Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

For My Sister

My sister called me the other day to ask if I had any ideas for my nephew's 1st birthday party. He loves rubber ducks so they're going with that for a theme. She asked me if I would be able to make a replica of some invites that they found online. She needed the replica because the site wanted $50 for 20 invitations, and they were just digital photos. So, based on the idea they liked, I came up with this handmade version instead. I think if I had free reign (and more time) I would have done them different, but they turned out pretty cute. Wish I could join them for the party!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

House Tour - Craft Room & 3rd Floor

**UPDATED 7/30 with the remaining photos**

Walking up a floor we come to three more rooms and a small storage room. There is one shared bathroom on this floor and it happens to be the only one in the house that has a shower so it will probably be our main bathroom until the others get fixed.

The room I'm most excited about on this floor is my craft room.

It's located directly above the master bedroom on the front side of the house. Through the door on the left is the shared bathroom.

The one and only shower in the house! That will definitely be getting changed. To the right of the shower (next to the sink) is another door that opens up into this bedroom:

And, back across the hall on the same side as the craft room, but in the back of the house, is the current laundry room. Hubs told me he's moving the laundry stuff down to the basement. I'm not too excited about this because that's a lot of hauling clothes up and down flights of stairs, but we'll see. I don't know what else to use this room for with the weird pole sticking in the middle of it.

So, that concludes the house tour. Stay tuned for photos once we start the updates. Right now we're in the process of finalizing the closing and hoping that all goes well. As of now, it's looking like it will be the end of August, but we'll see!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shopping for my Husband...aagghh!

This weekend is my hubby's birthday.

For the past five years, I've taken him to a NY Yankees game for his birthday because he is a die hard fan. We're trying to get around to all the stadiums as the Yankees play the home team. So far, we've only made it to Camden Yards when they played the Baltimore Orioles. Last year we had tickets to see them play the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field, but we were flying standby on my mom's flight benefits and the flight was oversold so we didn't make it. I was very bummed because last year was the big 3-0 (shh...don't tell him I told you!) and I wanted it to be special. All the more reason why I want this year to be something good.

Unfortunately, this year we don't have the time or money to get to an away game, and with it being the last year at Yankee Stadium, tickets are so hard to get, especially in the price range I'm willing to pay. Granted, I love my husband, but I also don't think that we should break the bank to celebrate one day. Especially, when we have a house that is in dire need of repair!

So, now I'm facing the dilemma of what to get him. He's very hard to shop for and if you ask him what he wants he only tells you a Books-a-Million gift card. That's fine if only one person was buying him a gift, but when my family asks what he wants and I tell everyone a Books-a-Million gift card, it seems like it will get kinda boring. Especially when he's given them the same list for the past few years and Christmas this year! He tells me he'll love it, but I don't know. Thankfully, he's also now added tools to his list. Books & tools. That's all. Oh, and underwear and undershirts, but I cross those off the list because he has drawers full. He's still living in his bachelor days of not doing laundry more than once a month!

What's a wife to do? The other day I was at Target and I noticed they now sell power tools and stuff. I figured since we'll be doing a lot of travelling to work on our house, we'll need to be bringing some tools with us each time we go instead of leaving them there. So, I got a carry on travel tool bag. Hopefully he likes it. Something tells me it will be getting returned for something different, but we'll see.

Still, though, I don't think a $15 bag comes close to being on the same level as Yankees tickets. So, after some more thought, I decided to sell a few things on Craig's List to make some money so that when we're on vacation with his family at the beach in a week or so we can rent jet skis for the day. Should be fun!

I'm also going to make him his favorite meal this weekend which is chicken and grapes with couscous and buster bar dessert. I'll try to post the recipes, accompanied by photos, next week.

My question for you is: do you have a husband/man in your life that is hard to shop for? What do you normally end up doing in these situations?

Hopefully next year I'll be able to go back to Yankees tickets for his birthday. But, I still have the dilemma of Christmas every year.

