Thursday, December 31, 2009

About Our Suburban Farm

About Me





Our Suburban Farm is my blog about my life. I have been blogging since 2006 and before that I had a plain old website for a couple of years. At that time I used it mainly to share pictures with my family. I have family spread out all over the US and family members would send me pictures and I'd post them for everyone to see. Around 2008 I started making the blog really my own. Since then I have been blogging about my life. 


But why Suburban Farm? 
Because that is the most unique aspect of my life. Growing up in the suburbs, I fought my parents tooth and nail when I was asked to weed the garden or even go play outside. When I was  in elementary school my mom was the only one of her friends firmly telling her child to "Put that book down and go play outside". I listened. Mostly. I did go outside. But I didn't put my book down. I walked laps around the back yard while reading my book. And still now you can occasionally find my watering my gardens with a book in my hand. But it is because I love doing both.


My Vegetable Garden

The Pumpkin Patch


Back to the point...
I am a total suburbanite. I love to drive my SUV (since middle school I have sworn off mini-vans- I know. We'll see what happens down the line). I hate driving into the city for events and the idea of public transportation gives me the heebie jeebies. The Super Target is my very favorite place to shop. You will find me there several times a week. In addition, I love having all of my favorite stores accessible in 15 minutes. 


Since I met and married Adam, however, there is a much different twist on my life. We live in an old farmhouse built in 1886. Our house, barn, chicken coop (sans chickens), and pumphouse sit on 3.3 acres of land in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. A friend was recently visiting and said, "It is like suburbs....BAM! Farm!" Adam's great-grandpa bought the land in the 30's and it has been in his family ever since. He bought it from his mother about 7 years ago (No gifts here. Trust me. We have quite the mortgage) and now we live here together. Since his original plan of subdividing didn't pan out for a multitude of reasons, we decided to do something with the land. 


Now we have a huge garden and a pumpkin patch. I spend my summers planting, weeding, harvesting, and pickling. I have learned many skills that I never even imagined. I love it. I still do get crabby when I break a nail or I have to reapply my new polish every other day when it gets ruined in the garden. But it is all worth it. I also spend my time reading, baking, cooking, crafting, being with family and friends, volunteering (I have a complete inability to say no) and internet-ing. 


I love the juxtaposition of these two aspects of my life: suburbs and farm.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Comedy of Errors

I swear, I am not usually a klutz in the kitchen. But because I am still without a kitchen at my house, I had to do some food preparation at Mom and Dad's for New Years Eve.

First I needed to melt some butter. But apparently I put it in the microwave too long....so it exploded everywhere. So then I had to melt some more. And then it was a little too much once I combined them, but I thought, "What the heck?" more butter is always yummier!

I was making beer bread and I needed to borrow Mom's loaf plan. Her loaf pan is 8.5x4.5 and the recipe calls for a 9x5 loaf pan, but Mom convinced me that she has made it many times in that one.

So I poured in my beer bread....I poured my (over abundance of ) butter on top...and I sprinkled on some Garlic Garlic so it has a buttery garlic yummy crust....and I put it in the oven.

After that, I went into the den to work on journaling for my scrapbook. After a while Dad called and needed me to look in the garage....

I got up....stepped out of the den...

Me-"OH NO! The smoke detector is going to go off! There is smoke everywhere!"
Dad-"Turn the fan on over the stove."
BEEEEP BEEEP BEEEEP BEEEP BEEEEP
Me-"Oh crap! Oh crap! Something overflowed in the oven. My butter must have overflowed. Stupid small loaf pan! I can't reach the smoke detector to turn it off!"
Dad-"Wave something in front of it"
Me-(turn on fan, wave something in front of smoke detector, open back door, go back to waving) "Oh crap!"
Dad-"Are there flames?"
Me-(waving like a maniac because every time it turned off, it turned back on) "No. No flames....
So...Dad...what was it that you needed?"

