Thursday, February 23, 2012

...She's Going to Promise You that Regular Posting Will Resume Quite Soon!

Well, we moved.

And had our floors redone.

Not in that order.

And one of those things turned out beautifully.  The other, we're still sorting out.

I'm sure you can figure out which is which.

I'm going to give you a complete review of our floors, with pictures, but you need to know that I am so extremely pleased with the way our floors turned out that I will be recommending Bob Sidoti Floors to anyone and everyone I know!

Our hardwood floors came out the most beautiful Cherry color and were done in less than 12 hours.  We love them and loved everything about the process!

I have TONS of pictures and posts to share but right now I'm going to leave you with two pictures.  One is of my children on the morning of the floors being redone.  It's the first picture in our new home.  The second was from the other night and was the scene in our living room. 

To put it bluntly, moving is chaotic and when you do it in one weekend, it's uber chaotic.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

...She's Going to Paint you A Stylish Picture of Color Choices and Room Designing

Lest you think I'm the laziest wife ever, I've been packing, too, but more than anything else I've been decorating in my head. 

Color choices.

Rug decisions.

Shower curtains.


Duvet covers. 


Every single room in the house needs to be painted.  Not because they look like crap but because we want them to be our own.  And since that's the case, we're having a painting party on Sunday.  We've invited friends and family over to help us paint the house and they will be rewarded with endless thank yous, food and drinks, and the promise to help them at their own homes whenever they need it.  But because the party is planned that means I actually need to acquire the paint.  Which means I actually need to choose colors.  Which means that my husband and I are going to argue.  A LOT.

My husband and I have very different styles.  Well, no, not really.  I have style and he likes to think that his agreeing with my mother on everything constitutes his style.  Our wedding would be case in point.  The two of them agreed on almost EVERYTHING.  And disliked almost EVERYTHING I chose.

The goldfish swimming in mini bowls on the tables? AWESOME idea to me.  To them? No.

The simple plain china with a platinum ring around the edge? Classic, elegant, to me.  To them?  Boring and plain.

Chicken Francaise as a main course choice? Delicious and right up my lemon and butter coated alley to me.  To them? Ridiculous choice when Chilean Sea Bass was available.

I could go on, but I won't because it's Valentine's day and I want to remember that I love my husband and my mother and I don't resent them one bit for not allowing me goldfish and Chicken Francaise at my wedding!

At any rate, though, my husband and I tend not to agree on color choices, furniture decisions or names of our children.  Until we've argued so much that I either A) make the decision myself or B) we ignore the change (paint, new couch, etc.) until we absolutely have to do something about it!

We've been in our current home for close to 7 years and since we built it, we also got to choose every little detail.  THAT was enjoyable.  But since moving in, I have painted every room- except the kids' rooms- no less than 2 or 3 times each.  Why, you ask? 


and I wanted to.

I figured, though, that since I was doing the majority of the work that I should get to pick the colors.  Which, in reality, my husband pretty much agreed with as long as I wasn't painting our living room or bedroom in hot pink!


So, now, Sunday is bearing down on us quite quickly and while I don't need to have the house completely decorated and redone in a matter of days or weeks, I do want to pick paint colors that will allow for me to have a neutral palate with which to work.  BUT I also want to make sure that I have one or two pieces in each room that I can pull design from.  For instance, the eventual dining room will have the Pottery Barn "Nora" curtains.  And I just got this rug for a STEAL from Urban Outfitters:

The "Big Garden Print" Rug, as it is so aptly named, will take it's place in our kitchen.

Isn't the wallpaper lovely?  No? Oh, yeah, you're right it's downright HORRENDOUS!  You can't see it too clearly but I do believe those might be small teapots on it.  I could be wrong....I HOPE I'm wrong!  At any rate, the rug is going in there and the wallpaper?  Well, that will be going in the local dump, hopefully.

And so begins the decision of what to paint the walls in our kitchen.

What you need to know is that 1) the kitchen counters will be painted black (trust me) and the cabinets will be painted white, 2) the fridge may or may not be changed out for a side by side stainless steel one that may or may not be working in our current home 3) my husband has NO IDEA I purchased the above mentioned rug and therefore he has no clue what I have planned.

