Sunday, September 30, 2012

Welcome to our Kitchen!

Nine years ago this month we started building our house.  It's crazy how that seems like yesterday! Time flies... Do I sound old or what?!?

On December 22, 2003 we were able to move out of our short-term apartment and begin settling into our new home.  Moving right before the holidays was definitely an adventure!  Christmas tree?  Not that year!  We stacked all of our gifts around an end table with a nice bright lamp on top!  Christmas decorations were just one more thing to pack/unpack and after being jammed into an apartment for 5 months during the building process, there was just no way we were going to do anything that wasn't absolutely necessary.

Here is a photo of our kitchen on December 28, 2003, just 6 days after we moved in:

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Looking good??  As you can see, we still needed cabinet doors, drawers, trim, shelves, crown molding, etc.  My father-in-law built our cabinets (yes, we are VERY lucky!) and they turned out beautiful, they just weren’t quite as ready for us, as we were for them :) 

Of course we hosted a New Year’s Party that year – why not??  I'm pretty sure our friends thought we were crazy!  Probably because we were.  We just couldn’t pass up a night of fun just because we were not settled into our home yet!  Paper plates anyone?

Just a few days into the new year my father-in-law came and did a little more of the install in the kitchen.  After his visit it was looking so much better!

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How about that pantry?  I LOVE it!  Although I must admit, I do love it even more with doors on it :)

Here is what our kitchen looked like this past summer:

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The pantry looks better with doors, right?

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I have been collecting Fiestaware since our wedding, over 11 years ago, and love using some of the fun pieces and colors to decorate our kitchen.

Here is a peak that includes our dining room:

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I would love a rug under the table, but I’m not so sure how functional that would be for our family right now.  First of all, we eat at least two meals a day at this table and our 6-year-old is a MESSY eater.  We are also waiting to adopt again, which definitely adds to our need for bare wood floors.  Second, it drives me crazy when I’m sitting in a chair that is partially up on a rug and partially on the bare floor.  Silly, I know, but true.  Maybe someday I will find the perfect rug, but that would also require me to be looking for one…

After a couple years of designing (yes, it really takes us that long to make decisions), my hubby and father-in-law worked together to build our china hutch. They built it to match our dining room table that we purchased locally at an Amish furniture store. We have mixed different woods/styles throughout our home in an effort to include what we like.  It’s not for everyone, but it works for us!

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We LOVE our 3-sided fireplace.  It breaks up the space nicely (I was standing in the living room when I took this photo).  This fireplace also kicks off some SERIOUS heat during the winter!

My father-in-law is pretty talented, huh?  He built all of the cabinets in our home (kitchen, bathroom vanities, laundry room, etc.) except for the built-ins in our office (that you really haven’t seen yet).  Hubby built the office cabinets himself and then one weekend when we were at his Dad’s in Iowa, they built all of the doors for the office together.  They make a great team!

So, that's our kitchen! You can see some changes from the beginning, although I definitely have more updates planned.  Of course with the work going on in the basement, my hubby does not want to hear about projects for other rooms in our house right now.  Anyone want to be a stand-in and help?  Anyone?

Linking to:  Thrifty Decor Chick

Friday, September 28, 2012


A couple of weeks ago we had the perfect weather to take the kayaks out for a ride, while checking out the fall colors.  Here in Minnesota, the weather is definitely changing!

This was the first time that we didn’t bring Anthony’s kayak with us and I have to say it sure created a lot more work for me!!

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“Hey Mom, let’s go through those trees!” 

For the record, I can swim :)  I have just decided that when on the water with Anthony, one of us should have a life jacket on, just in case we end up needing to assist him in the water.  Safety first!

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There we go!

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You can see the leaves are changing!

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There’s my hubby!

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Doubled up in the kayak – we were cozy, but we made it work! 
We decided this would be a good idea given that Anthony gets so wet when
he’s on his kayak.  We are hoping to still use them a bit more this fall.

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What a great day on the lake (except for the wind)!  Anyone want to go kayaking with us?

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hello. Goodbye.

Somewhere online (probably Pinterest) I saw a photo where someone had put the word “hello” on their front door. I checked my pins quick, but must not have pinned it, so I’m not even sure who to credit the idea of this project to.

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I have been wanting to put something on the front door for awhile, but “Welcome” just seemed too traditional.  The word “hello” was perfect – welcoming, with just a touch of silly.  Please ignore the messy entry and the missing sign on the sign post that my handy hubby made - clearly I was not paying attention to details when I took these photos :)  Just for the record, there is a sign hanging on the post now, and it's not this one.

