Stick a fork in it…

Because I’m calling the office officially “done”

I put a couple of finishing touches up in the office over the weekend, and I’m completely satisfied with how things look.  I still smile every time I walk into this room, and actually enjoy sitting at my desk to use my computer, which means this little room has come a long way!!  To see how far, check out this post.

The things I added over the weekend weren’t monumental by any means, but they did finish things off.  First, I framed Ellie’s agility title certificate and hung that up (there’s room for 2, which hopefully she will get in September):

I love those hooks- too cute.  And in Georgia bulldog colors, of course.  The frame is from the dollar store- I was actually pretty impressed with their frame selection.  I picked up a bunch and will share what I did with them later this week.

This wall looks more complete now- apologies for the sort of blurry pic:

I also put up a roman shade over the window…I’ve been on a mission to replace all the metal blinds in this house.  It took me almost 2.5 years to do it, but I can now honestly say that there are no more metal blinds!!  Here’s a look at the new shade:

Nothing too exciting- I wanted to keep it light and bright in there so I just went with a plain white one.  It ties in the white cover of the chair at my desk.  I tend to lean towards the bamboo roman shades, but thought this room had enough dark furniture/wood in it so went with something different.  The shade is this one (Savannah III 72×64 in bright white, just in case the link stops working), from JCPenney.

Done done and done- love it!!  So happy to have this room completely checked off my list.

How was your weekend?

Thursday thoughts

I drove our new (to us) car on Tuesday evening to take the dog (Kirby) to agility class.  I was abnormally excited to drive it- is that weird??
 Speaking of agility- I signed Kirby up for his first agility trial.  It’s in Alpharetta, GA.  In early September.  After signing up, I realized that I will probably look like a fool.  Because I will be 29 weeks pregnant.  Running after a dog who is MUCH faster than me (even when I’m not pregnant).  At an outdoor trial in Georgia.  In early September (aka still summer).   I might be crazy.  Luckily the trial arena is covered and I only signed us up for one day so I wouldn’t wear myself out completely.
The weekend after the outdoor agility trial is an indoor agility trial.  In which I will be running 2 dogs- probably over a period of 2 days.  Did I mention I *might* be crazy???  But after that trial we are done for the foreseeable future with agility.
I’m starting to freak out a little about how much more stuff we still need to do/prepare before baby D makes his appearance.  I have 17 weeks left- and I feel like they are just going to FLY by. 

Is it the weekend yet?  Does anyone have anything fun planned?  I still am dying to go swimming somewhere since it’s been so hot.  Maybe I need to get motivated and plan a little swimming trip somewhere close by. 

Bird mobile

I hope everyone had a great weekend- we sure did!!  We added a new car to our household- a Subaru Outback wagon.  We’d decided awhile ago that we needed to have 2 kid (and dog!) friendly vehicles- when this discussion first took place we had a Honda civic and a Ford ranger truck.  The civic will be just fine for a mommy, daddy and baby…and that’s it (unless baby D wants to ride with a dog in his face).  The ranger?  Ok for a baby and a mommy (or daddy), and some doggies in the back (with a canopy of course), but the thought of having a baby in the front seat of the truck just made me uneasy.  So we sold the truck (which we weren’t driving much anyway) and found the subaru- perfect for baby, mommy, daddy and doggies!  I’m excited.

Anyway.  The subaru is not the “bird mobile” referenced in the title of this post!!  Awhile ago I gave y’all a sneak peek of a project that’s been in the works for an embarrassingly long period of time:

That is the bird mobile I’m talking about.  And I finally got around to hanging it up in baby D’s room.  I put off doing this for a REALLY long period of time because I was worried about getting all the sticks to balance correctly- even though I’m a scientist, physics was never my strong suit.  I finally got my act together this weekend though, and I’m so glad it’s finally done!!  This was definitely not easy to hang, but I love the end result:

I used birch branches from a tree in our backyard, fishing line and a couple of small hooks (that I painted the color of the walls) to hold everything up.  The birds are hot glued onto the sticks.  The bird pattern is from spool sewing, and is pretty simple to do- I could hand sew a bird in a couple of hours and I am NOT a fast sewer.  All the fabric came from Tonic Living– they have a fabulous selection of fabrics and you can order a sample piece for $1 (US) from them, which is how I made these birds- I just picked a bunch of fabric that I liked and ordered samples.  I think in total, it cost me ~$10 to make this entire mobile.  The hardest part was definitely hanging it- I was lucky enough to enlist T’s help to make the process go faster (otherwise I’d still be in there trying to figure out how to hang it).

