Friday, February 26, 2010

Cabinets...DONE!!!

After a very long night, my mom and I can confidently say that the kitchen cabinets are finished. What an improvement!!! It actually turned out to be a fun girls' night...we talked while we worked, of course. Just to remind you of exactly how bad the cabinets were before...here are a few pics. I am SO glad we were able to change these!!!


Duncan's checking out the situation...evaluating the future work to be done.

Around the "feegerator"...as one of my students says. :)
Yes, dear friends, the cabinets were this bad...
The granite was not really working with the coloring of the cabinets either...
So, needless to say, a change was made to help the kitchen to make more sense. It is amazing what two coats of stain and seal, some sanding around the edges, and some poly finish will do!
It is amazing how much better the tops look with a better coloring on the cabinets!
A close-up of the cabinets. My mom sanded the edges down a bit so that you could see the wood through the black.
Please ignore our cluttered fridge! Andy is building me a magnet collection from all of the cities he visits on audits, and I like to display photos and artwork my school kids make me. It's SO messy, I know. :)
Don't you LOVE the adorable rug? Another Mom-find at TJ Maxx Home Goods. Is there anything better than finding a deal on decorating junk there??? I thought the coloring in the rug was perfect since we're going with a yellow on the walls.
More of the cabinets...

Our black cannisters (wedding gifts) look so much better now! It seems with every home improvement I feel that our home looks more like HOME. Thanks for stopping by and checking on us! Enjoy your weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Washing Cabinets and Writing Papers

To prepare for staining the kitchen cabinets tomorrow, I cleaned them tonight. I used a product called TSP to clean the wood, which is a VERY strong cleaner. I used gloves, wore my glasses and long sleeves, and covered my countertops for the washing process. TSP is a powder that is mixed with water to be sponged on to the surface. After scrubbing each cabinet with the solution, I washed it down with warm water. Then I dried the surface to prevent a lot of streaking. Let's just say it wasn't the best way to spend the evening.

The cleaner I used on the cabinets...

More of the naked cabinets...crossing my fingers that the staining will make a HUGE improvement!!!
The cabinets post-washing...aren't they LOVELY???
I also removed all of the cabinet knobs to prepare for tomorrow's staining, so hopefully the only thing left to do is tape off around the cabinets. My mom is set to come up tomorrow night to help me along in the process (I'm not very confident in my wood staining--I've only watched her do it!) Hopefully everything will go smoothly. That will be one more step in the process that is complete! From there we will have to nail down a backsplash choice to then pick wall paint. We are on our way!

Well, I'm off to hopefully finish my big paper for the week. I want it DONE so that I can devote all of my attention to the kitchen tomorrow night. :)

P.S.--Tomorrow is class picture day. I have a fairly hilarious group of kiddos...wish us luck. I'm just hoping that we all have our eyes open and our smiles ready. It could be interesting!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Procrastination...

I should be writing a fairly LARGE portion of my Action Research paper; however, I am finding many other things to strike my fancy. Cooking dinner, Facebooking, and old reruns of Grey's Anatomy are all helping to keep me from actually starting on this section. I keep trying to remind myself that this paper decides whether or not I graduate in May, but at times, even this is not enough. How I look forward to coming home from work to do what I WANT to do in the future...

On a lighter and much more interesting note, I was greeted by one of my students this morning at my classroom door. She was wandering the halls before school hours, and was dying to tell me her big news. She excitedly shared with me that she was baptized yesterday morning at church. Of course I was THRILLED and gave her a big hug and my congrats. She completely brought me out of my morning funk. It's those little "God" moments in life that make long days worth it. To think that one of my third graders is on the right life track and was dying to tell me about it is really powerful. What a blessing! May you also be blessed today!

P.S.--We miss you, Andy!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dog by day...stripper by night...


Well, Duncan has been wearing a sweater that his Grammy (Andy's mom) gave him. It has been quite cold outside, and we felt that it was necessary to dress him appropriately. To our knowledge, Duncan is not able to dress and undress himself. However, last night Duncan went to bed with his sweater on, and this morning Andy and I awoke to a "naked" Duncan. Yes, Duncan was belly-up on the bed with the sweater by his side. Andy and I proceeded to deny that we had undressed him...so who could have stripped the dog? That's right. Duncan got hot in the night and did what any other sweatered dog would do...he pulled his sweater over his head and went back to sleep. This again leads me to believe that Duncan may be the weirdest dog EVER...



