February 27, 2010

FK: Basket Weave Baby Blanket / The Curse of the Baby Knitting

I believe that all babies should be knit for. As I told Ben yesterday, "It's a fact of life." Maybe it's because it gives you something to do while you wait, whether you're the mother or an onlooker. Or maybe because there's nothing I love better than seeing a wee little one wrapped up in something that I spent so long pouring my love into.

Our neighbor is 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. She was due yesterday and as far as I know has not given birth yet. I decided a few weeks ago, when I realized she was due soon, that this little one needed a blanket. So I cast on and then knit on it when I could. Her due date drew closer and closer and with it's approach I knit faster and faster. I was afraid I wouldn't make it. Now, I am afraid I doomed her and she is suffering from The Curse.

"The Curse" that says no baby will show up until handmade projects created for the wee one are complete. I have been a victim of The Curse. My mom-in-love didn't finish a blanket for Duder until the day I went into labor.  There has been lots of other documentation from various places proving the existence of this curse as well. So when yesterday came and went, and I still had the blocking to complete, I was afraid it was my fault. 

But now, I am done. It finished drying over night and it is ready to give to our neighbor. Now she can have her baby. ;)

Pattern: Basket weave Baby Blanket by Meg (pattern below)

Yarn: Lion Brand Jiffy in "Heather Blue" - 4.75 balls

Needles: US 10.5/6.5mm Susan Bates Circular

YTD Mileage: This project used 639 yards which brings me to 0.84 miles!

Here's the pattern:

Basket Weave Baby Blanket
CO 120 sts.

Knit 14 rows in garter (knit all rows), ending with a WS row.

Section 1: 
Row 1: Knit across.
Row 2: *k8, p8. Repeat from * to last 8 stitches, k8.
Repeat rows 1 & 2 for 12 rows total.

Section 2:
Row 1: Knit across.
Row 2: K8. *K8, p8. Repeat from * to last 16 stitches, k16.
Repeat rows 1 & 2 for 12 rows.

Keep alternating section 1 and 2 until desired length, ending with section 1 (so that it matches beginning). Work 14 rows garter stitch. Bind off. Weave in ends.

February 26, 2010

Favorite Thing Friday: Tin Can Cookie Cutters

This week's favorite thing(s) are my can cookie/biscuit cutters. The first time I made cut-out biscuits I didn't have a biscuit cutter to make them, but I did have cans. I think it was a green bean can. So I cut the bottom off of it with a can opener and used that instead. I then saved a pineapple can, a pinto beans can, and a tomato paste can. So now I have cutters that are 4", 3 1/2", 2 3/4" and 2". 

I think they are the best cutters I have ever used. I like how long they are so I can get a good grip on them. And my favorite part is that I didn't pay a thing for them (well, I guess I did. But I got food with them!). It's like buying a whole chicken, eating the meat, then using the bones for stock. Using everything and getting your money's worth. I don't think I ever want "real" cookie cutters. I like my down-home versions just fine. :)

February 25, 2010

The House Book

 In my never-ending quest for organization and efficiency, I decided to create this "House Book". I've seen and read about the general idea of it from various sources and I sort of combined a few versions into one. It's a good idea for people who own a home - when you resell the house later you know what you put into it and can price accordingly. And a scaled down version is even good for those who are renting - you can keep things like manuals in one place. You can also put your lease and any maintenance requests or complaints, or letters from your landlord(s) in it.

For my house book I started out by making a fill-in-the-blank page in Word and printing out a few copies.

It includes the category for the page (Major Appliances, Paint and Decor, Major Renovations), what item, the brand & model number (or the equivalent), the date installed, where it was purchased, the purchase price, and notes. For example, I put the paint colors for our room as the "model".

