Category Archives: around our house

Babies in the House

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Guys, we have a FULL house! The Boy and The Dane flew in for the last time from Seattle, Washington with their two children and lots of stuff on January 25! They all arrived sick and oh so weary. It was quite the feat getting themselves packed, their shipping container loaded, and I do mean loaded, apartment cleaned and their car shipped, all while wrangling a 1 1/2 year old, tending a newborn, and wiping noses and bottoms and possibly tears. 

Since they have been here, Mitten weather has been on full display. Snow days galore, some due to freezing temperatures where the wind chill was estimated at –50. There have been thaws, sunny days and then 2 ice storms. Pure Michigan.

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Honey was laid off for about three weeks in a row, one planned, the others unexpected due to a strike in Mexico leaving his plant with no parts. BUT, someone got their wall built! He wanted to give the kids a little more privacy in the basement, where they now all live. They put MoonPie in the spare bedroom, in hopes that she would sleep better without hearing Little Dipper’s nocturnal waking. They had planned on just setting up their bed and area in the tv side of our basement, but Honey decided to go big and attach a wall to the ceiling. It can all come down with no harm to the walls! It’s as sturdy as can be and has the added bonus of being warmer and more soundproof, a win/win! They Boy was so surprised! We call their new space Shangri-La 🙂    The picture looks like it’s metal, but it is some kind of insulation.

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It will be way better for all concerned when I have to go downstairs to work, somehow I don’t think they would want to wake up seeing me and my clients parading by!

We finally got to meet this little darling ❤  He probably had the easiest move of all.

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We spent all week passing that boy around like a football 🙂

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And were we ever glad to SQWUNCH our little MoonPie!!! She seems a little happy to have so many people looking at her and thinking everything she says is adorable!

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Back to the baby passing. Papa is an old pro.

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The Ab-Cat picked it up pretty quick! It’s been about 11 years since we had Little Goomba at this age!

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And here Mousey was snuggling one beebee and giving comfort to our big baby who is feeling a little out of sorts because of the loss of laps.

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I ❤ those faces.

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How do you spell mujj, muzshe? Kiss it!

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The Usher is around quite a bit and he has a little fan.

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This amuses me, The Boy puts MoonPie in her pajamas backwards, so she cannot unsnap them and get naked!

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They have her in many layers because our house is ….brisk. We have been turning it up a couple degrees for the children.

Abby is loving being an Aunt.

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This REALLY amused me. We received these alerts on our phones on the 2 coldest days. We typically keep our heat at 64, so we should probably turn it up!!!

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I have had the thought a few times that I should get in here and do a little blobbing, but I have been protecting our animals from poking fingers, reading books about animals and playing with plastic animals and giving a little gal stuffed animals. We will do what we can ❤

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First List of the New Year

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Hi Guys! I am trying to think blog-ally in 2019. I have gotten out of the swing of going on the big computer to post, as well as taking pictures to show you the usual this and that that make up a lot of my ponderings. Before and afters, documenting life, things we find humerous/ ironic, places we have gone. You know, the usual nonsense. Plus, Mrs. Schmenkman is back to blogging and reminding me to JUST GET IN HERE AND DO IT.

I was downstairs yesterday trying to get the too full basement in some kind of working order, because if you were not aware, The Boy and The Dane are moving in there!! I kept hearing a dripping/draining sound, but Mousey was doing laundry and I just associated it with that. As I got further back I heard a burbling noise, and that is just not a normal thing. I went into Honey’s workroom and lo and behold it was the water heater. Not spewing, but an unhealthy, more than a drip, gurgling. I hate to wake Honey up with bad news, but up the stairs I went. I told him on a very good note, the water was snaking into the very nearby drain, so YAY us for that one! Y’All, what IS it with us and water heaters??? This will be our 4th or 5th one in 20 years!! The last one was Halloween of 2013, handy to have that memory of date, made it easier to go back and find it on the blog, for reference purposes. DTE is coming sometime today between 8am and 4pm (nice narrowing it down DTE) and then we will have our old friend Mitch come and haul it out and install a new one. one kiss on the cheek from God in this whole thing, it was still under warranty til next December!!!! It would have been the norm for it to have expired last December! Thanks God, we really appreciate that ❤

Did I mention The Boy and The Dane are moving in??!! Oh, I did 🙂  Next Thursday they will board a plane at SeaTac for the last time and fly back to The Mitten with MoonPie and Little Dipper! We have been moving things around trying to make room for them and their belongings. Can’t wait to smooch those little faces ❤

We have confirmed what we already knew; we have a LOT of stuff in our basement. In our defense, we are a holding tank for a goodish amount of our children’s stuff, but we are absolutely guilty of contributing to the problem. The Ab-Cat would like to get her own place this year, there is talk of Mousey moving out with her best girl Chip sometime, and when The Boy and The Dane find a place to live on the other side of town, and everyone takes their belongings with them, we will see what we need to do! It is our goal to purge then, and prepare for putting our house up for sale and downsizing to a home with a much smaller yard and driveway. #goals. In the meantime, I have been going through some things and doing what I can.

