Monday, January 31, 2011

Sick Memories.

I have this evil crud/cough that will not let go of me. It's wrapped it's wicked fingers tightly around my throat and chest and is desperately trying to squeeze the life out of me. It sucks.

For some reason it's made me think of sick memories. Like when I was a little thing, me, my older brother and my dad were all together at the shop, coming back towards the house. Mom came out and told Clay the test was positive - he had Strep, which meant a shot in the butt. He cried (he's only four years older than me), and oh how I was so sad that he was crying. It was a horrible feeling.

Our family kept Strep. I had it on my birthday once, so we had to cancel my birthday party. Shot in the butt. My younger sister had it and I remember the doctor saying the dog might be a Strep carrier since we were constantly in his office for it.

And the stomach bug. Good gosh, the stomach bug got us all. Katie got it first and she was just sick with it, right before Christmas.  We shared a room so I had a first hand account of her sickness. Christmas morning came and we all opened presents... just in time for me to get it and end up sick as a dog. In the hospital for several days! I had a Barbie and a bracelet that I took with me from Christmas morning. My entire family (except my brother!) ended up with it so neither of my parents could visit me in the hospital. My aunts from both sides had to pitch in and keep this very sick little girl entertained through the holidays. And wouldn't you know, my room was the only one in the hospital with a broken TV?

If you ever look closely, you'll see white spots on my two front teeth. Before I got old enough for the social etiquette to kick in, I was asked about them all the time.  The only thing they can figure is I had so many ear infections while my permanent teeth were forming that the medicine caused spots on my teeth? Who knows, I rarely notice them now. (In one of the pics of Katie and me on the beach in Charleston they were almost glowing. Hm... wonder if they glow under black light?)

Thankfully, I'm not an overly sick adult, only going to the doctor when I just can't take it anymore. Since I've had this from before Thanksgiving, I'm coming close to hitting my limit. But not quite yet...

Muffin Monday 4.

Today is Monday, which means some Muffin Goodness! :)  Today we have another picture by the bird-watching window. But this time, it's like she's daydreaming about how tasty they'd be!

That just cracked me up when I realized I got her tongue up her nose!! She's really been good through both housewarmings.  As soon as the house became quiet, she'd tiptoe out of her hiding place and visit with the last guest or two. She's my baby! :)

Have a wonderful week, everyone! And an especially happy Monday!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Weekend Wants - Tweaked a little!

Ok, I know I usually post random cool things that I would love to have during the weekend at some point.

There is no way I can do that this weekend. I got all kinds of great stuff that I really needed for the house. Awesome RED muffin pans, towels, cookbooks, candles, cheese grater, sewing machine case, pans, and all kinds of other stuff. There is just no way I could or would post wants after all this.

So instead, I'll post a few nonprofits that would love to have you share with them. Maybe a few dollars, but also donations of gently used items, your time, or just your support by telling others how great they are!
I know there are a host of non-profits in your community that aren't nationally based like these. They are grass-roots efforts from someone who cared and started an organization to fulfill a need in your community.  Examples?
There are so many more. So consider finding one of these non-profits that speaks to you, pulls on your heart strings or engages your interest and get involved. Become their champion! :)

Before...and After!

The photos I promised of my house, before and after.  Just a little history on my house:  this is my great-grandmother's home built in the 50's.  There was a large two-story home here that burned to the ground and destroyed most of the contents. My great-grandmother replaced the large home with this smaller one. It started out as a three bedroom, 1 bath house, but I made a few changes to create a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house. This project would never have been possible without my parents, siblings and in-laws. Thanks to all of you so much! Also a lot of help from my dad's brothers and lots of prayers!

Understand, we took this house down to the studs and added: new sheet rock, new electrical, a heat pump for central heating/air, new plumbing, new roof, I can't even remember what else. A lot.

So here we go on the house tour!

Dining Room before and Dining Room After. In the before picture - Bye Bye wood paneling!! The gas heater in the far left and the a/c unit in the window were the only methods of heating and cooling the house.  The large archway was removed. The archway separated the living and dining room area but now it's just one open space.

The Living Room before and the Living Room after: There was a door that lead into the back of the house, but I just made it a plain opening - no door. The first before and after pics are taken from the dining room area, looking into the living area.  The other before pic is taken from the hallway/doorway area. The circle on the far wall is actually a glare from the mirror. :)

Bathroom before and Bathroom after: Before, when you took a hot bath, your head was in the toilet. This was a very little bathroom, the door opened against the wall. Now, the door opens against the shower because we moved the tub into the closet of the bedroom next door, giving LOTS of extra bathroom space. And upgraded the sink, tub, etc. :)  The picture you see is hanging where the tub was. The toilet is in the same place.