A few more photos, just for fun:

 Baby D will have a good view of this from his crib and the changing table

This room is getting closer and closer to being done- which is awesome.  I have some art that needs to go on the walls and some shelves to buy/put up and then I think I’m going to be able to call it done!   I’ll give you a full tour after that happens.

Nursery progress

Last time we visited the nursery, I’d sewn some pillow covers for the rocking chair.  I ordered some more of the chair cushion fabric to finish making new curtains for in there, and was surprised to find myself over this past weekend bitten by the sewing bug again.  One of baby D’s grandmas and an aunt are really good sewers/quilters and I’m just blaming the sewing frenzy on his genes.  He’ll probably sew his first quilt by the time he’s 2 (which leaves me more knitting time!)

I did the same simple pattern as the last time I made them– just some easy roll up and tie curtains.  Here’s what they looked like before, to refresh your memory:

They may never actually roll up/down- actually who am I kidding- they definitely won’t move because I will be too lazy to roll them back up again, so I installed some 2″ dark vinyl blinds behind them (I have successfully removed every. single. off-white. metal. blind. from our house now) and then there’s the actual white curtains as well.  This room does not get a lot of natural light, so I’m hoping with the 3 layers it’ll be nice and dark in there (because if he’s anything like his mommy it has to be as dark as a cave in order to sleep).  Here’s the finished product:

My apologies for the poor lighting- like I said, very little natural light, plus I’d installed everything by the time I took the photo and it darkened the room significantly.

But I wasn’t done sewing!!  We also got the crib last week and T couldn’t keep himself from putting it together the same day (seriously- absolutely no prodding from me about it- it was assembled within 2 hours from getting it home).  So I took advantage of the crib being assembled and my new found sewing energy and made a crib skirt.  I got the idea for an adjustable one from Kim.  I love the idea of an adjustable skirt because then as we lower the mattress, the crib skirt won’t puddle on the floor.  Here’s what I ended up with:

Each piece is separate (3 pieces total) and ties to the mattress frame:

I got the fabric from  I purchased 2 yards (at $6.99 a yard on sale, making this a $14 project) and I still have enough left over to make a pillow cover…or something?  The ribbon is left over from our wedding- I used turquoise blue as an accent color, and DIY’d our flower arrangements/bouquets/boutonnieres, so I have a ton of this color ribbon lying around (good thing I’m a pack rat and have kept it all this time).  Not that you can see the ribbons once the mattress is on there…but I KNOW they’re there, which totally counts, right??

Here’s the crib/skirt in all it’s glory (I think it looks pretty decent if I do say so myself…)

It’s coming together, bit by bit!!  What do you think??  Did you do any fun sewing projects over the weekend?


My husband and I like to do a weekly meal plan- what this usually entails is us sitting down together either Friday night or Saturday morning and whining about how hard it is to come up with dinners each week discussing the week’s food choices.  It often seems like we’re in a rut- the same old tried and true recipes make their appearances weekly, and no matter how many times I pin some new recipe I keep coming back to the ones I know off the top of my head.   Last week I was browsing a blog and stumbled upon some great looking recipes- and most of the stuff in those recipes I already had at home.  So, I pinned a couple tasty looking ones and vowed to make some changes to our boring weekly rotation.

Over the weekend I made this recipe.

