December 21, 2011

The makeover of all makeovers!!

I have moved up in the world of blogging!!!  By that I mean that I actually spent a little money to spruce up this here blog.  I wanted it to be pretty, and I really didn't want to spend 3 millions hours of my time doing so!  I have life to live and hardly any time to spare on graphic design that I would have to teach myself to do;)

So...I turned to Etsy!  Trusty, lovely Etsy - and I searched through a few affordable designs and found this design you see, by Little Grey Willow I saw a few of her designs and really liked them and then stumble on this one and fell in love.  Isn't it soooo pretty?!?!

I am off to bake some cookies and dip some pretzels in chocolate!  I am making sweet goodies for my fabulous office staff at school!

Let me know what you think of the new digs;)

December 19, 2011

Traditions and such...

What is Christmas without family traditions?  These days, I am finding that our traditions are growing and changing.  Since Dave & I were married just a short 1.5 years ago - we haven't had tons of time to establish many.  Our families (my parents, and his mom) are sort of boycotting Christmas this year - so we are finding that we have to come up with all new plans and new ways of doing things.  It's a little sad, but also sort of nice.

One traditions that we have had for years now, at least Ashley & I, is making a gingerbread house.  I used to do this with my cousins, Tatiana & Sabrina, every year when I was a teenager and they were just little wee things.  Once Ashley came along (as in...when Dave & I started hanging out and then dating) she joined in the fun. 

This year, we took it to the "next level" as my dear friend Crystal said, and made a gingerbread village!  I bought this village at Target, where else, and we had a great time with it!

I bought a foam board to hold the whole thing on, it's sturdy and is a nice workspace.  The green "river" is Jell-O, the store I bought it from did not have blue, but I think it looks extra "Christmas-y" in the green color.  We bought extra candy to jazz it up, those kits never come with enough.  We also used a whole can of cake icing, and a whole bag of coconut for the snow.  The whole thing took about an hour and it was super fun, a lovely this to do with a pre-teen!

Close up.


the "Toy Store".  So fun.

Other traditions we do are driving around looking at Christmas lights.  We did that yesterday evening too!  We listen to Christmas music and drive around really nice neighborhoods looking at the beautiful houses that we dream of living in one day;)  Don't get me wrong, I love our home!!  It's just nice to dream.  Oh and we also decorate OUR home, 2 weeks before Christmas, with lights and Santa's and Mickey Mouse lights. 

Dave & I also like to watch White Christmas on Christmas Eve after we get home from all the family and friends fun, and church. 

I usually make chocolate covered pretzels for friends and family, and cookies.  I made Christmas cookies last weekend, Ashley, Heather (BFF) and Addison (BFF's daughter) helped me decorate those:

This year I am adding Cake Balls (not the Pops) to my baking repertoire.  I have fancy little candy holders that are going to make the Cake Balls look so sweet!  Pics to come;)

Another tradition we seem to have is shopping last minute.  I did a little shopping early on around Black Friday, but the bulk of the shopping was done on Friday & Saturday.  Dave and I made a date of it, we went out for sushi first (so we weren't starving as we shopped, that is a nightmare) and then drove all around spending way too much on presents, and then ended up at our favorite place, Du Claw, to celebrate our success in finishing up each other's presents.  It was a lovely evening, not stressful at all, even though people were probably annoying and traffic was awful and the crowds and lines were bad...we didn't mind because our bellies were full and we were together.  That's the way to shop!

Also, since we usually eat with family on major Holidays, I make a meal the Sunday before so that we can have our own family dinner to celebrate.  I did this for Thanksgiving last year and this year, and I did it for Christmas this year too.  It gives me a good reason to break out my beautiful Kate Spade China AND practice my major holiday cooking skills for when the responsibility falls on me one day to make a meal for a whole family.

New traditions this year (not necessarily going to be every-year deals) going to Boordy Vineyards on the 23rd for a Christmas tasting and a cheese picnic, going to Disney the day after (!!!!!), going to Jonathan & Krystal's on Christmas morning, and there may be more but I forget.

I love this season.  I love how happy it makes me!  I love counting my blessings, which is nice to do ALL the time, but I seem to do that more around this time of year.  I love the music and the company and the laughter and fun and all the time I have with my family!  So wonderful!!  I need to live my life more so like it is Christmas everyday;)

The point is, these traditions and memory making experiences make Christmas so sweet and enjoyable.  It's about spending time with family, having fun, and most importantly - celebrating the birth and life of Jesus, who gave his life for us! 

Merry Christmas, from the Bland Family to yours!!

December 11, 2011

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack;)

Hello friends and family!

I have almost had this blog for a whole year!  Now, my posting was a little heavy early on in the year, not so much in the past few months.  The blog is evolving as my life does, I am learning and thinking of the best way to use it! 