House Tour - Rest of 2nd Floor

Hubs and I were talking about the house again last night and it reminded me that I never finished posting the photos for the house tour, so without further ado...
In addition to the master suite on the 2nd floor, there is also two other bedrooms, each with their own bathroom, and a room that we're going to convert into a media room.

Also, I forgot to mention that none of the furniture in this house is ours. These photos were taken the second time we visited the house and the previous owners hadn't moved out yet, so it's their stuff in the photos. Thank goodness they took it all with them because our tastes are very different!

This is the bedroom that is located on the northwest corner of the house (looking at the house from the street it would be on the front right of the 2nd floor).

This is the bathroom that goes with that bedroom. The marble siding has got to go! I don't care if it's's ugly! Unfortunately, people must have been a lot smaller in 1909 because the tubs are tiny and there are no showers in the bathroooms. All that will definitely change. The bathroom for the room on the southwest side of the house looks exactly the same.

This is the room on the southwest side of the 2nd floor. Both of these bedrooms are great sizes for kids' rooms.

This is the room that used to be the servant quarters. My husband was quick to correct me when I referred to them as the "slave" quarters accidentally last night. I was quick to point out that while they may have been called "servants" I could almost guarantee him they were of African American decent! Especially given the city where this house is located, which hopefully I'll get to reveal soon.

Anyway, the wall that juts out in the left part of the photo is to a toilet and sink, but we're going to tear it out because there are three other bathrooms on this floor and if we can't hold it long enough to make it to one of those, we've got serious problems! Plus, that would give us more space in this room to make it into a genuine media/family room. The nice thing about this room is that it's right off the back staircase that runs right down to the kitchen so it's very convenient. My hubby would love to get some bleacher seats from Yankee Stadium when they tear it down the end of this year, but I think they're going to be a little to pricey for our budget. But, if any of you happen to come across a great deal on Yankee bleacher seats, let me know!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My New Do (or For My Mom)

This is mainly for my mom who has been patiently (or not) for pictures of my new hairstyle. I'll post some from the day I had it done (in the green shirt) and then some from my first day of styling it on my own (the teal shirt). Obviously I need to learn how to fix the bang properly, but hopefully I'll get the hang of it soon. I think I just need to make it flatter. If anybody has any suggestions...please send them my way!

This haircut is so easy. I love it! Well, for now anyway. I seem to have inherited my mom's genes of having to change our hair up every few months.

I never have understood those people who are so scared of getting their haircut and trying a new style. Or better yet those people who say they're going in for a new style and all they do is cut a inch or so off and it looks absolutely the same. I just want to shout, "Hair grows back! Try something new!"

House Tour - Master Bedroom & Spare Room

Today was our house inspection and hubs said that everything is about what we expected. There seems to be more water damage in the basement than there was last time we were there which led to some mold, but nothing we can't fix.

So, let the tour resume on the 2nd floor with the Master Bedroom & Spare Room!

The windows in the above photo face the front of the house. When you come up the main staircase, the master bedroom is on your right (on the left when looking at the house).

I love how there's a fireplace in here! To the right of the fireplace is the entrance to the bathroom. The marble on the walls has got to go! There's also no shower, just a small tub and a huge hole in the floor.

Thankfully, the wall with the toilet on it backs up to this:

So, we're going to knock out the wall and covert it in to one bigger bathroom.

The above photo is the current closet. It's really weird because you have to duck low and then through another room, etc. We're going to try and just open it up into a hallway. Walking through the current closet leads you to this room (which also has its own door off the hallway):

This is the part we're going to convert into the bedroom area because then we're facing the backyard, and not the street. We might also put a walk in closet in this part or in the room with the fireplace. This room is bigger than the photo looks. So, in essence, we're going to convert the whole right side of the house when you walk up the main staircase (or the left side when you're looking at the house from outside) on the 2nd floor to the Master Suite.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Let's Be Honest Here

Unfortunately, I'm going to have to postpone my house tour another day. Things are crazy today and I'm not going to get to it. My mom is also eagerly waiting for me to post a photo of my new hairstyle so hopefully I'll be able to get that done tomorrow too.

