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One Funny Date Night

I had a looong week last week. Nothing bad, just busy. We had a couple of special events at school (including a 6:30am web conference with a school in India), the kids were a bit bonkers (Christmas break is in sight!), and it seemed like my to-do list kept growing. Enter: my amazing husband. When I got home on Friday, I was surprised with flowers, the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living, Fresh Market dinner, and a Christmas movie. Pretty amazing.

To top things off, he had a hot bath waiting for me so I could drink hot chocolate and enjoy my magazine. He told me that it was supposed to be a bubble bath, but he couldn’t find any bubbles. When I suggested he look in the jar in our guest bathroom (we use it to store hotel soaps and shampoos in case guests need extra), he returned with a packet of bath powder given to us by the teachers from our Japanese partner school. We were given a rainbow of the packets- pink, blue, and yellow. The one that Zach happened to pick out was yellow. Thinking it would be some sort of flowery or lemony sent, I asked him to pour it in. Here’s what we got:

 

I don’t think I really need to explain what went through our minds. And yes, I did still take the bath. All in all it was a great- and pretty funny- date night.

 

 

We’ve been having fun sprucing things up around here! I’ve gotten pretty much all of our decorations at after Christmas sales, so it’s always fun to pull out the boxes and have fun new things to put up. I got the branches in the second set of pictures at the sale we went to over Thanksgiving. I saw online where someone used epsom salt for snow and, while I was skeptical at first (I’ve only ever used it for blistered ballet toes), I was pleasantly surprised by how real it looks! The cookbook in the last set of pictures was a gift from Zach’s mom over Thanksgiving. She complied family pictures (recognize the cutie in the blue?) and recipes into a cookbook and gave a copy to each of the kids. The thought and time she put into putting it together was so sweet. I love looking through ours and am excited to be able to make some of the delicious Angle recipes!

As some of you know, as a PE teacher, Zach doesn’t work on Fridays. Although some weeks I really wish we could trade places, I’m also incredibly thankful for all of the things he gets done while I’m spending the day at school.

Take, for example, this past Friday. He asked me to pick up Hibachi for dinner (aka stall so I would come home when it was dark). This is what I came home to:

 

 

 

Yep. He’s great.

PS- Don’t you love how the lights make the porch all cozy and cute? It makes me want to leave them up forever.

Thanksgiving

For Thanksgiving, Zach and I traveled to Blowing Rock to spend time with the Angle family. We had a great time relaxing and catching up with family. I meant to take pictures but didn’t really follow through, so instead I’ll just give you a run-down of the trip.
Wednesday:
–          Arrived in Blowing Rock, enjoyed a low-key night with the family
Thursday:
–          Watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade
–          Ate a giant delicious meal and our first fried turkey, prepared by our brother-in-law Danny
–          Drew up a plan of attack for Black Friday
–          The girls watched TV on the projector downstairs while the boys watched football upstairs
Friday:
–          At midnight, the girls went to the outlets to catch the sales. None of us got anything earth-shattering, but there were a few good deals to be had, some snow falling, and fun memories made
–          Slept in Friday morning, then went to Wal-Mart (we got a printer for $25)
–          Went to an amazing sale that Zach’s brother, Robby found. The owner of a GIGANTIC house was selling everything. It was a crazy free-for-all, and Zach and I picked up a few fun things.
Saturday:
–          Watched an amazing NC State/ Carolina football game and celebrated the Wolfpack victory with much shouting and dancing around the living room.
–          Headed home
Sunday:
–          I went to a craft fair with my dad. We have been visiting this particular fair every year since we moved here, and it’s one of my favorite holiday traditions. I love seeing the things that the different vendors come up with and dreaming of having a booth of my own!
 
All in all, it was a great week. We are thankful for the time that we were able to spend with our familes and look forward to spending time with them at Christmas!

Kitchen- After

As promised, here are the after photos. As every homeowner (or renter) knows, “done” never really means done, so there will still be little projects along the way. In the meantime, we’re enjoying the revamped space!

The granite countertops were a perfect compromise. Zach wanted black, I wanted white (giallo ornamental, to be exact), and the wonderful representative at our local marble and granite company suggested this: amarillo gold. It has flecks of brown, black, and white in it, tying in the appliances, furniture and trim. What more could we ask for, you ask? This: because this particular granite had been used in a large commercial job, the company had to order large shipments of it. The granite used in our kitchen was part of the leftovers, making it significantly cheaper than the other options. Win-win!

I’ve often said that my dream kitchen would have a window over the sink. Here it is, decorated with beautiful flowers from a sweet Bible study friend.

 

The kitchen table belonged to my grandparents. I love the worn look of the chairs and the fact that it reminds me of playing cards, eating my grandma’s famous dill bread, and enjoying family time. Because my grandma was such a stickler for tablecloths, the top of the table is in remarkably good condition. The dolly in the corner was my grandpa’s. I’d love to replace it with an old stepstool/chair like this one (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/uimages/ny/12.20.cosco2.jpg). My grandma had something similar, and I used to love to sit on it and watch her cook. The ticking stripe curtains were originally from Pottery Barn, but I bought them new in the package from Craigslist.

The old drawer was a flea market find. It’s a great place to store dishtowels (Ikea), which we try to use as much as possible. We like the idea of helping out the environment and our wallets by using reusable towels. Plus, they’re just cuter. (:

 

The little office nook next to the refrigerator is one of my favorite parts of the kitchen. It gives us a space to pay bills and cut coupons without cluttering the cooking space. The chair was another flea market find- it’s hard to see them in this picture, but I love the red strawberries embroidered on the seat!

This is a crock. With sticks. (The sticks actually drove Zach crazy because he was always running into them, so they were removed after this picture was taken. Now there are only rocks in the crock. Suggestions welcome- maybe a plant?)

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!

Before:

 

 

 

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!

 

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.