Speaking of going through things, I have watched several episodes of Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up on Netflix. I enjoy a good before and after and found the process inspiring enough to light a fire under me to facilitate getting rid of things we don’t, nor will we ever, need. I went through some of the kids toys that we currently have in baskets, buckets and containers in our basement. Yikes! There is a lot of really good stuff down there! Through the years I kept what I considered to be the best stuff for the future grandchildren to play with. I know our kids loved to play with Beeve’s and my old toys. I went through all the holding implements, dumped them out to make sure there were no broken or small choke-ables at the bottom, and sorted by some loose categories. Play food and dishes, dress up clothes, little animals/characters/people, BARBIES and gear!, stuffed animals, Legos, Star Wars and Super Heros, so many BOOKS!,and Beanie Babies. Oh my goodness the Beanie Babies! I had a basket full and then found another whole tote full! Our kids loved them and played with them a bunch. Most were pretty well loved and I know for sure some of Mousey’s kittys have been through the wash. I think it will be so fun to see which toys the Grands gravitate towards.

Some of the toys made it into the ever growing Salvation Army donate pile, but only 2 things I actually threw away. A Pocohantas doll, that Abby got when she was in the hospital in 1995, because she had lost her arm, and a Pocohantas head where you can style their hairs. Mousey said she learned to braid on that head! No one was ever going to be able to comb that hair again #ratsnest  So what up Pocohantas??!!

They are predicting the first snowstorm of the winter this weekend. We really can’t complain, we haven’t even had many dustings. But this is Michigan, so the predictions are wild and anywhere from 1-8 inches. Pure Michigan. Honey works tonight (when the majority of the snow will come 😦 ) but then will be off all next week. There is some sort of strike in Mexico and that is causing a shortage of parts. Works for us!! The Usher has been looking forward to snow all winter! He works at a local community college and snow means overtime to him! Plowing and salting = that green paper 🙂

I’m going to leave on that note. Not going anywhere, just here, waiting on DTE, the snow, and our kids 🙂

Pre and Post Holiday

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We are one week into the new year already! Happy New Year!

Today I’m here to say that I am two days into a better eating regimen, and if I’m being honest, just about anything is better than my habits from November on out. Friends, I’m not going to lie, it was a free for all and I was ready to stop with all the chowing. I say that, and I do mean it, but there was about once or five times yesterday that I thought it might be nice to have a piece of shortbread. Lucky for me I finished it the day before.

All aboard!

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Me and Honey.

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Honey said he wants to join me, but I have no idea what he does at work, so I am my own accountability partner. He and Ab-Cat are going to Schzezuan tonight and I am navigating the tricky waters of Birthday Club, so we will see if I am feeling proud of myself on Day 3. But like I said, anything will be an improvement.

Not sure if I will do full on Keto, but reigning in the carbs and eliminating sugar is a fine start.

I feel we need to head back to the middle of December, when all of the Christmas festivities started. This is our last leaders meeting at BSF. We typically have a luncheon for our leaders and we invite the church staff to join us. This is our pal Pastor Andy! I saw him earlier in the morning when he helped me track down some salad bowls from their locked kitchen and he was NOT looking quite so spiffy then! He said he changed just for us! You can’t beat a Christmas llama!!!

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The next day was our last class day for 2018. This is Davis, his Mama is on Admin and he is an honorary member with his own nametag and tasks! He likes to help me put out the cones and put chairs in a circle and hold the door open for our ladies. ❤ Here he is with his friend, Buckwheat.

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After class, Admin had lunch at our usual Chip and Dip. It was so nice to visit and relax! From left; Kalena, Trenda and Dear Sandra, and across the table are Sarah (Mama of our mascot Davis!) and Capri K! Class starts up again tomorrow, so yeah, this was a little bit ago! 😉

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Next we moved on to faux Christmas Eve with our Dear Friends the Hostler’s! Their daughter Nurse Lauren is married now and lives with her honey William in Minnesota. She was not able to get Christmas off so they came in early and we snuck in our annual Christmas Eve get together! Thanks for being our photographer Awesome Autumn!!!