I love only working 4 days a week because it makes my days and week fly by, but I no longer have the free time I used to in order to post here during the day and my computer access at night is really limited, so we'll see.

Hopefully, though, the house tour will resume tomorrow!

I forgot...

to post on the house tour yesterday. I promise I'll try my best to make up for it later today. We're having printer and computer issues...what's new...and that's taking my time for now.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

House Tour - Sitting Room, Office & Living Room

When you walk in the front door, the first room on your right is this lovely sitting room. I always wanted a yellow room, but I don't know if I want it this yellow. This room might have some damage in the front left corner, but besides that, I think it's pretty much cosmetic.

It will be a cozy place to read a book during the winter.

The second door on the right side of the main hallway is the study. Definitely planning on getting rid of the hideous green wall color! That door in the back right corner leads to a half bath.

The study also has it's own fireplace that backs up to the fireplace in the sitting room.

Aforementioned half bath.

The first door on the left side of the hallway is (I say door because each room off the main hall has these gorgeous pocket doors.) the "formal" living room. It will be an incredible place to put a tree at Christmas. We're already planning on having my side of the family there for Christmas in 2010. That gives us a goal to shoot towards. This room also has it's own fireplace. It connects to the dining room and the door to the left of the photo is in to a solarium (which you can see in the photos of the front of the house). Now, you can see that this house needs some work. Thankfully, the previous owners already fixed the plumbing in this hole so we just need to repair the plaster/dry wall.

Join me again on Monday as we move up to the 2nd Floor!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Time for Some Campaigning

It seems like it's always time for campaigning in our household! Thankfully I enjoy talking politics. Just wanted to share a link in case you haven't seen the most recent JibJab production. They always have funny spoofs they put out. I don't always agree with everything they state, but their little rhymes and view of thing is often entertaining.

A Fuji Film Commercial

This was in my inbox this morning when I got to work. It made me chuckle, so I thought I'd share it with you. We all know that we've been to Disney World or other places where we see this cultural phenomenon!

House Tour - Kitchen & Dining Room

Join me as we step in to the dining room. This room is located on the back left side of the main foyer. It has a full wall of windows (half are cut off in the photo) that face the backyard. It has a big opening that connects it to the formal living room & solarium which are located in the front left of the house. It's probably the room that needs the least amount of work.

Heading out of the dining room towards the foyer you come to these two doors under the main staircase. The one on the right is a closet and the one straight ahead leads to a butler's pantry - which I somehow completely missed the first time we toured the house.

Don't think I'm going to be needing a china cabinet with all this storage space! This needs a granite top and updated cabinets. The wallpaper MUST go!

Walking through the butler's pantry you enter the kitchen (at the right side of the photo behind the fridge). The walls here need a LOT of work because they're plaster with hay, yes like the kind horses eat, mixed in with it. Don't think that's going to work! Plus, the blue trim...just not my taste. Nor is the funky African contemporary art. This room will be getting a complete overhaul. Do you like the previous owners makeshift version of extending the island? Notice the two different countertops. The one furthest on the left is just untreated plywood.

More storage to the left of the fridge area. I want to knock out some walls and make it all part of the same room.

My wood burning fireplace. I'm torn about this one. I know it will really keep the place toasty in the winter and help with the heating bills, but it takes up a lot of space where I could have more countertops and cabinets. I might have to put this one up for vote to see whether it goes or stays.

And lastly, the eating area in the kitchen. If you click on this photo, you'll see that hay in the plaster treatment I'm talking about. On the opposite side of the wall on the right is the door to the backyard. I want to knock this wall out too so that the kitchen is one big open area. We just have to check with our structural engineer/architect to see if it's feasible to knock these walls down or if they're supporting walls.