Duncan as we found him this morning(his sweater is the navy item behind him)

So long for now. Enjoy the warmer weekend!!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Faucet...Check!


Andy, bless his soul, took his lunch break to be at the house for the plumber today. The faucet went in with no problem, and our fittings on the disposal fit like they needed to...thank goodness! Here are some pictures of the sink with the new faucet.



Higher arching faucet + deeper sink = Much easier dish washing!!!

Side shot...

Andy and I have decided our new sink and faucet may double as Duncan's kitchen spa. Wouldn't it be a perfect shower head for him??? Well, I'm off to con Andy into grading papers with me. I'm a bit behind on that front. :( Guess what? It's almost the weekend!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

GRANITE IS HERE!!!

WOW. As I write this post I still can't believe all that occured today. I received a call at 8:oo this morning from our granite company. The call went to voicemail, so as soon as I could, I checked it. Basically, the guy stated that they planned to install our granite tops TODAY! Thanks for the heads up! So, naturally, I freaked out. To make a very long story short, my mom came to our rescue AGAIN. She rode up with my dad (he works in Nashville), and stayed at the house while the men tore out and installed the counters. Therefore, this post is whole-heartedly dedicated to my WONDERFUL mom...you rock, Mom!

To give you a small idea of why this was such a huge day for us, here are a few pics of our old laminate tops. Let me go ahead and say, Mr. Bozeman took these pictures today on his lunch break because I was obviously at work. We had to have before and after pictures! Although I am extremely grateful for his efforts, I might have cleaned off our ridiculously cluttered counters first. But, the boy did what he was asked...he found my camera and took the pictures. I love you, Andy. An "E" for effort, okay? :)

Don't you LOVE the off-white?



Notice that lovely shallow sink and low faucet...try washing a big pot or pan in there!!!

More laminate...not for long!!!

Next...the big reveal!!! I seriously keep walking in the kitchen just to look at the tops. It is an awesome feeling to look at a big change/improvement and know that WE made it happen. Although it would have been easier/less stressful for the previous owners to have made this much-needed change, it was really neat to choose exactly what WE wanted. I couldn't be more pleased. We are headed in the right direction!!!


I know what you may be thinking, "Good grief, look at those walls!" Honestly, I hardly notice it at this point. :) Look at that granite--woohoo!

F.Y.I.--The part behind the sink that comes to a point is called a "batwing." If you have one of these, get ready. Many companies will charge you a "custom fit" fee on top of all of the other fees to cut a piece for this. The company we went with found a way to get this whole section out of one slab, so we didn't have to deal with any extra cost.

A close-up of our piece. This is Saint Cecilia granite. It has some gold, black, and a really neat burgundy (crimson, as Andy would have us call it) in it. I love it!!!

This sink came free with the granite...very big deal. This is an 18-guage, undermount sink. The lower the guage number, the better the stainless steel. The undermount feature (notice you can't see the edges of the sink) also costs more in sinks. We easily saved 250-300 dollars by getting this sink with the tops. Make sure to shop around!!! Granite companies have struggled with the economy to some extent...use that to your advantage!

So you may also be thinking, where is the faucet? It is best to let the granite settle for a day before rehooking all of the plumbing. Our new faucet is super exciting as well. It has the squirter-thingy included in the spout. Don't I sound professional??? Anyway, Andy and I splurged a bit to get it, but I think we'll love it. Tomorrow the plumbers are set to come around noon to hook everything up. Hopefully (barring any unforeseen obstacles), we will have a beautiful faucet to show off with the new tops tomorrow. Stay tuned (all 2 to 3 of you--haha)!
Thanks for checking in and sharing in our excitement! And thanks again to the MVP of the day...Momma Fitz. :)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We need a haircut...STAT!!!

Okay, I honestly don't know what happens. I literally look at Duncan one day and think to myself, "Wow, this haircut is really lasting this time." Then, seemingly overnight, he looks like an overgrown, neglected dog you might see on the ASPCA commercials. Look below to see what I mean...

A side shot of the out-of-control fur...notice it is popping out of the top of his sweater. He looks like an old man!


I've taken to calling him Albert (Einstein). Can you see why???




