Thursday, December 15, 2016

There's a Reason for Everything!


No - this isn't some deep philosophical conversation about the meaning of life.  It's simply about why I don't close my closet door all the way - ever.  And that probably doesn't seem like a post-worthy topic except that it drives my husband a little crazy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bungalow: Progress on the Deck and Office!





Progress on the bungalow has been a little slower lately because of weather, early darkness and the holidays.  But progress is still being made.

A couple of weeks ago, David built a deck off the back of the house (you can read about it here).  He finished the main part of the deck but wasn't able to finish the walkway from the deck to the garage. He planned to finish it this past weekend but the weather didn't cooperate.  So he came home a little early yesterday and battled the hard, semi-frozen ground to finish the foundation of the walkway.  All that's left now is to put the decking boards on and that'll be easy.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Lucy - The Adventure Continues



Despite David's best efforts at temporarily rigging the back fence line so Lucy can't escape, she still managed.  We caught her in the act yesterday.

The back fence has multiple high spots and the fence is floppy.  We discovered that she's been pushing on the fence and climbing under.  I have to say that I'm surprised.  She's never shown any interest in leaving the yard - at our last house or here.  At any rate, she's discovered that she likes it.  Or at least she likes the yard behind us.  Or maybe it's the German Shepherd.  At any rate, she's no longer interested in staying home.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Lucy's Big Escape!


My morning routine is always the same.  I get up and let Lucy out and then go take my shower, get dressed and eat breakfast.  After I'm finished with breakfast, I let Lucy back in.  It works well.

But Monday when I went to let Lucy in, she was missing.  I should have known something was up when she wasn't pounding on the back door to be let in or looking in the window while I tried to have a few quiet moments to start my day.  I guess I was just enjoying the peace.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

How to Clean Dirty Straws



My grandkids use straws whenever they drink anything.  Unfortunately, the straws can get kind of gross.  I've tried a lot of different ways to clean the straws and the only thing that worked halfway decently was q-tips.  But that wasn't ideal.  Then I got on Amazon to see if there were any other options and found these beauties.





The package I purchased came with six so I shared them with my daughter and daughter-in-law.  We all LOVE them and use them regularly to keep the kid straws and our straws squeaky clean.  If you're interested, you can find them here.

I did not receive compensation from Amazon.com for this post nor did I receive the product for free.  I purchased the product to make my straws cleaner and thought my readers might be interested, too.

Monday, November 21, 2016

David Built a Deck This Weekend!




Yes, that's right.  David built a deck this weekend.  The photos above are what the back of the house looked like Saturday morning.  Saturday and Sunday afternoon he did this.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Lucy at 14 Months - WHY she's still horrible!


After I wrote the last post about Lucy and how horrible she still was, I realized that I really didn't give too many details about what makes her horrible.  So that's the plan for today.  This could be a really, really, really long post but I'm going to just hit the highlights.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Bungalow: Odds & Ends



We have a furnace!  And it was finished in the nick of time because the nights are definitely getting cooler.  It is November, after all.

The only thing left on the furnace project is to cut a vent in Calvin's room and put a vent in the bathroom. Unfortunately, we won't be able to put a vent in the bathroom until we remodel that room.  I believe the bathroom is the first room that will be remodeled once David finishes a few outside projects.

We've (by we I mean David) been working on some odds and ends for the past couple of weeks.  Take a look:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lucy at 14 months - Still Horrible!



It's hard to believe, but Lucy, my chocolate lab, is 14 months old.  And it's been fourteen LONG months!  The sweet looking little puppy I got October 2015 turned out to be the most horrible puppy that ever lived - except for maybe Marley of Marley and Me.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Weekly Recap: Never a Dull Moment

I've been saying for years that there's never a dull moment in the Gardner household and this past week was no exception.  I always wonder if this stuff happens to everyone or just to us!

