Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's the simple things

The Simple Things
Last week was my first week linking up with Jesslyn Amber for her It's the Simple Things link-up and as soon as I hit "publish" last week I knew I had to do it again this week.  There is simply nothing better than sitting back and reflecting on all of the positives in life and I love that this link-up encourages you to do just that.  I've been inspired and refreshed and hope you will too.  Head over to Jessilynn's blog for some more inspiration...

I appreciate fresh morning dew on the grass

I appreciate watching my little girl learn to clap

I appreciate a meal made on our lovely charcoal grill

I appreciate my morning coffee (genuinely enjoying Starbucks Iced Vias)

I appreciate the taste of fresh basil from the garden

I appreciate the smell of Beach Walk by Yankee Candle

I appreciate the warmth of the summer sun


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

BEEF, is that REALLY you in there?

direct from the farm
Ever get the feeling that you're just not really sure what's in the food you're buying.  Case in point...the shelf life a Twinkie that has a "cream filling" - how does that last forever...what's in it that makes it non-perishable??  I seek out the natural and organic side of the aisles as much as possible..not that I don't love me an oatmeal cream pie every once in awhile too (hello, 3rd trimester with Addie) but I also know that it can't be good.  But even more concerning than the non-perishables that line the shelves are the meats and vegetables that are sitting in your grocer's refridgerators.  Not sure if anyone saw the Jamie Oliver special (a recap is blogged about here) about what they're using to process ground beef these days...but if even half of it is true - its enough to send me to the farms. for awhile I've been looking into local farms and the idea of "purchasing shares" of cattle for consumption (you can also do it with dairy cows if you want un-pastuerized milk).  I love red meat...but have just really been turned off by whats in the grocery stores because I'm not comfortable that I really know what I'm getting (it also weirds me out that alot of the beef sold in stores is from cattle in far away places like Mexico and other South American countries - the FDA now requires that information to be disclosed but I honestly never thought to look).  So now you're either thinking one of two things - 1) this girl suffers from some serious paranoia and should probably have her head checked or 2) where is she going with all of this? - is this a plea for me to become a vegetarian?  The answer to 1) you may be right and 2) NO - I eat alot of meat but I just wanted to share my plan to get our beef direct and at a much better price too!

PhotobucketFirst, as I mentioned above I looked into finding a local farm (Virginia Beach and the surrounding areas are heavily populated but if you get about 40 minutes out of town its pretty rural and there are quite a few farmers) and found a few.  It just so happened that two of those farms would be at our local farmer's market that following Saturday and so I persuaded my husband to join me so we could talk to the farmers and buy some of their meat to try out.  We purchased some beef from Windhaven Farm and some pork and chicken from Full Quiver Farm.  Funny how a 29 year old woman can get SO excited about meat.  The prices were reasonable - the beef which was all grass-fed and natural (meaning no hormones, antibiotics, medicated feeds, or animal by-products in the feed - and raised from birth on the farm) was actually cheaper than what I usually can find for all natural at Trader Joes.  We tried some of the ground beef that night and were left wishing we had bought alot more.  The taste was much better than anything we had tried before and there really wasn't much grease either.  We felt completely comfortable that we were getting 100% ground beef and not 90% ground beef + 10% filler (or ground beef from unknown sources).  The nice lady I had spoken with at the market, who just happened to be the farmer's daughter was kind enough to send me an e-mail with all of the info on purchasing a quarter, half, or whole cow.  My husband and I talked it over and decided that for the peace of mind of knowing we were getting high quality beef at a great price, which worked out to around $6 per pound (for all cuts - so while that seems high for a pound of ground beef - its a steal for a filet mignon) and supporting a local farmer - it was a win win situation.  I sent back an e-mail letting them know we would like to purchase a half cow (works out to about 200 pounds of meat so our deep freezer came in handy) and it was arranged that they would be going to take several heads of cattle in that coming week.  I'm an animal lover so don't even ask if we went to meet the cow or if we got to pick it out...I don't like to think about that part of it...I even got sad the day I knew they were taking them in:(  Due to the process of hanging the meat and cutting took about 4 weeks before our beef was ready.  We were provided a "cut sheet" where we could select how we wanted the beef cut..types of steaks, thickness, weight per package, etc..  When we picked up our beef, everything had been vacummed sealed into packages as we directed and labeled so we knew what we had.  We've already used some of the ground beef and eaten some of the steaks and the taste is amazing.  Maybe its all mental...but I promise you there's a difference.  I won't be going back to the store bought stuff...we also purchased a pork share and are waiting for that to be ready as I love pork almost as much as I love beef.  I'm also really looking forward to the drop in my grocery bill as meat is no longer on the list.  Thanks for sticking with me...if you made it this far...please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at all (my e-mail is on the sidebar).  I can't attest to what is and isn't true out there in media land but I can attest to what our experiences have been with buying direct from the farm.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