The Master Bedroom before and the Master Bedroom after: Because we were using the third smallest bedroom as a closet for the master bedroom, we removed the existing closet.  Where the potted plant is below is where the closet was before.  In the bed picture, you can barely see the doorway we added to the new closet for the master bedroom. Painted in a soft grey color, it's really pretty and restful.

The Third Bedroom before and the Master Closet after:  As you can see, we had some roof issues.  Major water issues throughout the house.  This closet you see below in the before pictures is where we put the tub. We walled in the hallway into this room to create a linen closet and added a door from the master bedroom to create a huge storage area for the house. I have two rows of storage tubs behind the door, two rows to the left of the bookcase, another row to the right of the bookcase, an entire row of closet hanging space on the right wall, a full length mirror in front of one window and the bookcase blocks the other window.

Spare Bedroom before and Spare Bedroom after:  I decided to keep a twin bed in this room, along with my computer and office set up.  This is where I am right now!  Muffin loves to lay on the bed and watch the birds outside the window.  :) 

The Kitchen before and the Kitchen after: Gosh, I don't know where to start here. We ended up moving the doorway to have space enough for upper and lower cabinets against the left wall.  The sink unit that was in here was really cool - a 50's era feel to it. But didn't match what I was going with. So we took it out. More water damage in the ceiling. Finally fit the fridge in here (before it was in the utility room). LOVE my kitchen. Granite counter tops and tile floor and back splash. LOVE IT. (Thanks Clay!)

The last room - Utility Room! This room was added on by my dad a million years ago. I can't remember a time when it wasn't there, but it's the only room in the house with 8 ft. ceilings. :)  This room did have the fridge, washer, dryer, hot water heater.  We moved the fridge back to the kitchen, the hot water heater outside and left the washer and dryer.  But we had to add the air handler in here. Regardless, I plan on moving a treadmill in here soon, so obviously, it's a sizable room. Thank heavens!

Alrighty, there is your tour of the Covington Cottage!  I can't tell you how much I love living here and how much I appreciate all the people who put blood, sweat and tears into helping me remodel and move in. It was a rough several months, but look how beautiful it is now!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sniffle Moments.

My sister made me cry today. Not just a oh-let-me-dab-at-my-eyes moment. But a snotty, red eyes and red nose cry. All because of her gift for my housewarming. Katie lives in what was my Grandmother's house and I live directly beside her in my Great-Grandmother's house. Grandma loved to see in her chair by the window or on her porch and observe everyone's comings and goings. It was a running joke in the family.

When I read this card, that's when it all tore loose:

Dear Leroy, (this is my family nickname)
Happy Housewarming! I hope you have many happy wonderful years in your house! I know Grandma would have been so happy to have had you next door - if for no other reason than the entertainment factor from keeping an eye on you! I found this pillowcase that Grandma had started just after your Wyatt housewarming and I knew I had to finish it out for you.  I know there is no one she would have rather had it than you.  I love you and I'm so happy you are more than just a sister, but also my closest friend and now neighbor!
Love you Leroy!

OH my gosh, I'm crying just reading it now. My grandmother was so very dear to me. Just a wonderful lady and to have the last pillowcase she worked on... on my gosh. I can't explain what it means to me. But to have a pillowcase with stitches from both Grandma and Katie, man, it's just very touching.

I did have a wonderful housewarming filled with family and friends! I so enjoy visiting with people, so it tickles me when I get the chance. And I will post pictures of my house, the before and after shots, hopefully tomorrow. For tonight, I'm exhausted and I'm heading for bed!

Friday, January 28, 2011

So Blessed!

Wow! I was just writing in my Thankful Journal and was overcome by my many blessings. Seriously, I have so much to be thankful for, it's just overwhelming.  With the house alone - my parents have given so much of themselves, their skills and experience, their time and their money to give me a most beautiful home.

My brother, sister, bro-in-law and sis-in-law, uncles, friends, neighbors - so many people have been here to help in any way they could.  Then the extended family came together and have been so generous with two housewarmings!  The first, my mom's side and tomorrow is my dad's side. Not to mention friends and co-workers who have supported me along the way. It's humbling.

I haven't done anything to deserve this.  I'm not sure why I was chosen to be born into a wonderful loving family and given access to God and church all of my life. It's simply been given to my by God. And so, I believe he guided me to the word: Appreciation. I'm going to do my best to continue with my One Little Word and focus on showing appreciation for my blessings - look for the blessings, acknowledge them and give thanks. 

I'm excited about tomorrow and will definitely post pictures of the house... if not tomorrow, on Sunday. Before and after pictures to show how the hard work has paid off!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hiding Stuff EVERYWHERE.

Today was spent picking up and putting things back in their places (or creating new places long enough for Saturday), straightening and neatening up everything, snatching up boxes and bags and odds/ends trash to get it out of my house... everything needed to be done for the housewarming. I swear, work is easier than this.