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I don't even like eating out that much

Because of the pipe situation at my house that caused my kitchen to be torn apart...I have been without a kitchen for 2 weeks now. This obviously causes major problems, but one of the main things is that I cannot cook. Not that I am a master chef by any means...but I do prefer to cook dinner rather than eating out. I love eating out now and then, but a girl can only take so much of it. And going to restaurants all the time is a bit too expensive, so we end up with fast food or pizza most nights. So I decided to document my meals for the last 2 weeks and I have found a lot of fast food and eating out. Most people overindulge during the holidays, but for us, it meant real food! Thank goodness for wonderful family that have invited us over to eat real food!

Wednesday (day of disaster):
Lunch: Jimmy Johns Adam brought me when I couldn't leave the house
Dinner: Bar food at the concert

Thursday:
Lunch: Chinese for a birthday at work
Dinner: A slice of pizza at Costco while we were out shopping

Friday:
Lunch: Pizza for a celebration at work
Dinner: Subway sandwiches

Saturday
Lunch: just snacked--no real food
Dinner: Taco bar at Bridget's house! Real food!

Sunday
Lunch: Sandwich mom made me
Dinner: Family Christmas party-yummy pasta-real food!

Monday
Lunch: Downtown and ate at a restaurant
Dinner: Went to Mom and Dad's for real food

Tuesday
Lunch: just snacked--no real food
Dinner: Lou Malnati's pizza-yummy! But pizza again.

Wednesday
Lunch: ate leftover pizza
Dinner: Went out to eat at Chili's

Thursday-Christmas Eve
Lunch: ate leftover pizza
Dinner: Real food at Mom and Dad's house

Friday-Christmas
Lunch: Yummy breakfast- real food at Tony and Jess' house
Dinner: Yummy real food dinner at Mom and Dad's

Saturday
Lunch: nothing, out shopping all day
Dinner: Leftover Christmas food at Adam's parent's house-real food!

Sunday
Lunch: Subway sandwiches
Dinner: Ordered pizza

Monday
Lunch: ate leftover pizza
Dinner: Went out for pizza with friends

Tuesday
Lunch: ate leftover pizza
Dinner: Portillos

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Day Celebrations

This is, once again, a slideshow full of lots of pictures that I know sister-Erin will love...and so will Mommom. I love that my grandma checks my blog 56 times a day...and they are on facebook! My grandparents rock!

Christmas morning we headed over to Adam's brother Tony's house for a celebration with the whole gang. We had a yummy breakfast and then opened LOTS of presents. It freaked me out a little bit that everyone was opening them at once. I like to WATCH everyone open their presents. But we would have been there for 45 hours if everyone opened them one at a time. But I made sure to watch when people opened gifts from us. Everyone was very generous and I feel very lucky.

After that, Adam and I stopped back at my house for a bit and exchanged gifts. Because he couldn't stick to just buying Wii for each other! He shocked me by getting me the Reebok Easy Tone shoes I have wanted for quite a while. I didn't know he knew how much I wanted them though!

Our last celebration of the day was at Mom and Dad's with the whole family (Grandpa, Aunt Mary, Christina, her BF Tony, Christian, Uncle Dave, Uncle Jimmy, Bonnie, Uncle Rich and at the end Elizabeth and Emily). We had another delicious meal and had lots of fun with the Wii! Uncle Dave even played Wii bowling with us...and if you know Uncle Dave...you will definitely appreciate that! Adam tried his hardest to beat me on Hula Hooping...to no avail!

I hope everyone had a safe and merry Christmas as well.



Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve

For my sister's viewing pleasure I have decided to post the pictures of Christmas Eve. Well anyone else can look too, but I know she will really want to see them. There are kind of a lot, so feel free to fast forward to the hilarious videos at the end.

We started off our Christmas celebrations by going to Mass. We went to the one where the youth choir sings because my family loves the youth choir. They did a beautiful job as always. Then we headed back to Mom and Dad's with Mom and Dad and Adam and me. We opened stockings and then chatted with Erin. It was so fun to video with her and I took a bunch of pictures of the screen. She so sweetly had books sent to us from Amazon that meant something for each of us (I have a bunch of new books to add to my shelf after yesterday!) so we opened them with her on video. We even took a family picture with the TV.

After that we ate a yummy dinner mom made and then had Christmas morning on Christmas Eve. Santa came early! Santa was very generous and we all had a lot of fun opening and giving gifts.