I just had to include this (taken a few nights ago). As I wrote earlier, Andy and I have taken to watching LOST before bed. Duncan actually fell asleep on the remote. Can't you imagine him saying, "Please guys, can't we just go to bed already?" So sad...


Last but not least, I made a purchase for our bedroom today. I think Andy has come to dread snow days because I get antsy and paint rooms and buy things. I just had to show it because I absolutely love it. I just couldn't bear to leave it behind...anyone who loves artwork knows what I mean. And yes, I did run it by Andy before purchasing. :) Hopefully it will look as good on the wall as it does on the floor! Have a great night!!!





Monday, February 15, 2010

A night out with Jim Brickman...

I am currently posting because I am out of school AGAIN for snow. The teachers were actually scheduled for an inservice day today, but very late in the game, the system decided to cancel school. Therefore, Duncan and I are still in bed, and we are planning to catch up on progress reports and graduate school work. NO PAINTING!!! Can you tell I'm painted out? In case you were wondering, Andy and I did finish painting our bedroom yesterday. One more room down!
So, yesterday was the day of love. Yes, Andy and I did plan a night out on the town without the kid (Duncan). Truth be told, I am a closet Jim Brickman fan (until now, I guess!). Several of the piano songs in our wedding were the works of Brickman. For those of you that may not know who he is, look up songs like "Angel Eyes," "Valentine," "Never Alone," and "Timeless." These are some of my favorites. Well the symphony center downtown was hosting Jim Brickman, so Andy and I got tickets for last night's show. It was SO much fun. The symphony center (I refuse to call it by its name because I can't spell it or say it) is absolutely gorgeous! We had dressed up for the evening, so it really felt like a special night out. If you haven't been to the symphony center, I really recommend it!
Here are some pics of the center and Andy and me before leaving the house...


A shot of the concert hall...just before the usher told me I couldn't take pictures. The show hadn't even started yet!!! Needless to say, Andy was embarrased...


I did try to add a little red to my outfit. This is taken just before getting out of the car and freezing our tails off!



A family shot before leaving. Notice how Duncan turns his head just as the picture snaps. He was just mad because we wouldn't take him on our date...


And last but not least, here are a couple of pics from my class Valentine's party at school on Friday (no we are not supposed to post pictures of students online, but these have full masks on!). It was quite possibly the craziest day ever with parent-teacher conferences and a Valentine's party all in one. We made symmetrical heart masks to reinforce the concept of symmetry that we were discussing in math. These were a couple of my favorites!



Please notice the bows and eyelashes...too cute!!!


Love the cheeks and eyebrows...



Saturday, February 13, 2010

Handy Andy strikes again...


After an EXTRA long week at school, I begged Andy for a day out of the house. We ventured to Murfreesboro for a day of shopping. Andy was SO excited! For those of you who know him, you know that this is very far from the truth. However, he hung with me. He did get to browse in a sports shop or two, so he didn't completely lose his manhood today. :)

One of our purchases today was a set of blinds for the two front windows. We have not had blinds on these two windows at all, so this was a very important buy. Any time we've eaten at the dining room table I've felt like we are being watched. It was getting creepy. So, we bought 2-inch faux wood white blinds for the windows. This was obviously cheaper than getting real wood blinds; however, we still get the look that I wanted. Plus, if we had bought the real wood blinds I definitely would have jacked those and taken them to our next home. Not what a potential buyer would want to hear, huh?

Here are a few pictures of the blind hanging process and the finished product. Andy did this all by himself--I'm so proud!!! Happy Valentine's Eve. :)

Windows pre-blinds...Notice the AWESOME curtains by my mom!!!


Handy Andy at work!!!


We officially have blinds!!!


No more people peeking in while we eat our dinner!!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is there anything worse than watching paint dry?

I think I have found the answer to this age-old question...A) yes and B) draining a water heater. Hello everyone, all four or five of you. No, this is not Meghan. She and Duncan are currently counting sheep and other critters. I come to you from my garage...in the cold...at well past my bedtime.



First of all, Bob Vila I am not. Meghan certainly didn't marry me for my handyman skills. I can manage a few things, but I'll probably be finding a different conversation around the water cooler at work than "how I completely gutted an old house and had it on the market in a weekend." We noticed a few weeks ago that we had a leaky water heater. A nice little stream made its way into our garage, so we decided to see what could be done to fix it. We found out that our unit was still covered under its original warranty - a true blessing. It will be replaced with a similar model tomorrow. But before that can take place, we needed to drain the water.