I decided to finally try cutting vinyl in my Silhouette.  The Silhouette I have is the edition before the Cameo, which really hasn’t mattered to me (basically I think it does most everything the same, except the Cameo will cut bigger pieces).  I have to admit, it took me a couple of tries to figure out how to get the vinyl to cut correctly, however that’s probably because I didn’t read any directions…. Ummm, yeah, sometimes directions are just not needed.  In times like this, I probably should have read them though…

I have just started pulling out a few fall decorations, even though my flowers haven’t completed died yet.  It IS drought season at our house though, so I don’t anticipate they will last much longer (I am tired of watering!).

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After putting hello on the front door, I quickly ordered some black vinyl so I could update the inside too!

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It adds a touch of fun to our home and makes me smile!

Linking to: Snap! Creativity, Organize & Decorate Everything, Lil' Luna, We are THAT family, The Shabby Nest, Skip to my Lou, Keeping it Simple, Brassy Apple, Sugar Bee Crafts, Remodelaholic

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Birthday to my Hubby!

Today is a special day - my hubby is celebrating a birthday!  Can you believe that this is the 16th birthday that I have celebrated with him?  CRAZY!  Does that mean we are getting old??  I’m pretty sure it does since we have spent almost half of our lives together!!

We have been joking that he is unemployed this weekend because he left his job of 12+ years on Friday and starts his new job on Monday.  It’s been a fun joke at our house this past week!  Really though, we are very thankful he has such a great opportunity in his career to make a change like this by choice. 

Hubby, I am celebrating you today because you are such a great father and husband.  Need proof?  Here you go!

You coachTBall.

Mitch and Anthony after TBall

You play with Anthony and his friends in the lake,

There he goes again!

You play ball with Anthony, especially to celebrate Gotcha Day,

Throwing the ball!!  (He forgot he is supposed to tag him...)  Mitch's face is the best!

You were calm, cool and collected when Anthony locked our keys in the car at our friends house in Wisconsin (on my birthday!) and had to call a tow truck.

Mitch - happy to have the keys back!

You play in freezing cold water.

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You act crazy at weddings.

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You go on scary rides.

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You are great with my friends.

Mitch and Julie (taken by Anthony!)

You are dedicated to your hobbies.

He looks pretty good for just running 13.1 miles in extremely hot weather!

You are handy around the house as evidenced by all of your hard work on our basement.

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You are such a great husband and father!

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Happy Birthday!  I love you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fall Festival {at Quarry Hill}

This past weekend we decided to check out the Fall Festival at the Quarry Hill Nature Center.  Quarry Hill is a wonderful park in our community with trails and nature activities.  The students in our school district often visit to learn more about nature and science and I even went with the first graders twice this year!  When I chaperoned earlier this year, the 1st graders learned about bugs, snakes, toured the cave, went on a nature scavenger hunt, etc.  It was fun!

The Fall Festival is an annual event for children and families.  This is the first time we have gone, and I’m pretty sure that Anthony will want to go again next year.  We went on Saturday and he was already asking to go back on Sunday!

After purchasing some tickets and studying the map, Anthony decided his first stop would be at the face painting station.  After waiting in line, he was thrilled to have a snake painted on to his arm.  Lately he has been telling us that snakes are his favorite animal – maybe we have been spending too much time at Quarry Hill?!?

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The next stop (and the most favorite stop) was the rock climbing wall.  The line was surprisingly short which was definitely an improvement over the face painting line!  Anthony watched for a couple minutes, was set up with a harness, and was ready to go!

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He was a natural – he must have learned from his Dad!

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He made it to the top and rang the bells!

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On his way back down – Anthony did such a great job!

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There were lots of little activities set up so Anthony was able to play some games (Antler Ring Toss, Ladybug Bowling, Honey Bee Challenge, etc.) and make some fun things (a snake skin bookmark – eek!) to bring home. 

The Fall Festival was the perfect event for children and families to have some fun in a nature setting – I definitely recommend it for next year!  The only thing I would change is how our evening went after the painted snake washed off Anthony’s arm in the shower.  He was VERY sad. 

We suggested he draw a picture of his snake to hang on his door, so here it is!

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“Anthony’s snake friend.  Friends Forever.  (the snake is agreeing).
A is for Anthony, SP is for Snake Pal and QH for Quarry Hill

Now, who is going to help me find a new favorite animal for Anthony?!?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Going Wheelin’!

A few years ago we bought a little 4-wheeler from Anthony’s cousins (they are a few years older and it was too small for them).  Since then, we have taken it up to northern MN a few times and he has also taken it out on the undeveloped part of our neighborhood.  Someone is always with him (usually hubby riding his bike) and there have only been a couple incidents (as in driving into the ditch and hitting a tree and driving up on a snow bank and slowly tipping over).  Thankfully, he was just fine after both incidents and they each inflicted a little fear and caution in him.  This is a good (and necessary!) thing!