Although I do love to open gifts; it is SO exciting to open something that someone so thoughtfully got for you and it is perfect...it is even better to GIVE. If I had unlimited money, I would buy presents for people all of the time. I love to come up with ideas that will make someone smile or find just the perfect gift for them. Or remember something they said once long ago and then surprise them with it!

Adam got a GPS and he is super excited and so am I so he doesn't call me and ask me to mapquest directions and text them to him! Dad got a BluRay player so we can't wait to see the quality on his big TV! Mom got a new knife set after 20 years. Adam and I got Wii and we had a ton of fun playing last night. We all got a bunch of neat things and it just makes me smile when I open a present that I want so much!

Back to the Wii....
O-MG! How fun! I knew it would be fun....but it was so fun! We busted it out last night and then left it at Mom and Dad's so we could play again tonight at the celebrations. It was made even better by the Wii Fit Plus I got at the Nintendo party I went to. Elizabeth, Emily (my cousins), and I had a great time and there are some hilarious videos of hula hooping. Unfortunately (for you) and luckily (for me) there are no videos of me. But I totally beat those young girls on super hula hooping. I may have been screaming, "My thighs are burning!!!!" by the end; but I did it!

I am off to celebrate some more today.

I hope everything has a very Merry Christmas and remembers what it is all about. A friend said on Facebook, "Wouldn't life be better if everyone acted a little more like Jesus?" and I agree. I am going to keep that in mind as we begin a new year!

Also, I heard this song on the radio last night and I just loved it.

Not just because I love country.
Not just because I love Taylor Swift.
But I love the words.



Thursday, December 24, 2009

We Are One Body

I have posted this video before, however, because it is Christmas and I am getting ready to leave for Christmas Eve Mass I wanted to post it again. This song always touches me and when our youth choir sings it, it sends shivers up my spine. I love the words.


V-A Christmas

Many years ago in a galaxy far far away two ladies became college roommates. Those two ladies were my mom and my Aunt Judy. Well....she isn't my aunt by blood; she is my aunt by love.

Aunt Judy and Uncle Joe bought a house right across the street from my parents in a brand new subdivision where we grew up.

As far back as I can remember we have celebrated Christmas with their family. We call it the V-A Christmas (insert last names there). We take turns each year whose house it is at. This year it was at the V household.

We missed Erin a great deal this year, but hopefully she will be around for future V-A-H? (when I get married) Christmases!


Amy and Me (and we actually only took one and we liked it!)

Uncle Joe videotaping while Amy passed out presents to everyone.

Doug opening his National Sarcasm Society sign from Adam and me (I laughed outloud when I found it!)


Dad being himself with the LED headlamp he got from the V family. He definitely loved it!

Amy with the pig planter from us. I also giggled when I found this one!

This was the first of many Christmas celebrations this season and it was one of many V-A Christmases to come. We had a great time eating, drinking, talking and laughing. We are pretty lucky to have this family by love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Annual Trip to the Walnut Room

Every year I make a trip downtown to the Walnut Room with friends of the family. I met Kailey when she was 3 years old and I was getting ready for my freshman year of HS. I was a volunteer swim teacher and she was in my class. Well...scratch that. She was in the class next to mine but she was super cute and I stole her. Oh yeah, and Kailey is deaf.

So I was her swim teacher and thought sign language was so cool. I talked to her aunt a lot (who brought her to class) and learned about sign language classes at the park district. I took the classes every Thursday for years. In fact, I still get together once a month with my "sign language group". Now we just get together to chat, but it is the group that we started learning sign together 12 years ago. I also stayed close with Kailey's family.

About 11 years ago they invited me on their annual trip downtown to Field's (at the time). Robin, Kailey's aunt, had been bringing them since her older brother was little and Kailey was a baby. When I started going her younger sister was just a teeny baby and didn't come with us yet.

Now, 11 years later, we still go every year. Kailey is even going to be my junior bridesmaid.


I finally got to ask her a few months after I asked everyone else.

Here was her poem:

Kailey

The day, the dress, the bride, the groom,
the joy, the tears, will all come so soon.

Professing true love to my husband-to-be,
With family and friends all watching me.

