Tag Archives: House

Do you hear that?

When you’re doing housework, there are so many sounds that are associated with the process.  The vroom of the vacuum, the sound of running water as you clean out the sink or shower, swish of the washing machine, the tumble of the dryer, and the churn of the dishwasher.

Oh wait…I don’t have the churn of the dishwasher or the swish of the washing machine.

When we bought our home, I knew that there were certain appliances that I was going to replace sooner rather than later.  I had decide d to bring my refrigerator, stove, and deep freezer with me.  We took the refrigerator and stove that came with the home and swamped them with our old.  I had only had the refrigerator for about three years and I loved it.  My range is a convection/convention oven and I bake a lot.  You don’t get rid of a convection oven when you bake a lot.  PLUS, the appliances that came with the house were white/beige and I don’t want to have anything to do with white after having a white cabineted kitchen.

My husband tried to convince me to take our washer and dryer with us when we moved and I told him, “NO WAY!”.  The washer and dryer was not working for me anymore.  I like to be able to wash my comforters (those that don’t need to be dry cleaned) and the washer that we had had the agitator in the middle.  It got in the way all the time

Since we moved a week  before Christmas last year, we began looking for a washer and dryer right around the time of Black Friday and all of the Christmas deals.  My husband actually spent several hours in line on Thanksgiving/Black Friday to get us a good deal on a set.  I don’t do Black Friday, never have, but if it could help me get the washer dryer I was all for Mr. Stan standing in line.  I later found out that he was in line to purchase a front loading machine something that I did not want.  Thank the Lord he didn’t get it, I would have been totally unhappy.  You may wonder why I didn’t want a front loader…I wanted to be able to stop the cycle at any time if I needed to.  I have not  heard of a front loader that would allow that.

Anyway, I found what I wanted in a top loader made by GE.

I got a new dryer to go with it and the first time I washed something I had to go into the laundry room and listen quietly to make sure that it was working.  It was wonderful!!!  My mother was over one Monday when I was washing clothes and she said heard the little noise that it made, she asked what was the sound and when I told her it was the washer, she just stared at me.  Not only is it uber-quite, but once I set the cycles I only have to push the start button and it’s washing. 🙂

Now for my dishwasher. …  When I first looked into the dishwasher I noticed that it had some “burnt” prongs (the things that hold the dishes).  Again I knew that I was going to replace my kitchen appliances, so I felt I could put up with the burnt prongs for a year.  The only problem was that the prongs started falling off. 😦  I thought, “that’s okay, it will be fine”.  But soon, so many of them fell off that it became hard to hold the dishes.  I told Stan, you gotta do something about it and he told me to go to HH Greg and pick something out.  I swear I love it when he does that.  It makes me so giddy.

I went to the store one day during lunch and picked out this awesome Samsung dishwasher that was normally $900, but was open boxed for $689.  I called my husband and told him the good news and he told me that he hadn’t planned on spending THAT much.  What did he mean by that? This dishwasher was top of the line, stainless steel interior, hidden buttons, and supposedly uber-quiet.  The salesperson told me to wait until the weekend because it there was a sale going on.  When we showed up that weekend, I guess my husband had an epiphany because when we were looking at the dishwashers, he finally told me to get the one I wanted because he didn’t wasn’t going to be the one using it.  That had always been my thought, he just hadn’t been thinking that way all week.  I picked the stainless steel dishwasher that was on sale, it had a stainless steel interior,  hidden controls on the top, and it was supposedly quiet.   I didn’t pay attention to the model or maker, just the price, appearance, and features.  When it was delivered the following week (yes I had to wait a week), I finally looked at the make and guess what?  IT WAS A SAMSUNG!!!

When I ran the first cycle I couldn’t believe how quiet it was!!!!  You don’t hear anything.  I have to look at the three lights to see what part of the cycle it is on.  I LOVE IT!!!!  And the cherry on top is my refrigerator is a Samsung so I am now one more appliance closer to having matching appliance makers.

I’m not promoting any specific brands, these are the items that I have in my home.  I LOVE THEM AND I WON”T BE GIVING THEM BACK! 😛  I love not hearing noise when I’m doing these particular chores.  With my family room right off the kitchen a loud dishwasher can really ruin tv watching and I can leave the laundry room open and hear nothing.  Now if I could just figure out a way to program that water softner so that it regenerates in the middle of the night instead of Monday at 4.