like nails on a chalkboard

PhotobucketAre there things that just really put your senses in overload...the touch, sound, sight, or smell of something that just bothers you in a way you can't describe?!  Or maybe I'm the only crazy one...wouldn't be the first time.  Anyhow, i thought I'd share those very things that just really affect me for some in a way I can't be around them.  They don't make me mad (unless the hubs does them because he knows they bother me) and I really don't know how to describe how they make me feel...its just not "good."  I guess they're just my quirks...and without further adieu here they are:

*The sound of someone else eating or drinking (specifically, the gulping noise when you swallow) - Whenever we eat dinner I always like to have background noise so I can't here anyone around me eating.  Trust me, I know I make noise too but for some reason just the chewing and gulping noise really bother me.

*The feel of newspaper - This has always been something that bothered me - the touch just feels gross to me for some reason so I really try to avoid touching it - I know..weird!

*Kitty/Dog hair on my comforter - Ugh, nothing worse than getting in my nice warm bed after taking a shower and pulling the covers up only to have some kitty cat or puppy dog hair fly in my face.  It really disturbs me - I seriously keep a lint roller next to my bed and lint roll the comforter before getting in to try and keep this from happening.  For some reason, no matter how hard we try, we cannot keep our furbabies off our bed - its their favorite spot in the house! there it is...I've bared my soul just a little and shared some things about me that most people don't know.  So now its your turn - what quirky things bother you - please share so I don't feel like I'm the only crazy one:)


Thursday, June 23, 2011

It's the simple things...

I love reading blogs...its therapeutic and relaxing for me...and helps inspire me.  Last week, I came across Jesslyn Amber's blog - which is simply amazing by the way - and found a wonderful link-up that I wanted to join in on.  The idea is so refreshing - list the simple things in life you are appreciating and link-up.  I have been so lucky with my lot in life and I really have so much to appreciate but here are some of the things I really appreciated this week:

I appreciate...the delicious crab cakes made by my daddy

I daughter's exploration of the world around her 

I appreciate...cucumbers, onions, and squash fresh from the garden

I appreciate...the smell of gardenias that have just been cut

I appreciate...the days we don't smell the smoke from the NC wildfires

I appreciate...heartwarming news (hi E!)

I appreciate...being called an aunt to my closest friends babies

I appreciate...the sound of bugs on a hot summer's eve

The Simple Things

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

In case you didn't know, Wimbledon started this week and Addie's ready for her match!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cloth Diapering

Photobucket**These product opinions are my own - I have not been paid or incentivized in any way to share them**

One of my first few posts...way back when...I wrote about the small steps we take in our house to try and reduce our trash output with cloth diapering being one of those things.  I'm hoping to lay out what we do and how we do it in this post but you may want to read this in sections as this is a really long post!!  Also, I've tried to link up to several other blogs that also have great cloth diapering info too!!