Because to me you mean so much,
I have one thing which I will phrase as such:
Nothing would give me more joy and pride,
Than to have you with me right by my side.

I have known you since those days
when we used to swim
And I want you to be there when I marry him.
Many great memories I have shared with your smile,
So I want you to meet me at the end of the aisle.

My life would not be the same without you,
Including my job, my friends, and Adam too.

There are many pieces to planning this day
And that is why I have this to say:
“Put together this puzzle
And you will see
The question I am asking thee!”

Love, Stephanie


Oh yeah....this was supposed to be a Walnut Room post.
Oops.
Back to that.

So anyway, we take the El down to Chicago, remember we are supposed to get off at Washington, but can never remember which way we are supposed to take up. So we go up one way and then find ourselves in the freezing cold outdoors and walk to Macy's (formally known as Marshall Fields). We go get in line for a pager for the Walnut Room. This year we only waited about 45 minutes (there was a year we waited 2 hours for the pager). Then we had to wait an hour and a half to get paged (that same other year we waited 5 hours to get paged). Then a wait of about 30 minutes once we were paged (that same other year we waited an hour). So the total waiting was about 2 hours and 45 minutes. One year it was 8 hours! While we were waiting we shopped and I found super cute black and white ornaments for a future Christmas tree.

This is the view of the Walnut Room tree from the floor above.

It is a beautiful silver tree with words hanging on it.

This is the tree from our table right next to the tree.

My amazing Frango Mint pie. It is a tradition that Kailey and I split it every year and it is freaking amazing. Really. Yum.

Then we went outside to check out the windows. They were cute this year. They were a story about how letters get to Santa when kids write them.

After that we walked to the Christkindl Market we saw the big tree. This year they didn't have a bunch of trees put together; instead they had one huge tree. At first it looks wimpy compared to past year, but then I decided that it was even cooler that it was only one tree.

Our annual picture in front of the tree.
So that was my trip downtown on Monday. It was cold. But fun!

I am a Tile Smasher

Today I tackled the project of removing the tile from the entire downstairs bathroom. We hadn't really planned on doing anything with this bathroom yet...however now are are. There was this vanity/counter-thing in the back of the room covered in tile. But many of the pieces were missing (see picture below), so we couldn't exactly leave it that way. Then....if we tore out the counter, we would have to tear out all of the tile because...well...it would look terrible.

So that was my project for today. I was a little worried because you have to be awfully strong to whack the prybar with the hammer up so high. But I was pretty proud of myself and made fast work of it. It was all completely (*mostly completely) removed before Adam got home from work!

*Mostly because we couldn't get under the vanity until it was removed. And there are two columns behind the toilet that we can't get until the toilet is removed.


The bathroom "before"

After being 3/4 of the way done.

Amy came over just in the nick of time. I had the last section to do behind the sink, but being right-handed was hindering my ability to remove the tile because I needed to swing left-handed. Left-handed Amy saved the day! She finished removing the tile behind the sink.


Then came time to remove the counter/vanity thing. Adam thought I could do it with the sledge hammer. I had no confidence in myself, but I tried. I was right. I barely made a dent with the thing. Thank goodness for my manly and super strong fiance. He made fast work of it.



The finished bathroom. We removed every piece of tile! Now we just need to figure out if we will drywall right over it? Or if we need to remove all of the lath and plaster (concrete) first? Yuck! Although we hadn't planned to do it. I am excited that we will be able to start "fresh" in this bathroom. Especially because this is the one people will see!

video
My super strong fiance showing me how it is done! Thank goodness!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Things that are making me happy!

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year because I absolutely love shopping for presents for people. I am super anal about it and I have spreadsheets of what I bought and what I spent on each person. And I write down ideas and they are highlighted until I complete the person and then they are unhighlighted and that means I am done with them. And then the next year I can call up my list and know everyone that I need to buy for. And I write down ideas all year when I get them!

So although everything is crazy right now....I still do love this time of year.

I also love thoughtful and creative gifts. So I just wanted to post about 2 gifts that mad me smile this week.