Earlier in the week I heard a house alarm going off.  It didn't go off immediately, like it does if someone accidentally set it off, so I was concerned it might be a legitimate break in somewhere nearby.  I went to the window to try to figure out where it was coming from and heard sirens.  "Wow," I thought.  "That was fast."  None of our break-ins (many years ago) were ever handled that quickly so I assumed something else must be going on.  And I was right.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Bungalow: Furnace Update


Even though it's November 2nd, it still feels a lot like fall.  And I'm grateful since the furnace isn't done yet. We've had a few cold nights and cool days but nothing we couldn't handle.

David's been chipping away at the furnace project and has made a lot of progress.  Take a look:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Bungalow: Furnace Project Underway!

The bungalow had a furnace when we moved in but it was old and the duct work was old, dirty and inefficient.  So the first thing David did was remove the furnace and tear out all the duct work.  He purchased a new furnace immediately but had so many other projects to do to make the house comfortable that he scheduled the furnace installation for later.

And later is now.  We're cutting it close (warmer weather has disappeared and cooler weather is here) but it'll be done before we freeze to death!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Some Interesting Features in the Bungalow

I really like old houses.  They're not always as efficient as newer homes but they're interesting and quirky.

Our bungalow doesn't have a lot of interesting or quirky features but it does have a few.  Take a look:


I kind of like this light fixture that's currently in the living room.  We weren't planning to keep it but it's growing on us.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Finally - a Tour of the Bungalow


It's been a long time coming but I finally put together a tour of the bungalow.  We have to have before pictures, right?!  So here we go.

Sun Room

The sun room is located on the front of the house and has windows on three sides.  It faces the south and is pretty sunny in the early evening.  It used to have an awning over the front windows but we took it down.  It definitely helped with the sun and heat but it blocked the view.  David plans to build a new awning but with more of a minimalist design.  We didn't have any furniture for the sun room so we did purchase the wicker-like love seat, two chairs and the all-weather rug.  He's working on a rocking chair that a customer gave him for the other end of the porch.

Monday, September 26, 2016

The Family Room is Confused!


The family room is confused.  It doesn’t know what it’s supposed to be.  It has a coat closet, an exterior door, a desk, some comfy furniture and a tv.  It doesn’t know if it’s a family room, an entry or an office!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Bungalow - Landscaping!


We've been in the Bungalow for almost two months.  Most of that time has been spent working on the outside. We chose to do that for a reason. The last three years at the fixer upper have been tough on both of us, but especially David. He didn't have a shop or a yard to piddle in.  Gardening and building things are how he relaxes. So we decided we would do the outside stuff first and then work on the inside this winter.

We did enough on the inside to make it habitable and comfortable enough before he started outside. As is his custom, he's been very busy and very productive.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Bungalow - A Look at the Outside


"The Bungalow" - that's what I'm calling our new house.  Not very original, I know, since it actually is a bungalow.  Maybe Gardner's Circus or the Gardner Zoo would be more appropriate.  At any rate, I think I'll stick with "The Bungalow".

I've never given you a good look at the outside so I decided that today was the day.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Month in the New House!


I can't believe we've already been in the new house for a month. Time sure does fly.

And I can't believe I haven't written a blog post letting you know what's in store for the new house.  I'm a little overwhelmed because it needs so much but I'll try to give you a quick overview with more details to come in future posts.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

We moved!!!

We did it.  We purchased, remodeled and sold our fixer upper.  We closed last week and moved out on Saturday.  It was a long process, but truthfully, it went pretty fast.

I can't say I'm sad to have moved.  I liked the house but it was never mine!  I'm a full-time homemaker and serious homebody, so not having a house that was mine was tougher than I thought it would be.  I wasn't able to personalize it the way I wanted to or do things the way I wanted them done.  The bottom line was always how any changes would work for re-sale.  That being said, I hope the family who bought the house will be happy there.  It really is a great house.

Friday, July 15, 2016

We're Moving Tomorrow

I'm taking a break from packing to write an update on the house(s).

We put our current home, the fixer upper, on the market May 30th and had an offer the next day.  We closed on it this past week and will be moving out tomorrow.