But then I had the joy of Ellie Belly. Adorable two-and-a-half-year-old "adopted niece" as I call her.  This child is wide open and talks non-stop. No seriously. Non-stop. But it's just hilarious. Tonight she gave us all "cupcakes" and when I asked her, "Do you know what I want on my cupcake," she said, "Yes. Decoration!" What a smart child. :)

Here are the two modes of Ellie:  Off... and On. Nothing in-between. Off. On.

She's so precious. Granted, she wasn't crawling all over me while I tried to eat, but it is just hilarious watching Donna discipline her for saying "Doodoo." HAHAHAHA. Man, I'm glad I have a cat sometimes. :)

So then it was the drive back. Let me just say, if we don't get some daylight soon, I'm going to lose my mind. Grey skies and ice and snow and early nights ... seriously. I'm going to lose it. After I got off the interstate, I think I saw five cars. Not that I'm worried about driving in the dark - not at all. It's just a lonely stretch of road sometimes.

Oh! I forgot to mention I actually cooked something that turned out right! Three somethings, actually! All in one night. 1.) Mexican Lasagna, which I love. Ground beef, taco seasoning, cook it up; add black beans, pureed salsa (I hate chunks) and Velveeta cheese. Layer between three layers of two tortilla shells in each layer and cook for 30 minutes on 300 I think? Not sure - I tweaked a recipe on - just look for Mexican lasagna. 2.) Hobo meals with beef fajita strips, carrots, potatoes and dehydrated onions with Italian dressing and A-1. Place all together in foil packets and cook on 400 for about an hour. TASTY! 3.) Praline carmel topping over cheesecake bar cookies. Yum. From a Betty Crocker cookbook. So happy something I cooked actually turned out RIGHT!

Now, I'm going to surf some blogs, enjoy diving into other people's lives and relax before bed. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ok. Forget Secrets.

I can't stand it anymore! I have to show you what I've been making. Granted, I'm only showing you one - and that's the one I'm giving to my mom. So no one else's looks this good. (ha ha - sorry!) But... I've been making Valentine's!

I may not have a sweetheart to share my love and affection with, but I have family and friends that I adore! So I have really been enjoying creating something for each person.  Granted, the later at night it gets, the more interesting these cards become. So if you get a screwy one, just know that I still think you are the bees knees! :)

Today is my Friday at the office. I'm taking off a few days to turn this house into a beautiful home once again for the housewarming this weekend.  I'm really looking forward to it - so many people are saying they are coming. So many wonderful family and friends all under my roof at once! Can't wait! :)

I've discovered something new today - Swagbucks. Anyone heard of this?? I'm going to try it out and see how long it takes for me to accumlate enough money to get a gift card. If it takes forever, I'll be cancelling sooner than later. If you have experience with this place, please let me know!

So I'm considering purchasing a laptop and design programs. It's something I've toyed with for quite a while - I'd like to start a small business on the side. I have all these ideas, but not the tools to develop them. I'm not even sure I have the skills needed, but gosh darn it, I want to try. After hearing from a friend today who wants me to design for her nonprofit, I just think it may be worth it. AND I have other ideas for creating items to sell. Any thoughts on this? Have I lost my mind?? Let me know what you think.

Ok, although I don't have to technically get out of bed tomorrow morning, I do plan to stay close to schedule. Therefore, it's my beddie bye time! :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I love creating! Not that I'm especially talented at it, but it is so relaxing to come home, eat a little bite of food and set in creating something for someone else. After tonight, the creativity will have to be packed up until after my housewarming on Saturday. I'm a messy creative person! So what am I working on?

I have stacks of cards for veterans and currently deployed troops. While I wait for the dial-up internet connection, I'll cut out stars, hearts, waves and such. A glue stick, some blue and red dots and WHALA! You have a card. :)  Now, I need to write in these bad boys and ship them out so someone else can enjoy them.

I'm taking a break from military cards and trying something a little different for a change. You'll see that project later, after I've already shared it with the appropriate people. Can't ruin the surprise! (VERY LITTLE SURPRISE, so don't anyone get excited...)

Tonight, I found these cute scrapbooking stickers and made AH a card to go with her artwork (which you've already seen) for her birthday.  I think she's going to like both.  She likes things with her name on it, so I think we'll be good. I only have to wait another month to give it to her!
I have some great news that I'm SO excited about! My brother received a job offer today! This is one of those things that has been in my Thankful Journal for a while now (at the bottom of each entry, I list the things I'm thankful for on one side, and the things I'm praying for on the other side.)  Tonight, I get to move him from the "Praying for" side to the "THANKFUL" side! I love to see prayers answered like this. Thank you, Lord, for giving him this opportunity! We are all so excited for him. :)

All in all, Tuesday has been good, despite waking up with one heck of an evil cold. I'm about to call it all quits tonight, enjoy a hot bubble bath, cold medicine and bed. :)  Thanks for joining me on the journey - and share any suggestions for killing this cold, please!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A day.