The first one was from a student. It is just thoughtful and personal and it really makes me smile. First, is a notepad with my name and the name of the school and cute handprints. Second, the same family also got me a personalized tote bad for our Family of the Week. I just love this thoughtful and original idea. And it is going to come in very handy because coming up in January we are going to have 3 kids as family of the week at the same time and currently we only have 2 Family of the Week bags! When it is a child's turn to be Family of the Week, he/she gets to bring home the bag and bring something to share each day that week. Now they will have a cute bag made by a student's family.


The other gift that really made me smile this week was from Bridget. We exchanged Christmas gifts at school and she had this adorable Fourth of July floor mat made for me with my new last name! She also got us a super cute engaged snowman couple ornament! But this floor mat is so original and I do heart flip flops!
I have already received a lot of other neat gifts that have made me smile during this trying week. I have also really made out in terms of gift cards this year from students and for great places like Target! At school we had a Secret Santa Scarf Exchange instead of the normal Secret Santa and I received a pretty scarf for that as well. And I also got some adorable painted Christmas wine glasses from a friend that I am super excited to use.

In fact....I really could use some wine right about now....

Friday, December 18, 2009

Wallpaper Round 2

Because my house depresses me right now...and makes me feel awfully claustrophobic, I am going to tackle the second room of wallpaper at Adam's house (my future house!). The kitchen has this lovely straw-like wallpaper on the walls. Tonight I went over there while Adam worked on the electric and started to rip off the first layer. I didn't get more done than that because the water restoration people needed to come over (at 8:30!) to add a machine.

Tomorrow will be the two layers underneath.

Although, it is such nice wallpaper. Do you think maybe I should have left it???

LOL

Yeah. Right.

The straw-like wallpaper

Nice and torn up in some areas.

The pile I ripped off the walls.

What the room looks like now. The orange stuff is the backing to the straw. And the light beige stuff is the adhesive. So I will have to try to get both layers off. Also, I found out underneath the walls are in pretty bad shape. So I don't really know what we are going to do with that....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is it wrong to go to a concert while your house is a disaster?

On Tuesday night, Adam's sister-in-law Jessica offered us free Kellie Pickler tickets she got from work. We went back and forth about taking them because I am an old lady about going out on a school night. Adam really wanted to go, so I agreed. Then all the you know what hit the fan Wednesday morning. We decided to still go to the concert because the only other thing we would be doing was sitting in my house depressed. Then...we found out at 5:00 (when we wanted to be leaving) that the clean-up people had a couple hours ahead of them that night. Then we were really struggling about what to do. I called mom and in her awesome awesomeness she offered to come over and baby-sit the house and the clean up people so we could go. And dad met her there after work.

I am SO glad that we went. It was an amazing time and it was awesome to spend time just the two of us doing something so fun that wasn't related to any sort of house renovations. And it was our first concert together!

"I guess we will go out even though my house is a disaster!"

Sorry sister-Erin, I am leaning against Adam again!

Our dinner at the concert. Since my kitchen was torn apart I had a late lunch that Adam brought me, but we didn't have time for dinner. But we wanted to eat SOMETHING before the beverages I consumed!

The video below is kind of long because I took some pictures but a lot of video of several of the songs. She was so awesome! I recorded her whole song of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5" because I grew up on Dolly Parton and I know sister-Erin will appreciate it. I also recorded all of "Red High Heels" because it is awesome and a favorite from my single days!

Also, I am really sorry about two things.
1. All the bouncing because I was dancing while recording.
2. The terrible signing in the background. I just can't help singing along!


Frozen Pipes or Finding Rain in the Garage in the Nude

Wednesday morning started off like any normal day. I groggily woke up after hitting the snooze button 3 times. I putzed around on the computer. I got in the shower. I got out of the shower. I putzed on the computer. I blow dried my hair. I turned it off. I put one contact in.....

HOLD IT.

What the heck is that sound?

Is it RAINING?

I looked outside. No rain.

I walked downstairs (side note: I have a lot of hair so if I blow dry it in my clothes I sweat a lot. So...I usually do it unclothed). I still heard the rain. I thought the sink might have been left on. Sink wasn't on. I walked around the corner in the kitchen and saw a lake on the kitchen floor. What the....?

I opened the garage door because I heard the sound in there (still unclothed and one contact-ed) and....