Making the choice:  Considering diapers are a huge source of waste that is going into our shrinking landfill capacity, cloth diapering was one way we felt we could reduce the amount of trash our home generates.  The hubs and I also have SUPER sensitive skin and were both cloth diapered as babies due to pretty severe reactions to disposables.  I know times have changed and disposables have come a long way but I still had a hard time imagining the chemicals that are used in some disposables resting against my girl's tush on a daily basis.  However, cloth diapers are not all rainbows and butterflies, and they certainly aren't free although some consumer experts estimate that you could save anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000 using cloth diapers vs. disposables.

PhotobucketAll in Ones, Pockets, or Pre Folds??:  I read a lot of websites about the pros and cons of cloth diapering and did some research on which type of cloth diaper (all in one, pockets, prefolds) would work best for us.  Based on what I found, the hubs and I selected the all in ones mainly because of their ease of use.  I wanted a brand with organic cotton and also preferred the snap closure versus velcro because I felt the snaps would hold up over the years (I am hoping to get at least 2 kids through these diapers and from what I've read that's entirely possible).  I found everything I was looking for in the Bum Genius Elementals, which are also great because they are a "grow with me" style diaper that are designed to fit children from 7 lbs to 35 lbs by simply adjusting the snaps.  We've been successfully using these for 8 months and other than the incredibly long drying time (about an hour and a half) I have 0 complaints.  I love that the cotton used in these diapers is organic and we've had no issues with diaper rash or leaking (other than when operator error is involved).  They come in all sorts of fun colors and often times eliminate my need for a diaper cover under Addie's sun dresses.  They are a tad bit bulkier than disposables but we haven't found it to create any issues when it comes to clothes fitting or hampering her ability to get around.  A few of my blog friends are a bit more adventurous than myself and have used various types and brand of cloth diapers so check out Natalie, over at From Corporate to Domestic here and Mrs Eye Can See, over at the The Juice is Worth the Squeeze here for more info on different types and brands of cloth diapers.  I also follow Rachel, over at Tales of a Monkey, a Bit, and a Bean, who's had great success with the G Diapers and has a wonderful post all about them here.

What do I need to do this?  We started with 12 cloth diapers, 48 cloth wipes, a box of Country Save detergent, a diaper pail, two Kissaluv diaper pail liners, and a diaper sprayer that attaches to the side of the toilet.  While I was home with Addie, the 12 cloth diapers worked well but after returning to work, I purchased 12 more and 24 seems to really work well for us.  We split our purchases between Cotton Babies and Diaper Junction, both online cloth diaper stores and had wonderful experiences with both!  I estimate that our total up front costs were about $650.

What worked and what didn't:

Bum Genius Elementals - LOVE these - they have worked wonderfully and I hope these will last until we are no longer diapering little bambinos.

just the diaper
Kissaluvs Cloth Wipes - These wipes are the perfect size and have a soft side as well as a more abrasive side for dirty butts.  These wash great and get thrown into the pail with the diapers.  We keep a small water bottle sprayer next to the diaper changing station the I use to wet the cloth wipe.  I also use the California Baby diaper spray on those "tough diapers" to help prevent any irritation.

Country Save Detergent - This is the detergent I started with and really had no complaints.  It seemed to work fairly well however, after coming across Vaska detergent one day while shopping at Target, I switched to Vaska for all of my laundering needs.  I've been happier with the Vaska and I personally prefer a liquid detergent to a powder detergent so this is what we're currently using!

Diaper Pail - not much to say here, the flip top is nice and does seem to hold the oders in well.

Kissaluvs Antibacterial Diaper Pail Liners - These are very sturdy and have held up very well despite cycling through the wash with the diapers.  I do recommend owning at least two of these so you always have a liner in the pail - even when you're washing a load.

Diaper Sprayer - This was not such a big hit in our house.  After receiving the kit, we found one of the pieces was defective, which the manufacturer quickly replaced however, this is not sturdy and could easily lead to flooding your whole bathroom if you're not careful with the water cutoff.  We actually don't ever use this either - see below in the "laundering" section for how we get all of the dirtiness out.