We closed on the new house several weeks ago and have been working hard getting it in move-in-ready condition.  It will NOT be in move-in condition but we have to do it anyway.  The house had been vacant for at least a year or so and before that was a rental.  It's in pretty rough shape but nothing too horrible and so far no surprises.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

We Bought a House!

It's been a while since I wrote about our house search. So here's a quick update.

After hours of searching on-line, tons of drive-bys , looks inside and three offers, we finally made a deal. In fact, we closed on the house yesterday. 

The house is a 1250 square foot bungalow on a short acre. It has two bedrooms and one bath. It needs work but after some clean up and a couple of projects, we can move in and take our time remodeling. It's not exactly what we were looking for but it's what God led us to so we know it's what we need.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

We Found a House!


Yes, we finally found a house to buy.  It's not exactly what we were hoping for or expecting but it ticks off a lot of boxes on our wish list.  So we're going for it.  If we find that it's not what we want, we'll move again - but not for a while!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Moving Monday #3

The house search continues . . . on and on and on . . .

We looked at two houses last week.  The first was a second look at this one:
We wanted to see if there was any way it would work because it ticked off a lot of our boxes.  But after another look, we decided it wasn't an option.  Our main issues with the house were:

Friday, April 15, 2016

The House We Didn't Get!

I mentioned in yesterday's post that we made an offer on a house.  We actually made the offer last week and have been negotiating with the seller since then.  But we couldn't make a deal.

This is the house we wanted:


This house is a repo and is government owned. Our experience with repo's has been that it's difficult to purchase one at best and it can be even more difficult depending on the selling agent and/or the government office you're dealing with.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Moving Monday #2

Yes, I realize today isn't Monday.  It's actually Thursday.  I meant to write this post on Monday but I obviously didn't get it done.  So here it is on Thursday.  But I'm still calling it Moving Monday.

On Saturday we looked at two more houses.  The first house was actually a set of two that were located side by side.  The idea was that we buy both of them and use the first one for our home and the second for a shop.  Between the two they had about 1.5 or 2 acres of property.  However, house #2 was a nightmare.  We went in the house but didn't stay long.  It was scary.  But the real deal breaker was the highway noise.  The highway was just about in the back yard and the noise was deafening.  So we didn't bother going in the other house.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

An Update on Lucy at 7 Months


I know the big question everyone probably has is . . .

Is Lucy getting better?


And the answer is  . . .

No!


You read that right - NO! She is NOT getting better.

Friday, April 1, 2016

House Hunting Trip #3

Our third trip out with our realtor was interesting but didn't result in finding "the one".  Here's a recap:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cooking Without a Recipe


I've become one of those people – people who cook without a recipe. I never thought it would happen. All the years that I've been cooking, I've always used recipes. Always. If I didn't have a menu plan and a recipe, I didn't make dinner.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

House Hunting is Stressful


I can't decide if I like house hunting or not.  It's fun looking at houses but it's a lot of work finding houses to look at.

Since the housing market has been in its winter slump, I haven't been spending much time looking. But the market is starting to pick up so I've started picking up the pace, too. I've been spending a lot of time looking through the listings and doing drive-by's.

Monday, March 21, 2016

My Husband Was Right!


My husband is almost always right. You'd think after all these years I would have learned to listen to him. Not me - I have to do everything the hard way. 

Yes, I'm talking about Lucy. David tried hard to talk me into getting an older dog but I was insistent on getting a puppy.  

I made a terrible mistake! If I had it to do over, I'd get a one year old dog without thinking twice. Having a puppy is extremely overrated.

Last week Lucy went to the vet for an overnighter so she could get spayed. I did miss her but it was also nice having a break. Now she's back and wearing me out again. It's amazing how many bad things she can do in the space of five minutes. 

In the past, I bought myself a little bit of sanity by leashing her to the dining room table. But now she's too big and strong. She's dragging the table across the  room. 

I also enjoyed sending her outside to play for a while. But she's been getting in trouble out there, too. She's getting very close to the cable line! So I'm not leaving her outside as much. 

That only leaves the kennel but I can't leave her in there all the time!  Can I? Of course I can't. 