You will see some changes over the next few weeks.  I am think of re-naming, re-designing, as I have been over the past few months.  I can't have it be a place just to talk about books, although I am crazy about books, there are a dozen (or two) other things I'd love to feature on this here blog.  I find that since I have it so limited that I will need to open it up to other things, I lose motivation in blogging when I don't have time to read.  But when I am not reading, I am doing so many other fun things.  I want to talk about these things! 

Life has been sweet lately!  I am enjoying special times with family.  I think the holiday season reminds me that time with my loved ones is fleeting, unfortunately.   I have to cherish every moment I can!  I can't ever get comfortable in living for myself, in selfishness, I want to always be thinking about the ones I love and making sweet memories with them.  I can remember when I was younger, how bland (lol) life seemed for people who were married and did the same things every day, being with the same people and seeming "tied down" to one specific way of life.  How wrong I was!  My life is never the same thing every day!  Even if it was, I would be so happy because of the people in my life who make it worth living for - My wonderful hubby and my crazy, growing-up-way-too-fast stepdaughter, my wild cat, and my loving parents and my brothers and sisters (Jonathan and my in-laws), my mother-in-law and all the other family that we spend time with.  They make life worth it every day. 

My "new" but now not-so-new job has been a dream come true.  I am incredibly lucky to be working in such a great school, being a counselor to 650+ adorable, rowdy students.  I love it!  I can't imagine doing anything else!  It feels great to finally be settled in a career that I enjoy, one that I know I will be a part of for many, many years.  It keeps me very busy, and wears me out daily, but it's all worth it. 

In my free time lately, I have been doing any amount of the following: couponing, cooking, running, decorating for the holidays, shopping for the holidays, reading, Pinning, crafting, and planning our Disney trip.  I want to be BLOGGING about all this fun stuff, it feels good to share with whomever is interested:)  Even if no one is interested, it's still fun to talk about it!  It's cathartic:)

 I need to tally up how many books I've read this year.  I dropped the ball with the whole reading 10 a month, but I know I've read more this year than any other year in my life - which is really fun! 

Anyways, I'm back and hopefully you (my few readers) will enjoy being a part of the blog again - I love being part of the blogosphere and can't wait to re-design and get rolling.  I think I'll go do some designing right now!

October 13, 2011

Coupon = addiction!

Ok gang, here is the break down of my trip tonight!!  I think I've written it all out right - hopefully this is helpful if you want to try couponing for yourself!!

Read the book by the Krazy Coupon Lady because that is how I learned to do all this!!  You have to get mulitple copies of The Sun or The Aegis so get copies of each coupon (i.e. my tropicana deal below) it really makes a difference.  I have a local store near me that saves all the old papers for me.  They charge me for a few and then give me extra inserts since they don't make money off those - they can give the papers back for a reimbursment but I guess they don't care about the inserts. 

Here it goes!!

I've been couponing for about 2 weeks now - I know I can do better than this, but I am just starting to stockpile and learn the ropes and rules!

Price before coupons and sales: $118.25
Price after coupons and sales: $ 47.47
Saved: 70.78 or about 60%

Also earned a $5 coupon off my next order.

2 Sparkle paper towels 6pck $3.84 each
used a $1/2 coupon
paid 6.68

Angel Soft toilet paper for $2.34
no coupon for this since I just started:(  but this was the best deal, and we need it...NOW;)  when you stockpile you dont have that problem!

5 Heinz gravy for .99
no coupon
earned $5 off next order

Safeway mustard for .99
no coupon, but we needed this pronto - need to find a great sale and stock up!

5 Campbell select soups for .99 each
coupon for $1.50/3
paid: $3.45 (bought a few extra of these)

4 Campbell chicken noodle for .60 each
coupon for $1/4
Paid $1.40

5 Campbell condensed soups for 1.25
used $1/5
paid 5.25

12 pck of Thomas english muffins for 1.77
used Shoprite coupon from mailer
paid .97

Family size package of ground beef for 6.59

3 pound boneless pork shoulder for 3.19

Keller butter for 3.19
used Shoprite coupon from mailer
paid .99

Oscar Meyer bacon for 4.65
used Shoprite coupon from mailer
paid 1.77

Eggland dozen eggs for 2.59
on sale for 1.77
used man Q for $.55/1 (doubled to $1)
paid .77

Shoprite large 18 pk of eggs for 2.69
use Shoprite coupon

4 Tropicana OJ for 2.89 each
on sale for 1.77 each
used 4 $1/1 coupons
and they let me stack a shoprite coupon so
1 was FREE
paid 2.08 for the other 3 can we say STOCKPILE!? yes!!! three are in the freezer...

Shoprite Milk for 2.99
no coupon for this - should have bought at Wegmans since it's new in town and has a locked in price of 2.69

4 Colgate toothbrushes for .77 each
used 2 $1/2 coupons (best I had at this point)
paid $1.08 for all 4

Shoprite egg noodles for 1.59
no coupon:(  probably can get a better deal down the road but needed these now

So that is it!!  I prob won't break down all my trips, but I can post what I buy and what I pay and if you are interested just send me a message on FB and I can tell you!