Oh my goodness it was amazing.  So creamy and delicious.  I substituted whole wheat pasta for regular, some home made turkey stock that we had in the freezer (from last year’s Thanksgiving) for the chicken stock and the spicy hot ro-tel tomatoes and chiles instead of mild.  That last decision might have made it hot hot hot my mouth is on fire a little spicier than intended, which I LOVED and left my husband sweating and exclaiming long after dinner was over how hot it was (and he loves spicy food).  I swear, there’s something about this pregnancy that makes me want spicy foods- the spicier the better.  I think once the heartburn kicks in that’ll come back to bite me, but for now I’m eating all I can get.  So if you’re going to make this, use the mild tomatoes/chiles.  Seriously.  It’ll be spicy enough, I promise.  But please make this- you won’t regret it.  And the awesome part (aside from all the flavor)?  There’s only 500 calories per serving– and this easily made 4 servings- almost 6 actually.  You can bet that this one will make it into our regular dinner rotations!!

Weekend work

You guys- I got a TON accomplished this weekend.  So I have lots to share with you!!  First off- I finally got the office whipped into shape.  This has been on my to-do list for awhile now, and I’ve been dragging my feet about it because I wasn’t quite sure how I wanted it to look.  I was also trying to use what I already had as much as possible, so I really needed to spend some time thinking about it before trying to put it together.  Plus I have a nursery to decorate which is way more fun!  But I finally tackled the office on Saturday and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.  There’s a couple more things I need to add in there, so it’s not 100% finished, but I couldn’t wait to share.  First, a couple photos of how it used to look:

This was the view as you walked into the room from the kitchen

And this is the view as seen from the bathroom attached to this room

Blah blah and more blah- and I hated the paint color from the minute I put it on the wall.  It has always read purple instead of blue (although it photographs blue) and it just never seemed right.  Took me almost two years to paint over it, but it’s finally a different color!!

Here’s the new view as you walk into the room from the kitchen

 Ahhhhh- so much better already.  As you can see, the desk and couch got new spots (and the cat LOVES the new placement of the couch).  I got a new desk chair (it’s this one from Ikea) and put up different curtains (these ones in 95″ length from Target).  I took down the metal blinds that came with the house and am planning to put up roman shades in their place.

This is the view from the couch- the door leads to the adjoining bathroom.  The bookshelf holds my knitting stash.  The ribbons on the wall (held up by these hooks from Ikea) are all of Ellie’s ribbons that she’s won from agility trials in the last year.  Together they make up her first AKC agility title (in novice standard)- I have the certificate for it, I just need to frame it and then it’ll go above the ribbons.
The ribbons that are still on the bookshelf are for her other novice agility title- she’s got to get one more qualifying score in order to earn her novice jumper’s title and then those ribbons can go up too.

I think my favorite part of the whole room is the gallery wall- I thought long and hard about this wall and am pretty happy with how it turned out.  I already had everything on hand, which is why the frames are all mis-matched, but I think it works.  Almost everything on the wall relates to my time spent in the Bering Sea- two of the photos are of the ship I was on (USCGC Healy, the canvas on the top left is me in front of the ship on the ice), the other canvas is of a snowy owl that spent some time on our ship, the two white frames have photos of sunsets on the Bering Sea, and the two large black frames have my diplomas in them. 

A couple close ups of two of my favorite ones- this is a patch I got while on the Healy that I stuck in a frame I already had.

This guy is a sea star that we found while working in the Bering Sea- it lives in the mud and feeds on animals that also live in the mud- we pulled it off the bottom with some of our samples and then dried it out (sacrificed in the name of science, right?) It came home to live with me, and was in a plastic jar on my desk but I thought it’d be more fun to have it on the wall, so I stuck some fabric in a frame and then hot glued him to the fabric.

That concludes my little office tour- I hope you like it as much as I do!!  Amber approves (which is all that really matters, right??)

Home ownership

I missed our 2 year anniversary of owning our house (3/31/12) but thought I’d write a belated post in celebration of that, since I’ve been thinking about home related things lately.  Mostly the not so much fun stuff that comes along with home ownership- trees falling on fences, roof hail damage (fingers crossed this isn’t a reality for us!), pest control and hidden problems under flooring (like a rotten subfloor).