I know puppyhood won't last forever. I just hope I survive!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

I Survived the Flu!


 It's been a tough week-and-a-half due to a mystery illness we're assuming was the respiratory flu. My 5-year-old grandson, Calvin, got it first. Then 6-year-old Ivy got it. And then, of course, it was my turn since I get everything they get!

The symptoms for this mystery illness were vague but severe!

Insomnia
Fatigue
Headache
Body aches

I felt worse than I have in a long time and spent most of the week on the couch with occasional bursts of energy that lasted about 5 minutes. 

I finally woke up one morning and felt human again. I went outside and was surprised to see that in my absence spring had arrived. Wow! How did I miss that?!

The next day I woke up and felt even better. I was so energetic that I promptly overdid it and had a tiny relapse. 

But now I think I've truly turned a corner. And so have Calvin and Ivy. My son, Danny, went through it, too, and he's feeling better. My DIL Ashley's at the tail end of it, and so far my husband, David, has avoided it. 

Spring has sprung and I'm alive to enjoy it, no thanks to the flu!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Hate Alarm Clocks


I'm not a morning person.  I've never been a morning person and most likely I never will be.  If you ask my mom, she'll tell you that the two biggest problems she had with me when I was growing up were:

  • I wouldn't get my nose out of a book.
  • It was nearly impossible to get me out of bed in the morning.
I still read a lot and I still hate getting up in the morning.  I mean -  seriously HATE.  It stresses me out if I know I have to get up early - and I'm not even talking "early" - I just mean earlier than usual, even if it's just 15 minutes.  

It's even worse if I have to set my alarm.  Waking up to the buzzing of an alarm, or even music, immediately puts me in a bad mood.  

Fortunately I'm a full-time homemaker so I rarely have to get up to an alarm, or even early.  Thank you, husband, for allowing me to stay home!  But occasionally I do - like Sunday mornings for church.  Most Sunday mornings I wake up without an alarm.  The grandkids are usually here and I hear them running around and making noise and that wakes me up.  But recently I didn't wake up on time.  We still made it to church on time but the preparation was fast and furious and stressful.

So I decided I had to set an alarm on Sundays.  Only I really, really, really hate alarms.  I did some thinking and came up with a better idea.  Instead of an annoying alarm, I set three reminders on my phone - 5 minutes apart.  The first reminder sounded - just a gentle ding.  Five minutes later, the second.  By then I was ready to get up so I cancelled the third and got out of bed.  Success!!!


I'lll probably go ahead and set an alarm for the last possible minute I can get up, just in case I don't hear the gentle reminders, but I'm hoping the gentle reminders will do their job and I'll never have to hear an alarm again.

Who's with me?!





Monday, February 8, 2016

Moving Monday (#1)


No, we’re not moving yet but we’re working on it.  Unfortunately, this is the time of year where there isn’t very much available.  But spring’s coming and that will change.  In the meantime, we’re getting ready.  Here are some of the things we’re doing:

1.   Getting the house ready.  We’re finishing up small projects, making repairs and getting the house ready to show.  Let me tell you, that last part – getting the house ready to show – is incredibly difficult!  It’s hard enough under normal circumstances but we have grandkids here all the time, a ridiculously wild puppy and a homemaker with the blues (that’s me, of course).   But we’ll figure it out.

2.    Looking for houses.  Even though there’s not much available, we’re checking the on-line real estate web sites regularly plus receiving updates from our realtor.  Every now and then we see something interesting and do a drive by.  If the house looks promising after a drive-by, we schedule an appointment to look at it.  We’ve seen one that was promising but the price was a bit high.  It had been on the market quite a while so we were hoping the price would drop and we could possibly make an offer.  Unfortunately, it sold.  We’re assuming that wasn’t the one!

3.   Getting our financing ready.  In case we find something quickly, we want to be ready.  So we’ve been in touch with our loan officer and submitted the required paperwork for a loan.