PhotobucketLaundering:  Whenever I tell people that we are cloth diapering this is always the topic of conversation that arises.  And personally, I expected much worse...but it really hasn't been bad.  Obviously the wet diapers are a non issue and I just throw those in the diaper pail and go on with it.  For those that are dirtied, the treatment is slightly different.  Depending on what Addie's been eating, some diapers we can simply shake off and put in the pail but others require slightly more work.  For those, I usually turn the diaper upside down so the cloth liner is facing the water in the toilet and let it soak out for about 30 minutes.  Generally speaking, after about 30 minutes I can pull the diaper out of the toilet (by grabbing the exterior liner which has not been in the toilet water) and shake gently to remove any remnants.  I then place the diaper in the pail until it comes time to do the wash.  I wash the dirty diapers every other day and have not had any problems with that schedule thus far.  To wash, I simply empty out the diaper pail liner into the washing machine, set it on "normal" and also add a "prewash" and "extra rinse" cycle.  This cycle lasts about an hour and 20 minutes and I then remove the diapers and either hang on the line for the sun to work its magic or if the weather is not cooperating I throw them in the dryer for about an hour and a half.  And when I say the sun works magic...I mean it removes all of those stains on the diaper - its crazy!  After pulling the diaps off the line, they can be a bit stiff but a couple of minutes in the dryer will soften them right up!

Please, please feel free to comment on your experiences or share any favorites you have when it comes to cloth diapering - I'd love to hear about it!!  I'm hoping to be a little more adventurous when it comes to baby #2 and maybe try some of the pockets and prefolds.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

In honor of the day, I am dedicating this post to my two favorite men - my daddy and Addie's papa as well as Addie's dada and my loving husband!  I count my stars daily as I am so thankful to have such a wonderful father and husband.

PhotobucketMy dad - Growing up he was the disciplinarian, he called the shots - worked long hours and went back to school to get his master's degree but was ALWAYS at my sporting events and never missed those special moments.  He listened to me when I need an ear and gave me advice when I needed that too.  He was always supportive of my endeavors and made the road ahead as easy as he could.  His expectations were always high but he knew how to encourage me without pressuring me to succeed.  He's an amazing papa to Addie and has actually been my babysitter since I returned to work.  My mom substitute teaches several days a week so many days my dad was home alone to take care of Addie and he never complained.  I could never tell him just how much that means to me - my staying home is not an option in our house and I can't think of anyone I would rather have care for my daughter than my parents.  I'm still amazed that they have given freely of their golden years to care for Addie while the hubs and I are working.  We spent a good part of today with my dad and enjoyed a delicious dinner that my mom prepared.  We gifted my dad with some private golf lessons as he has really taken up the game of golf since his retirement and now that summer is here and schools out, my mom will be home during the day, freeing up some of my dad's time.  I hope enjoys the lessons and gets to enjoy some more time on the course.

PhotobucketMy hubs and Addie's dada - I've always known I was lucky to have such a wonderful daddy and only hoped that I would marry a man that could provide my children with as wonderful a daddy as mine was. And it should go without saying, a loving, caring, and supportive husband was pretty important too.  Thankfully it was mission accomplished.  My hubs is wonderful to me and loves his girls like no other - I cherish the moments we spend as a family growing together.  We've shared the ups and downs of being new parents, fallen down and picked ourselves up, and cried and laughed together through all of the sleepless nights and joyful days.  My hubs is my soul mate - I could not have found a better match.  I can't wait to watch our family grow - you can tell by the light in her eyes that Addie adores her daddy.  She gets so tickled when she sees him and loves being in his arms.  There are still days, I'm amazed at how lucky we are to all have each other.

Happy Father's Day!


Friday, June 17, 2011

National Flip Flop Day = FREE Smoothies

Yes...that's you have a Tropical Smoothie in your town??  If so - head straight not pass Go, do not collect $200 - there is a FREE 24 oz (yes - the normal size not the junior size) Jetty Punch smoothie awaiting the first 500 customers at each store!!  Hip hip HOORAY...and all you have to do...

put on those summer flip flops and go- i know they make these things tough, don't they?!?!