After those pages I have a few clear page holders to hold paint chips, so that we can remember or take them back with us if we need more paint.
Ever wonder what to do with all the manuals that come with ev-ery-thi-ng? (Seriously, I think they would send manuals with food if they could). I used to just toss ours in the file drawer in our closet and then would get frustrated by having to dig through them all whenever I need one. So I decided to stick them in the book as well, since they go with the house and the things we have. Vacuums, toaster, food processor, cribs, etc.

I have a clear page holder for each manual/item. It also allows me to stick in a page of notes if we ever have to get something serviced or get extra parts.
I will also create a main page for the house info like address, purchase price, loan price, loan bank, date sold, etc. so that if/when we sell the house it's all in one place. 

It makes my OCD brain happy. ;)

February 22, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: 2/22 - 2/28


This week's Menu Plan Monday is brought to you by Rice: The other white non-meat. We had rice and chicken for dinner last night and I remembered just how very much I love rice. Plus it's crazy cheap ($0.32 a cup uncooked) which makes it an excellent choice for cheap eats. So here's this week's menu:

Monday: Ham Fried Rice
Wednesday: Crock Pot Chicken (probably with a side of rice)
Thursday: Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo (pasta, not rice)
Friday: Hamburgers (would probably be killed if I put rice in them)
Sat & Sun: Leftovers 

Also, I've come up with a completely new sheet for menus and to-do things (seen above). I'm usually pretty good about keeping a to-do list in my head but here lately I just keep forgetting things. (I think it's all the kids I've had. Sucked the brains right out of me.) So I made this page in Excel to write down things that I need to remember. And even if I don't need it as a reminder, it does keep me accountable. 

It has a Monday - Sunday calendar, to-do sections each for chores (like laundry and bathrooms), errands (like groceries and library), house (like painting, or paperwork that needs to be done) and "Misc." (for things like phone calls to make, or knitting things to do). As well as a "Notes" section for anything that I might need to write down. And to top it all off, there is a place to put the current week's dates at the top so if you like to keep them you can refer back. I like keeping all my stuff in one place so menus and to-dos on one sheet was perfect for me.

I copied it to Google Docs, so if you would like a copy for yourself I would be more than happy to email you one in the form of Excel, Open office, or a PDF (those are the options I get from Google Docs). Just drop me an email or leave a comment with your email address if I don't have it already. Let me know which version you would like. You should be able to change it if you get the Excel or Open office to fit whatever sections of your life you need. Or if you like it as is then the PDF version will give you an easy option to just print it.

Have a great Monday! And remember to eat some rice this week. ;)

February 21, 2010

HouseWorks: New Hutch Before and a Story of the HFH Restore

This is our new hutch. (Sorry for the crappy picture, it was cloudy and hard to get a good one). Yes, it needs some work, but that's OK because we got it at Goodwill for $25! Yes! Twenty five dollars. Ben has already sanded down the top section and he/we are going to paint it and do an antiquing finish on it. It's my job to get new hardware -hinges and pulls- and new doors for the upper section that will be cut for glass. We're also going to apply beadboard to the inside of the upper section but I have a different story about that.
While traveling around the interwebs to my various favorite money-saving websites I found this article on the Dollar Stretcher site. (Awesome site, by the way. Something for everyone and it updates on Mondays with new content). It talks about a place called the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, where they sell extra building and decor items for discounted prices. I told Ben we needed to check it out, so yesterday we trekked out to the the more scary side of town to see what is was all about.

Oh. My. Sweet. Goodness. Lighting fixtures (nice ones) for $20 -$30. Large chandeliers for $70. Interior doors for $15-30. That article wasn't lying. They had all kinds of stuff! Pieces of furniture, tile, electrical stuff, even dishes. And apparently there is a yard that we didn't make it too. I saw a sign as we were walking out that said the yard had lumber and windows and all kinds of other stuff. We'll have to check that out later.

