Sunday, December 22, 2013

Thirty Miles and Colorado

I met my goal of running 30 miles this week! The last time I ran 30 miles was the week of August 13, 2012 so this is a huge accomplishment for me. In addition to running 30 miles this week, at about mile two of my run this morning, I crossed from Kansas into Colorado on my transcontinental run. 

I thought the scenery would be better in Colorado but certainly not in this area!

2061.0 mi - "9.51 mi to Sheridan Lake, CO", Kiowa County
My mileage goal for the month of December is 100 miles and, right now, I have 31 left to run. Although it will be colder this week, there aren't any storms in the forecast so I should be able to reach my goal. The ice and snow storms that we recently had prevented me from running a few days so I am now stuck with cramming miles in.

Something to keep in mind during this crazy time of year...
Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Working With What You Have

One of the bloggers ( that I read on a regular basis often features "Working With What You Have" projects on her blog. These "Working With What You Have" posts feature ideas to inspire us to see potential in what we already own. Emily also provides different design tricks to help us make the best use out of what we already have or can easily (and inexpensively) transform. As she notes, "Most of us aren’t living in houses we’ve built specific to our tastes and needs. We’re living in real homes, decorating around other people’s design choices or a builder’s ideas. Or, maybe we’re living with hand-me-down furniture or a set of couches that we invested a lot of money in before we discovered design blogs and our tastes completely changed . . .  While small changes and updates are feasible, most of us aren’t working with the budgets or DIY skill sets that it takes to completely redo, remodel or even reupholster." 

I was so happy to have my very own kinda sorta "Work With What You Have" experience yesterday. Other than minor cosmetic work (painting, updating fixtures/appliances), the renovation of our home excluded the master bathroom and the kitchen. Those are huge projects (and very important to the resale value of our home) and I really want to think about design, cabinetry, tile, etc. before we bite the bullet and renovate those rooms. Maybe Kevin would like to have some input as well! 

For the most part, I have decorated the master bathroom (a new area rug, sheers and accessories made a huge difference!) to a point so that I can live with it for a while. And it might be for a long while considering how much money we spent on the renovations completed to date and the fact that we have two teenagers heading off to college in a few years. I am also okay with the kitchen but, again, to a point. All of the appliances are new, the walls are freshly painted and, although not my style, the cabinets and the counter-tops are in decent condition. I have hung some prints as well as a painting that we bought in Vietnam on the walls, moved a chest that I bought from Tibet into the room and reupholstered the chairs - it is definitely cozy and comfortable and reflects my tastes.

That being said, these tiles on the back-splash have bothered me since July. They are almost as bad as the wallpaper that we had removed from the kitchen.
There are three groupings of them in the kitchen and each grouping is about 8" x 8" square.  

I don't remember them being an issue when we lived in the house 8 1/2 years ago but, considering that I liked that horrible wallpaper then, who knows? Maybe I liked the tiles then too. But not anymore. Each and every time I walked in to the kitchen, I saw them and fixated on how ugly they were and what I could do to get rid of them. However, short of either replacing all of the back-splash (which was not in our budget or plan at this time) or somehow removing those particular tiles and trying to find white replacement tiles to match the existing (too much work!), I didn't know what to do about them. Over the past few months, I thought of several ideas but none that I was completely wild about. Then, Thursday morning, while I was wandering around Kirkland's looking for nothing in particular, a set of prints caught my eye and BAM! There was my solution! 

Although this is not a permanent solution, it is much better than what was there and I am very pleased with how it looks. Even better...each print was marked down to $5.99 so I spent less than $18.00 on the fix. I must confess...once I had my solution in hand, impatience set in and I simply stuck duct tape on the backs of the prints and pressed them on to the tiles. The prints are light enough and duct tape is cheap enough that I am not going to worry about it if they come unstuck.

Not everyone in my family (in fact, no one) was as excited about this transformation as I was. In fact, I think they were all happy simply because they won't have to listen to me complain about the ugly tiles anymore. Now I need to find something else to fixate on.

And another holiday funny for Saturday. I have seen and saved these throughout the year and now is my one chance to post them! 
Have a great Saturday! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Friday Funny

In keeping with the holiday season...
Coincidentally, Kevin ended up with a boxed wine from his office holiday party. (I initially wrote that sentence to read "Kevin ended up with a box of wine from his office holiday party" but realized that wording was a bit misleading). He assured me that the man who gifted the wine had done some research on boxed wines and whatever Kevin ended up with is supposed to be the best of them. Does being the best of the worst mean anything? 

Anyway, Kevin had his hands full last night and could not carry it home so he will bring it with him tonight. If we are strong enough to resist the temptation to sample it (ha!), we will share the love and save it for when my parents are here next week. The more that drink, the faster it will go! 

I am finishing up the last of my Christmas shopping this afternoon and hope to begin wrapping everything tonight or tomorrow. Since both of the kids' birthdays are just days before Christmas, many years ago we decided we would buy each a "big ticket" item for their birthday and smaller, less expensive gifts for Christmas. This has worked out really well for us although as the kids get older, those big ticket items sure become expensive. 

I had a great six mile run this morning. My goal is to run 30 miles this week (for the first time in a LONG time) and I now have 12 miles left to run over the weekend. Our temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-70's on Sunday and I am looking forward to running those miles in nice weather. It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the first day of winter!