I came across this great article that I thought was pretty helpful for all those new or soon to be (or just dreaming about) home owners.  Some things to be aware of when you have a home inspection done (and please, oh please, get a home inspection done before you buy!!).  Here’s a link to the original article.  And to paraphrase:

  1. Drainage:

    The article states: “Poor drainage can cause cracks in your foundation and leaks in your basement and crawlspaces, not to mention the resulting rot and mold that often come into play

    Our friends bought a brand new construction house last year, and their inspector caught this problem.  Lucky for them it had just rained before their inspection, and their entire crawl space was filled with water.  The builder was nice enough to pay to rectify the solution, which involved installing a sump pump.

  2. Electrical wiring:

    The home’s service might need to be upgraded to meet current needs or the wiring might be aluminum, which is a fire hazard if it hasn’t been retrofitted with the right wire nut at each connection.

    The inspector isn’t going to be able to catch all wiring problems, because that usually involves ripping holes in walls which they obviously don’t want to do.  But they can inspect your electrical panel and any wires that are exposed.  Some other friends of ours had some wiring issues caught in their inspection- they weren’t as lucky and had to pay for the repairs themselves, but at least they won’t be dealing with a hazard later on down the line.

  3. Roofs:

    Inspectors look for missing or broken shingles, damaged flashing, and any signs of rot. Much like poor drainage, a bad roof can result in water damage, which comes with a whole host of problems.”

    Our house had the original roof (21+ years old) on it when we looked at buying it.  This was almost a deal killer for us- they’d done repairs on the roof due to some leaks but weren’t going to shell out the funds for a new roof.  UNTIL- they discovered the damage was due to hail and were able to get a new roof from their insurance company for $500.  Sweet!!  Now we have a brand new roof- and the roof company offers to come out once a year and walk on our roof (for free!!) to inspect it and make sure it’s holding up well.  They’re coming out some time early next week actually, because we had a hail storm recently and I want them to check for hail damage.

  4. Plumbing:

    Even if a plumbing problem causes you to walk away from a house, it’s much better to have an inspector warn you so it didn’t become your disgusting and expensive problem. The inspector will probably check the water meter, vents, traps, fixtures, and pipes for any issues.

    The inspector will also check your septic system if the house has one (you might have to pay extra for this service)- they usually do a dye test which involves flushing a bunch of dye into your system- the tell-tale problem is if this dye appears in the drain field, a sure sign your septic system needs to be pumped/is failing.  To keep your septic system in good working order, make sure you have it pumped every 3-5 years (depending on the number of people living in your household) and be kind to it- don’t use a garbage disposal or powdered detergents, plus make sure your toilet paper is approved for septic systems.

  5. Heating system:

    Some problems may have easy fixes, like changing the air filter or small parts of the system, but if the heater or furnace is more than 10 or 20 years old or has been poorly maintained, you might be facing a complete replacement.
    Our house, unfortunately, had the original heating/cooling system in it (21 years old)- our inspector was kind enough to point this out to us.  The people we bought the house from never had it serviced in the 3+ years they lived there, but it seemed to be in decent working condition (though not very efficient).  We knew that this was going to be something we would have to replace- and thanks to a couple of government sponsored tax credits we were able to put in a brand new efficient system.  We also have that system serviced twice a year by the company who did the installation, to hopefully avoid any emergency phone calls to the company in the middle of winter/summer.

  6. Insulation and ventilation:

    A common problem with insulation is simply that there’s not enough or it’s inconsistent, which can be fixed by having a professional add more. In older homes, though, an inspector might find asbestos, which needs to be removed. Improper ventilation can cause condensation in the attic that can lead to mildew and rot over time.

    Luckily- no problems here for us (or anyone else we know who has bought a house recently).  I know I’ve lived in some houses that were poorly insulated which stinks in the winter/summer.  Our house is overly insulated- even the floor joists are insulated which is great, and means our power bill is decent year round.

  7. Foundation:

    If there’s one thing you can’t fix cheaply after you’ve bought a house, it’s foundation problems. They can lead to serious structural problems in your home and fixing them will be a major job that can cost into the tens of thousands of dollars. If an inspector tells you that the house has serious foundation issues and you buy it anyway, you’ll end up throwing your money into the sinkhole you’re going to have to fix.