Oh my, was my Monday a day.  It's my own fault, really, because I'm notorius for putting things off that I know I need to do, then cramming it in at the last minute. This was the case with my article for a local paper/magazine that I write for on the side.  I'm usually always late turning in my article for the month. This month was no different (although I discovered later I was actually 2 days early! Shocker!)

I lost a very good friend almost two years ago and just didn't realize how I hadn't really dealt with missing him until I tried to write about circumstances involving his death. So here I am at work, trying to snatch minutes here and there to compose a very emotional article and it just put me through the wringer. Unfortunately, the way my day was, I kept having to put it down and pick it back up off and on all day, so that I was on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

But I finished it. I don't feel like I did it justice but it's turned in. And early! And I feel better having shared the story with readers across the county, hopefully impacting someone's life in the long-term. I'll share it here later, just not today.

For now, it's 11:23 p.m. and I'm past my bedtime. I'm going to wash the glue stick off my fingers (from making cards) and snuggle into my electric blanket warmed bed for the night. And say thanks for the friends in my life and the family God blessed me with - and the time I've been given with both.

Sweet dreams!

Muffin Monday 3.

I can't believe it's Monday again. Heaven help!  But I'm prepared with an adorable Muffin photo just for you! :)  Muffin, in the clothes basket!

When I pick her up in the utility room for some snuggling, I usually prop her up in this clothes basket because she's one heavy kitty!  Here, she's flipped over (I usually hold her like a baby and snuggle her silly!) and she looks none too amused with my camera. LOL!

Enjoy Muffin Monday!  Have a great week ya'll!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Wants 2

This Weedend Wants is coming in a bit late (sorry) but it's still the weekend, so I'm safe.

Something I collect: White House ornaments. We mom, Katie and I visited DC together in 2006, we each bought a few of these ornaments at the White House Visitor's Center, just around the corner from the White House.  Each year, a new ornament is created and sold.  I have about 8 at this point and I adore each one of them.  I've tried to catch up with some of the older ones, but they are becoming harder to find. And I didn't get this year's!! So add to my list of ornaments I need to catch up on, 2010!

I also like the Secret Service ornaments, because they usually feature a Christmas Tree and the White House in some way, shape or form. Again, one design a year is created.  I have very few of them and I know I just counted them in the total up there... oops! 

I didn't do it this year, but last year I had a small tree with nothing but my White House/Secret Service ornaments on it, and loved it! This year, I displayed most of them in my china cabinet, away from Muffin's batting paws.  It's one of those things that make me extremely happy! :)

Websites to learn more:
My advice: be very careful when you purchase these items, as many people have no idea which is the White House ornament and which is a Secret Service ornament. So do a little research before you start buying to make sure you are getting what you want! :)

Photos from the weekend

Me &
Paulene & Katie
Ok, so the promised pics from our quickie trip this weekend.  The first two involve our friend, Paulene. She is an amazing designer and, in fact, designed Katie's wedding invitations. They were so very awesome, and so very Katie-like!  Designed just for her. :)  Paulene is one of those things that just makes you happy.  

One of the reasons I love Charleston is because it's just a beautiful city. The colors, the history, and design just all blend together to create amazing scenery everywhere you look.  If I'm not mistaken, and hopefully I'm not lying to you, nothing can be taller than the church steeples in Charleston. Or maybe it's just one particular one? Anyway, It's just cool.   

I know I gushed on and on about our hotel. But we REALLY did like it. It wasn't perfect - they really need to update their bathrooms (if I have to take the back off the toilet to perform surgery, you need to update!). All in all, it was so peacefully, beautiful and relaxing. And everyone was SO DANG NICE!

We did run out to the beach, which, as I mentioned before, involved every bridge in Charleston, including the newer Ravenel (I know I butchered that spelling, but I'm too lazy to look it up right now!) This replaced the old Cooper River Bridges. Those were some more creepy bridges to drive over, but these just aren't quite the same in the skyline like those old ones were.

While we were there, they were calling for a 15-20% chance of a wintery mix. WHAT? Crazy. We froze our behinds off despite being bundled up. Guess that's what I get for not watching the weather.

Ah! Katie just walked over - so let's interview her. Katie, what was your favorite part of the trip?  BREAKFAST! (see, I told ya'll it was worth going to Charleston for the breakfast alone!).  Katie enjoyed it because she didn't have to do any prep or clean up. And she didn't have to take the dog out. Or clean up dog poop. :)

KT says Folly Beach was beautiful and having the city all to ourselves was awesome and the coffee at Kaminsky's is TO DIE FOR!  :) 
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