And...if you don't make it to Tropical Smoothie - you can still wear your flops in honor of National Flip Flop Day - I love this holiday!!!  Happy Friday...oh weekend, I've missed you!!


Thursday, June 16, 2011


I'm joining the fabulous and oh-so-funny Becky, over at From Mrs. to Mama for her Seriously?! Thursday link-up.

Heres a list of some totally unrelated and random things that have got me saying "Seriously..." this week

Weiner, weiner...really?? one would find you there or see what you were up to..especially with your incognito "RepWeiner" call sign?

throw pillows - Is a pile of fluff really that expensive???  Why are these things SO overpriced???

why does the cat post up on my side of the bed - every night I wrestle our rather large kitty who has claws and is willing to use them to defend what he considers his side of the bed.  I'm usually last to bed so its always dark and I'm trying to avoid the flying claws and sneak into bed - I'm sure its a sight.  Apparently he's paying the mortgage and I just didn't know...silly me.

the man of the house
Fathers day is really this weekend - yikes...I've got some card shopping to do.  Luckily the hubs and I rarely surprise each other - we generally either purchase something we have been eyeing or go joint on something for the house.  The hubs decided he needed a new golf bag...easy enough!  My dad shares the same golf obsession love as the hubs so he will be getting golf-related gifts as well!

Do you think i have enough social media in my life?  I just recently took the plunge and joined Twitter and Pinterest - both of which I enjoy...especially Pinterest.  I've found it extremely helpful for Addie's party planning...but my computer time is increasing ten fold - that's not so good.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Help Kate...

We're Finally ThreeLast week, I asked for prayers for this beautiful baby girl, Kate and her loving family, as they had just received the horrible news that Kate had been diagnosed with a very rare form of bone marrow disease and would be needing a transplant ASAP.  Prayers are still very much needed but there's also something else you can do that could save Kate or someone else's life - consider becoming a bone marrow donor.  Be the Match, is an organization that assists those needing bone marrow get matched with potential donors all over the world.  Last week, I went to their website and spent about 20 minutes filling out some medical and personal information and today I received my free testing kit in the mail so that I can start the process of joining the bone marrow registry.  I've got pictures below of what I received but trust me when I tell you, it took me no more than 10 minutes to read the directions, swab my mouth 4 times, and seal everything up to send back.  It was VERY easy...not to mention, quick!
information and testing kit
completed testing kit after 4 mouth swabs
my testing kit repackaged and ready to send back!
I know this is an extremely personal decision and one that shouldn't be taken lightly so...if doing this isn't for you, there are other ways to help spread the word about Kate and her needs by adding her to prayer lists, telling friends and family, or heading over to her family blog and grabbing the "pray for kate" button and adding it to your page.  You should also check out AP's blog, "I Love You More than Carrots", for additional info about this organization, the process, and the need for donors!


Monday, June 13, 2011

Baby Product Love

PhotobucketI've seen some wonderful posts lately from some great momma's packed with all sorts of baby product love so I thought I'd share some of the faves in our household as well.  We have been very fortunate in that Addie really liked the first bottles we tried, first pacis we tried, etc...she's really not a picky baby so take this advice with that piece of info in the back of your mind:)

Baby Bargains Book - For those of you that know know I can be a bit of an impulse buyer so when we found out we were pregnant it took a tremendous amount of self discipline not to just purchase everything under the sun.  I did a lot of research and talked to a lot of mommas...not to mention all of my blog find what I hoped would be the best and most sensible for our darling daughter.  I had heard horror stories of momma's being so overwhelmed and just losing it during the registering process because of the 8 gazillion baby products and choices out there.  Which I fully get - I totally walked out of Babies R Us my first time there while shopping for a gift for a friend - I headed over to Target where their 5 aisles of baby stuff was much more manageable and far less overwhelming for me - true story.  SO, I ordered the Baby Bargains book and poured over all of the pros and cons of the basics (car seats, strollers, high chairs, bottles...everything)  This book is very comprehensive and has tons of good info on current baby products and is wonderful in pointing out what you need and don't need and what will give you the best bang for your buck.  I used this book and all of the other info I had stored away in my pea brain and made a list of exactly what brand/model I wanted for all of the big stuff.  This made the registering process much easier for me because upon arriving to the store I was only tasked with the fun part - picking out the colors and patterns!