Tell me, do you have any uber-quiet appliances?

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Happy Birthday… in the heat

A few months ago I was commissioned to make a cake for someone that was present at my mothers surprise birthday party.  She feel in love with the cake I made for my mom – The Ultimate Chocolate Cake with the chocolate Raspberry filling.

Her party was scheduled for the beginning of July and she wanted to have the Maxine character from the Hallmark cards because her name is….you guessed it – Maxine.

We set this up in May and the week of I called to make my final arrangements with her – getting the venue address, confirm head count, cake flavor (she decided on Red Velvet), and time of delivery.  I had been researching for the perfect Maxine picture online and even thought about printing the picture and caption on a sugar sheet to make my life easier.  The problem with that is the Hallmark Maxine is trademarked and you are not supposed to print her out without getting permission from Hallmark.  No company that I knew would print it for me and I have not yet purchased my printer for cake decorating (still doing research on that), so what was I going to do?  I did not inherit my fathers ability to draw (nor my mothers beautiful voice, but that’s for another time), but I had to put on my big girl panties and do this.  I started by drawing it on small piece of paper to see how bad it would be.  It was bad at all Surprised smile.  I might be able to do this free hand.

Friday rolled around – two days before the event and our air conditioning goes out.  We realize this when we return from dinner at 9:30pm!  I have to slip in there that the temperature had been 98/100 degrees for the past week and a cool down wasn’t expected until Sunday evening!  I had to bake two 12 x 18 sheet cakes the next day.  I knew I wasn’t going to ice or decorate until I got to the venue because it was too hot, but I still had to bake the cakes!

Saturday morning rolled around extremely hot and miserable and not a HVAC guy in sight.  I called my mother and asked if I could pack up and head over to her house to make my cakes.  She quickly agreed AND had my dad call a church friend how was a HVAC guy to see if he could check out our system.  My husband had found two guys, but one couldn’t get to our house until after 5pm and the other he ended up getting into a slight disagreement on the phone before he even made it to our house.  After I finished running my errands that morning, I came home and passed out in the hot house on the cool leather sofa underneath the ceiling fan.  I don’t know why heat makes you sleepy.  I dragged myself off the sofa and took another shower, packed up my supplies and headed to my mothers.  (By the time I dried off, dressed and loaded up my car I had sweated again and almost felt like I need to take another shower. Sad smile

We were keeping the pooch in the basement because it actually felt like it was air conditioned down there (we really need to get that basement finished….maybe that will be the next project).  She had already decided that it was too hot to be outside anyway and was happy to be down there.

The HVAC guy got to the house and was able to fix it.  Thank God for Chuck Taylor (I show a picture, but I wasn’t there when he was – baking that cake you know)!!!  The house ended up reaching the whopping temperature of 95 degrees and it took over 12 hours to cool it down to 78 degrees.  We stayed the night in a Holiday Inn Express.  I got up early Sunday morning and headed home to shower and head to my mothers to pick up my cake and get to the venue so that I could ice and decorate the cake.

You see folks when I was packing up things I needed for my cake I forgot an integral part of my icing and wasn’t able to finish my icing so I needed to get to my mom’s a little earlier than what I thought because I still needed to make the icing (don’t you hate it when you forget something?). 

My mother came with me to the venue to be my time keeper.  When you are decorating…well when I’m decorating I can lose track of time and I wanted to be away from the venue with a few hours to spare.  She did a great job of keeping me on time and I truly appreciate her for that.  Note:  I have to take a few minutes to give my mom MAJOR props.  She always volunteers to help me with my catering events.  She never asks for a fee (I usually have to hide the money in her purse or pocket) and she has learned to work with me.  If I was to say that I have a partner she would be it.  I LOVE MY MOMMY!  Now back to the cake.

I decided to start out with the Happy Birthday message first so that I could figure out the placement of “Maxine”.


Then with the help of some toothpicks I drew “Maxine”.  Once had everything completed my mother looked at it and said, we need something else.  So the border came about.  This was not the stiffest icing (the kind typical for decorating because of the heat and also this was the classic cream cheese frosting for a Red Velvet cake, I just didn’t want to make it too stiff.