Other deals this week:

2 reams of paper
1 pop up tape dispenser
1 pk command hooks
Spent: $13.68
Submitted for Staples rebates (easy to sign up for, go to their website) totaling $16!!  That means I made over $2, for shopping?!?!  Yeah, I can live with that;)  They are sending me a check as we speak.

Ok - thats all for now - isnt it so fun?!?!

October 11, 2011

Crafty BFF-ness

On Saturday this past weekend, my BFF Heather & I had a day full of cooking and crafting!  We made pumpkin muffins and yummy cinnamon rolls.  More on those later...

First I have to talk about the wreaths we made, they are so cool!  We got the idea off the internet, where else?  I got some ideas off Pinterest:

coffee filter wreath, I think I have a thing for wreaths!    coffee filter pom pom balls and wreaths - jones design company  diy coffee filter wreath... i just may have wreaths ALL OVER the house.

Aren't they so pretty?  They are SO easy!!  You get a packet or two of coffee filters, we chose white but you can also do the tan-ish/brown ones.  You need a wreath ring, which you can get at JoAnn or Michaels or any craft store.  Also, you need a glue gun.  Here are my supplies, don't mind the monkey towel (we were working on my huge red ottoman as we watch girl movies like Pride and Prejudice and You've Got Mail and the towels were laid down to protect the red planet) or the Santa plate (cheap $1 store plate to lay the glue gun on) just the every day supplies of a professional RIGHT:

You take the coffee filter and scrunch it up so that all the feathery tips are bunched together, and you put some glue on the bottom smooth part and stick it on the ring...

See?  It already looks cool!!!

Here it is, all done!  Here it is just sitting on my couch.  I figured I'd hang it up somewhere...

I think it looks way pretty on our red door:)  I may add some fall decor to it?  You can do so much to these!  A little spray glitter and some red or green ribbon and its a Christmas wreath!  Or an orange ribbon and some black decor for Halloween.  Or...some leaves and pumpkins and it's a fall/Thanksgiving wreath.  The ideas are endless.  It's such an easy and cheap craft - and could make a great gift too!!  It only took about 1.5 hours, not too shabby!

I love being crafty!  Ashley and I are working on the next craft...the letters B.O.O. decoupaged with Halloween scrap paper -it's so cute so far!  More on that later too!

This week has been so busy so far!  I am officially obsessed with couponing!  Oh the deals I have scored!!  For instance, Staples is running some great promos and rebates right now - last night I bought two reams of computer paper, a package of picture hanging hooks, and a pop up tape dispenser and I paid $13 OOP (out of pocket) but after rebates (easy ones to submit right online, no hassle) totaling $16 I will have MADE $3?!?  How does that even happen?  It's so crazy, so fun, and really so addicting!  I highly recommend the book by the Krazy Coupon Lady it really explains the whole process and how to get into this whole couponing thing.  I'll post more deals as I go, be prepared for a MEGA deal tomorrow from Shop Rite, it is going to be REDONK!!  I love shopping but I love saving money more - so couponing is awesome for me.

Ok I have to go to bed!  I did my 5K training Sunday and then again today and my body is really feeling it, ow!  But it feels great!  I have so much more energy to get things done at work and at home, its awesome:)

Night friends!

October 5, 2011

Krazy: to be or not to be?

I'm reading this book:

..and it's pretty darn good!  Have you ever watched that extreme coupon show and thought, "man that would be so cool?!?!"  Or you have heard stories or people going to the store and paying like $5 for $200 worth of stuff?  Yeah, that is pretty cool!

I don't know how "krazy" I am going to be, but I have definitely started!  I've gone to a local store here and asked them to save the leftover coupon/newspapers for me every week - the ladies there were so sweet!  I bought 2 of the leftover papers and then they GAVE me two extra sets of inserts from other papers.  Plus the paper I have the we get delivered, that means I have FIVE sets of inserts of this weekends paper.  Which, BTW, is totally cool because this week was loaded with good stuff.

I went to Wal-Mart and bought a binder and the baseball card organizer sheets, and started cutting and organizing the coupons tonight.  I got tired really fast, so I didn't make it through all the hundreds of coupons I have.  I'm so excited to watch for the sales and save the heck out of grocery shopping!  I'll post about any good deals I'm getting, it's going to be so fun!

Other things today...I did my week 1 run 2 of the 5k training program.  It was so hard.  I didn't feel great over the weekend so my body had to get used to running all over again, it's been a week since my last run.  It's always hard getting back into it after more than a day or two off.  But, I did 1.5+ miles of walking and jogging and did it in 30 minutes.  Hopefully one day that will turn into 3 miles of all jogging in under 30;)

It's nice to have goals!

That is it for today, I am so sleepy!  If any of my friends want to start a couponing club, I would totally be down with that.  I don't know a lot yet, but we could learn together, swap coupons, etc.  It could be good times!

October 4, 2011

Terrific Tuesday!