That's all for now. Join me tomorrow for more!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

House Tour - Outside & Foyer

View from across the street
Front door
(don't know who the guy is)

The molding on the brick that we need to replace

Looking up the stairs in the foyer
Looking towards the front door from the 1st landing
Our garage (or perhaps Hubby's future office?)
Looking down the stairs from the 3rd Floor

That's all for now. Tune in tomorrow for more!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Coming Soon...

more house photos!

Here's the schedule for the photo tour of the "new" house so mark it on your calendar!

Tuesday, 7/15: Outside & Foyer
Wednesday, 7/16: Kitchen & Dining Room
Thursday, 7/17: Sitting Room, Office & Living Room
Monday, 7/21: Master Bedroom & Spare Room
Tuesday, 7/22: Craft Room & 3rd Floor
Wednesday, 7/23: Miscellaneous

A Day "Off" - Who was I kidding?

This past week I began my new 4-day work week schedule. The intention is to save gas money on my 80 minute commute per day and to have some extra time to get things done around the house so I don't have to spend my whole weekend doing chores instead of relaxing. We also factored in some time for me to work for hubby in his office so that he can have an assistant one day out of the week. In addition, I picked up some additional bookkeeping work to do as well.

Friday was my first official day "off" and all my lofty goals...yeah, they didn't really get accomplished. Hubby and I had dentist appointments in the morning and that really chopped a huge part out of our day. We then tried to get a little work done in the office, but I was feeling antsy about getting to the grocery store before the after work crowds hit, so I cut out early without getting all my work done. The laundry and cleaning the bathroom got nixed for the more important task of preparing the food I was serving for my Pampered Chef party the next morning and cleaning the main level of the house for said party.

After the party on Saturday, hubby and I headed to Sleepy Hollow, NY to meet with one of his clients who works at the Rockefeller farm/estate, Hudson Pines. This is where hubby spent his winter months helping with the calving when we were first dating, and thus where he met quite a few of his financial clients. We had a great time with them and love hanging out at the gorgeous farm whenever we get the chance.

Sunday brought us church, and then because we hadn't gotten all our work done on Friday, it was back out to the office for us for some more work so we'd be prepared for the meeting tonight with the guy I'm doing the bookkeeping for. I still have a few more questions so I can understand clearly what he's wanting (not to mention his not so conventional way of keeping books in the past!) and move forward from there.

Hopefully this next Friday will be a little more productive, but I'm not getting my hopes up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We're Homeowners!!

Hubby & I have bought a house!

We've had our eye on this house for about a year now and have patiently waited while it's gone through the foreclosure process. Both of us have wanted to try our hand at flipping houses and this was the perfect house. It's about 7000 sq. ft. and in a gorgeous neighborhood with tree-lined streets. We were able to purchase the house for less than $200,000 which is $100,000 less than we offered on it a year ago when the bank rejected it. See...patience pays off!!! Normally, houses in this area that have been remodeled sell for $800,000 to a million, so it's a nice investment for us. In this market, even if you only fix a few minor things you're almost guaranteed to make a small profit when it rebounds.

The house is livable, but we don't know if we'll live in it or just fix it up and sell it. There are a few things in life that we have to work out first before we'd be able to live in it (i.e. jobs, my husband's political career), but for now, we'll flip it and get it ready to make a profit if we do sell.

We're both just so stinkin' excited!!! We definitely did not expect this call from our realtor yesterday. While we're really happy, we were secretly kinda hoping it would take a couple more weeks so that we'd be in a slightly better financial situation (with money we have owed us in a month), but the Lord blessed us with it now, so we're eager to see how He'll meet the financial situation. Please be praying that everything goes smoothly with the inspection and closing. Well, as smoothly as a house that's 90 years old and needs work can go!

For now, I'll leave you with a couple photos. One is the outside from the street (need to cut the shrubs and plant flowers) and the other is the foyer once you walk through the front door.