PhotobucketDr. Browns Bottles - We just LOVED these...Addie still has really bad reflux and these have helped tremendously.  They were recommended to us by the hub's cousin who has twin girls and she swore by these after trying a ton of other types.  We started with these and they work very well - initially we started with the glass but now that Addie is holding these herself we have switched to the plastic so that she can hold and if she drops we don't have a disaster.

PhotobucketRazeberry Teethers - In the past few weeks these have been a lifesaver.  Addie is a paci baby so the design of these works well.  She really does enjoy teething on these and they are super easy to clean and pack along in the baby bag.  This have been by far the best teething solution for us (for some reason, Sophie never really caught on but I have heard wonderful things about her too)

Fisher Price Luv U Zoo EZ Clean High Chair - Fisher Price always seems to make super cheesy baby stuff - and this high chair is NO exception.  But, they got outstanding safety ratings on their high chairs, are reasonably priced, and after comparing to the others they had in the store seemed the most momma-friendly when it came to cleaning up.  So, we chose this high chair and its been the perfect solution for our needs.  Its adjustable so depending on where we are feeding her we can adjust the height to be comfortable for us, the tray is removable (we can pull her up to the table) and you can stick it in the dishwasher, and the seat reclines so we can give her her bottle and recline her back a bit and she's good to go (she's actually fallen asleep in this thing).  It also has straps that go around her waist and over her shoulders so I never doubt that she's going to fall out and the straps are actually a plastic/rubber type material so they wipe down very easily.  The seat cover also comes off and washes well...and dries quickly.

PhotobucketGraco Sweet Peace Safari Swing - Addie LOVED her swing and we loved that not only could she sleep in the swing but that we could pop the swing out and actually snap in her Graco Snugride car seat and it would swing as well.  That feature was perfect when we got home from being out and didn't want to wake Addie.  There were six different speeds on the swinging motion and you could actually plug in your iPod or MP3 player directly and play music through it - or any of the pre-set music options they had.

First Years Paci Wipes - These were an essential in our diaper bag - Addie constantly throws her paci out on the floor and these are great little wipes to have on hand to quickly wipe those off and give back!!  They are a little expensive but one pack lasted us about 6 months.

Please feel free to share any comments about products that have worked well in your house or your experiences (good or bad) with the products above!

Also, here are a few other baby product reviews I done on this little blog: evenflo exersauser, wubba nub pacis, California Baby sunscreen


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Product Review - McCormicks Recipe Inspirations

PhotobucketWith both me and the hubs working full time and the hubs in school, we are lucky to get cereal down for dinner at night so I'm totally game for anything thats easy to make and actually tastes like a real, thought-out, homecooked meal.  So, while perusing the grocery store aisles this weekend - which by the way I try to avoid because it always results in random things in my cart - I came across these McCormicks recipe inspirations packets, which consist of just the right amount of spices and seasonings necessary to make the recipe provided on the back.  I LOVE any and all things Mexican so the Quesadilla casserole was a no brainer for me.  I made this for dinner last night and here's what we found:
Price: $1.99 at Harris Teeter for the spice pack.  I estimate the total cost of ALL of the ingredients, including the spice pack would run you about $16.  This meal has a serving size of 8 - so that's about $2 per serving.
Easy to make: Yes - The times on the package were right on - 25 minute prep time and 15 minutes to cook.  I also REALLY liked that the ingredients were pretty basic and the directions were super simple - ground beef, onion, black beans, corn, tortillas, green chiles, tomato sauce, and cheese.  Even the spices included in the pack were pretty basic - next time I will just use these spices from my pantry.  
Success or Failure: success - even the hubs who really enjoys fancy stuff loved this and told me it was "a keeper" - I rarely get that!  This recipe will be a staple in my book.