So, the other night when I sat down with my endless paint chips and inspiration rooms and little notepad to jot down my ideas my husband looked at me and said, "Don't even bother asking because you and I both know this will end with us arguing and you just picking what you want."  Healthy way to start a conversation, right?

Sadly, he was probably right.  He tends to veer towards more explosive colors than I do.  Although, I don't think he realizes I'm looking at a lovely green for the's right up his overly eccentric and outlandish alley!  I did try to consult him on the color for the living room/dining room/hallway but he kept picking the wrong color.  So, I guided him gently towards my suggestion of a light gray that will provide a lovely palate for our pictures and eventual artwork.

Monday, February 13, 2012

...She'll Tell You That She's a Pro At Putting Off Packing...and Alliteration

There's a rumor going around that this Thursday we'll come into possession of a set keys that will let us into what we've begun to affectionately refer to as "The Lake House".

Why do we call it this, you ask?

Weeeellllll, it's in a lake community and we can see the lake from our backyard.  In the winter.  When the trees are bare. And there are no bears or other animals obstructing our views.

But seriously, we are less than a block from the lake.  Which, while I don't swim in lakes, I'm very excited about because my kids don't know the difference and being so close to the lake will provide hours of Summer enjoyment for them.  And maybe a modicum of sanity for me.

So, yes, possession of the keys.  And then there's this other rumor that I may have booked a company to come in and re-do our floors on Friday before we move in.  See them?  They're over on my sidebar....I can't review them yet because, obviously, we haven't actually used them yet but all of the reviews I've read and the pictures I've seen have given me a very good feeling about the work that they're going to do.  Plus, I've been dealing with the owner of the company and he has been more than accommodating and professional.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to seeing how our floors come out and I'm hoping to be writing a glowing review of Bob Sidoti Floors  next week!

Once the floors are done, which should be by the end of day on Friday or at the very latest Saturday morning, the whirlwind weekend begins. 

We have to clean EVERYTHING.

Then we have to paint EVERYTHING.

Then we have to clean everything AGAIN.

Then we have to try and do as many repairs as possible.

Then, of course, clean some MORE.

And then actually move in.  Our truck comes on Monday.....HOLY CRAP THE TRUCK COMES MONDAY!!

So, what have I been doing to prepare for possession (of the keys, not my mind) ?  Um, well, my seven year old had the stomach flu this weekend so there was a lot of laundry.  I'm sure that helped to get us ready.  And we had a birthday party to go to and errands to do on  Saturday afternoon.  So, that allowed the dust in our house to settle so that I could clean one more time before we moved out.  And then, of course, I had to taste test the cupcakes for my soon to be 5 year old's birthday party.  I did that with one of my best friends and that helped to keep me grounded and bonded as we prepare to pack up everything and move out of our neighborhood of the past 6 years.

So, essentially, next to nothing.

Sort of.

This is where my husband has been super helpful.  He has actually been packing while allowing me to sleep in.  I fear this generosity on his part will come back to bite me in the ass very soon but I refuse to dwell on that.  So, yes, packing.  He has the majority of the kids' rooms packed.  Our daughter's room, even with all of her furniture in it, echoes right now because there is practically nothing in there.  Our son's room is filled with boxes of his toys and sports memorabilia.  And our room has empty plastic bins everywhere and garbage bags full of garbage and clothes to give away.

We are making progress and I'm sure all of the boxes that the husband is going to pick up today will help out tremendously in his our packing ventures!  Hopefully they won't be covered in liquor and cigarette logos as most of our current boxes are!  No need to have the neighbors think we're alcoholic chain smokers right off the bat....

Thursday, February 9, 2012

...She'll Show You Just One of the Many Basises for Her Decorating Ideas

Say that title 5 times fast.  You won't.

I am so lucky to have Pinterest. (Go ahead click it. Come join me and my addiction).  And friends who are hoarders packrats completely resourceful and forward thinking human beings.

