Have an adventure. Eat good food till your pants are too tight. Enjoy a good belly laugh.

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When you don’t “Do It Yourself”!

I like to think that I can take on just about any home improvement project and successfully tackle it.  We will not discuss how long it takes me to get these projects done! Only that I am a handy woman and that my husband is a lucky man (3 years re-doing a hallway so far).  However, there are occasions when a project is beyond my ability because I don’t have the time, it involves electrical work (I am shocking enough without touching wires) or the task is just too big.

We currently have one such project going at our house.  We are replacing the multiple kinds of flooring in the living room, kitchen and breakfast room, laundry, art room, front entry and dining room.  All of these spaces, most of our common living area, are being “demo”ed so that a new dark wood grain porcelain tile can be laid in its place.

This new flooring will match what it took me 3 days to lay in the hallway and create an amazing, wonderful and consistent look!  I am a little excited!

We are currently 19 days into it…and the contractor just wrapped up the removal of the laminate under our carpeting and tile.  They estimated that all the floors would be removed in the first two days, then we would have eight days of construction for laying the new flooring.  Yet here we are on Day 19 and we just finished the demo.  Fortunately, they did lay some tile while working on the demo, so that there are 2 rooms that are 50-75% done but still…Day 19!  Did I mention that I warned them about the laminate?

If you are thinking about working with a contractor, remember a couple things:

  1. Have a plan.
  2. Be sure you are prepared for a change in “the plan”.
  3. Be patient.  Getting pissy does not help the situation.
  4. Be sure you have talked about added costs with your contractor if the timeline/work takes longer than originally planned.
  5. Be sure you have a blog so that you can vent about the plan changes.

These floors are the  biggest project we have contracted to have done in our home, so I am trying to be as patient with our contractor as my husband is with me when I work on my projects.  They will not, however, get 3 years to wrap this up!


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Life is an adventure

I believe that happiness is a choice and life is an adventure.  [Caution.  Venting commencing in 3… 2… 1…]  This belief was recently put to the test when my daughter and I had a flight canceled and had to delay our vacation out east by 24 hours missing the wedding that we were going to.  This was made even better by the fact that my husband and youngest daughter only had a 2-hour delay, so they were able to make it but we had their bags.  I will be honest.  I was pissed.  Then I had the mother of all realizations.  This was a test.

Someone, somewhere was testing if I was in fact a cool mother that could go with the flow and truly make anything in life an adventure or if I was in fact a bitter shell of the awesome chick I once was.

I will admit that I did give myself 5 minutes to be angry at the universe.  I even admitted it to my daughter and asked her how she was doing with all of this.  She was disappointed yes, but she is much cooler than I am so she was already back to being one with the universe.

Then we moved on and created our own adventure by going to the movies and getting free reign when choosing stuff to eat instead of having dinner (she still went for a hot dog but added a pretzel.)  Then we went home for a sleepover in mommy’s bed.

So there universe!

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Weekday lunches

Breakfast is for easing into things over a hot cup of coffee while listening to the birds welcome the day.  Dinner is for nourishing your family and friends with the recipes that create legends.  Weekday lunches are for… work.

I have an issue coming up with ideas for weekday lunches.  There is no one around to appreciate the balance of flavors or the effort it took, so I take a yogurt to the office and call it a day.  Unfortunately, this leaves me unsatisfied and underwhelmed, so I am trying something new.  I am going to try easy or no prep real foods that are low cal so that I can keep using butter at dinner without having to wear my fat pants (Don’t judge.  You have them too.)

Anyway, here are some easy weekday lunch options to try out:

  1. Sweet potato – microwave for 5min-ish (potato setting) add crazons and sunflower seeds or go decedent by adding brown sugar or a little butter
  2. Cherry tomatoes and blue cheese drizzled with a little olive oil, salt and pepper (if you don’t cut the tomatoes it will not get runny)
  3. Soft pretzel roll (I love you central market) cut open and microwaved or toasted with an American cheese slice on each side
  4. Deli meat and cheese rolled up with a little stone ground mustard and an apple (I have stuck the full deli bags in my lunch bag with an ice pack rather than prepping this)
  5. Bagged or store prepped salad with deli meat thrown on top, because lets be honest.  A plain salad is never enough

All of these weekday lunches (with the exception of #2) required no prep.  I could throw the items in my lunch box and throw them together at work.  The cherry tomatoes and blue cheese require a very small amount of prep but it is so worth it. Let me know if you come up with any other no prep lunch ideas.

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Summer schedules

I am so happy that summer is here, but not because of the weather or the extra time I will get to spend with the kids.  Not even because of any pending summer vacations (sorry but I actually just got back.)  I am happy that summer is here because that means that I am done with all of the scheduling, the planning that is required to be able to keep my school age child busy while I go to work everyday during the summer.

I spend weeks researching, scheduling, making color-coded charts, figuring out pick-ups and drop offs.  I am tired just thinking of all the work.  All of this because I want my child to have a great adventure, learn new things, not burn the house down.  Is it worth the work… I don’t know.  I will have to ask my daughters therapist in twenty years.

PS: I needed to put all of my summer on a calendar sheet just meant for the kids activities (copies to my husband, my dad, mother-in-law…).  If you want a nice looking free calendar that you can download for personal use you may want to check these out.  I liked…

2014 Printable Calender. . . Happy New Year!

Organizing Calendar: the Harmonized House Project

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BBQ’d Nachos

The two things that make me happiest in my life are doing anything with my kids (yep, I’m that mom) and feeding people so much food that they feel the need to stuff themselves to the point of unbuttoning their pants.  This is why I will never complain about my husbands friends coming over every week.  I get to feed them.

This week I defiantly forced a couple buttons as I fed them bbqd pulled pork nachos.  You heard me.  BARBAQUED PULLED PORK NACHOS!

These are devine and I make pulled pork just so I can make the nachos.


Ingredient Action
1-12 oz can pinto beans
Juice of one lime
1/2T cajun seasoning
1/2t salt or to taste  Smash together to make your refried beans and set aside


2 ripe tomatoes, diced
1/4 c pickled jalapeños, diced
1/3 c cilantro, diced  Mix together to make your pico and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.


7oz large tortila chips  Spread out on a baking tray
2c bbq pulled pork  Scatter over chips
Smashed beans (above)  Scatter over chips
Pico (above)  Scatter over chips
1/3 c sour cream  Dot little blobs all over the chips
12 oz cheddar cheese, shredded  Scatter over chips.  Throw your finished tray of chips under the broiler for 5-8 min.

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Everyone needs a grapevine trellis

p1-CuteKidsWhen I designed my garden I was keeping in mind that I wanted my kids to want to be there with me.  That is why I created a trellis for my grapevines in the shape of a standard house outline.  I built it out of PVC pipe which I spray-painted bright yellow.  It is anchored in two 2′ x 3′ beds with a stretch of about 8′ of lawn under it.

I picture my girls having picnics in the shade of the grapevines.  A blanket spread out over the soft lawn.  Stealing berries and lounging.  That makes me happy!

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Four legs of happiness

Harry Dog

I have 3 dogs, but ask anyone and they will tell you Harry is mine.  He is the best bad dog a girl could ask for.  Why is he good?  He is hops like a bunny when he runs, he follows me around the yard wagging his tale and he is always more than happy to hide the evidence if I ever spill anything.  What makes him a bad dog is the same thing that made us name him after Harry Houdini.  He has a tendency to escape.  Why is he mine?  When it is time for him to go inside or outside and my husband is trying to coax him to go the right direction he stands still as a statue.  That’s when I walk to the door and say “Come on Harry!”  Works every time.  Good boy Harry.