My client loved the design of the cake


and I was told that the guest loved the taste of the cake so I’m happy to have another satisfied customer.  In hindsight I wish I had of taken a photo from the top of the cake so that I had a top view. 


In my defense I had been working for about 2 hours and was just happy to be finished.  I think fondant would have been better to work with in this heat, but again I needed the cream cheese icing and fondant does not come in that flavor – white chocolate but not cream cheese flavored. 

I was very proud of myself.  Another triumph for the Red Oven. Smile


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Filed under Business, Cooking

Time to DIY

Now that we’ve finally found and moved into a house that we love, everything is unpacked (for the most part), the old house is just about ready to lease out, and the weather is finally coming around to something more conducive to working outdoors; so what does this mean for me?  It’s time to start some DIYing projects.

With us acquiring a bigger home (more rooms, larger rooms), and the fact that we decided that some of our old furniture did not make the cut for the new home; there were a few items that we are working on replacing.  Unfortunately for me, my husband is not a big fan of refinishing furniture or seeing the diamond in the rough that I am.  He loves to see the diamond after it has gone through the process.  Me…I like to dig for the diamond and process it.  Do you see my dilemma?  I have been a good wife and went along with the purchase of a lot of new things that I KNOW in my heart of hearts that we could have found and with a little bit of work made something awesome.  Don’t get me wrong, I love buying new…it’s just that I’ve found that a lot of the newer items aren’t as well made as some of the older pieces.

What have I been doing to appease the DIY monster in me?  I’ve been working on my office and the Baby doll’s room.  My Baby doll wants her room to be in black, purple & white zebra print – with hints of pinks and LOTS of bling.  She has very specific ideas about what she needs to have in her room and it is up to me to execute her vision.  Did I mention she’s 7?  As I add to her room and make new and inventive ways to add bling and BLACK to a 7 year olds room.

As for my office/craft room…I’m taking it slow.  I’m purchasing a lot of accessories.  But one day while I was sitting in my chair reading, my knees started to hurt.  I have bad knees, trying everything I can to avoid knee replacement before I turn 55; so if something hurts my knees I must pay attention.  I need an ottoman.  After careful reflection I came up with the thought of transforming a small table into an ottoman.  After a stop at one of my local thrift stores I came home with a small table that is currently being transformed.

But I must show you a finished project. Smile  I create a menu for the family EVERY week.  I usually post it on the frig for the family to look at so that they won’t have to ask me, “What’s for dinner?”  I really wanted a big chalk board, but had been unable to find something that would work for me.  I then started the search for a huge frame that I could make into a chalk board.  No go.  I did have a piece of MDF left over from making my Baby doll’s craft table just sitting in my laundry room.  Smooth surface, right size…I’m going for it.  I bought my chalkboard spray paint and got to spraying.  002

I bought some blue acrylic paint (my kitchen will eventually be in shades of blue) and lettering stencils


and nearly two hours later this is what I ended with.


Now I just have to hang it….oh yeah and get some chalk.  BTW, you may be wondering why the bottom has a shortened (and offset) “F” & “S”….well usually we eat “whatever” on those days.  I’m either working late into the evening/night or we’re eating out (regardless of how much I plan meals and I plan meals for every Saturday).

So tell me, are you doing any DIY projects?  I’d love to hear all about them.

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We finally did it

Happy New Year!!

The last time I wrote to everyone, I was discussing the “curses” “joys” of housetraining puppies and the relapses associated with them.  Well…I’m happy to announce that we are no longer having relapses.  In fact the puppy has learned to ring the bell (large jingle bells that we purchased from Garden Ridge a few months ago) when she needs to go out.  We did have a couple of accidents this past weekend, but that will be explained a little later.

I have some very exciting news to share…After almost a year of searching and disappointments and ‘I think we found it’ and ‘we’re going to build’ and ‘we’re in a bidding war’….we found and bought AND moved into a new home.  YEAH!!!! 🙂

OMG!!!  This has been the rollercoast ride of our lifes.  We had thought we had found “our” house a couple of times.  The first time, after we had looked at the house for over two hours only to find out of that an offer had been excepted on it the day before (our realtor was so not happy about that).  Our “second” house was lost after being in a bidding war for a week.  This one was perfect or so we thought…right around the corner from Kristian’s school, it had the rooms that we needed and it was move in ready with the need for a few minor repairs.  A month later we were still looking at houses and getting more depressed by what was out there.