No, seriously.  Well, the Pinterest thing is true.  It's an amazing site and I'm mildly COMPLETELY addicted to it.  For serious, the site is awesome and while some people find that it makes them feel inadequate as a wife, mother, friend, etc. I really find that it gives me tons of great ideas and inspiration.  And recipes!  OH MY THE RECIPES!

Anyhoo, I have friends (some of you may not believe that, but you can go get eaten by Monkeys, I really don't care) who like to hang on to things.  I think that's part of the reason we mesh so well, I like to hoard hold on to important things, too!  And very often, we find that we are each hoarding hanging on to important things that the other ends up needing.  For instance, my former-soon-to-be-again neighbor held on to her treadmill because it was free, but not really, and also top o the line.  And how does this matter to me?  She is GRACIOUSLY, giving it to us once we move.  Because, luckily for me, she can't run on a treadmill!  WOO HOO for bad knees and a need to run in the street!

But, really, I'm getting off my original topic.  So, my hoarder forward thinking and super resourceful creative genius friend has hung on to this fabric from Pottery Barn:

And while I don't like it for our bedroom, I LOVE it for some curtains in an otherwise plain room.  Just as an aside, we're talking about the flowers NOT the green stripe.  So, the "Nora" pattern from Pottery Barn has been offered to me to use in any way I choose.  And I choose to use it in this room:

THAT is a TERRIBLE picture on top but it's the only one I have of the windows!  :(  But currently this room is considered the 4th bedroom in the house, mainly because of that closet in the back.  Can you see it?  No? Oh that's because it's hidden in the UGLIEST PANELING EVER!  The plan, which is really MY plan since I like to keep secrets, is to make this room into our dining room.  On the other side of the super secret closet wall of paneling is the kitchen.  My hope is to AT LEAST open up a doorway between the new dining room and the kitchen...if not bigger.  The paneling, of course, will disappear into el dumpster and the rugs will join the paneling.  I'm thinking about keeping the creepy head picture on the wall, though.  It gives the room character.

No I'm not.

BUT back to the fabric.  My plan is to make them into curtains and if there is enough, a matching runner for our table or placemats.  Our dining room furniture is simple.  Handmade by my dad in the Mission style and it's a light oak color.  I really love it.  And the colors in the fabric will make the perfect splash on the walls.  I haven't chosen a paint color yet because I'm vacillating between a lovely rich blue and a neutral oat color.  Oooh, or maybe I'll keep up the paneling.

No I won't.

Will this be the first room done?  Probably not.  The current plan is to use this as a temporary playroom for the kids for a few months.  We're going to put down foam padding that you see in classrooms with letters and numbers and dump the kids' toys and a tv in here until we can settle some other parts of the house.

But for now, a girl can dream of her Nora curtains and unpaneled walls.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

...She'll Promise You That She's Not Illiterate and Knows How to Spell

You may or may not be wondering why I keep referring to the house as "Nu" to Us.  There's really nothing all that incredible, or interesting, behind it. 

It's just something I do.  I picked up it many summers ago on a trip to West Virginia.

I used to spend part of my summer in a small town called Rowlesburg, WV.  Some of you who are reading this may have even been there with me or were there at another point in time.  It was my very first time down there.  It wasn't an "official" trip as I would go on in subsequent summers but it was with a small group of other teens and adults.  We were coming back from a job that we were working on. (We were down there to help rebuild homes that had been destroyed in the 500 year flood.) As we're driving along winding country roads, which always made me think of John Denver and his "Country Roads", we passed a car dealership.

Now, if you know ANYTHING about this area of the country, when I say car dealership I'm using the term quite loosely.

So, we pass this dealership and the name of the place is "Nu to U Used Cars".  I don't know why I remember this so vividly.  I don't know why it stuck with me.  But in that moment I laughed out loud and from then on I've referred things that come to me used as "Nu to U".  I guess it's just something that makes me laugh and gives me some good memories.  I'm sure I could examine it far more fully and talk about the idea of newness and poverty and what it was probably like for the people of WV to be able to afford that "Nu to Them" car, but then I'd just be overthinking something pretty simple.

There you have it.  I'm not illiterate.  I guess you really knew that, though, because I can clearly write pretty ok via the Inter-Al Gore-net.  I figured I'd give you a bit of an explanation though because I'll probably use that "Nu to Us" phrase quite a bit as we go along!

