Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Sorry, I had to delete the last post b/c I was getting a lot of weird stuff. Sigh. Public blogs.

Friday, December 18, 2009

New House Photos: Main Floor

We have now lived in our house for a month and my dear sister-in-law (Hi, Lauren!) reminded me that I still had not posted pictures. While my home still hasn't reached the degree of perfection that I aspire to, and maybe never will, here are some photos to satisfy your curiosity. Unfortunately, my camera battery died before I could finish, so this is what you get.

This view is from the living room into the kitchen. You can see the back slider that is our main entrance and through that our tiny backyard and garage entrance. We haven't gotten around to that chandelier yet, but soon the brassy brassiness will be gone a la a can of Krylon.

I decided to include this picture of the main floor front window to show that we are on the ground floor from the back but on the 2nd floor from the front. This is due to the house being built into a hill. Our front entry actually goes right into the basement. It is hard to describe, but I will post pictures as soon as my battery is charged.

This is my kitchen from the back sliding entry. I love my gas stove and actually love that my sink is in the island. The dishwasher is right next to the sink.

The view from the pantry. You can see our neighbors garage through the window. Isn't my buffet awesome? I got it at IKEA and it took me four hours to assemble. I still have some decorating to do. For more views of the kitchen, see this post.

This is the view of the living room from the kitchen, and of course, Ravenna. The first door on the right is our powder room and the second door beyond it is the entrance to the stairs going down to the basement/front entry. Notice our artificial Christmas tree is leaning to the left? Yeah, I call this the "lean" tree for obvious reasons but also that we will only use it in the lean years that we cannot afford a live tree. Rock on, Lean Tree; the weeks outside of your box are few.

You can kind of see our piano just below the banister. This view is from the bottom of our stairs leading up to the 3rd floor. We are using what is supposed to be the formal dining area as our entertaining area and eventually the area in front of the windows, behind the couch, will be our library/play area/office/music room.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


If you haven't noticed yet, on the right side of my blog I have a list of my favorite links. Ahhh...the linky drugs. When I am feeling down in the dumps, I go read Soule Mama's blog and it makes me wish I knew how to knit, but then I feel glad because I would probably waste a lot of money on yarn that wouldn't amount to much, but I digress. When I feel the need for crafty distraction I head on over to Amy Carol's blog Angry Chicken. This woman has the best blog links! Seriously! Today I discovered this gem from the Angry Chicken which is the inspiration of this post.

Elaine, the lovely Selfish Seamstress has the ability to make beautiful, fashionable clothes BY HERSELF! With a SEWING MACHINE no less! How does she do this? From reading her blog I am getting the drift that aside from possessing magic abilities, she can sew beautiful things because she does it primarily for herself. What a concept!

I am afraid of my sewing machine. Every time I feel inspired to tackle a project I hear the voice of my sewing machine in my head saying: "you will fail you silly girl, so just leave me in my nice box and nobody gets hurt." Sometimes I fight that voice, usually to sew for someone else, and pull out the little "darling" and have an ugly contest of wills. Eventually, with dreams of sewing perfection shattered, I give up and settle for mediocrity. But, today I had an epiphany! The reason I can't sew is BECAUSE I only sew for other people! I can't say that I have ever made anything for myself.

And now, the resolution. Early though it is, my resolution for 2010 is to learn to sew with some degree of confidence and sew something lovely for myself! I expect my dear friends to hold me to this, particularly those of you who can sew.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Life 5 Minutes Ago: Kitchen

This is my kitchen almost exactly 5 minutes ago: the pot on the stove is heating chicken stock for to make chicken soup; spoon bread is in the oven. There is gluten free cake mix on the counter for date night later ;).

My kitchen table is cluttered with Christmas card madness, a makeshift advent wreath, a snap press that arrived in the mail today, Andrew's scriptures and Ravenna's high chair tray complete with left-overs from lunch. You even get a glimpse inside the pantry!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

December 6th is Saint Nicholas Day, when much of Europe celebrates the man whose myths created the Santa whose arrival Americans await on December 24th. Saint Nicholas was the patron saint of many things but was especially known for his generosity and good deeds. On the night of December 5th, German children put out their shoes and often leave oats and carrots for Saint Nicholas' horse. If the children were good, their shoes would be filled with small toys and treats, but if not...well, lets not talk about that since all children are good.