Today I got home from work and found an Amazon box on my porch!!  I am very excited about the books that are in there:

I'm very excited about this one, I hear so many great things about this story.  I think they are doing a movie?  I'm not sure.  There's another story too, but I am reading this one first:)

I have started to run again.  Lord, help me!  I love to run because it helps my stress & anxiety (I'm a very anxious person!) but the last time I reeeeally got into running was right before I had a terrible case of mono that lasted 2 years.  I dont want that to happen again!  Anyways, I bought this book for way cheap to get motivated, learn what is good about running, etc.  I'm training for a possible 5k...we will see how it goes!  I running 3-4 times a week, about 1.5 miles each time. 

This one is super fun, I love couponing but I totally stink at it right now.  I want to be better.  I want to go to the store and pay a little for a lot of groceries!  Not as intense as those crazy ladies on TV, but saving a good chunk on each shopping trip would be great.  We can save up for fun trips, like Disney.  I love the Couponing to Disney blog - lots of great tips on there too and this book will hopefully teach me a little more about saving money at the store.  Love saving money!

That made my day, getting all those books!  Now the hubs, Ashley, and I are going to run some errands and get some ice cream.  Have a great night!

October 3, 2011


It has been a long Monday! 

I've started to re-do the old bloggity blog please excuse me while it is transitioning:)

I'm also starting some fun, Pinterest related projects soon!  Just as a preview, more specifically...these things:

This fun "BOO" Halloween decor, from here :

Pinned Image

Also, I'm dying to try this, from here :

Pinned Image

More updates on those as I get the projects underway.  I am totally excited about doing home decor stuff again, cooking fun new things, reading fabulous new books, and sharing it all here for you!  Good night!

October 1, 2011

A Fall spruce:)

Good Morning! Happy Saturday!  Top of the October to you!

LOL - ok I am done.  I'm very excited for fall!  I love fall.  Well, I love it when it's not rainy and gross every day of our lives.  Stupid rain!  But hopefully in the next few days fall will emerge all cool and beautiful:)

Truth:  I love writing my blog.  But, since I haven't been reading ( all.  Seriously, I've bought books but haven't read any!) I don't want to blog because I haven't had anything to blog about regarding why I set my blog up in the first place!

Action:  I'm changing the blog a bit.  I'm still going to include reading because I love it.  LOVE IT.  But it won't be all about reading.  It'll be about life and and love and the house and the books I'm reading.  Maybe if I take the pressure off reading, I'll do it more?  Who knows?  Life is a learning experience, right?  We make resolutions or goals - try to achieve those and then have to tweak the goal to make it more successful.  So over the next few days or weeks, I'll be changing the blog - changing the goals, and probably start posting more about life. 

Review:  Let me know what you think of it as I'm changing and when I'm done!  Cheerio!

September 21, 2011

Freakin' Floods!

Even before the whole "earthquake" or "hurricane" or "massive rain storms", our basement here at our lovely town home flooded.  Thats right, it flooded BEFORE all that natural disaster stuff.  August was one of the rainiest months Bel Air has ever had - before Irene hit.  Half of our basement one rainy Sunday morning was 1/4 inch deep in water:(

We had the plumber come out and take a look, and our sump pump had failed, which was a blessing, because that means insurance will pay for the damage.  But still, it stinks!!!

We had ServPro come out and rip out carpet and they put these huge fans and humidifiers down there...


Yeah, its a mess down there!!  Isnt it?  We got everything settled, pick out new carpet and all that, had the sump pump fixed and were all ready to clean this mess up when....

not the earthquake....not the hurricane....but....

THE MASSIVE RAIN that happened two weeks ago from Lee once again found a way to get water into our basement.  OY!!  Now, this time, our sump pump was working, whereas the first time - it didnt even turn on.  So...not only did that fail that first time, but there was something else happening that was letting water into our basement.

Turns out we have some huge crack in our foundation on the outside of our house, and our neighbors drains are draining INTO the ground next to that crack (not their fault, btw, the drains were buried before we all moved in - I'd like to thank whichever idiot did that!)

So now, we have to have a waterproof company come out and look at the crack, which btw, empties into our basement BEHIND that brick wall there in the last pic on the back wall.  Which means they are going to have to smash out my beautiful brick to fix the problem.  It also means that THIS part of the process is not covered, we will have to pay for the work.  Double Oy.  Triple Oy.  It's a good thing I'm working now;)

So that has been our lives the past month!  Has the rain hurt anyone else?  I'm sure it has since it's been everywhere!  I'm so ready for fall - cool temps, crisp sunny days:)

August 30, 2011

See ya, Irene!

Well - you may be wondering if I will even post again in this sweet little blog of mine and I am here to say YES! 

We were hit by Irene this weekend - living right outside Baltimore.  We didnt get hit as bad as NC or up in New England - it's like Irene backed off for the middle of her journey.  Now, having said that, our house was out of power for 48 hours.  Our town has been crazy, with half of the homes and businesses and street lights out.  Our first day of school with the students was supposed to be Monday, schools were closed.  Then today again they were closed.  Our power came back on at 9am - Praise the Lord!  And I bet that tomorrow, we will be in school again! 

