Archive for November, 2009

Kitchen- Before

Since I’ve been posting a lot of pictures around the house but no real pictures of the house, I thought it would be fun to share a before and after of the room we’ve made the most progress on- the kitchen. Since we spend so much time in here on a daily basis, it was top on our list of priorities. We’re pretty happy with the result!





To spruce things up a bit, we:

– Scraped the popcorn from the ceilings

– Got rid of the lovely Little House on the Prairieesque wallpaper

– Had the cabinets and trim painted Westhighland White (Sherwin Williams)

– Painted the walls Rain (upper) and Westhighland White (lower) by Sherwin Williams (color matched in Valspar paint)

– Replaced the island light fixture with a pot rack from Lowes

– Replaced the dining area fixture with a neat pulley-style light fixture from the Pottery Barn outlet (love that place!)

– Switched out the hardware for oil rubbed bronze pulls

– Spray painted the hinges in oil rubbed bronze paint (a suggestion from our painter, who was thankfully very sympathetic to our budget and willing to give us expert advice)

– Switched out the door hardware for oil rubbed bronze knobs

– Had the moldy, nasty linoleum replaced with Red Oak hardwoods to match the front two rooms

At the risk of totally overloading this post with pictures, I’ll save the afters for tomorrow. Come back to see them!



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While we haven’t really embarked on any landscaping projects yet, we have tried to cut back some of the brush around the house and have accumulated a few big piles of sticks. While Zoey loved them, I wasn’t thrilled with what they did for the curb appeal of the house and was ready to take them to the dump. When I mentioned it, Zach told me that he would rather burn it. He later had the idea to host a bonfire and invite friends from our Sunday school class.

While I was originally hesitant (envisioning our house in flames, angry neighbors, or being arrested), it ended up being great. Since we technically live in the county, we weren’t breaking any rules, and Zach talked to the neighbors about our plans. We enjoyed a  low-key night of great conversation, crackling fire, and yummy s’mores. It was so much fun to be able to enjoy a crisp fall night with friends.

*At one point, Zach dumped a big bundle of leaves and sticks on the fire. Ironically, it was right as some of the guys were giving him a hard time for the flames dying down. It’s hard to tell from the last picture, but to give you an idea of how big it got, look to the upper left and you can see our porch light in the distance.


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A Little Fall Treat

Now that Halloween is over and we’re getting ready for (hooray!) Christmas decorating, we decided it was time to get rid of the pumpkins that we had used to decorate our porch. Before tossing them, I decided to use them for one last fall treat- pumpkin seeds. They were easy to make, tasted great, and were much less expensive than store-bought. Here’s what I did:

Got Zach to cut off the tops of the pumpkins. Because he’s big and strong.

Scooped out all of the guts. Luckily, our pumpkins had very little goop and mostly seeds, making my job much easier.


Rinsed and degunked the seeds, then patted them dry.


Poured the seeds onto a cookie sheet, doused them in oil and salt, and tossed them in the oven.


Baked at 350 for 30 minutes (even though I don’t think there’s a magic number to this- I recommend a taste test)

PS- If you try this, I suggest that you don’t forget to put your two year-old puppy in her room for the night while leaving the bowl of seeds on the coffee table. Just a thought.

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The Italian Job

air and meg

On Saturday, Zach and I had the privilege of attending the wedding of two sweet friends. Megan (the cutest, sweetest little Italian you will ever meet) and I met in 5th grade and she was one of my best friends growing up. She and Paul (also Italian) started dating when we were in high school, and it was obvious to everyone around them that they were a perfect match. It was so much fun to see this special person that I grew up with moving on to this exciting stage of life.

The ceremony was at a beautiful old church in downtown Raleigh, and the ceremony was at the Renaissance hotel at North Hills. Like any good Italian wedding, there was a lot of food, hugging, and fun. We had such a great time!



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Earlier this week, Zach’s mom and sister came to visit for his younger brother’s 21st birthday. It was fun to have them come see our house for the first time, and we were glad to get to spend time with them! While they were here, Zach’s mom took a few pictures:

 ash and zoey


zach arielle porch

This is one that Zach took, but I couldn’t resist putting it up. How could you not love this face?


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Thanksgiving Season

I LOVE Christmastime. So much, in fact, that I want to skip right to it as soon as October is over (I did actually play Christmas music in the car on the way to church yesterday). Recently, however, I’ve been trying to slow down and enjoy each season as it comes- like the season specifically devoted to giving thanks. I’m thankful for the big things like salvation, family, and friends, but also for the little things, like cuddling on the porch swing with my husband, fun yard sale finds ($7 quilt- perfect for fall decorating), and hot chocolate.

Along this line of thinking, I recently came across this passage from C.S. Lewis (aka one of my two favorite authors of all time), and thought I’d share it:

The sense in which something “deserves” or “demands” admiration is . . . this; that
admiration is the correct, adequate or appropriate response to it:
that if paid, admiration will not be “thrown away”, and that if we do
not admire we shall be stupid, insensible and great losers, we shall
have missed something. In that way many objects both in Nature and in
Art may be said to deserve, or merit, or demand admiration. It was
from this end, which will seem to some irreverent, that I found it
best to approach the idea that God “demands” praise. He is that Object
to admire which . . . is simply to be awake, to have entered the real
world; not to appreciate which is to have lost the greatest
experience, and in the end to have lost all. The incomplete and
crippled lives of those who are tone deaf, have never been in love,
never cared for a good book, never enjoyed the feel of the morning air
on their cheeks, never (I am one of these) enjoyed football, are faint
images of it. . . .

The most obvious fact about praise – whether of God or anything –
strangely escaped me. I thought of it in terms of compliment, approval
or the giving of honour. I had never noticed that all enjoyment
spontaneously overflows into praise. . . . The world rings with praise
– loverse praising their mistresses, readrs their favorite poet,
walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game
– praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges,
countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare
stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars. I had
not noticed how the humblest, and at the same time most balanced and
capacious, minds, praised most, while the cranks, misfits and
malcontents praised least. . . . I had not noticed either that just as
men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously
urge us to join them in praising it: “Isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it
glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent?” The Psalmists in telling
everyone to praise God are doing what all men do when they speak of
what they care about.

Happy Thanksgiving season.

Picnik collage pumpkin

Picnik collage swing

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Fall Fun

Yesterday, we had a great time going to our friends Charles and Amy’s house to hang out and enjoy some fun Halloween festivities. We started by carving pumpkins, which I hadn’t done in a while. Zach directed and I tried to interpret his artistic vision. We pretty much ended up with a standard jack-o-lantern, but we were happy with it. We saved the seeds, and after we were done carving the girls went inside to bake them while the boys watched football. They turned out really well, and I’m hoping to make some more with the rest of the pumpkins from our front steps. After dinner at Outback, we came back and the boys tried to light things on fire and blow the pumpkins up. Thankfully, we didn’t have to call any emergency vehicles. We ended the night with a game of poker (I watched), which my husband “tied” with Sarah (they didn’t play through to see who would really win). We were thankful to get to spend the evening with such a fun group of people!

Picnik collage pumpkins

 Picnik collage pumpkins 2



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