Initially, we didn't really know what to do. Of course, neither of us had really had much dealings with water heaters, well, at least diagnosing issues and trying to get those issues resolved. We researched the internet, as well as contacted individuals more shrewd than us. We figured out what sort of things needed to be done to drain it. Seemed pretty simple...until the water wouldn't drain out of the garden hose. So we resorted to placing buckets under the drain valve and dumping them after the filled. Imagine the sound of rhythmic water dripping from a faucet...that's what I've listened to for the past 2 hours. Never have I been so happy to fold laundry.



I'm certain I could describe this process to someone with more knowledge and I'd get the, "Aww, you didn't have to do that. All you needed to do was................" Yeah, thanks. There probably is a faster, quicker, warmer way, but water is exiting the water heater, and I guess that was my goal. This really wasn't the type of home improvement project we envisioned, but I guess you have to take the good with the bad sometimes.



Well, hopefully this won't last much longer. I'm jealous of those two sleeping beauties up there. Boy, will she be surprised when she goes to make her next post? Until next time (and hopefully, not too long from now)..... --Andy

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A bit of Duncan's craziness to brighten your day...

Today was a bit of along day at work with the post-Snow Day craziness. We had a lot of rescheduling to be done due to the lost day yesterday. However, we did continue with our plan to have News 2's morning weatherman, Jeff Ray, come to speak with our third graders about weather. The kids really loved him, and I learned a lot about weather that I didn't know. If you get a chance, watch News 2 tomorrow morning and you may see us! I'm the teacher turning around to ask another teacher if I'm in the picture when Jeff is actually taping us (I thought he was just snapping pictures). Awesome! I will sound like a complete goob on TV!
But now, what you've all been waiting for...Duncan's video. There are some days when I just really need a laugh and Duncan comes to my rescue. As Andy and I were talking in the kitchen tonight we heard a thumping...this is what we found. I'm guessing his bottom was itching. What better way to scratch it? Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All in a Snow Day's work...

So, here in Nashville we received another beloved Snow Day. However, this one comes with a price. We have to make it up! We will either have extended days or we will make it up in May. Neither sound good to me...


However, I did get a lot done today. Check out our nearly-finished bedroom!!!

The "Stone Gray" has really helped to warm up the room. You notice the red accents in our curtains and bedding much better now. The only part of the room that I didn't finish is the wall with the bed against it. I did manage to move this heavy dresser today, but the bed was just not going to happen. I needed my personal Buffy McBuffster to come home and help me, I guess. :)

Well, Andy and I are currently watching LOST. We are desperately trying to catch up. I've watched through Season 4, but Andy is just beginning Season 2. It's amazing how much I've forgotten! This is the first show that Andy and I have agreed on enough to watch together. It's really fun! For some reason he's not really in to The Bachelor or Sell This House. I wonder why? Maybe because they aren't shown on a channel that starts with the letters E, S, P, or N. :)

Have a great night!

Monday, February 8, 2010

More snow???


I cannot believe that snow is falling again. I can't remember the last time Tennessee saw so much snow. I love it! I keep telling myself, "We need to go to school, we need to go to school." It isn't working. :)

I'm currently watching The Bachelor. Andy and Duncan are in the room but are trying not to pay any attention to it. It's a sick addiction...I think the show is so scripted and fake...but I can't stop. It's like watching a train wreck...it's awful but you just can't stop looking. "I think I'm falling in love." "I just want my fairy tale ending. " Please get a life, ladies!!! I sincerely hope I wasn't ever so ridiculous. With every episode I am even more thankful that I am off the market. I'll take these two goobers any day...

And, last but not least, the Man Dip recipe for Beth and others that may be interested. It's really rich and fatty, but it's yummy!!!

Man Dip:

2 blocks of cream cheese

4 oz. Velveeta

1 lb. sausage (we used mild, but the recipe called for spicy)

1 can rotel

Brown the sausage and drain. Mix sausage with other ingredients and microwave until melted well. Serve warm with tortilla chips. It's YUMMY!

Happy Monday!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Super Bowl Sunday and Some Man Dip...

