptable. I can't say I've ever had terrible pizza. I love it all. Especially the bacon and cheddar pizza and the alfredo pizza from CiCi's.

8. Anything pink. I love this color.

9. Pride & Prejudice. I have every version and I have watched them all multiple times. This one is my favorite :-o)

10. Last, by not least, kitties. We have 5 but I only have a picture of three of them together so it'll have to do!

For more TOT's, go here.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Menu Plan Monday July 9-15

I always say it's better late than never.....without further ado, my menu (and the crowd goes wild....raaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh):

Monday: Bowtie pasta w/tomato cream sauce, bread

Tuesday: Grilled brats, fried taters, leftover cowboy beans

Wednesday: Chicken fajitas, refried beans, queso-n-chips (I'm using sun dried tomato flavored fajita wraps)

Thursday: Salmon patties, potato wedges, pinto beans

Friday: Eat out

Saturday: Maybe be going to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games so we'll eat there.

Sunday: Church picnic so we'll have a light supper (Freschetta or Digiorno pizza probably)

I'm still stuffed from the bowtie pasta w/tomato cream sauce we ate tonight! A wonderful lady at church gave me the recipe and I lap it up every time we make it! Yum-O! All it requires is 1 quart of heavy cream and a bit honkin' jar (2lb jar)of Ragu traditional sauce (you can use something other than the traditional if you want). You heat the heavy cream (about 3/4 of the container) just slightly and then add the Ragu. Heat it on med/high heat until it starts to bubble and then turn it down to medium until it gets the consistency you want. You can add crumbled up hamburger, italian sausage, or whatever you want to make it to your liking. This stuff is just good! I also use it to dip bread in (the loaves you can buy at Walmart for $1.25).

Have a great Monday!

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Can You Believe It?

Guess what? I won something else! Can you believe it? I hardly can! I am very excited about this one!

I learned about Sunshine's Creations from reading Jenny's blog. I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed lately from all the blogs I try to keep up with and I hadn't read Wendy's blog lately. Over the weekend I decided to drop in. I love seeing her creations, as she is very talented. I noticed that it was her blogiversary and she was having a couple of giveaways. I missed the deadline for one of them but I quickly got in on the other one. Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and found that Wendy had emailed me to say I had won the Yo-Yo quilt! I am very excited and can't wait to display this in my house! Jenny, I know you're probably jealous but you can come over and look at it anytime you want! LOL! You know I'm just giving you a hard time!

If you haven't visited Wendy's blog, you should make it a point to do so. If you love quilting, crocheting, or crafting in general, you'll really enjoy seeing her creations. Thanks again Wendy, for this wonderful hanging that will look just marvelous on any wall of my home!

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

Weekend Reflection # 22

Another week has come and gone and this one was just as full as ever!

Last Sunday we attended worship and afterwards, Jeff left for Valle Crucis, NC. The girls and I came home and relaxed all evening and watched Jump In together.

Monday, we got up early and by lunch time we were on the road to Greeneville, TN (one hour away) to meet up with some friends, the P's, at their house. Mrs. P and I did some t-shirt painting with the kids and talked, alot. They have four children so the girls enjoyed an entire day of playing with them. They were kind enough to ask us to stay for dinner and fed us the "ideal" hotdog (thanks to Mike!) and some wonderful homemade salsa. Yum-O! We had a blast and didn't make it home until about 11:15 that night. Thanks for having us you guys! We were also able to stop by the Amish store in Greeneville before meeting the P's. This is my favorite little store! It has all sorts of Amish baked goods and yummy dried fruit!! The dried pineapples and craisins are a big hit in our house and I stocked up on these!

Tuesday, Logan went to "babysit" for a friend (her kids are 11 and 9 so it's not really babysitting). She came home around lunch time and about 3:00, we drove Caroline to a sleep over at her ballet teacher's house. Logan and I rented Mansfield Park and came home and watched it that night. We had already seen it but, like all of Jane Austen's work, we love it!

