Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween all you crazy kids!  It's officially the end of trick-or-treating and we had 6 kids...which means the treadmill will be getting a lot of use this week as we eat the leftovers!  But overall, it was a fun-filled weekend including a couple of 'firsts' for Jon and I.  First of all, we had NEVER dressed up for Halloween together -- I always had a volleyball tourney that day, so we never bothered.  Below you will find our fantastic, almost homemade costumes!
Don't you love them?  I bought my dress at a local thrift store for $5.30 and accessorized with a little fabric that cost all of $0.44!  Then, I bought Jon's shirt at Goodwill for $3.79.  It was an XL so I did a little sewing and took in the sides and then I sewed a little blue corduroy on the shoulders to make it appear more authentic.  That cost $0.22!  Yeah for JoAnn Fabrics teachers discount :)  I did 'splurge' on his hat at a pricey $6.99.  As for our wings, Jon made them out of beer cans and permanent markers -- what I can say, he's so resourceful!  The grand total of our Halloween costumes: $16.74!  

And of course, a big thanks to our awesome party hosts (and our favorite Petoskey couple to hang out with) - Brian and Natalie!  We started the night at their house and then took a quick stroll down to the City Park Grill: a place that is quickly becoming our favorite restaurant in town!
 Some of the other party-goers we were with were dressed up as a polygamist couple -- ha!  Their costume was so fantastic they even won the contest at City Park!  Other great costumes we saw: Cousin Eddy from Christmas Vacation and St. Pauli Girl and Sam Adams.  Clearly Cousin Eddy was my favorite since I can't get enough of that movie! 
As for today's activities, we were looking forward to our FIRST trick-or-treaters in our new house!  Buzz Lightyear and the little lion came over...but by the time they stopped Mason was done being Buzz Lightyear.  I tried to capture him before the costume came off, but I wasn't quite quick enough!
And last, but certainly not least, I thought I'd show you guys our Halloween/Fall set-up on our front porch!  Although the pumpkin out front needs to go soon (perhaps we carved a bit too early), it also celebrates the last first -- being married this year! 

So, that was our Halloween -- tons of fun, a few firsts, and lots of fun fall activities!  What were your favorite costumes?  Any awesome ones you saw out? 

Goodnight and Happy Halloween from good ole P-town (Jon would say bye, but he's too busy boxing on our Wii and perfecting his victory dance after every round he wins)! :)

Thursday, October 28, 2010


HOLY WIND BATMAN!  We've been getting some crazy winds in P-town these past few days.  In fact, on the news this morning, they mentioned that gusts at the Mighty Mac reached higher than hurricane winds -- good thing we don't have 'warm' bodies of water nearby! 

Anyway, on to the real reason for this post...showers.  I like them.  I try to take one every day.  But ever since our house in Okemos, we got a real glimpse in how awesome a shower could really be.  So, when it came time to work on our bathroom remodel, we knew we needed another super-fantastic shower.  Although I can't seem to locate the "before" pics at the moment (read as: me thinking, "hmmm did we ever take these pictures while frantically working every weekend when I was up or every day after work for Jon and my pops???"), our previous shower made it so that neither Jon nor I could have walked into the shower without cracking our head on the bars that held the doors in place -- thus making "hopping in the shower" even more dangerous!

So what did we decide to do?  Start with a blank slate.  We (aka Kim, our builder) tore out the shower and the toilet and did a lil switch-a-roo.  We quickly picked tile on Sunday before I had to head back downstate and hoped it would look good.  Here's the tile:

We wanted something that was relatively neutral and although I loved the glass tile, we didn't want to over-do it.  So, we opted for keeping it simple (and also relatively inexpensive). Then, we had to order a shower door, which again we kept simple with clean lines and minimal silver hardware.  No frosted glass here (well unless it's a frosty beer mug)!!

 We also went for some in-shower storage for the basics.  We love it because it's wonderfully helpful and plenty spacious, but is also hidden within the shower!  Pretty great, eh?

Now for the rest of the bathroom....we didn't replace the vanity.  We probably will some day, but as for now, it works.  We added some new silver hardware and cleaned the wood cabinets with all we had to make it look soooooooo much better than it did when we moved in!  Nothing like a little elbow grease.
Well, what do ya think?  Notice the shelves in that last pic?  They sometimes become a disaster area, but the extra amount of open storage is fantastic.  And because our bathroom is usually a master bathroom, it's usually just us using it....well except for my 4 year old nephew who likes the shower in there :)  

Ok, I'm off to search for those before pictures...