Pros:  This dish was very easy and quick to put together and we LOVED the recipe and the end result.  I really like the idea behind these spice packages, especially if you have a recipe that uses spices or seasonings that you would otherwise not keep on hand.  I also love that everything was already measured out so you just pretty much dumped everything together and your chances of putting too much or too little of something were slim - again, a great time savings.  

Cons:  I feel like I'm always listing "pricey" as the con in my reviews.  However, if you already have these ingredients on hand, $1.99 for perfectly measured portions might be a little much!  However, finding a wonderful recipe thats easy to make is worth $1.99 to me and if this recipe had required something I don't usually keep on hand - this would have been perfect.

Other info:  In case you decide to pick this up and try I thought I'd share that I made this recipe as prescribed with the exception of leaving the canned corn undrained.  In looking at the consistency before adding the corn, I thought it would be too watery to leave the juice in so I did drain the juice off the corn and I think that was the right decision.  Also, each of the spice packets are individually sealed and labeled which I thought was great in the event there was something you didn't want to add and hold onto for later use.

Would I buy again or buy for a friend? Yes - not this recipe because I now have it and I keep all of these spices and seasonings on hand.  However, I am eager to try some of the other recipe inspirations they have!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday -a trip to the golf course

We thought it only fitting and fair that since Addie has been introduced to her momma's second love...the swimming pool...she should be introduced to her daddy's second love...the golf course.  We headed out for an evening stroll with our favorite fam and got some super cute pictures...






Happy Wednesday!!


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Prayers NEEDED

Please stop and say a prayer tonight for Lindsey's beautiful daughter Kate and their family.  They just learned that their almost 10 month old daughter Kate has been diagnosed with a VERY rare bone marrow disease and will be needing a transplant ASAP.  To read her story, head on over to her blog we're finally three.  You can also check out Be the Match, a national marrow donor program, to find out if you're a match for someone that may also be in need of a transplant.

Monday, June 6, 2011

What half a million+ will buy you in Va Beach...

Ever wondered what half a million + will buy you in Virginia probably not, but I figured I'd share anyhow.  I have always loved the HGTV shows that spotlight different parts of the country and show what various price points will buy you in various I'm taking a spin on that from my hometown.  This week was Homearama week, which is an event held by the local builders association in a new neighborhood that showcases new homes.  The price point for these was around $550k upwards to around $750k.  And no, in case you're wondering, these homes are NOT on the beach - they are actually about 15 minutes away.  No golf course, either...just suburbia.  The hubs and I both found our dream home...too bad it wasn't the same house...but never the less we got some wonderful home inspiration.  I thought I'd share some pictures we took while touring through the homes...

My favorite exterior - but I wasn't thrilled with the interior:
My favorite home in the show - the exterior wasn't a show stopper but it grew on me and I LOVED the interior - like if I had $675k, I would buy this house:
unassuming exterior
from the front door - love the openness
custom kitchen
master suite - this picture does NOT do it justice
entrance to shower on both the his and hers side 
I could call this home...
And now for the hub's favorite...
exterior - we would remove the flags
from the entrance - sunk in living space to left
beautiful stone fireplace
bar in "bonus room"
master bedroom
look closely - the tub fills from the ceiling
We also got tons of neat ideas and inspiration from other things we saw in the homes. Here are just a few more pics of some things I just loved!!
love the curved staircase entrance
love this for wall art
love this fire pit idea
no more need for ugly concrete gutter stops of the neatest ideas we saw - see the door in picture 1 on the exterior of the house. Yes, that is the door to the little bathroom in picture 2. How perfect - no more wet feet from the pool to the inside of the house to use the bathroom!!
picture 1
picture 2
And...congratulations if you've made it this far. Sorry for ALL the pictures but I hope you found maybe even an ounce of inspiration or got a laugh out of how little or how much things cost around here...I know, everything's relative!