Update on life?  Well summer is winding down, I started my job as a school counselor!  I love it so far, the staff at my school is awesome, and I can't wait to meet all the kiddos!  I feel that as I settle into my new and permanent routine - I'll get back to reading more and working on the house. 

Right now I am reading One Day - its out in the movies and I am an avid read-before-see kinda girl, I just started that one and so far is pretty good!  My next will probably be Sarah's Key - I hear that is awesome.  I also started Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - I didnt get far, I think that one will be  slow read.  It is interesting though - it's just not a gobble in up in an evening sort of book.

I'm still looking for good book recommendations so keep commenting or email them!  I'll be back and better then ever this fall!

Hope everyone is doing well and fairing well after Irene!  Leave your stories or comments here:)

August 7, 2011

Long time....

No see?  Summer is lovely.  It's winding down now.  I officially have 8 days of it left before I go back to work.  This is my first permanent full time job in 3 and a 1/2 years?  Isn't that crazy?  I went out of work in April of 2008 with mono - which kept me out of work for a year.  Thank you Jesus for disability and unemployment!!  Then I was in grad school and couldn't work.  Then I worked in long term sub jobs.'s all paid off!  All my hard work for my Master's - finally I have a job!  I'm so excited!!

Tomorrow is our yearly girl day trip to Ocean City, MD.  I go with two of my dearest friends - Katie D and Crystal C.  It's always a good time when we go too, a good de-stressor!  Perfect way to celebrate our end-of-summer-good times!

I've been writing my school counseling program, so I haven't had a lot of time to read.  Tomorrow at the beach I am starting:

I'm going to start it and see how I like it.  I've heard mixed reviews.  I'm the type that if the book doesn't catch me in the first few chapters - I skip it!!  Review to come...

Still no improvements in the house.  I've been too busy helping mom 3 days a week, since she won't have the help once I start work, I'm trying to help her as much as possible.  I have a feeling when I start work and everything settles down (late Sept probably!) I'll get back into decorating and reading like a bandit!  Plus, we'll have a little more funds for me to use for decoration;)

I can't believe summer has flown by!  It's been a fun one.  I am so looking forward to fall - sweaters and jeans and boots and back to school and our yearly Disney trip.  I love it so much! 

July 28, 2011

Reviews: Why is Young Adult Lit always the best?

In July so far, I've only read 2 books.  Chalk it up to summer fun and craziness?!?  Even after revamping my challenge I can't even meet my own goals!  Geez!!!

Anyways, I've read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Anyone who knows me, knows how crazy I am about these books.  I started reading them when I was in college, almost by accident.  My cousin, either Tatiana or Sabrina (hi lovelies!), left the first book in my room over Thanksgiving.  I was a youth leader at the time and had heard a lot of my youth talking about the books.  I think maybe 3 of them were out at that point.  Anyways, I read the first one and was hooked.  Little did I know how AMAZING the whole story would be?  The first 3 books are fairly light reading, almost kiddish, with sweet stories and plots about Harry's adventures at Hogwarts with his two bffs Ron & Hermione.  Then, as you get into book 4, you realize this story is more then amazing, it's revolutionary, its life changing...the stories become much more intense and dark and the struggle between what is right and easy, and what is pure and what is evil is sprinkled in every chapter.  You fall in love with so many characters, you loose those characters in painful, tear jerking ways.  You fight right along with Harry as he faces things unimaginable.  The story (by that I mean all 7 books) is fun, it's filled with great vocab and moral lessons for kids, it's emotional, it'll make you laugh, curse, fume, cry.  It is, without a doubt and with exception of the Bible, the BEST story every written.  Ever.  I mean it. 

Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, who picks up this series and reads it will love it.  I dont care if you are young or old, boy or girl, if you love Jesus (like me) or hate him (well...I do care if you hate him, actually!!!  Talk to me if you want!), or if you hate to read or hate "magic"....I promise you if you read these books, you will love them.  I've never met anyone ever who read all 7 books and said..."eh, its not for me."  Those people don't exist because that is how GOOD this story is.  So of course, I give the whole series a:

  I don't buy into that whole, "Christians don't read Harry Potter."  I think that the books do better than most "Christian" books in teaching all those great lessons like selflessness, self-sacrifice for the good of others, friendship and love, importance of loyalty and honesty and all that is good in the world.  Don't focus on the fact that it's about wizards and magic, you'll be cheating yourself of one of the best experiences in your life;)  Can you tell how much I love these books?!?!