    Yeah- no problems to report here either, thank goodness.  But if our inspector had said anything about foundation problems to us, you can bet we would have run the other way!!

  8. Pests:

    Inspectors will look for termites, carpenter ants, and other insects that eat wood and can cause serious structural damage. They also keep an eye out for signs of creepy-crawly things you won’t want to run into, like cockroaches and rats.

    Actually- most normal house inspectors DON’T look for termites- you need to pay extra to have this service done (at least in our neck of the woods).  You might get a really nice inspector who will let you know if they notice any termite damage, but otherwise this is something you need to pay extra for and it’s not a bad idea to consider getting a termite bond from a pest company that specializes in termite control.
    We also have a pest company come out quarterly and spray our house- when we moved in, we found cockroaches, GIANT spiders and scorpions.  Now that we have regular pest control we rarely see anything around the house- except for the stupid black ants that have decided to take up residence in our kitchen.  Good thing our pest guy is coming soon!!


Ok, I *think* I got some good doggy photos this evening!!  Thunder was rumbling in the background, but thanks to some doggy treats he was pretty well behaved and didn’t look too neurotic- which I consider to be a success.  As far as the actual photo quality goes though, I need all y’alls opinions- what do you think?  Good?  Great?  Terrible?  So-so?  Pitiful??  Don’t be afraid to tell the truth- I can handle it!!

Here are my 5 favorites:

What do you think?

Thursday thoughts…

I walked to work today- granted it was only a little under 2 miles, but I was pretty proud of myself.  I’m trying to be better about working out now that the 1st trimester yucks are over.  We walk our dogs every morning and I try to use the elliptical 2-3 times a week.  This extra walk was a nice added bonus!
 The tree got taken down on Monday (the one that fell on our fence).  I’m so glad that got taken care of quickly.  Now if only the fence company and I could stop playing phone tag so we can have them come out and take care of the broken fence.
We have the most amazing pet sitter- I was worried last week about not being able to find someone to watch the dogs while we were in the hospital with baby D.  I emailed her and she is totally willing to be on call for us, even though I’m due around Thanksgiving.  Amazing.  So grateful!!

I might be jinxing myself by announcing this on the blog…but since the photo sessions for our dogs aren’t working out with my friend (she’s out of town this week) I’m going to try to do one of my own!! I’m using the camera below- wish me luck!  If they turn out somewhat decent I’ll post a few…promise!


My new office chair showed up today!!  And the curtains tomorrow.  Looking forward to getting those unpacked and set up in their new home.  I also have plans for some of the pictures that go in the office.  Again, might be jinxing myself by writing this here, but I REALLY hope to have an office photo post for y’all next week!!

Blogger award

Imagine my surprise when I checked my email this morning and found out I was nominated for a Versatile Blogger award by Maria Elana over at Our Home Away from Home (she has a beautiful house and garden- go check out her blog!!!)- awwww, my first blog award- I’m so touched!!

 So here are the “rules” for this award:
1. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate at least 7 other Bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other Bloggers know they have been nominated.
So let’s see- 7 random facts about myself:
1.  I love dogs- but y’all know that.  What you may not know is that I used to (well, still do) love horses- I had several growing up and rode/showed them often.  I miss riding and having my own horse!!
2.  I went to college to be a veterinarian- and changed my mind a couple years in.  I got hooked on marine biology and haven’t looked back since!!
3.  I love working with kids and not-so secretly wish I had a teaching degree so I could be a teacher (of marine biology of course- ha!)
4.  I lived on a Coast Guard Ice Breaker in the Bering Sea for 6 weeks in both 2007 and 2008 and would do it again in a heartbeat if someone gave me the opportunity
5.  I wrote a blog while living in the Bering Sea…and I *think* you can still find it somewhere on if you look hard enough.
6.  I used to own (and ride) a motorcycle- the longest trip I took on it was a 10 hour trip from Bellingham, WA  to Couer d’Alene, ID  (I was SO sore by the end of that trip!!)
7.  I love the ocean- and miss being close to it!!
Here are my nominations for this award (in no particular order):