4.   Figuring out what we want and where we want it.  We’ve been talking a lot about the next house and deciding what items are deal breakers and what items are negotiable.  We’ve run the numbers on several projects we might have to do (add a garage or build a shop, for example).  We’ve also been driving around trying to figure out what areas we like and don’t like and how far each of them is from our kids and grandkids.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what we’re looking for:

  • Land.  We can’t afford a lot of land but we’re trying to get as much as we can.  An acre is probably the minimum.
  • Country setting in the city.  Our dream has always been to live in the country but we didn’t factor in grandkids when we had that dream.  We still would love to live in the country but being close to our family is more important.  So the compromise is a country setting in the city.  We aren’t opposed to being in a neighborhood as long as there’s space between the houses and it feels like country.
  • Garage and/or Shop.  We would love to find something with a garage and shop but that’s unlikely in our price range.  We’re willing to build them ourselves but we need to find a property that has room for them.  We looked at a house the other day that had an acre or so but the lot was narrow and deep and didn’t have enough width to add either.
  • Cheap.  We’re trying to stay out of debt as much as possible so we want to find something cheap. 
  • Fixer Upper. We don’t necessarily want another fixer upper but it’s the only way to get everything we want.  Hopefully this will be our last one, though.
  • House.  We considered buying property and building a house but we decided that wouldn’t work for our time frame or budget.  We’re not extremely picky about the type of house although we would prefer a ranch.  We would also really like a house with the master bedroom on one end and the other bedrooms on the other end.  Our grandkids spend the night a lot and one of them is autistic.  He has trouble sleeping so he’s frequently awake during the night.  If his bedroom was next to ours, we wouldn’t get much sleep on those nights he couldn’t sleep.  However, it’s not a deal breaker as long as we can work something else out.
Our list isn’t impossible but it won’t be easy either.  However, we’re confident the right house will show up at the right time.  In the meantime, we’re plugging away on items 1-4.  Oh, boy!!!

Friday, February 5, 2016

How I Manage to Be on Time Even With ADHD



I'm rarely late but it's not because I'm one of those people who are naturally on time.  It's because I work really, really hard not to be late.  I have ADHD so being late comes naturally.  To avoid being late, I have some things I do and some things I don't do.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Doing Battle with my Apron





I wear an apron anytime I cook. I do it because I don't have a lot of clothes and I'm a messy cook. But my apron and I do not always get along. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Skillet Sausage and Rice


Smoked sausage is SO good and SO affordable so I've been cooking with a little more these days.  I saved this recipe from Southern Living quite a while ago and finally got around to making it.  It's a definite keeper!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Lucy is . . . Improving!!!

I hesitate to say this - but I think Lucy is improving. She's not awesome or anything, but she's doing better in at least a few categories.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Living in a Flip: Doing Things Twice!


One of the several bad things about living in a "flip", especially one that's done, is having to do things over.

We weren't pleased to discover that one of the panels on the screened porch was severely damaged. My first thought was that the puppy did it.  But after a closer look, I decided it wasn't her. I'm pretty sure it was the coon that lives next door. This isn't the first time the coon has damaged the screen - just never this bad.

I think the coon might have smelled dog food. I've been feeding the puppy outside sometimes and dumping her food on the welcome mat (if I use her bowl, she takes it out into the yard). The welcome mat is right next to the damaged screen. The funny thing is, the porch door is OPEN. All the coon had to do was walk through the open door!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Week 1 of Puppy Class

Puppy class was much worse than I expected. The class was good; the teacher was awesome; the location was appropriate. But Lucy was awful. Horrible. Of the five puppies in the class, she was the worst.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Life With Lucy - an Update


Lucy turned four months old on Saturday, January 9th.  I actually thought she was more like 4-1/2 months but I looked up her birthday and she's just now four months.

She's been a terror up to this point . . . oh, wait . . . she still is!  I have seen a tiny bit of improvement but not enough to make me glad I got her. We're still battling:

Friday, January 8, 2016

The House Search Has Begun


It's that time again - time for David and I to sell our completed fixer upper and move on to a new project.

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Sneak Peek at This Year's Planner Set-Up

I've been struggling with my planner use for a while now. I've tried tons of different formats but nothing worked for my wild schedule.