So here's where the beadboard comes in. I wanted to put beadboard/wanescotting on the back of the hutch. We found some there that said $5 a package. These packages covered 42" wide so we got 2, paying $10. Out of curiosity we checked out the same stuff at Lowe's when we went to get paint and found them for $10 EACH. Yep, payed half price. That made us really happy. We also found similar light fixtures for double the price as well. So, I would say if you ever need building materials or decor supplies, check there first.

In progress and after pictures of the hutch coming soon!

February 19, 2010

Favorite Thing Friday: Crock Pot!

This week's favorite thing is my Crock Pot. I LOVE crock potting. It makes busy days (or lazy days) so much easier. I use my crock pot at least once a week. My normal day is Wednesday because I have bible study with my mom- and sis-in law. I just stick whatever (usually a chicken) in the crock before I leave and there's no crazy rush to get dinner ready once I get home. I take the lid off and pull dinner out. 

I usually cook all my meat (aside from ground beef) in it. Chicken, beef roast, pork roast, corned beef (almost time for Corned beef! Can't wait!), whatever. Then we will have a portion of it for dinner and the rest gets used in other dishes like tacos, quesadillas, pasta, soup, pizza, or a number of other things. I also love doing beans in the crock pot. They've come out perfect every time. Maybe I'll Crock Pot something tomorrow. ;)

February 18, 2010

What's Cookin': Build Your Own Salad!

We really should have salad more often. I love salad. You can do pretty much anything with them. And they're cheap! This is a list of what we had on Tuesday night, but you can do so many other things. I won't have prices for everything since it was pick and choose, but you'll get the idea.

Build Your Own Salad - 4 large servings
2 hearts of Romain lettuce - 1.32
1 can kidney beans- .75
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup ham, diced - 1.20
Cooked peas (from frozen) - ?? (Not sure, been in the freezer awhile)
Fritos (leftover from the variety packs. Good way to use them up since no one seems to eat them...)
Sunflower kernels
Dressing of your choice (I got Lighthouse Ranch and Ceasar with a $1 off 2 coupon)

Wash and tear up the lettuce into edible pieces. Serve assorted toppings in bowls as a "buffet" style for everyone to choose their own. If you want easy clean up, then serve in Tupperware so that when you are done you can just snap a lid on the leftovers and stick in the fridge.

Total: About $1.00 per person, depending on toppings

Variations: You really could do absolutely anything. Any veggies in the world. Boiled eggs, chopped. Bacon, fried and crumbled. Ground beef, with a sour cream and salsa dressing and chips becomes taco salad. (I have a recipe passed on from my grandmother for a taco "salad" that I will share sometime in the future.) Nuts, olives, chicken.. whatever!

I am so happy that we are getting spring weather. Cold salads make for good (and cheap!) hot weather eating.

February 17, 2010

The Tax Refund Debate

This picture of my flowers has nothing to do with taxes, I just had to share them with you because they are gorgeous (and I needed a picture for the post). Ben got them for me on Valentines with this note:

"It's really hard to be sneaky with you always in the room but it looks like I pulled it off.
- Love sneaky Ben."

He cracks me up. He ordered them while I was sleeping in on Saturday. ;)

Now on to the taxes! Because we are first time home buyers we get the $8000 homebuyer credit. Which means combined with our amount for having three kids and one income, all the other stuff, etc. we are getting a sizable refund. So naturally, we've had to figure out what to do with it all. 

BLOW IT ALL ON TOYS! WOOOHOOO! Heh. Yeah right. As much as I would like to get all the "toys" we've been wanting, we have to be responsible adults (damn).

We knew for sure we wanted to build up our savings. Ideally we will have at least 3 months expenses saved so that if the unforeseeable happens (such as a job loss or medical expenses) then we'll be able to float for a period of time. Be realistic for your situation. It usually takes longer than a month to find a new job, and not all medical companies will let you put your bill on a payment schedule. Save up a sizable amount.