One Saturday after we had looked at one two many houses (even going to look at a house that we had previously rejected) when my husband suggested we look  at a builder.  I had just told our realtor that I wanted to be in a new home by the end of the year.  I knew going to a builder would have us moved in after the new year, but my other options weren’t looking too good.  We checked out the builders and were ready to make a go of it.  We called our realtor to share the good news and she said and I quote, “don’t build there….I can find you a house in that same community for less than what you will pay for new construction and you can be in before the end of the year.”   Did I tell you that I LOVE MY REALTOR?  Within 2 hours she had emailed us listings for around five properties.  One rang a bell for my husband…DING! DING! DING! DING!  We arranged to go see it the next day.  I was so done from all of the previous looks, that I was in a ‘I don’t care’ phase.  When we went to look at the house, I didn’t even worry about how I looked.  I went in thinking I was going to hate it.  I LOVED IT!  It had the basement space for my husbands media room, his office space, a formal dining room, my office/craft room, a guest room…it was great!  My realtor checked to insure that there were no offers (didn’t want that to happen again) while we were looking.  It was all good.  We were like let’s get on it before someone else does.  Needless to say we had to get rid of the mortgage broker we were working with and we put in an offer by Wednesday and got our reply back (counter) by Saturday.

I would love to tell you that the whole process went by so fast that I can’t remember, but it didn’t happen that way.  It seemed to drag on forever.  Even with packing over 15 years of stuff it still seemed to drag on for ever.  Oh yeah and to add stuff onto my stress, I said we were going to host Christmas Eve dinner with our family.  That was two weeks after our move-in date.  YIKES!!  We moved in on the 10th of December and yes I did host Christmas Eve dinner.  It was great, and there was more than enough food.  Sasha seemed to be overwhelmed by all of the people in the house because she ended up having two accidents – one when she was trying to get to the door and someone was blocking it and the other time was discovered after she had hid under the table for the evening.  Yes…the little terror, my Sasha-bear, became overwhelmed and hid under the dining room table.

I have to say that I really am happy with my new home.  The kitchen is butt ugly, but I knew that going in.  It is a very nice size and I will get tons of joy decorating.  I will try my best to post as many pictures as possible.

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Filed under Entertaining, Family, Just Living

House Hunting…Horrors

I was just lamenting with a coworker today about how busy our lives have been.  He just moved into his new place yesterday and I asked why he decided to move during the middle of the week.  His response was that his weekends have been so busy that it was only feasible to move during the week. I told him the same could be said for our family the entire month of September.  October… has been a lot less travelly.  (Is that a word? :))

Because of this we have actually had time to do some house hunting.  We have looked at houses for about 6 months.  We even considered custom building just because we were finding it difficult to find the house that we wanted at our price point without needing to make adjustments/upgrades later.  You see, we’ve made some upgrades to our home (hardwood floors throughout, new stairs and railings, upgraded moldings, upgraded bathrooms, and new kitchen floors and back splash) and when we started looking at homes in the location we want to live in, in our price point (which isn’t a small price point) we were finding that we would need to come into the house and spend more money to make at least the same upgrades to the home that we have in our home.

So we finally decided to change our price point so that if we need to do upgrades (which we most likely will do) we can do them and not be stressed about finances.   After making that decision, we hit the house hunting road running and have seen some really nice homes.  We’ve also seen some homes that have left us depressed (if you want to sell a house people it should really be cleaned up.), and we’ve seen some homes that have scared us.  Through it all there have been a couple of houses that we’ve actually liked enough to consider and we’ve considered them.  The problem is that we are currently living in a buyers market and there are people OUT here buying.  They are looking at the same houses that we are looking at and unfortunately they can see a diamond in the rough just like we can.  We have been bidded out of one possibility.  We waited five days to hear that we had lost out on the deal.  I tell you folks when you really find something that you want, it can be rough playing the waiting game.  There are new possibilities that we are looking into that hopefully pan out.  I will keep everyone posted.  My hope is that we will be in a new home before the end of the year.

In the meantime, I would love to hear that I’m not the only one that has lived through house hunting horrors.  Tell me your stories…it may keep my mind off the waiting.

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Filed under Family, Just Living