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Medium Goomba came for cookie decorating again!

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Honey’s ….masterpieces!

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The Ab-Cat is always good for a bunch!

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We tried some pastry bags with thinner frosting for outlining. Mousey found the recipe on Pinterest and we will definitely use it again!

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Mousey and her friend The Usher were also in attendance.

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Especially enjoyed the pirate with one leg and the broken shark bit man! A+ for creativity!

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The Usher made good use of the peppermint sprinkles.

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This was Seymour’s favorite napping spot, some random present.

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REAL Christmas Eve!!!! We had carry out Lee’s Chicken and it was AWESOME! More games, more stories and a bunch of well fed folks 🙂

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I have not one picture of Christmas Day. Seriously, not a one. But we had a very nice day with Grandpa, my brother Beeve, his wife Stacey, her folks Sharon and Turk, and Medium Goomba, and The Usher. Merry Christmas Y’All! ❤

Zipping right along to New Years Eve, a fine fondue with the fam and The Usher. Oh, it was good 🙂

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These two were trying to recreate a picture they had taken their first time around. The Usher was around about 4 years ago and then he wasn’t, something about a ghosting by someone whose name starts with M. We are happy to welcome him back to the table.

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Same recreation process.

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Then we watched this until the ball dropped.

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Yeah, we are wild cats. And then I went to bed, because 12:10 was plenty of New Year for me.

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There you have the festivities of Christmas 2018, it’s a wrap!

Cozy Place and Favorite Snack

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Well, that blended together nicely! I got a smidgeon behind there but will have a combination post and be back on top of the game!

This has been my cozy place lately, and I am thankful for a comfy place to land. I have my morning cups of tea/chai, work on my 2 Bible studies, have chats with my People, and peruse the iPad in this spot. It is also a highly sought over place for the cats to nap. Sy likes it best right after I vacate, when it is still toasty, and the elder felines like to have a loooong afternoon nap there.

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Capri P helped me pick the chair, and the nearby twin sister, out many years ago before we hosted a family reunion. We were in need of some sprucing and seating and she knew of a nice little place in Brighton that was family owned and run by Christians. We were happy to throw our business their way. Unfortunately these chairs were sprayed with some sort of Scotchguard that made them unusable by me for a couple of years. Seriously, could not sit in them or I got a headache! I didn’t smell them any other time, and no one else ever smelled them, but #hounddognose here, was a NO GO. At some point the smell faded and I decided I liked to use them, a lot!

My favorite snack at the moment is peanut butter pecan bars. A Keto snack, and a great way for me to get more fat into my day, which can be a problem for me on this way of eating. In fact I did not start losing weight until I ate more fat. I know! I can’t believe it either!

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I found this a good recipe to use up an entire jar of natural peanut butter, which we despise. I know it’s supposed to be a way healthier option, and I get that, but for land sakes, put some SALT in it!!! Who on God’s green earth can abide peanut butter with no salt??? And since I am being transparent here, we are also not a fan of having to stir the oil back into the peanut butter. I don’t know about you but I am just not strong enough for all that nonsense. I felt like I was wrestling a bear. It was Rock.Hard. So there you have it, I will take my chances and be purchasing contraband peanut butter in the future.

All that to say that I am going to make this again, but I am going to alter it a bit. Will use salted, unnatural peanut butter, and I think I am going to omit the pecans. I cut these into squares and stored them in the freezer, which is generally not a problem for any low carb/keto treats, but the frozen pecans were a little cutting on my tongue and cheeks and since my pecans floated to the top of the bars, I found myself biting off the tops and eating the nuts separately so I could savor the yummy, velvety, peanutty goodness. Which gave me the inspiration to just forgo them altogether. I eat a handful of nuts a couple times a day already, so I am getting the nut quotient fulfilled. I may melt Lily’s sugar free chocolate chips and spread it on some for a Reeses peanut butter cup effect for those times when some chocolate would be friendly 🙂  But not on all! Because Mamaw can’t have chocolate in the evening, don’t like to do anything that could interfere with my tenuous, old lady sleep schedule!

So I am thankful for a cozy place to have a favorite yummy snack!