The other book I read was

This book was SO good.  I read it fast.  Like Hunger Games, I drank it up like ice cold water!!  This is about a world where when you are 16 you choose what "faction" of society you want to belong to.  There are 5, the brave, the selfless, the intelligent, the peaceful and the honest (they all have fancy names).  Its again a story in a post-apocalyptic setting.  The main character is Beatrice, Tris, who grew up in the selfless society but in the choosing ceremony she switches to the brave society.  Transferring societies like that is not the norm, and this is a big deal.  It follows Tris as she is initiated into the brave (Dauntless) society and during that time she learns that the world split like this isn't as functional as it seems.  Leaders are corrupt, murders and jealously and all the things that the 5 way split was supposed to "solve" are rampant.  War is about to happen before anyone knows about it - I was on the edge of my seat!  This book is really good!  I can't wait until the next one (it'll be a trilogy).  I give it a:

Even though I didn't get very far in the reading process this month, I read two really great books!!  Both considered Young Adult Lit.  They are the best books;)  HP 7 took me almost the whole month - I guess because I've read it (honestly) about 8 or 9 times already that I know what happens on each page (lol) and I wasn't motivated to speed through it.  But man oh man, I just love that book, I love going on that journey with Harry!  Just typing this review makes me want to pick it up and read it again!!

Hope everyone is having a great week!!

July 23, 2011

Vacation Month - I guess!!!

July has been a hoot!  Of course, that means while I'm having so much fun-in-da-sun, I haven't been blogging.  Like, at all.  But you know that, if you have been reading my blog!!

I've been working on projects for sure - just not at our house.  Helping my parents do their reno is taking up mucho timo, but I promise I'll show pics when we are done.  Heck, I may even taken pictures of the place this week so you can see how bad it is, before it gets better!

I am reading, just very very slowly!  I decided to break my own rule (surprised?) and read Harry Potter.  Just the 7th book right now.  Since it's or 6th time reading is going more slowly like summer reading should I guess?  I'm almost done, but so is July!  I do have a massive book list waiting for me, here are some of the titles:

1.  Divergent (kind like Hunger Games I hear?)
2.  Baby books like what to expect when expecting and what to expect the first year...see below
3.  William and Kate: A love story
4.  The girl with....books (Dragon Tattoo, etc)
5.  Lincoln Lawyer (it's movie too now, I hear...)

and many more!  Its these lazy-hazy days of summer that are keeping me from being speedy reader I guess?  I'm having a wonderful summer, fun with friends and my family, and doing my parents a huge favor by working cheap-o for them with the renovations.  Its a good life!

Oh yeah, the baby books - no alarm I'm not "expecting" or anything.  I just had the crazy thought to actually READ these books before we even what to start trying - so I have an inkling of what is going to happen to me, my body, and the bambino when the time actually comes.  They were 50 cents each at the Good Will, so I can't beat the price for a book I'll want someday anyways, right?  The more I know, the less I'll mess up the kid;)  Plus, I'm just interested in learning about pregnancy and babies, is that weird?  Well, I'm 30 - I guess it was coming to me anyways!!

That's all for now!  Hope everyone is having a fab Sat!

July 11, 2011

Owl be crazy!

I'm really loving owls right now.  Like, really loving them!  I am trying NOT to cover our whole house with them.  Why do I love them?  IDK...I think it started with loving Hedwig so much in HP.  Also, they are adorable - really!  I know they are strange birds, but that is what makes them so cute.  They ask, "who?" all the time too, there's something really funny about that;)

Look at this little guy I found at Good Will!  I hate his colors, but I hearteth him....

 I want to spray paint him white like Hedwig and use him as decor in our London themed living room, so...

 I borrowed this spray paint from mom.  I love spray paint!!  You can see a very blurred and worried Frodo there on the floor.  Don't worry bub - it's not time for your makeover;)  Anyways, here he is all done!!

 Isn't he so sweet!!  I shall love him forever and ever!  Here he is in his new home,

Sorry - my camera really really stinks.  I need a new one!!  Anyways, here he is sitting on our shelf.  Since this pic was taken, I've moved that wedding pic and put all our HP hardcover books on this shelf next to him.  They make great decor with the London theme.

Here is another owl that has since come to live with us!  He was my grandad's wise ol garden owl.  He was living on my parents porch and mom and I were out there and I was green with envy for him, so mom gave him to me!  She says he is a little scary, but I think he is too cute!  Again, bad photography...sorry...I promise one day it'll get better!

And another little owl friend, for our 1 year anniversary Dave got me this sweet owl charm and the shamrock charm.  I love this little guy too!

Anyone else feeling the owl thing lately?  I'm determined to have an owl nursery, when the time comes to have said nursery.  Not yet, thank you!!

Speaking of owls, sort of, I'm breaking down and reading HP 7, did I mention that already?  With the movie coming up, I just had to!

July 7, 2011

Challenge Overhaul!

I tend to be really ambitious in life.  Over ambitious sometimes.  Like, for example, one day my to-do list will have 20 items on it.  Yeah right!  I can't possibly do 20 different projects or things around the house in one day!  Life gets in the way, right?  Dave wants to go out to eat, or we decide to go to the pool for 5 hours, or mom needs me to come help her, etc.  So at the end of the day I feel like, "I've got nothing done!!!" even though I probably did 10 of those things.  Its a viscous cycle!