So, last night Ravenna put out her shoes and this morning, look what she found:

A fresh dusting of snow and some awesome finger puppets!

She just loves them! I think that we will continue this tradition in the future because it was lots of fun and fits in well with our Advent celebration. Tonight we lit our second Advent candle, read scriptures prophesying of Christ's coming and sang, "The First Noel."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

At long last, INTERNET!

Sheesh! It took two whole weeks to get our Internet set up, but I am back now and I will try to get pictures ASAP. There is just so much to do with the new house AND with Christmas fast approaching, the craziness is magnified. I just hope that I can prioritize so that I can really enjoy this wonderful season.

By the way, in case you were wondering after my last post, we absolutely love our home! It is the perfect size and everything has worked out so well! I can't wait to share pictures!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


We are officially homeowners! I have to say that this last week was very stressful, if not horrific, at times. It seemed like anything that could go wrong, did. Today I am physically and mentally exhausted from a rough week and my new home is still a disaster of boxes and the fridge it still mostly empty. Thankfully we have some great in-laws who are feeding us tonight and our ward took care of us for a night or two. Here is a breakdown of our week:

Sunday: Lovely, as usual; the calm before the storm.

Monday: Mortgage broker goes AWOL. In our search for info we learn that we don't have mortgage approval

Tuesday: Still no word on whether or not our loan will be approved before we close Wednesday at 11 AM. Go to pick up moving truck and the rental place is closed (during normal business hours). We are rerouted to another place setting us back 1/2 an hour and as we turn into the rental place we get hit by an gentleman who just "didn't see us." Carrie loses it and turns into a weeping mess. Pick up the truck and load it without further incident.

Wednesday: 8 AM inspection of home, the approval is in but the "package" isn't. 11 AM still waiting for the package so that we can close. 12 PM still waiting (truck is due back by 5 PM). 1 PM still waiting with cranky toddler. 2:30 PM We finally close! 3:40 We own our home and start unloading. The rest of the day goes off without a hitch and everything gets unloaded on time.

Thursday: Appliances get delivered but OPPPSS! They don't fit into out laundry room. Erg. Get a stacking kit for our washer/dryer.

Friday: What happened on Friday? Lost in a haze of cardboard and packing paper.

Saturday: Neighbors help us stack washer/dryer (hurray!) and water heater goes out.

At the end of a rather crazy week we don't have a hot water and can't assemble the biggest piece of our furniture, but we have a lot to be grateful for. We are really looking forward to Thanksgiving this week and we can't wait for Andrew to get a couple days of break! I will make sure to post pictures as soon as we get our Internet hooked up.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New House Week 10

It's finished! Not really, but it is almost there! On Saturday when we arrived for our weekly peek a crew was busy finishing the painting and staining and the last of the vinyl siding was going up on the garage. The "nasty green stuff" for the grass was sprayed this week so everything looks pretty sludgy.

These are the correct kitchen counters and I like them much better. Our BLACK appliances are in except for our gas stove which is still missing. I hope that it will be there this week because I won't close on the house without it. Yes, it is that important to me, plus we paid a lot extra just to get it.

Because I couldn't resist, here is a picture of our main floor powder room. In my estimation the only things left to be done are landscaping the front, paving the driveway and putting up the garage door. I am still waiting to hear from the agent about the final walk through which is supposed to be sometime this week.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ravenna's Halloween 2009

I bring you Ravenna as Minnie Mouse, courteousy of Oma and Opa "The Disney Fanatics" Hettinger!

Not one to stand still for the photo shoot while spooky decorating was going on, this was the best shot I was able to get of her whole costume.

I just thought I would throw this one in for good measure to prove that you are never too old to go trick-or-treating...from the left Chris (19), Melissa (21?), Josh 14.

After filling her pink purse with candy that her mommy wouldn't let her eat, Ravenna was done for the evening. She futilely tried to gum a tootsie roll in its wrapper before her mother snatched it from her slobbery grasp; she found one the next day and ate it anyway, wrapper and all. Take that mom!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New House Week 9 (Late!)

I have absolutely no pictures of the house from last week because I was on vacation! Ravenna and I took a last minute trip to visit my family before winter set in and Ravenna could no longer fly for free. Oh yeah, and we couldn't miss out on my Dad's rocking Halloween extravaganza.