Even with saving 3 months of expenses that still left us with quite a bit, and our list of things we would like to do. I'll share with you what I did so that maybe if you're facing the same dilemma (be it tax refund or other windfall) then you can use the same idea. All the following figures are fake.

I had originally just sat down with Ben and said, "OK, this is how much we're getting. What do you want to do with it?" But that... didn't go so well. Poor planning on my part. I forget that I need to spend my time thinking about it and making visual presentations to give him a better idea of what I'm thinking, rather than thinking out loud and not making sense. The next day I pulled out paper, a pencil and calculator as well as our current debts and wish lists and went to work. Then I threw it all into Excel to make it pretty and to be able to change numbers and have it auto-update the rest.

I set up possible scenarios for spending the money. In each scenario I listed certain things to do (like paying off the truck) and the total of them, then subtracted that total from our refund amount. After that I calculated how much one, two, and three months worth of savings would be based on what our monthly expenses would become after paying off certain debts. Once that was done, I then subtracted each amount of possible savings from the amount left from paying off debt. So my worksheet looked like this.

At the top you see the refund amount and monthly expenses based on what we would or wouldn't have to make payments on. Then for each scenario you see the item(s) to be payed off, the total of that, as well as the total of each month of savings. The bold numbers in the colored sections are what is left after all the math is done. This is money to either play with or additional money to put into savings. Our first choice is Scenario III with 3 months of savings. But that depends on what else comes up between now and then. We will probably use the leftover money to take a wedding anniversary vacation in May and hopefully build the shed and chicken coop with it. Or something like that.

Are you getting a refund this year? What do you plan to do with it?

February 15, 2010

What's Cookin': Homemade Pizza

I love me some pizza (or "peetsee" as my munchkins call it). But even at $6.99 for the hot and ready stuff from Little Ceasar's (which is the cheapest we've found and is really tasty) it's still expensive to bring home. Plus we wind up getting the bread sticks and everything to go with it. So by the time it's all said and done a take home pizza dinner for us is about $11. By my standards, that's expensive. So when I want pizza I try to make it. I like to fancy it up a bit, so this is my pizza dough recipe that I have adjusted to the way we like it.

 Pizza Dough - makes about 10 slices
1 C warm water
2 1/4 tsp yeast 
1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 - 3 C AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder(or more if you like)
1/4 C grated Parmesan (from a can
2 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs dried basil

Place the water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl or measuring cup to allow the yeast to soften and get happy. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it's puffy and bubbly. Mix together two cups of the flour, salt, garlic powder, and cheese. After the yeast has "bloomed" stir it up, add in the basil leaves and let sit for another minute or two. This will bring out the flavor of the basil and let it incorporate into the dough better. It's like steeping tea leaves.  I found this out by trial and error. Just mixing the herbs into the dough didn't give much flavor.

Add the water and oil to the flour. Mix the dough together, adding flour as needed, until it's soft and workable. Knead for 8-10 minutes (you can do this in the bowl to save the hassle of cleaning the counter, just make smaller movements). Then coat with more olive oil, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Stick it in the fridge for as long as you can. I usually make my dough in the morning so it sits for a good 6 or so hours. I've also let it go overnight. This will help all the flavors from the garlic, herbs and cheese work its way through the dough, as well as give it a slight sourdough taste.Very tasty.

Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Stretch out the dough into whatever shape you like. I don't have a round pan, so mine winds up in a rectangular-like shape. Maybe a trapezoid... Parallelogram? See picture above. Par-bake the crust for about 7 minutes. Then remove, cover in whatever toppings you choose, and bake another 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly. If you're feeling particularly frisky (which I usually am) you can sprinkle more Parmesan cheese around the outer edge crust before popping it in the oven.

I'm not including the price for this because it can vary widely depending on toppings. For us it usually includes equal  parts mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and whatever meat I have on hand. I've made it with leftover chicken, sausage or in tonight's case, a package of pepperoni. You could also go totally veggie and do onions, peppers, mushrooms, olives... whatever. It's pizza! Make it like you would order it or better. If you want a calzone, fold it over on itself then bake. The dough itself, with all my additions is about $1.40(ish).