Animal-Sy

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The thankfulness prompt for today is animal. We have 4 animals around here, all feline, and most generously loved. I say most because of Lucy, we try but she is weird. Tormented. Mousey says she hears noises in her head that make her crabby. Anyway, they all have their finer points, quirks, and annoyances, but in terms of big personality, the winner is clearly Seymour. He loves all of his people and regularly tells us, marks us, and wallows on us. The ladies are more reserved, whereas he is IN YOUR FACE, all the time, demanding whatever he needs! He stick-eth closer than a brother!

Especially stuck on Abby, she is his person ❤ ❤ ❤

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In front of her computer. Sometimes he is right on the keyboard.

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He is also rather fond of his Grandma.

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He is also the only lap cat we have, and he is an equal opportunity heat seeker, so all benefit from his company. He is especially friendly/needy in the cooler months. So tis the season to have to extricate ones self whenever one wants to stand up. He loves all manner of cozy coverings, blankets, throws or your fleece jacket. He is particularly good at making himself at home just when you are about to leave your current seat. But we have also decided that sometimes he just wants your warm seat.

In Mousey’s hoodie.

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Because he is so pretty to look at and so loving most of the time, it makes it a lot easier to put up with his lesser appreciated qualities. Such as his insistent stalking of the elder felines, his occasional propensity to be bitey, and his sloppy litter box habits, trying to show the ladies that all boxes are his to use as he sees fit! He so longs to be the Alpha boss of somebody, but no one allows his hearts desire. So he just acts like the annoying kid at school, always looking for the wrong kind of attention.

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All that to say, we are thankful for Sy, warts and all. I say we, but really mean the two leggers in the house, the old ladies have nothing but hate in their hearts for him. 🙂

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An October List

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Hi Guys! It is full on fall up here in The Mitten! Very beautiful and a little nippy. We went from high 80s on a Monday to low 30s a few days later. Pure Michigan.

Since I have been working hard on getting the November 30 Days of Thankfulness project ready to fly, I will offer a little list of the doings around here.

Honey is smack dab in the middle of a 2 week layoff. Can I tell you how much we are loving the layoffs? This could be the third/fourth one this year and we are calling them retirement practice. He has had a very long mental list of things to accomplish, and I’m happy to say has mentally crossed off a lot of it! Sprinkler lines blown out, garage cleaned, painted the front door and frame and shined up the brass, put all the outside stuff away and last but not least, we took the dang bottles back! BAM!!!!! I’m sure there was more but it’s all locked away in his mind on the mental list.

My list seems more subdued in comparison. I ripped out all the pots, cut back the day lillies and hostas, trimmed some unruly branches, and painted many walls and many doors. That could go on my resume, Capri Kel, Door Painter. I am down to my last 8!! And then I will clean up my paint supply storage area in the dining room, wash my brushes and paint no more this year. I will have some pictures for you next month, I weaseled them into the Thankfulness project 🙂

I miss wearing nail polish. One of the many reasons I will be glad to be finished with all the painting.

I have been on and off with the keto way of eating lately. I blame the doughnuts at our BSF fellowship last Thursday for knocking me out of the wagon. It led to a weekend of reckless carb consuming that included a Sanders bumpy cake, vanilla bean ice cream AND chocolate chip bars. And I want to tell you that my body is telling me in NO uncertain terms that it does not like it! You would think all the aches and pains and inflammation would keep me from eating contraband. You would be wrong. But it has made me very ready to haul my hurting self back into the wagon to try again. I feel so much better without all the carbs and sugar, seems like it should be easier to forgo. I am a slow learner. Or forgetful. Or D.U.M.B.

The Boy had been in talks with a church near us for a youth pastor position. He did not get the job but he said the interview process made him realize that he is excited about working in ministry! He has sent out some more resumes but it is pretty unlikely they will be moving back to The Mitten before the end of the year. So we are fairly certain the Little Dipper will be born in Washington State like his big sister Moonpie.

Honey has still not decided when he is retiring. Next subject please.

Mousey and her buddy Chip drove down to Columbus, Ohio to visit their other friend Katie, whose blob name I cannot recall and do not have time to scroll through blog posts from many years ago to find. They went to a Halloween party and had an all around fun weekend! Here’s our girl.

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Workout Barbie!!!

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With her best pal Chip, who was a pop art cartoon.

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And their good friend Katie, or culturally appropriated Pocahontas. Her boyfriend was John Smith, so cute!

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Actually it’s all good, Katie does have Native American blood, she’s allowed! Old friends are the best! 🙂

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I should get this Monday moving. Will be back on Thursday, November 1 with the first days prompt of Person!