Our house is Nu to Us and I think that's really all that matters!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

...She'll post pictures of the Nu to Us House

Well, here some photos of the house we're moving into.  These are off the real estate listing and I plan on taking pictures the day we close, or right after that so that I have photos documenting from the moment we get the keys until we're done...and beyond.

There are a few things NOT included here.  First, you can't see the garage- which is new- but I want to change.  Second, you can't see the hideous green front door that will be changing.  Third, none of the bathrooms are pictured but I promise they will be posted before we touch them!  They are DOOSIES! Fourth, not a single photo of the basement exists and when I tell you that the basement is massive, I'm not even kidding!  Finally, the landscape shots just don't do justice to the space we have or all of the work we're going to have do!!

The backyard from the deck.  It stretches out pretty far which means plenty of clearing for us!
Obviously the front of the house.  If I have my way, the house will be a deep French Blue with white trim and a brand spanking new storm door by the end of the Summer.
And more backyard....and you can see all the trees that we're going to have clear or cut back.
This is a poor picture of the girls' room.  We actually requested that bed from the seller and he gave it to us.  Nicholas is going to flip his shit when he finds out he gets it.  He fell in love with it when we looked at the house!
Nicholas' room for now. Eventually, he'll have a room in the basement because it's just that large!  We've been teasing him and telling him we're keeping the room purple.

This is considered the 4th bedroom but we're actually going to make it our dining room...opening up some walls and such.
The Deck. It will be replaced and enlarged.
Current dining room to become part of the kitchen.
The hallway between all the bedrooms and one of the bathrooms.  Really, it's wasted space in my opinion.
Hello, welcome to 1992 and my kitchen.
Kiss that wall GOODBYE!
We'll probably do two remodels in here.  One where we paint cabinets and countertops and take down walls and wallpaper.  And then one, years from now, where we rip out and replace.
Living room with MASSIVE furniture.
Oh, hello fireplace. Don't get used to those shelves and that ugly paneling behind them. They are taking a walk quite quickly.
And the master bedroom with some of the largest bedroom furniture I've seen in a very long time.  And ugly wall painting.

There you have it.  Or there you have some of it.  If we ever close on this house, and I'm only half kidding on that at this point,  I'll have more pictures of empty rooms and big basements and large front yards needing lots of landscaping.  You may be saying to yourself, "why buy a house that needs so much work?"  And to you I say, "because it's so much more fun this way. And I really like power tools. And hammers."

Friday, February 3, 2012

...She's going to Start a Blog

First, I MUST give a big thanks to my friend Kate for the title of this blog!  You would think that with all of those "Mouse" and "Pig" and "Dog" books laying around my house and all those hammers laying around my house, too, I would have been able to come up with the title on my own.


I have four kids, we're moving, trying to sell our home, working full time and going to grad school for my MBA.


So, thanks Kate! And know that when you give Mommy's friend a hammer, she's gonna do some work, too!


Here we are.  We're moving.  To a Nu to Us house.  And we are so freaking excited that I feel like it's better than Christmas Eve at 2am when you KNOW Santa came and you just can't go and look yet.

And we're broke.

Like just about everyone else.

Not to get all political and all but we ARE the 99%.

Moving on....and closer to civilization.

Right now, until around mid-February, we live just next to the border of Canada.

Heh.  No we don't.  We live in Sussex NJ and if you know anything about NJ you know that Sussex might as well be just next to the border of Canada.

I don't need to regale you with the story of how we got here, just know that we had hoped it would end differently and it's not and now we're moving and that's a REALLY GOOD THING.

We're moving to a house that's a bit smaller than what we're in now but it has a HUGE basement and a big backyard and HOA fees that ACTUALLY get us something good.   We're moving out of something that was brand new when we bought it to something that is more than 30 years old and needs to be updated.

And I am SUPER DUPER excited about that.  For serious.

So, here's what we're going to cover....any aspect of home redesign and remodel and living that I feel like covering!

I have ideas.  I have Pinterest.  I have paint brushes and most importantly, I have my hammer.

And we're going to get moving!