.... that is what I found. A torrential downpour in my garage. You know how hard it is to catch water on camera. This does not do it justice.

That is more what it was like.
So I ran upstairs and called Adam (who was working in INDIANA yesterday) in a panic and he said to go to my neighbors house and try to find the main shut off. I knocked on said neighbor's door (after throwing on some clothes of course) and asked for help. He told me that the water can only be shut off by the village. Well of course the Village isn't open at 7:30 in the morning. So I called the police to ask for help. They sent a police officer who tried turning my water off even though I explained that it was the water for my neighbors unit because THEIR pipes are in MY garage. Remember this?

The police officer called the fire department. A fire truck came.
Meanwhile I pulled my car out of the garage and tried to pull my 10 bins of holiday decorations out from under the waterfall. Then I was soaked. And it was TWO degrees outside. And the water was gushing out from the front of my garage. And freezing. So there was an ice rink.
The firemen and the police officers were traipsing around my house and my neighbors house trying to shut off the water. They couldn't. Finally Public Works got there and shut off the water for the entire building. 50 minutes later.

After the water was off, I finally went back in and soaked up the lake.
And put in my other contact.

Everything in my garage totally soaking wet....

AFTER the fire fighters squeegeed the water out.

As you can see, everything wet was freezing with the garage door open.
After several calls to my insurance company, the association, etc. The association finally sent a plumber over. The landlord of the unit above the garage also came by. The association said paying for fixing the pipes was the landlord's responsibility and he agreed (gasp!). It took them a couple hours and many times turning on the water just to find another leak or that it didn't take with more water spraying everywhere before it was finally fixed.
I also found out that all of the water damage falls under my insurance's responsibility because the damage is in MY house. "That is what insurance is for" is what I was told. So another $500 deductible was paid.

Then the water restoration/clean-up crew got there. They found that the water had soaked underneath my beautiful laminate floors that dad put down and they had to be ripped up. Also one cabinet got ruined with water and several walls were wet in the kitchen.


It was like a stab through my heart every time they ripped up a floor board.

My living room now. The kitchen table, a kitchen cabinet, everything from INSIDE my cabinets and the chairs are all in my (already small) living room. Also, there is a barrier up so that their dehumidifiers and huge fans can dry out the kitchen and garage.

And...my kitchen. The flooring was all torn up and everything moved around.
The estimate I received today to repair everything is $8,263.21. So I guess thank goodness for insurance. $500 is much better than $8,000. Also thank goodness for my amazing Mom who came over last night to babysit the clean up crew (more on that later) as well as during the day today so I didn't have to take another day off work.

Well...yesterday wasn't so much taking a day off work as my call to Bridget at 7:31, "I can't come in! It is raining in my garage! I'll call (boss' name) later! Please take my class!". About 8:00 after the fire dept and everyone were there (but the water was still pouring) I called the principal and explained in a still panicked voice what was happening and I had nothing planned and I couldn't come in. My principal is amazing and understanding and said everything was OK and to call her later to let her know how things were going. My assistant is wonderful and even though I forgot to remind them a parent was coming in for a birthday and we had an assembly to go to in the afternoon...she handled everything well and it all went smoothly.
Moral of the story....
Don't walk downstairs naked?
Finish putting the other contact in?
Know how to shut off the water?
Don't keep anything in your garage?
Don't buy a condo where your neighbors plumbing is in your garage? (I guess I will go with this one)

Friday, December 11, 2009

WHY do you want to sit in the attic?

So I was granted permission to post a few pictures that I took tonight. =)

Adam, his dad and my dad are working on the house right now. Thank goodness for wonderful family. I stopped over there to bring dinner to Adam and catch up on how things were going. I had a lot to work on tonight for the Christmas program I am running at church this weekend. Pretty much I am ready to jump out a window with all the things I have to do....

But anyway....

I am so excited to see progress at the house and even more excited that there won't be raccoon droppings in the attic anymore. It smells so normal now!

While I was there I decided that it would be really fun to climb up and sit on a beam in the attic with my legs hanging down in the room. The drywall will go up Monday so this is my last chance! The men all thought it was an odd thing to want to do. But I thought it would make for a cool picture. I also reminded Dad that I used to climb up in their attic at their old house with my friends in middle school and we would hang out there. Why? I have no idea. Privacy I guess!