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wedding Party Bliss

Ever wonder what to get your wedding party?  I'm aiming this post towards mostly females because although no one will admit to reading this by becoming a follower (wink wink) I'm guessing that's mostly who it is.  I was struggling with the same question.  Sure I've had lots of fun goodies -- a sister picture frame from my soon-to-be-sister-in-law, a bag of goodies from a high school bff, and earrings, a necklace, and shoes from my college partner in crime.  But when it came to our wedding, I was hoping for something a little more personal.  So I began thinking about my talents....hmmmmmmm....I can eat a lot, I'm pretty good at volleyball, I'm a teacher.  

That's when it hit me: cooking.  For anyone that knows me, I've probably cooked you a meal (or 7).  I LOVE cooking which tends to work out pretty well considering that I really enjoy eating as well.  And though it would've been cool to make every one of my bridesmaids lots and lots of dinner, I opted for a cookbook instead.  

Then I had to begin the process of how I would make the cookbooks.  I checked out quite a few online options as well as the prospect of doing it myself.  And considering we were selling our house, my (at the time) fiance lived in my parents basement 3.5 hours away, I was taking Masters classes, planning a wedding, and looking for up north houses, I opted for something a little easier than the DIY option.

That's when I found Tastebook.   First they offer online recipe storage and sharing.  So maybe this has never happened to you but a couple of times, my friends have wanted a recipe at which point I read the whole thing over the phone OR I've been elsewhere and wanted to make a recipe that I didn't have memorized.  It's pretty handy!

Ok, on to the cookbook part, though.  Essentially I spent an hour or two a couple nights a week for about 3 months before our wedding transferring my favorite recipes into digital copies.  Then, I got to pick my cover and add a personal message.  Here's the finished product:

So combine that with a lovely cutting board handmade by my hubby and you've got yourself a great gift for your wedding party!!
 What about you???  Any awesome wedding party gifts you've ever gotten?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Nice Rack

I'm talking about spice racks....geeeeeeeeez!  I totally stole this idea from Bower Power but it was so quick and easy!   And it makes our spice cabinet look about 17 times better. Here's a glance at our cabinet before:

 Proof that we needed some organization -- I just bought the bottle on the left today.  Allegedly (that's for you, Jess) we should have taken on this project sooner...especially because it took that handsome husband of mine less than 5 minutes to cut some leftover wood in the garage and give them a quick coat of spray paint.
 So here's the boards once we installed (and by install, I mean set them in the cupboard) them...

 And the finished product!!!!
17 times better?  Obviously.  Now wouldn't you like to have a 'rack' like that?? ;)

In other news, it snowed today in Northern Michigan.  Not much and not for long, but here's a pic on the back deck today.  It's ok, no need to tell us how jealous you truly are :)  But while you're taking a glimpse, check out how our grass is still seeming to grow!!  Woohoo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Great Pumpkin...Carving Party

Is there anything better than a big bowl of soup and some crusty bread in the fall?  Then, followed up with some pumpkin torte (easy recipe coming soon) and cool whip?  Actually....yes.  Add to that some pumpkin carving with Gavin, Kristy, and the boys and you have a fantastic fall night!  It was Mason's first official pumpkin carving session and though a 4 year old plus a pumpkin carving knife isn't always safe, it all worked out.  Check out some pics! Mason first decided to give the pumpkin a hard hat -- alias: Bob the Builder Pumpkin.
We were all busy "scooping out the guts" and "carving faces"!
 Braden and Uncle Jon take a break!
 My beautiful tribute to our new last name and the year we are married :)
The best pumpkin of all....(well other than Jon's Sparty head) BUZZ LIGHTYEAR!!  The video is a little dark, but I just love hearing Mason saying "Buzz Wightyear" hehe!

So there's our pumpkins and our awesome pumpkin carving party!!  What are your favorite pumpkin designs -- either ones you've done or ones you've seen?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sweetest Day...and Cutting Boards

Happy Sweetest Day! errr...something.  I am probably in agreement with many of you who think Sweetest Day is a silly excuse for Hallmark to sell more cards and blah blah blah.  But, I also think it's important to point out that it's a great excuse for dinner out and a night on the town.  Well, maybe not so much that last part in our small town of Petoskey.  Perhaps we shall have a bonfire in our wonderful fire pit instead! 

