Category Archives: bargain hunting



Well, we finally did it. After many years of cutting bait, we actually fished. We jumped off the fence we had been sitting on. We took the plunge. After much looking, ruling in and out, narrowing down, and pondering our options, we bought a place in Florida!

It’s in Estero, between Ft. Myers and Naples, in a community called Cascades. We had discovered it some years ago and it had been rolling around in our minds ever since. It had several things we were looking for, 55 community, not a HUGE amount of homes, a GREAT pool (because we know how important that was to our kids!), and low HOA fees. All of those amenities kept us coming back to look even though the layout of the inside of the homes was not our favorite. We did put a bid in on a similar layout last year but let it go when the owners counter offered more than we wanted to pay.

We looked quite a bit at homes on every vacation for the last several years. We’ve stayed in Cape Coral for the last several years because it was so hard for Honey to find weekly rentals anywhere else around spring break. We ruled it out though, because it was too stinking far from the freeway and it seemed to take forever to get through Ft. Myers.This year, since Honey’s retirement is approaching, we knew we wanted something for next winter. We were actually in Cascades looking at open houses when Honey asked a realtor what the homes rented for. When we found out we would pay around $12,000 just to rent, we decided we may as well put that towards our own place!

We had narrowed things down to 2 spec homes in Ft. Myers, a new build also in Ft. Myers and this place in Estero. Winner winner, chicken dinner!

These are the pictures from the website. There is so much about the place that we love, and I will tell you about a few things we will change.

Love the wider plank wood floors, all the furniture comes with the place (also another thing that pushed us in this direction), and the white plantation shutters are throughout!


The kitchen is pretty small and does not have a lot of cabinets. I have heard a rumor that Floridians eat out most of the time, so I am fairly certain Honey and I will make do with this.


I was hoping that the counters would be ugly, chipped up formica in need of replacing, but unfortunately or fortunately, it is a very nice quartz that I cannot justify replacing just because I don’t want a step in the counter that faces the family room. I’d rather it was just a one level counter. Ah well. Honey was very pleased with the appliances 🙂


Since this is not a load bearing wall, we could remove it and really open things up. The house we put a bid on last year had done it, so we know it looks very nice. The owners only had the small table you see here, and had changed the dining area to a sitting area.


I’m pretty sure we are going to want that dining area back. Plus, we have other ideas for that back wall in the kitchen. Will let you in on those plans in another post!

The hall entry is where the leafy plant is, just so you can get your bearings. There is the sitting area that we will change. There are plenty of chairs in this house. Any one need a couple chairs? The door wall to the lanai is to the left of the striped chairs, and the doorway to the master bedroom is straight back.


The view from the other direction:the hallway to the second bedroom, bath and den on the right, and the hall to the front door to the left of the fern-y plant. You can also see the laundry room as well, where the door to the garage is.



Back to the master bedroom. Very thankful that is a king because Honey and I got one a couple years ago and we are NOT going back! Besides my Uncle Bob would probably like us to get our king sized foam mattress topper out of his spare bedroom. We bought it down here one trip, when the bed in the rental was so hard I thought it was going to cripple me before we left. I can live with every stick of the furniture, a very happy surprise! Some of these turnkey places were not such a great deal! They want you to pay for their….stuff, but then you would have to pay to have it carted away! And then purchase stuff you could live with.


They were the original owners, so they have made updates all along. The bathroom was fairly recent, new cabinet and tile. I don’t care about any kind of tub, perhaps the grandkids will enjoy it 🙂


There were a couple of things that need immediate attention. Painting the spare room is number one. Those walls are really more of a neon yellowish green. Maybe we can stick a chair in here, because we gots a lots of chairs! We may change this out to a king as well.


I can live with this wallpaper for now. This looks Florida-ish to me ❤


We were so happy to have a den! It made it easier to buy a two bedroom. We are still not certain if this will be big enough for the company we envision. I guess we will find out, you’re all invited down!!! Not at the same time though!!

A few more chairs for our chair collection! They are pretty comfy too! Will probably get some sort of pull out couch or a day bed, or some kind of thing to create more sleeping space.


This is the door to our side entry front door, with the laundry and door to the garage to the right.