The New Abode

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I believe I mentioned that Honey and I, after years of looking, finally purchased a place in Florida. WOO to the HOO-tie HOO!!!!! We closed the end of March and Honey hired a neighbor man (that we had never met) to go in on a regular schedule to have a look see and flush toilets and such. The Hired Man was a very useful engine, he took some pictures of the homestead, installed a dead bolt, and made a few keys so we could have one up here to ease Honey’s mind. It is a little odd that a fellow we had never met had more access to the place than we did. There can always be an unwanted thought skipping through your brain that you have given access to a shyster and he is hosting wild parties or renting the place out! It was all good and Glen did a fine job 🙂

Honey found out there was a layoff at work in July and said HEY, did I want to go to Florida and do a little work and get the new place a little settled for when we head down there sometime this coming winter? I said sure! We flew into the Fort Myers airport, picked up our rental car, stocked up a few groceries at our friendly neighborhood Wal-Mart, punched in the visitor code at the front gate and Presto, we were in like Flynn.

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It was just as we remembered, and we loved it. That’s a good feeling. Honey had some things to take care of that had been uncovered on the home inspection, nothing major. My goal was to paint the spare bedroom and laundry room. The green was far more glowing than this picture presents. This was from the listing and they did an exceptional job of toning it down.

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The rest of the house is decorated very nicely, so this room was an oddity to me. I don’t get the color, the ginormous flower, the dingleballs on the hand painted lamps. The quilt has bathing suits on it and I had a great idea to just flip it over! The other side was flip flops. That’s not going to work either.

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Capri P told me about a color that she was using in her home called Softer Tan by Sherwin Williams. I thought it could be a trial run for my big painting project in The Mitten. The whole time I painted I wasn’t sure if I liked it because the Kryptonite glow from the existing paint was throwing off my groove! See?? It’s weird!!

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I LOVED it once it was completed and the lime residue was removed!! Well, except for that quilt.

So much freaking calmer.

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Onto the laundry room, goodbye pineapples. Honey ended up having to rent a wallpaper steamer from the Home Depot to get it off. It was a HOT, MESSY job in a very tight space. It looked loads better after a coat of Softer Tan as well. Unfortunately, I forgot to take an after picture and I am sorry for you and me both.

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It was our habit to rise, have coffee and tea made in our newly purchased coffeepot and kettle, do the tasks that needed attending to, head out to eat an early dinner and then shop at many stores looking for the things we needed to make our new home comfortable. I joked with Honey that all the shopping we brought home went in cupboards and closets, not much to show for all of our efforts! You could see this little piece we purchased at Homegoods.

I was having many hankerings to buy things up here in Michigan, but Honey said we would just get stuff down there. When I was in Virginia I did get a cute salt nightlight that I thought I could put in the laundry room, so that we would have a soft, calming glow greet us when we returned home in the evenings. Well, there was no plug except the ones being used by the washer and dryer. So much for that. Our next idea panned out better. This little cabinet has a plug behind it and we may or may not have bought a little lamp that we can turn on when we leave. I can’t remember, isn’t that awful?!

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I started collecting the little tchotchkes that were sitting around on all the surfaces, and sticking them on this shelf. I am a fan of functionality and don’t have a ton of use for collectibles. Not everything up here will go, but it was a growing collection!

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I call this Cousin It. It’s a metal plant stand and it is not awful. It may end up out on the lanai with a real plant in it. For now we stuck it in the lovely Softer Tan spare bedroom. Those tall green breakables will most likely be donated.

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There are 4 of these sparkling beauties in the hallway. Coming soon to your neighborhood Goodwill.

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I call this Lady Buttcrack. It’s right inside the front door. For now.

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This is what it did Every.Single.Evening. I had no idea they had a rainy season. Like seriously POURED and stormed.

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We went to one of our favorite places and staged a picture to send to Uncle Bob and Aunt Phyllis, because they like to go there too when in town.

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We found a new place that we liked a LOT! Mission BBQ in Fort Myers. Good food, super nice employees and decorated with patches from all manor of military, police and fire responders. We will be back!

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We met several neighbors who gave us the scoop on the previous owners (wonderful folks!) and the neighborhood in general (very friendly!). There are a lot of original owners on our street. We met the neighbor behind us who said she called us the Phantom Family because no one knew anything about us! She was very excited to see our lights on. We met a lot of neighbor dogs, Hannah, Danny, Jose Cuervo. It was a good trip.

I think we are going to like it there 🙂