Wednesday was a fun day. My FIL showed up around 9am to help me paint shutters and get them back on the house. We finished up around 3:00 and the house looks great! It was such a relief to finish it up so that we can finally take a little break from home improvement projects! I forgot to mention that about 10am, I had to sneak off to pick up Caroline from the sleep over. She had a blast! The birthday party had a spa theme and the ballet teacher (also mom to the birthday girl) gave them all foot scrub treatments. Apparently a neighbor brought over some sparklers for all of the little girls at the party the night before. Caroline, who hates to wear shoes as much as I do, wasn't wearing shoes and stepped on a sparkler ash that burned a blister on her foot. Needless to say, the ballet teacher was horrified and was extremely worried about telling me. It really wasn't a big deal though because it was such a small blister. After we talked for a few minutes, I found out that she dislikes the use of fireworks as much as I do. They just scare me. I'm always afraid that someone is going to lose a finger or an eye. Jeff sometimes buys sparklers for the girls and I tell ya, I can't watch. I'm afraid they'll set their hair on fire so I go inside while they do it! Speaking of fireworks, we didn't go out to see any because the traffic around here just gets mad. We stood outside about 10:30pm and watched our neighbors shoot off some pretty impressive ones though! It was fun and the girls thought it was cool!

Thursday was Logan's 13th birthday! Wow! A teenager! It's so funny because I feel so young! LOL! We spent the morning tidying up the house while anticipating the arrival of a couple of Logan's friends. They were dropped off about 12:15 and the girls decided to play Sorry for awhile. About 1:30, we loaded up and went to CiCi's for Logan's annual birthday treat. Afterwards, we headed to the movie theatre to see Nancy Drew. The girls had a good time and afterwards, we went back to the house for a few hours. We enjoyed some birthday cake, courtesy of my favorite Aunt Kat! She and my uncle drove all the way over from Dryden, VA to deliver this birthday cake! They dropped it off about 10:30 and stayed for about an hour. They hurried off though because they knew we had plans for pizza and the movie with Logan's friends. Anyway, after we had cake and opened gifts, we took the friends home. Thanks C and L for the wonderful gifts you gave Logan! Thanks Aunt Kat and Uncle Elb for the beautiful cake, card, 20Q, Ruby Tuesday gift card, and the cash! You are such thoughtful people! And Brooke, thanks for stopping your mom from buying the really "uncool" ball she wanted to buy Logan! LOL! Just kidding Kat!

Friday Jeff got home around 3pm. We all missed him like mad and were glad he made it home safely. He learned alot while he was away and was very tired. We stayed in for the night and actually went to bed by midnight! For those of you who know us, this is a huge deal! Our regular bedtime is about 2am on most nights!

Saturday we enjoyed a wonderful evening cookout with my MIL, FIL, BIL, two nephews (who brought a friend and a girlfriend), and our new neighbor, Sunday. We grilled 18 hamburgers and many smoked sausages. My MIL made her famous mac-n-cheese and Sunday was very sad that it was all gone before she got seconds! We also had cowboy beans, chips, grilled onions and green peppers, and birthday cake with ice cream. The guys of our family played some fine bluegrass music while we tried to digest our food! It was a great way to finish out the week!

I'll leave you with a few pictures from Thursday. Sadly, I didn't snap a photo of my aunt and uncle while they were here but I did take one of their gifts and the cake they brought over. In no particular order, here they are:

I hope you had a great weekend! Enjoy the new one that is upon us!


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Saturday, July 7, 2007

Home Improvements: Part Two

After finishing our back deck and screened porch, we tackled the front of the house. We put up vinyl siding and painted a little. It only took a few hours for the guys to get the siding finished. Jeff left the following day for his weeklong trip to Valle Crucis, NC (as I've stated before, I'm not bitter....he left me behind but really, I'm not bitter). While he was away, I was left to chose a paint color (this is a hard task for me to do alone...Jeff and I have different tastes sometimes on things like this) and paint the shutters and front door. It only took me 4 hours in Lowes to decide on the paint color (I told you this was a hard decision to make alone!). I finished up on Wednesday and was pretty excited to be done. The only thing I worried about was that Jeff would not like my paint choice. He had no idea what I picked and I chose to surprise him. I didn't give him any hints while he was away! I'm happy to say that he got home on Friday and he loved the color! Yay!