Ben Rating: 3.

Menu Plan Monday: Week of 2/15

I've had a sick baby since Thursday, so this will be a short post and I might not post again for another day or two. Being focused on him means no inspiration for posts. But I wanted to post my menu for the week since you all enjoy it.
Monday: Homemade pizza
Tuesday: Salad (we do buffet style where I'll set out toppings and you build your own)
Wednesday: Crock Pot Chicken
Thursday: Chicken Sandwiches
Friday: Cold pasta salad w/ leftover chicken

Also, I have to tell you I picked up the Tightwad Gazette I and II at the library on Saturday and I am SO excited to have these books. I hear/read people talking about them all the time and have wanted to get them for so long but haven't found them. I also found one called America's Cheapest Family that the librarian said was good and that people check it out a lot. I just love reading about saving money so much. I guess I'm kind of weird like that.

Have a great Monday!

February 13, 2010

Various Money Findings for the Week

I've had a few money-related things in my head for the past week, but none of them were enough to make separate posts for. So I figured I would just make a hodge-podge list of it all right here:

Things I've Thought Of
I've come up with two more ways to build up savings.

The first isn't my idea, it has been done by TONS of people. It's just that I thought of it again a week ago. Set up a reoccurring transfer from checking to savings. I used to do $100 a month, but when things got tighter I didn't think we could do that anymore. Now, I have it set to transfer $20 every Monday. That's almost $100 anyways, but it seems much less painful to transfer a $20 chunk instead of a $100 one. My thinking was that we can spend $20 on random crap, why can't we save it? Even $5 a week will get you $260 + interest in one year. You have to stop making excuses as to why you can't save money and just do it.

When you read or hear anything about saving money on groceries (or anything), why don't you actually save it? Figure out the regular price for your groceries, then deduct the amount you paid for it on sale. Take the difference and put that in savings. It might be as little as the $1 off coupon for the cereal you bought. But after awhile it will add up.

Things I've Found
One of my new favorite blogs is Get Rich Slowly. I've always been really good with money, but I love reading how other people do things and learning new tips and tricks. While browsing around on GRS last night I found some really good articles and a few extra links.

How to Get Out of Debt - A list of things that need to be done, and how to do them. We accomplished #1 awhile ago, are working on #2 and talked about #3 last night and thought it was a really good idea that we will most likely be putting into practice.

How I Cut 16 Years From My Mortgage in Just One Hour - A good article about how paying extra pays off. Our mortgage payment is $698.34/mo - this includes property taxes, and home and mortgage insurance. So our actual principal and interest house payment comes out to $481.80/mo. Every month we just round up to $700 and pay that. I was playing around in Quicken with the debt repayment tool and found that by paying this extra $1.66 we will pay off our mortgage 2 months sooner. If we pay $35 more, it'll be 4 YEARS sooner. $70 more, 7 years and $100 more will get 9 years knocked off. I was pretty stoked about that and can't wait til we have enough extra to throw at it. (For anyone looking to buy a house: She mentions a good suggestion about putting away the amount of a mortgage payment into savings each month. If you can't put it away, then you can't afford a house.)

How To Create Your Own Family Balance Sheet - I found the link to this somewhere on GRS. I've been doing this my whole bill paying life, but I liked the way she did it so I made up a sheet using her version. Now it's great for when we pay bills so we have a quick way of seeing balances and how much extra to pay toward our debt or savings. (Don't have a spreadsheet program? Google Docs gives you everything you need). I haven't had a chance to really go through it yet, but the rest of her site looks like good reading as well.

How My Family and I Paid Off $90,415 of Consumer Debt In Two Years: A REALLY awesome story at Trees Full of Money. In it I found a link to a spreadsheet he made to calculate how soon you could be out of debt with the snowball method. You can find it here. I've messed around with it and have been having a lot of fun trying different scenarios.