There I am!

Adam down below!

And Adam putting up a box for a light fixture in the second bedroom.
Me=loving progress!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Organization Makes Me Happy

So...I know it is a little lame.....but being organized makes me happy. Like it seriously makes me a little giddy.

I have had this little white shelf in my bathroom that mom bought for me a couple years ago. Every year at the big fair in my hometown, my mom buys me a couple little pieces for my shelf for the different holidays. I just LOVE all of the adorable little pieces for it! This year as a Thanksgiving gift, Mom got me a few more!

But I have just had them in a plastic bag in a cabinet and I have to dig through them every month when I change them. Until now! On Black Friday Joann had 40 or 50% off all of their storage containers and on top of that we had a 20% off your whole purchase coupon. So I got a couple neat storage containers and this is one of them!

All of my little pieces now!

My little pieces for November

The new ones put up for Christmas


My bathroom has a flip flop/beach theme because I pretty much love summer and the beach and I pretty much despise the cold. So I especially love my "Christmas in Paradise" and Santa in swim trunks pieces!
But there is one problem...

I don't know where I am going to put my little shelf in Adam's house! And I don't know where I am going to put all of my cute bathroom/flip flop stuff.
Want to see it? Here it is!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Removing Wallpaper or How to Save Your Marriage Before Beginning it

Saturday I spent with my absolutely amazing future sisters-in law....sister-in-laws?...removing wall paper from the dining room in my future house! I don't know what I would have done without them. Actually I know. I would still be crying in the corner and would have missed the awesome Wii Fit party! This has been a task that has stressed me out for a while because I have never removed wall paper but know it is a terrible task. I decided to tackle it on Saturday and the girls generously agreed to help (the boys were working on other jobs). Adam and I read and article called "How to Remove Wallpaper and Stay Married" and what we got out of it pretty much was not to do it together! But I did read several articles about the different schools of thought...Dif, hot water, steamer, scoring, no scoring, fabric softener, closing your eyes and hoping for a wallpaper genie...

Here is Amanda pulling off the first layer of wall paper (you can see the steam from the steamer Kristin generously lent me in the corner). We figured out that the top layer came off well and it was easier to just pull that off in large chunks. But wait. Yes, look at that wall paper. Shiny. Dark. Very Dark. Purple Flowers. Upside down. Yup.

Aaaand....there it is again in case you didn't realize the horridness of it the first time! And don't forget to check out the dark purple carpet in future pics!

Here is Heidi helping to tear off the top layer of paper.

After that we got to the fun task of removing the adhesive backing. I started using the steamer and it was going extremely well. But then the men started harassing us and convincing us that Dif was the only way to go.

So we tried it and....it was amazing! The adhesive backing was pulling off in sheets! Right in front of our eyes. We were sold. We were ready to become fans on Facebook. We were amazed!

And we were teasing Amanda (who was using the steamer) that now she was lame and Dif was the way to go.

Yah...but then that was the only wall that was so easy. After that....it was pretty much terrible. Dif or steaming, we had to scrap off every little piece, piece by piece. No large strips were coming off any more. I guess it is good we started with the easy wall, because otherwise we would have given up. The steamer proved really good for the stubborn pieces especially against the trim and baseboards. And then Dif did help. But we had to scratch every little square inch off individually!

And we may or may not have forgotten to put plastic down throughout the whole room. But we are getting rid of the *lovely* carpet anyway...so who cares? Right? Just tell me right!

The final project!
You definitely need to go back up to the top to see the "before" picture again. Because it is amazing. Even unpainted and scuffed...I will take these walls over the funeral parlor wallpapered ones! It was an amazing team effort and we were scraping the last pieces off at 4:40 when I had the girls showing up at my house at 5:30 for the Wii party! I FLEW home, showered and got ready and was ready to go on time! Adam and I are super excited to have another project crossed off the list and now we can't wait to pick out an area rug and paint for the room. But I am not looking forward to the next "me" project of removing the straw like wallpaper from the kitchen walls. Yah. Wait for those pictures!