Here's a before shot (the house had light yellow wood siding with green shutters and front door):

Here's the after shot (the house now has Rosewood siding with Blue Zephyr shutters and door):

I didn't really mind the color scheme of the house beforehand with the exception of my green front door. I didn't really like that. The big problem was that the yellow wood siding looked horrible. Let me just say that birds loved that stuff! When you got up close to the house, you could tell because they had made a real mess on it. Woodpeckers especially loved it because they could peck all day on it. There were all kinds of little holes all over it from those little buggers. The new Rosewood siding is a neutral color (in the tan/gray family) which gives it an updated look. The Blue Zephyr was the "wild card" so to speak because it is something that I would never normally have picked. I'm pretty neutral and stay with "safe" colors for the most part. After saying that, I realize that my living room is Carmello (which is in the yellow's very bright) and our extra bedroom is Jovial Orange! LOL! I guess you could say that those two colors are not so neutral! Anyway, my first thought for shutter and door paint color was something in the burgundy family. We've done that before and liked it. However, after driving around all week, I kept noticing that everyone had shutters that color and I wanted something different.

The after picture doesn't really do the house justice. Jeff says that the photo resizing program I'm using is making the pictures look terrible. For now, this is the best I can do but in the future maybe I'll figure something out and post better pics. You get the idea though! Lots of work but it was all worth every minute and every penny we spent!

Have a great Saturday!

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Friday, July 6, 2007

Before and After: Back of the House

Back of the house before:

Back of the house after:

Hopefully this will give you a better idea of the vast improvements this project made to the back of our house! For the more detailed post of project, go here.

Have a great day!

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Home Improvements: Part One

Well, since my wonderful hubby is back from his week long stay in Valle Crucis, NC without me (I'm not bitter, really), I think it's high time I posted some pictures of our home improvement projects. We started in May and our goal was to tear down an existing deck (if you can even call it that), build a screened in porch and new deck, and also put vinyl siding on the front of the house. My FIL, BIL, oldest nephew, and Jeff finished the siding last weekend. Jeff left a day later and I was left to paint shutters and our front door. I finished up on Wednesday so now our biggest outdoor projects are officially complete! In this post, I'll share the deck building project.

The first step was tearing down the existing back deck:

Next came the construction of a 12x16 screened in porch and a 10x20 uncovered deck. This project took about a month to fully complete since it was Jeff, his dad, and his brother who built it. You may remember that his brother has many health issues but the most serious is his kidney function, which is only 18%. How much we did each day depended on how he was feeling. Since he has experience building things like this, we relied heavily on his expertise and advice. He worked very hard to help us complete this project and we are very thankful for all he did to help us. My FIL also worked very hard, probably much harder than a 70-something year old man should. We are thankful for his help and his diligence in getting things done. This picture shows them putting down the flooring for the screened porch.

They built the uncovered portion next.

The next project was the roof for the screened porch. I'll skip the part about how the roof leaked and we thought we were going to have to tear it down until my super smart BIL came up with a solution!

Next, the walls for the screened porch went up, along with the railing for the uncovered portion.

We took a break and Jeff played us a tune.

We did several other things including putting up screen, a storm door, vinyl siding on the outside, lattice on the ceiling on the inside, lattice around the outside, lattice on the inside around the walls, put up a ceiling fan, built two sets of stairs to access the deck, and put down carpet on the screened porch. The end result was a beautiful 36ft. long deck that we are really enjoying. Here you'll see three views of the outside.

In this one, you can see how we put lattice around the inside walls, you can see the carpet we put down, and the furniture we bought for the area. We also attached lattice to the rafters on the ceiling but I didn't take pictures of that :-o)


We are so glad to be finished with this project. It was a huge project that kept things messy for a long time. However, it was so worth the wait!

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