Any moment now, I am hoping to see Andy run to the store with my grocery list to get the necessities for the week and for tonight. I am planning to make us Pigs in Blankets, Man Dip (I love the name!), and some Rice Krispie treats. Healthy? I think not. However, it is the one night of the year, other than important holidays, where you can eat like a fatty and it be perfectly acceptable. I have really tried for the most part to cook fairly healthy things for dinner since we have been married, so it is time for us to eat LARGE. Bring on the fat pants and football! It's Super Bowl Sunday!!!

In case you were wondering, the painting in the bedroom is still going and the granite is hopefully being installed Thursday or Friday (finally!). A big week is ahead of us! Hopefully it will all come together with plumbing and such. I think when we finally get our tops in I may just sit and stare at them for a while. It feels like we have waited forever!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great week. :)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Painting handrails and Preds games...

Well, it has been a couple of days. Can you tell I went back to the grind??? After 5 days off, the kiddos were a bit loopy, but we survived the week...barely. :) Although I have some "crazies" this year, I think this may be my favorite class of kids. They have been so sweet and supportive this year amidst the big changes in my life. I love 'em!!!

The home improvements are still in the works. I thought I'd post a couple of pics of our latest project. It was a small one for a change. Our handrails leading upstairs had been painted completely white. I'm a huge fan of black paint...after all, each room needs at least one black item to help ground it (Mom will be so proud). So, Andy and I decided to paint the railing black.
I was a bit afraid that the rail may have been painted with oil-based paint. The issue being that I couldn't use my latex black paint on the rail if it had been painted with oil paint. So Andy and I got online and Googled what to do to test the paint. We found that you can either use rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover (with acetone) to rub across the painted surface. If any paint comes off with the solution, it is latex...if not, it is oil. So I rubbed a bit of nail polish remover on the railing and found that no paint rubbed off with it...therefore, we had OIL paint on our hands.
So off I went to the store AGAIN to buy paint. I think the Lowes people are getting used to seeing me around. Well, needless to say, we taped off the area and started painting. For the record, oil-based paint smells like you've snorted a Sharpie and rubber cement all in one. :( Our house still stinks!!! I think we may have stunted Duncan's growth with all of the fumes. But, I really like how it turned out. I still love my black paint! Here are some pics of the project...

Duncan likes to stand back and manage the projects...

Andy painting the hardware on the railing black...with his ring on!!! I should have been watching more closely. :) Notice Duncan overseeing the work...

Andy trying to force Duncan to "limbo" with the rail. I promise we don't always abuse him!

Andy is quite the taper...very focused with his work. I'd much rather paint!


The old white-on-white look...

Yet again, before the painting...

Our new and improved railing!!!

A very small, inexpensive change--but I love it!

Just so you don't think that Andy and I only stay in the house and paint, we did go to a Predators game last night. We got free tickets from school and they were such great seats! We were just a few rows from the ice! We did leave early, because sadly, I'm not the fan that I used to be (too tired on school nights!). However, we did get to see 4 goals before we left. And yes, I sang with Tim McGraw after each goal scored, and I yelled "You suck!" with all of the other true hockey fans. If you have no clue what I'm talking about, get yourself to a Preds game...STAT!!! For those that may not know, our first date was to a Predators game. Needless to say, hockey will always have a special place in our hearts. GO PREDS!!!

















Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The painting saga continues...

I had to post another of Andy's projects. He is now quite the expert on toilet paper holders. Go Andy!!!
A view of the progress. The gray is making such a difference already. It is really warming up the room!

So, we have another Snow Day today. Apparently some of the back roads in the area are still icy. Some of my colleagues and I are getting a bit nervous about all of the ground we are losing with our students. TCAP is quickly approaching...each day counts! Hopefully we can hit the ground running tomorrow...
On a side note: If anyone is interested in helping with Haiti relief, Healing Hands International is doing some amazing work. My mom and I heard about some of their projects at the Women of Hope conference a couple of weeks ago, but I also received more information in the mail yesterday. They are really concerned with helping Haiti for the long term, which is going to be hugely important after the focus shifts from the country. Although you can send blankets, tarps, tents, and hygiene products directly to them, they are really needing monetary contributions at this time. I really believe in their work and feel that they will get my money where it needs to go. See below for their address. You can make checks out to Healing Hands International and put Haiti on the "for" line. Thanks for checking in!!!
Healing Hands International
455 McNally Drive
Nashville, TN 37211