After my run, I enjoyed another beautiful sunrise.
Have a great Friday!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

'Tis The Season

No sooner had I unpacked all of our moving boxes and organized the house when it was time for us to launch into decorating for Christmas. I was a little thrown off in my schedule because the kids had two days off from school last week due to snow and ice. Kevin was also off one of those days and was nice enough to haul all of the boxes of Christmas decorations down from the attic for me. But then, after my friend, Peter, passed away on Wednesday, I just didn't feel very festive or like I wanted to decorate. However, this weekend I more than made up for it and now I feel like we are really ready for the holidays.

Our holidays always "officially" kick off with a celebration of Caitlynne's birthday (which is today). Happy 15th Birthday to my sweet girl. She was a wee bit tired this morning as Jan took her downtown last night for dinner and to see Beyonce ("The Mrs. Carter" tour) at the Verizon Center. Although it was a very late night, she had a wonderful time. However, I am sure that after a full day of school and a two hour crew practice this afternoon, she will be a walking zombie.

Plastic jewelry, a fake cellphone and a toy car - if only it were still that easy!
It is hard to believe that in six short months, this kiddo will be able to get behind the wheel of a car. Most likely, it will be with her father as I rode with her a few times when she drove our golf cart in Bangkok and it was not a good thing. For either of us!

This was my breathtaking view as I enjoyed my coffee this morning...

Our front entrance area... 

These hanging baskets were my "steal" of the season. I had been looking at them in a few catalogs and on-line but everything I saw was priced at $75.00 EACH which was way out of my budget. I am glad I didn't give in to temptation and splurge because when my mom and I were in a local family-owned hardware store over Thanksgiving, I spotted the same baskets for $19.99 each and quickly grabbed two. I was very pleased with myself but now I wish I had waited even a little bit longer because I was in the same shop this weekend and the baskets were marked down by 50%. Oh well. 
The wreath and the baskets are wired with battery-operated lights but I don't like that look so I hid all of the wires in the greenery.

The sun-room photographs best at this time of day so here it is.
 I snapped this photo last night while I was waiting for the dogs to come back inside.
The dining room.
After searching forever, I found this chandelier on-line - exactly what I wanted and at a great price. However, in my excitement, I guess I didn't read the product description carefully (some assembly required) because when it arrived in a gazillion pieces, I was not happy. However, the price was right and I really liked it so I gathered some tools and went to work assembling it. Fortunately, Mimmo was at the house that day doing some other work and he was able to hang it for me quickly and without any problems. Does anyone want to guess how long it took Kevin to notice the change?!?
The sideboard.
We are hosting Christmas dinner for my parents, Kevin's mom, his Aunt and his brother (and two children). I am so happy that we are back home and can celebrate the holidays with our families again. 

These are just random photos from around the house.
In the entryway.
My ornament wreath on the kitchen window. I made those curtains a few weeks ago - I had purchased the fabric soon after we moved back here but it was a while before I got my sewing machine set up and found the time to sew them. Next to envelope pillows, rod pocket curtains are probably the easiest DIY project that I can think of. All you need is to calculate correct measurements (my biggest challenge), pin, iron and sew a bunch of straight seams and voila! You have curtains.
I will leave you with this photo of Chester. 
I don't know if it was the fact that he turned one at the end of November or not but - knock on wood - he seems to have outgrown a lot of his puppy behavior, the worst being gnawing on the corners of my rugs. I bought him quite a few new lovies and he always has one with him - either chewing on it, sleeping with it or just carrying it around. The Christmas trees (we have four this year!) do not seem to bother him and he hasn't knocked one over. Yet. 

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Farewell, My Friend

Can you hear the bird sing at the top of the chestnut tree? 
I am the song she is singing, so sweet a melody.

Can you hear the stream flow, forever running free?
My laughter's in the ripples and bubbles eternally.

Can you feel the sunshine, warm upon your skin?
I am the very sun itself, the love you feel within. 
Santa Montefiore

In memory of Peter Saint John, passed December 11, 2013.
Loving son, brother, husband, father and friend to so many. Rest in peace, you are loved and you will be missed.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Double Whammy

Yesterday, we were hit with a whopper of an ice storm.
I took the photo below from inside of our sun-room looking out at our dogwood tree. 
Ice covered everything!

The ice was so pretty but there was the potential for a lot of damage. We were very lucky to lose only one large branch of a tree on our front lawn. 
In the 1/4 mile between our home and the main road, three trees had fallen on or very near to the street. Once it warmed up a bit and it looked like the roads were fine to drive on, the kids and I went out to lunch.
Today was Phase II of the weather system - the snow storm.

One snow day is fun. Two are boring. The kids had fun making gingerbread houses. For a while.

How the boy works.
 How the girl works.
Poor Caitlynne. She worked so hard (and so neatly) and she followed the directions to a "T" but, just as she was almost finished decorating the outside of her house, it imploded.
Although it looked very messy, Christopher's house held together. He got tired of decorating it though and moved on to something else. 
The kids agreed that this activity was a total failure. Yay mom!
The boys had fun playing in the snow.
Chester could not get enough of the snow. 
He ate snow from the ground.
He played with his girl.

He ate the snow from the patio table.  
At first, Sonder was not thrilled about being sent out in the snow but he came around.
They were happy to come inside and warm up! 
As predicted, the snow stopped just after noon. The sun came out and most of the ice has fallen off of the trees. It is supposed to be bitterly cold for a few days so I expect the snow will be on the ground for a while. My fingers are crossed that the kids will be back in school as usual tomorrow.

Have a great Wednesday!