As for the house, Andrew went through and said that they are starting to remedy some of the mistakes and that everything is in: carpet, light fixtures, toilettes, etc. All that remains to be finished are having the counters replaced, correct appliances installed, and a final coat of paint which should happen pretty soon; I hope this week, but I won't get to see until the weekend.

The garage is also being fixed and the siding should go up any day now. For your enjoyment below are more pictures from our trip to California.

Chris, Ravenna and I at the top of Mt. Rubidoux with the city of Riverside in the background. All the years that I had lived in Riverside I had never climbed Mt. Rubidoux so Chris and his girl friend Melissa were kind enough to invite me along. Ravenna was not so happy about it because she wanted to be walking, not in her stroller.

At the pumpkin patch in Oak Glen with Oma and Opa. Ravenna hated the pumpkin at that moment because she fell down trying to pick it up and got giant thorny stickers in her hands. It was so sad!

The chickens were pretty awesome, though.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New House Week 8

On the exterior they have done some finishing touches. The wiring for the exterior light fixtures is in as is the wiring for the outdoor electric outlets. We finally have steps! There is also a small patio off the back slider and the forms for the sidewalk are being put into place. From the outside it doesn't look much different from last week but WOW a lot has happened on the interior!

Check out my cute little kitchen! It is definitely on the small side but it has everything that we will need. For some reason I tend to gauge my expectations on what we had in Wymount so this kitchen is fabulous by comparison. Here we have real oak cabinets, a dishwasher, a much larger refrigerator, an eat-in-kitchen and a nice sized pantry.

The light oak cabinets actually look much better than I had expected them to. I think they make the kitchen look really warm and inviting even in its unfinished state. What do you think of the counter tops? We didn't pick those either BUT would you believe that they are not the ones that were ordered? Unfortunately there were a few minor construction boo-boos that we noticed while touring the house today: the wrong appliances were ordered (white and electric instead of black and gas), the vinyl flooring was also the wrong color AND the garage entry from the backyard was on the wrong side, but hopefully all those things will get fixed.

Here is the bathroom vanity. I am so thrilled with the cabinets! The interior is finally taking shape!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

New House Week 7

Isn't this such a difference from last week? Nearly all the siding is up and they hung the shutters as well! I think it looks great!

The slab is finished for the garage and soon they will be putting up the structure.

This is our kitchen. Where the pipes are sticking up in the foreground is where our kitchen island is going to be situated. Our sink and dishwasher will be in the island.

This is one of the bedrooms upstairs. In this picture you can see that everything has been painted and the baseboards and molding have gone in. What you can't see is that they hung all the interior doors.

Technically the home will be done in less than four weeks, but our closing date isn't until the 18th of November. Only 5 weeks until we get to move in!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New House Week 6

I just realized that we left the door open when we left...oops. This week the builders have been busy on the interior filling cracks and holes in the drywall, and that is a long and tedious job. There has been a lot of progress on the exterior with the porches nearly complete on the end units and the siding installed on the back of the house.

This is our view from the interior at the front of the house. We think it is pretty sweet.

The view of our living room from our kitchen. On the floor is all of the trim and molding.

Here is the back of the house with the siding! The builders are still working on the walls of the garage, which you can see in the foreground. I am really getting excited and have already picked out paint colors and curtains!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

New House Week 5

November 18th...6 more weeks until we get to move in! We found out that the delay was with engineering. They needed to make sure that there was enough support because the home is on a hill. Yesterday we did our construction walk-through. We did not get any pictures of the interior however because we were very rushed and had a very upset little girl. In the interior the insulation is in, dry wall is up, the can lights are installed as well as the smoke detectors (very important), so now begins the finishing work.

As of Monday on the exterior the porches need to be built for our lucky neighbors who get them, and the siding was about to be put up. The foundations for the detached garages were still curing in their forms but they should be up soon too. Annoyingly there are still no steps going into the house so we have to climb up or else use the 2X4 ramps that the construction works have improvised.

It looks like I will have a good spot for my garden in the front of the house. The plot is only about 3 feet deep but approximately 15 feet long and it will get plenty of sunlight. My plans are to try square-foot gardening. It is hard to imagine that in just a few weeks our townhouse will be complete!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My First Quilt!