February 12, 2010

Favorite Thing Friday: Flowers

I think maybe I'm just desperate for spring and warm weather right now. One of my favorite things is flowers. The smells, the colors, the idea of life appearing after months and months of grey and dreary. Ben is itchin' so bad to get flowers in the front planter. I'm hoping we'll have some extra money soon for him to do that. My mom-in-law gave me a hyacinth on Wednesday. It has opened and has made the whole house smell GORGEOUS. It's sitting in our kitchen and I love walking in and seeing the beautiful purple/blue color of it. I hope we have lots and lots of flowers all over our property this year. 

The picture above is of a day lily we had in our planter last year. And I can't remember what those little blue flowers were called, but they lasted for EVER and were so pretty. I love plants that have little tiny flowers. 

Every time we go to Lowe's or Home Depot and walk in the garden section we talk about what kind of flowers we want to get. I can't wait!

February 10, 2010

FK: Little Hearts

Here's my knittery post I said was coming... Finally. I've actually been done with them for about a week now, but we were busy painting.

I don't usually get into decorating for holidays, aside from Christmas. I guess it's always just seemed like a lot of work that you have to clean up afterward. But... I got a wild hair to make a heart, for some reason. So I found  a pattern on Ravelry and made this:

Cute, yes? Adorable even. And ridiculously easy and fun to make. So I made another.

And another.

And then a few more...

 And even more still! They're like rabbits! I was a wee bit obsessed.

(Those front two aren't stuffed yet.) They took about 30 minutes each, depending on size. I would make one, stuff it, sew it up then set it on the desk with the others and giggle like a little girl. Then Ben would look at me and say, "Are you serious? Another one??" And then he would laugh at me because I'm a dork.*

This cup is now sitting on my desk, filled with hearts just like that. I think it's the cutest thing ever and I might leave it like that even after Valentines. I actually have four more, but the kids ran off with them - they like the "hairts" - and now I can't find them. Guess I'll have to make more!

Pattern: Little Hearts by Teresa Fox (find it here under "Free Patterns")

Yarn: Red Heart Super Saver (100% acrylic) in "White", "Cherry Red", "Light Raspberry" and "Lipstick" and Lily Sugar n' Cream Stripes (100% cotton) in "Pinky Stripes" - Small bits of each.

Needles: US size 8/5mm and US size 6/4mm for varying heart sizes

YTD mileage: 0.05 miles

I think I might enlarge the pattern to make a pillow... or two. And I remembered I have some mohair remnants. I think I'll make a few fuzzy ones. ;)

*Funny story: One of the guys Ben works with is engaged to a knitter. So Ben tells him stories about my knitting or shows him pictures that I might send him and they talk about their crazy knitting women. Nice to know he has someone relate to.

February 9, 2010

What's Cookin': Carbonara

I love pasta. Deep, passionate love. I would eat pasta every day if given the chance. And this recipe is one of my favorites. I got this from Rachel Ray's Classic 30-Minute Meals and have adjusted it to fit our family and budget. In the book she calls it "The only recipe you ever need." And I think I might have to agree with her. Incredibly easy and tasty, it's a good meal for special nights but quick enough for hurried ones.

Carbonara - makes 4 - 6 servings
1 lb rigatoni or penne pasta - .89
1/4 C olive oil - .66
1/4 lb bacon (3-4 slices) - .62
1 tsp garlic powder - .03
1 tsp red pepper flakes - .06
1/2 C dry white wine - 3.20
2 egg yolks - .28
1 C grated Parmesan cheese (the stuff from a block) -  .88
Salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt well. Cook pasta until done. Meanwhile add olive oil and bacon in large skillet and cook until just crispy. I know, it looks like a lot of grease and fat, but trust me. You need this for the sauce foundation. When the bacon is just about done add the garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Pour in the white wine and scrap up all the "tasty bits". Let reduce a little bit. Beat egg yolks in a separate bowl. Add about a 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to the egg yolks to temper them. This is important - if you dump the egg yolks straight onto the pasta they will just cook as a scramble and you'll have chunks of egg yolk.

Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour bacon & wine mix over pasta and stir. Pour egg yolks in, add Parmesan and stir to coat everything. Salt & pepper to taste.

Total: 6.62

Notes & Variations: The original recipe calls for Pancetta, but I chose bacon for availability and price. Make sure you pick a wine that you like. It's an important flavor in this dish and that flavor will concentrate with cooking. I like Robert Mondavi Chardonnay. Use it in everything that calls for wine. It's not the cheapest at $20 a bottle, but it is a cheaper one and good for the price. Plus we don't drink it, just use it for cooking so it lasts longer. For the love of sheep, please don't use anything that says "Cooking wine". I've found them to be very salty and not very good tasting. 

If I had fresh garlic I would use that. 1 or 2 cloves should do, depending on how much you like garlic. You can also adjust the heat by adding more or less red pepper. I wound up using parm from a can last night because I realized half way through that I didn't have a chunk in the fridge. It really changed the taste. I would highly suggest using freshly shredded Parmesan if you can swing it. It was OK with the green can stuff though so if price is a factor then just use that.

Ben rating: 4. Whenever I tell Ben we're having Carbonara for dinner I get an "Ooooh. Good." out of him. I think it's the bacon. ;)

February 8, 2010

HouseWorks: Master Bedroom Redo

Our home was filled with lots of changes this weekend. My littlest baby boy moved into a crib into the boy's room Saturday night. As much as I wanted our room back, it was harder for me than I thought it would be to have him farther than two feet away. But it was time. He wasn't fitting in his bassinet anymore. He seems to be having fun with this brothers. The past two mornings have been filled with quiet giggling from all three of them.

Anyways. You don't want to hear my sappy story about how much I miss my little man. I know you're here to find out what we did this weekend. And boy, did we DO something.

We have been talking about getting chair rail in the house since we moved in. For Christmas, I decided what I wanted was to redo our bedroom. Well, things happen and we got busy and didn't have the extra money for it so it got put off. This Saturday Ben was talking about how he didn't have any projects this weekend. So I suggested we could do our bedroom, thinking I would just get a "yeah, maybe." Apparently it was the magic word though, because we packed up the kids, went to Lowe's and got trim and paint. So, here's what we did. First, the before so you can see just how plain it was. WARNING: This is a VERY picture heavy post.

 Our whole house is yellow. Inside and out. The color we chose for the walls is called "Cottonseed" and when we put the paint chip to the wall when we bought the house it looked like a nice cream color. 
 Apparently though, the light we get into the house makes it all look yellow. Very yellow. 

We're not into yellow.

Don't let the pictures fool you. It's yellow. (Why yes, those are fairies. I have a thing for fairies.)

We hauled everything out.

Taped off the wall where the chair rail would go. We decided to to a darker color underneath and a lighter color on top. So our line was where the middle of the chair rail would hit. The bottom of the railing is 36" from the floor.

We painted. I know, it looks purple here. Just stick with me. It's a blue-grey. It'll be good. I promise.

My sexy man nailing up the railing and base moulding.
And now.

The Afters....

We LOVE it. It's so GORGEOUS. 

We finished around 9:00 last night, moved everything back in, and just stared. And stared. (Please ignore the mirror. That will be changing.)

And "Oooooh"ed.

And "Aaaah"ed.

And there was a whole lot of "Holy crap that looks NICE!" It's so relaxing. And we kept saying how it looked like a nice hotel. And how we were glad it wasn't yellow.

And then we went to bed. Because we were pooped. Haha. 
What do you think? Just have to get some decorations in. Now we can't wait to do the rest of the house!

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