The real reason for this post?  My sweetest husband has created more cutting boards!! (whoopwhoop)  I told him after he made my first cutting board for Christmas that every time he made cutting boards, I would require one from every batch!  At the time I thought it was a great idea (considering he makes them by the dozen most times).  And clearly this man has got some talent :)  Here's the first one he ever made (and quite possibly one of my favorite Christmas presents ever)!
This beaut has and always will have a permanent spot in our kitchen (and my heart *corny sweetest day touch*)!  But on a serious note, I would say we use it on a daily basis and I love how it gives us a touch of that 'butcher block' feel in our kitchen.  Here's one more of the good ole cutting board in her post!
Now, however, my collection is beginning to be somewhat overwhelming and requiring more display space that we currently have (but display shelves are on the honey-do list)!  Anyway, here's what we have so far:
  • The lovely Christmas present board 
  • The awesome new 'checkerboard' pattern
  • The striped pattern in the bread board size
 The new ones were made when my Aunt Erma checked out our Etsy store and requested a cutting board, but with a different design!  (Check out our Etsy store HERE) These are made out of reclaimed barn wood that Jon found on Craig'sList and planed (hence the frequent ground cover of sawdust in our garage) and beech that he already had lying around!

 And last, but certainly not least, is this design which he made per my request for presents for my bridesmaids!  Let's just say they were psyched to get the cutting boards and cookbooks we made for them (more on the cookbook adventure soon...).  And we made them, which added so much more of a personal touch!  Even more personal was that the cherry in these was from his dad's shop :)

So, have you decided that you can't live without one yet? ;)  I kid, I kid.  I just felt inspired to show you all Jon's beautiful creations on a lovely Sweetest Day!

But if you really do want one, you can email us or check out our Etsy shop!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Up-cycled" Patio

Our new patio and deck are done!!  But, before you check out the new pics, keep in mind that when we moved in, we had a wooden deck that wasn't properly supported and wasn't too pretty either.  The boards were starting to sag and overall, it was pretty blah.  Also, you need to keep in mind that ALL the stone for the patio came out of our house!  YES, the previous owners had installed outdoor flagstone pieces inside of the house!!  In addition to making the transition for stone to carpet areas totally uneven, it stubbed toes and did not look too hot.  Perhaps if we had a grand log cabin...but, we don't.  So, one of the first projects in the house was tearing out the old floor.  We stacked all the stone outside for our "someday patio".  And now....for the reveal (I know I know, the suspense is killing you)...

We HAD to have a fire pit :)  This makes my husband happy to no end.  The best part?  The stone was free, the pavers around the pit were from the side of our garage, and so we paid for labor and the metal ring.

 We also installed "Trex" decking.  Because it was such a small area, we decided to spend a little extra on a deck that we wouldn't have to stain every year!  We went with last year's model so that helped us save a bit of cash too!  You can also see that we put stones and landscaping fabric around the house (one of the whole reasons this re-do started was to dig down and protect the's a wood foundation, so we figured we couldn't be too careful).

 Our first bon fire was a success!!  Now we just have to get some more wood together so we can have a few more before the snow flies...which could happen any day in good ole Northern Michigan! :)
And last, even Whit-bug loves the fire!!  Check out that gray chin, she's not a young pup anymore!

Anyway, needless to say, we love it.  And for our friends reading this -- come on over and enjoy a bon fire with us!! :) 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

We are Family

Ok, despite the horrible cliche (and the song that we banned at our wedding), we LOVE being this close to family and having the chance to watch our nephews grow up!  At a quick 5 houses away, we get to enjoy these two silly boys all the time!  On Sunday, both Mason & Boo came to hang out for a few hours!  Thank goodness Uncle Jon saved so many toys from when he was little because those are Mason's favorite!  Check out some pics from our fun afternoon :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

'Fall'-ing for Northern Michigan

Oh, how we love fall!  The leaves are amazing and the air is starting to have a slight chill in the morning.  And, although we miss Uncle John's Cider Mill, we're re-discovering how to the search for a pumpkin and the amazing scenery up north.  Our newest game plan is to discover a new hiking trail (almost) every weekend!  Today we checked out the McCune Nature Preserve with Whit-bug and Mocha too!  Our hands were pretty chilly once we were done, but the views (and the sleeping puppies later) were well worth it!