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I just noticed that you can see me taking that picture in this one – ugh!

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He looks ready for some fun, right?!? 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Running a 5K

Hubby and his friend recently ran a 5K.  Hubby has been running a lot and has even signed up for his first marathon (eek!), however his friend has just recently started running and this was his very first race.  A 5K close to his home was the perfect race to start with.

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Before the race – are they cool or what?  They have been friends since elementary school, so there is always a trip down memory lane when we get together.  Can you imagine the stories us wives hear over and over and over?!?  

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Here they come!

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Hubby found us, but his friend kept his eye on the finish line!

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Did you notice they are totally in sync?  It cracks me up – it’s no surprise that these two are in perfect step!

After the race we enjoyed hanging out with our friends, eating some fair food (love me some fried pickles!) and watching a 2-hour parade with a candy finale like none I have ever seen.  I didn’t get pictures – there was no time with all of the candy grabbing going on!

All in all, it was a great day (despite getting up at 5am!).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just a little Spray Paint…

With the warm and sunny weather this summer, I have been spending a lot of time in our home office.  Why am I spending so much time in the office when it's so nice out?  Now that I am working part-time, I am working from home more than I would prefer, so I set up in the office where I can also work on some fun projects.  Plus, our office is sunny in the summer and it's just a happy place to be in our house.

A few years ago we designed and custom built a desk in our office that spans two walls and is perfect for the two of us to work in there together.  By "we built", I mean hubby built, with assistance from his dad building the doors and countertop.  One of these days I’ll clean it up, take some photos and share it with you.  Or I will decide to be lazy and just keep it real, and show you what it usually looks like. Today is not that day though!

All this time in our office has left me staring up at our open shelving.  Years ago we picked up a set of M & S bookends in Madison, WI and have enjoyed having our initials on display in our home.  Unfortunately, they were black and just disappeared in our dark wood cabinetry.  All summer they have been screaming at me for an update.

See?  You can barely even see them!

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Yes, this photo was cropped to keep you from seeing the top of our desk :)

Finally, on one of our many trips to Home Depot/Lowe’s/Menards, I picked up a can of spray paint and got down to business.

Now they add a fun pop of color to our shelves! 

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The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series are currently on our shelves.  Anthony is totally into Harry Potter so I just recently pulled all of these books out and put them out on the shelf.  He is so excited about them and tries to sneak the books down so he can read them when we are not looking.  We have been reading the first book together and he is loving the movies so much that he can’t help but want to read ahead!

The black metal case on the middle left shelf is a special family piece.  It’s from my grandfather and dad’s creamery.  I’m really not sure how old it is, I just think it’s a really neat piece to have since it is from the family creamery that closed in the 80’s.  I have great childhood memories of my time spent with my dad and grandparents at the creamery.  Mostly my favorites are eating fresh squeaky cheese curds (daily!), fresh butter (weekly!) and dipping my wet hand into the salt bin and licking it clean (gross, I know!).  My brother and I also spent many hours riding around in the milk truck, going from farm to farm.  I think my favorite parts of the milk route were when my dad would sing the Statler Brothers music (sorry dad, but I loved it!) and playing with all of the barn kitties at each farm.

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The Think sign is a vintage IBM piece.  Hubby has worked at IBM for years and his grandfather’s brother, a retired IBM’er had this.  Once he passed away, it was given to my hubby since he works for IBM.

When my grandmother passed away and we helped prep for an auction (she had a FULL house), I chose to keep a few vintage books that belonged to my dad and his siblings. All of the stories are “classics” to me: Anne of Green Gables, Wyatt Earp, Nancy Drew, Little Women, Tom Sawyer, Robin Hood, and a few others.  I like to have a mix of “family” thrown into the display, just for fun.  Decorating open shelving is certain not my forte, I just chose to showcase some pieces that are important to us!

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Hubby helped coach t-ball this summer and the head coach had all of the players sign a ball for each of the assistant coaches – what a fun memory from his first summer coaching ball!

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This rock cracks me up!  Hubby made this when he was a kid and a few years ago it was gifted back to him.  We proudly have it on display in our office!  (Please ignore the dust behind it… No one ever gets close enough to see that dust, except for you….)

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“Time is money. If you took the time to read this, your costing me money.
So…… GET TO WORK!  From: The Boss”

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A little color goes a long way!  Maybe the next time you see these cabinets, you will be seeing the entire office (mess and all)!