Here it is! I made my very first quilt and though it looks lopsided in the picture, I promise that it is surprisingly symmetrical. Being the scaredy-cat that I am, I chose to do a simple baby blanket from Amy Karol's book Bend-the-Rules Sewing and was surprised how easy it actually was to make.
Perhaps it isn't a true "quilt" but I did do some machine quilting on it. It turned out much smaller than I had originally planned, mainly this is because I CANNOT cut fabric. Months ago I asked people for advice on how to best cut fabric and the answers that I got were: rotary cutter and mat. Well I have both of those and still managed to fail this one. Ugh...I could go on and on about my frustrations about measuring and cutting fabric but perhaps someday I will be able to figure it out.

One of the great pieces of advice that Amy gave for this project is to not pre-wash the fabric because machine quilting often causes puckers. Washing it after sewing disguises these and gives it a really neat shabby-chic look which is very cute. A general review of this book is &&&/5 because this isn't really a book that I would recommend to someone who actually knows how to sew. I am guessing that a lot of the projects an experienced seamstress could just look at and know exactly how to make. Karol does have some great advice thrown in throughout the book and I do think this a great book for beginners. If you are interested definitely check with your library first.

Now I just have to give this little baby girl blankie away...but to whom, I am not telling. ;)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

New House Week 4

We have windows and doors! This was a rather exciting week because we got to sneak into the house and check it out. The electrical wiring has been done as has the plumbing and everything is "roughed" in. It is still quite hard to imagine what the finished space will look like but it was exciting to walk around the space that soon will be all our own.
The foundation for the garage has been laid and, as expected, we have almost no backyard to speak of. There will probably only be 8 ft. from the sliding glass door to the garage.

The interior! Pretty fancy huh? This is looking into the kitchen from the family room. We are really excited to be able to have our first walk-through with the builder and hoping that it will happen this week!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


To clarify: we are only building 1 townhouse, not 4. Ours is the 2nd from the right.

Friday, September 18, 2009

New House Week 3

All three floors are framed, the roof is on and the weather guard is up! It is amazing how much happens in one week. We haven't gotten any updates on the completion date so it still looks like mid-October. Looking at it, can you believe that this will be done in a month? Me neither. I am guessing that it will be done at the end of October. Maybe I should have a poll?
This week has been really busy for us. Andrew is always busy working but with canning peaches, drying tomatoes, making meals for new moms, chiropractic appointments, La Leche League, birthday dinners, grocery shopping, laundry... [sigh] this has been a LONG week.

This weekend should be great! We get to go to Harrisburg to our Stake Conference AND we get a new stake presidency. While we haven't been here very long, a new stake presidency is always exciting.

Friday, September 11, 2009

New House Week 2

The ground floor is framed! This process seems to be taking FOREVER. When we met with the builder the first week of August he said that by now the framing would be finished and we would be doing the first walk-through. I think it will be two more weeks until we get to that point.
See the lovely puddles? We have had tons of rain this summer and it has been holding up the construction. While we had a few glorious days in the beginning of the month the rain is back with a vengeance, and will continue to dampen our spirits through tomorrow evening. I think I am in need of an indoor adventure. Any recommendations?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

We Bought A House

Front of the house

View from the back

To answer Lisa's question from the last post, Andrew did get a job and we bought a house at the end of July. While I am very excited that we found and put a deposit down on a home, the excitement has been tempered by the fact that it won't be finished until late October. Our townhome, until last week, was a pile of dirt. Now it is a pile of dirt with a foundation! Delayed gratification was certainly not what I was expecting after watching "Property Virgins" and "My First Place" on HGTV for the past year.

We wanted to buy an existing home but were unable to find one that suited our needs without having a long commute to Andrew's job. For the location and price we did have to give up on some things on our wish-list like a large back yard and a third bedroom, but with this home we do get the option of putting in a third bedroom in the future and the community has a play area for children as well as really beautiful grounds. So, I probably won't get much of a garden, but I did find a CSA nearby for next year.

Here is what the house will look like when it is finished. The small town is perfect for our needs and we are excited to begin living there.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Where have we been?

Jumping off of rocks...

Playing the piano with our feet...

Painting, pulling, scraping, laying, renovating...