So, what I am trying to say is that I think I have to revamp my reading goals!  I am finding that I can't possibly read 10 books a month anymore.  I'm not sure how I did it in Jan-Mar?  I think because it was winter, and I wasn't doing too much, I just had the time!  It's too hard!  I still love reading, and still have a reading list about a mile long!

So my NEW goal is to hit 5 books a month.  I think that's a fair sentence goal:)  If I read more, then good!  With how busy we have been this summer, and I don't anticipate that changing, and starting a new job in the end of August, I think 5 is perfect.  It'll still be challenge, don't worry!

So my June 2010 Book List ended up being:

1. Wicked by Macguire
2.  No Plot No Problem by Baty
3.  The Help by Stockett
4.  Water for Elephants by Gruen
5.  The Uglies by Westerfield

That last one I need to review:

Uglies is book one is a series by Scott Westerfield.  There are four of them

I plan on reading all of them, just not in a row.  It was a good book, but not like Hunger Games where I was desperate to read the next book right away!  It's about a dystopian world (again) where everyone in the "city" is ugly until they turn 16.  At 16 everyone gets an operation to become pretty.  The authorities say this way of life helps keep the peace, everyone ends up being beautiful so there is nothing to fight for or be jealous about.  The story follows Tally, who wants nothing more than to be beautiful.  Her best friend, a boy, had his operation a few months ago.  She meets a new friend, Shay, who tells her about a place where people have escaped to, and live like the "Rusties" (that's us).  Shay ends up running away before her operation to this civilization, and Tally gets interrogated by the government as to where she went.  They tell Tally she cant have her operation until she travels to, infiltrates, and leads them to the place.  So the whole book is about her doing, or not doing, that;)  It's pretty good!  However, I didn't have the need to finish it right away.  So, I give it a:

I do recommend it.  It's a great book for teens too - I think that in this case, it's a teen book that they will love but adults may not.  I do want to know what happens in the other books, but I think I'll wait on that:)

I have a very busy week.  I can't wait to upload all my pictures of everything that has been going on!  More on that later....

I'm off to tweek the bliggity blog a little!!!  Tell me what you are reading - I always need ideas!

June 28, 2011

Clifford Makeover

When Dave & I first bought Clifford (our big red couch) my plan was to switch out the pillows every season.  The pillows that we picked out for Clifford are cute and all - polka dot multi colored thangs:

Ok so it's hard to see them here, they looked sorta striped.  But they are dots, in a row, all different colors.  Anyways, I'm sick of them.  Too matchy matchy.  Clifford needed a face lift!  Originally I was going to make covers for these, I wanted to add hints of yellow & green in here, I'm dying to layer some color in.  Since our (to be) Tuscan kitchen is yellows and hints of reds and green, and our NYC dining room is red and black with hints of yellow and green, I wanted to continue the color scheme through our London family room. friend Katie & I were in IKEA and I saw these pretty white-ish pillow cases, all for under $10.  I found the embroidered one and though, "man, that is really English looking!  and so cute!"  Katie agreed.  So we started pulling different white-ish pillow cases until I found a system I loved!!  It looks so cute on Clifford, really brightens him and the room up:

 I love how the whole attitude of the room has changed now!  I love how it is DIFFERENT and still flows with the rest of the house, but it has it's own personality now.  I talk about the design likes it's living or  Anyways, its so fun!  I also love mixing the patterns and textures.  It's a nice layer effect.  Here is a wider shot:

See how it opens and lightens up our room?  Love it!  Please excuse our lack of curtains here, I have to figure out how to work curtains on these windows - it'll be tricky getting the curtain rods up on this ones??  Here is another shot:

I like them way better then the polka dot ones, they were TOO, now that I am seeing a lighter option!  Maybe the darker ones can be our "winter" pillows?  So the three square pillows are our original pillows with covers on them.  The rectangle embroider pillow is new all around, the case was $10 and the pillow was $3.  The 3 square covers where $6 each for the two blue dots and $7 for the solid, textured white.  So $32 altogether for this couch makeover!  Not to shabby:)  I love Ikea!

Reading Challenge update:  still on Uglies!  I have a list of books to read that is grown a mile a minute!  I can't keep up!!!  I also was to break down and read HP SOOOO bad!  Maybe not all of it, maybe just book 7 - it's too hard to stay away;)

June 26, 2011

Good Will Hunting

I think I've said already that my mom and I have been going to Good Will a lot.  I've been finding all sorts of goodies that I can re purpose (like spray paint or decoupage, etc).  I love doing this - it's a new hobby!!  What is better then finding something SUPER cheap - O and making it pretty again!

Case & point, I bought these 5 ugly brass candle sticks...

 ....and using these simple tools (rustoleum hammered paint, a wire wool sander thing-a-ma-bob ((that's it's official name of course)) and a damp rag) I can create something beautiful!!  I scrubbed the brass candle sticks down with the thing-a-ma-bob to get all the rough stuff off and to help the paint stick.  Then I wiped them down with the rag to get all the extra stuff off.

 Then I spray painted them 2-3 times on this side, then I turned them over after letting them dry to the touch (about hour just to be sure, the can says you can touch it after 15 mins) and sprayed them again, making sure I got the tops and the bottoms so all the brass yuckiness is completely covered.  I hate brass, did I say that already?  So gross...

 Here is my finished product!  Aren't they so cute?

They look like new!  I love how they look up on my shelf in our dining room.  I actually like them without any candles in them, all different heights!  I may put sticks in them eventually.

Love it!  I get all giddy when I re purpose things.  Its fun!

I also bought this old mirror.  I didn't take any pre pics (sorry!) I was so into my spray painting!  I just took it out there while I was waiting for the candle sticks to dry.  It was white with weird windmills and flowers painting all over it.  I sanded this and wiped it down, and then sprayed it the same color...

It now lives in our master bath on this weird shelf thing we have behind our bathtub.  I wanted to get a mirror to keep our candles on.  Makes it a little...romantic with all the light reflecting in the mirror.  Our "city" theme in here is the Mediterranean, although we haven't done a lot with it yet.  Hence the pretty blue vases, also Good Will finds!

See how nice the mirror looks?!  The last time we went to the Good Will was a glass themed trip.  It seemed like my mom and I bought lots of glass!  I bought this cool apothecary jar and two little tea light candle holders that I have stacked together here for some interesting height.  They live on "the shelf" for now...


FYI my camera sucks.  I just got it in November, but it sucks.  I want a really nice one next, with all the lens and all that!  Maybe when I start my new job!

Anyways, that's all for now.  I've got other Good Will things to work on, and will be sharing them this week!  Have you done anything like this before? 

I have started reading Uglies but Scott Westerfield.  Should be finished in a day or two, review to come! 


June 22, 2011

Oh Rustoleum, how I have found you!

....just wanted you to know that I bought "hammered" nickel colored Rustoleum spray paint today to "re purpose" some Good Will findings!

My mom and I have this new tradition of going to Good Will on Wednesdays because it's Senior day and unfortunately but fortunately, she qualifies for.  So we spend an hour looking around for stuff we really do NOT need, but it's fun anyways.  You know what they say, trash....treasure...all that.  I love seeing the potential in things:)  I've spent (well, buys the stuff and adds it as part of my payment for helping her this summer) around $20 on some really cute stuff!  All to be revealed in good time...

Anyways, I have been spray painting away and I shall share these things with you tomorrow, since it's 10:31 pm EST and taking pictures with my stinky camera wouldn't do the newly painted guests any justice!

I used to think spray painting was dumb and such a no-no...but apparently there is this whole new wave of spray painting goodness going on in the decor world, and I am glad to be a part of it!!  Woo hoo!!!  Where do I sign in?

Anyone else spray painting things?

Under construction

Please excuse the messy blog as I try to update the look.  I need a degree in graphic design, this stuff is hard!!!


June 21, 2011

Holy Herbs!

All of a sudden, our garden exploded!!  Our Hydrangea is like....WHOA!  Our front garden is like hey, WHOA!  Our herbs are WHOA!

So, I had to do some population control.  Now our house has some pretty decor....


All lined up in a row.

Now book reviews today.  I haven't even started a new book yet - but I will tonight.  I'm starting the Uglies (from the Ugly/Pretty/Special) series.  Sounds pretty interesting - its young adult lit which, you may know already, is one of my faves!

Hows everyone summer going?  Anyone reading anything good??? 

June 20, 2011

Summer breeze...

Yes yes another post!

First I wanted to share the gift Ash & I made for Dave, it's so super cute:

She put on each of Dave's 3 Ravens jerseys and we took a bunch of pictures of her in each jersey with the D & the A, to spell out D-A-D...we did it this way so he can hang it in his "man cave" which is themed Baltimore (mostly Ravens stuff, of course!)  Isn't it so sweet?!  We took the pics outside in our garden to add a nice punch of color.  He loved it.

Today was a super fun summer day!  First it started with my BFF Heather coming to visit for a bit.  Then, Dave & I played tennis for about an hour - it was so fun.  I used to play tennis in high school and really love playing the game and it's such a great workout!  I'm so sore!!  We've been trying to work out more (we are joining a gym soon!) and be healthy - tennis is a great activity to do together too, we are so silly:)

Later, we picked Ash up from Soccer & Music camp and we went to the pool.  There is this public pool nearby that is only $4 to get in, no membership needed, and if you go after 4pm its only $3, which we did!  It turned out to be a pretty day, sun came out and warmed up the world!  This pool is in a cool location - its up on top of a cliff over the Susquehanna, so the views are really pretty & relaxing.  Some pics I snapped...

 I took this right when we refreshing looking, right?
Thats Dave & Ash in the pool, they are playing some weird game called "Colors" where they just dunk each other, lol.  Such fun!

Now Ash & I are watching The Bachelorette!!!  It's been a nice day overall...Thank you Jesus for beautiful days like this:)

I linked up with a bowl full of lemons !