Immediate project number two, removal of the pineapples. Even a plantation shutter in the laundry, how cute is that? This house also has the hurricane shutters on the outside. I think they are pleated and you just pull them closed.


We first visited this house at an open house. The most complaints seemed to be the fact it was on a corner. The corner of two interior streets, not on a main, busier street. We looked at a couple of those. Much more traffic.

Side entry on the right.


Our own twin baby palm tree! There are those hurricane shutters I was so terribly describing. They must lock in the middle.


And the lanai. I love that there is already a ceiling fan out there! Because Mama needs a fan in That is the street beyond the hedge. I asked Honey if it bothered him that he would not have a water (ditch view, as we call them), he said it would not, because he is nosy and could watch the people walking by. Well alright then! I may have to get a robe if I plan on sitting out there early in the morning!


The realtor told us that the owners had received approval to extend the lanai out to where the brick pavers end, that would double its size. We will totally do that. and then we can put a table and umbrella out there, which will increase entertaining possibilities. Too bad we can’t stick some of those many, comfy chairs out there.


The hedge will probably be a casualty. Honey may even look into taking the lanai around the back too. We say that in a couple houses. Possibilities!


There is the corner and the streets.


The first thing that we liked about this community was the pool!!!!


It starts with an indoor pool,


and you go through the water cascading to the outside pool.


So many pretty palm trees!


It has a very nice clubhouse with activities and a library, exercise room, pickle ball and tennis courts, and lots of other things we may or may not be involved with. We had to have three character references before they would even let us move in. They take their character seriously down there!

We are very thankful to finally stop looking and we prayed that if it wasn’t what God had in mind for us than the deal would not go through. Honey felt confident it was within our budget, and the fact that it was turnkey meant we did not have the extra expense of furniture. We will probably head down there sometime this summer to take some household things down, and we will need to buy bedding, bath and kitchen things as well.

So there you have it, our new winter digs!


An Excursion To Ohio


I believe I mentioned a few weeks ago that Honey sold The ABCAB, our high top conversion van that had safely taken our family on much ordinary life and many fun adventures. I was sad, it seemed like an end to an era, plus it was the most comfortable vehicle we owned. He decided that it was in our best interest to sell the van, trade in Honey’s super sexy silver sable, and purchase another vehicle that could cart us around in comfort.

We left her with her new people in a church parking lot. My heart hurt.


Juanita, our 2006 Escape, has been my most favorite car to drive EVER, but heaven knows she is not a good option for a long car ride! We learned this first hand when Honey, Mousey and I took a spring trip down to Tennessee about 4 years ago to look at prospective colleges. We were surprised just how uncomfortable she was, something we had never noticed while driving her around town. We apparently forgot this fact when we decided to drive her down to Iowa for Elyk’s wedding to The Pug Mama a couple years ago. It came back to us very quickly and that is when I declared that I would not drive a long distance in Juanita EVER AGAIN.

So Honey began his research. As he does. He likes to be prepared when making a purchase. He looks at E.V.E.R.Y. thing he needs to make a well informed decision. His pursuit of a good deal is legendary! He asked my opinion about what my preference would be, and I had a couple of things on my wish list; a bun warmer, something to tell me the outside temperature (which the ABCAB had, and I sorely missed in Juanita), and 4 wheel drive, because one of my favorite things about the Escape was I felt safe driving in winter. Oh, and I said my color preferences were white, champagne and silver.

Honey’s wish list included a great price, low mileage, a navigation system and a hitch, to pull his as yet unpurchased fishing boat. After much discussion of our size and comfort needs he mainly focused in on Ford Explorers, and after a drive around to several dealers to look at other makes and models, we decided that was the way we were going.

Armed with our wants and needs, he went to work. He is systematic in his hunt, thorough in his scouring the local and acceptable distances, tireless in his tenacity! He showed me a couple that I rejected out of hand; I did not want another red car (our Mazda was reddish/burgundy) and no, I did not want a blue one because Jip the Farm Dog has a blue Explorer and I did not want to be a copycat, or a sycophant. 

He then started showing me white, champagne and silver Explorers. We went to downtown Detroit to look at a white one that had everything except a hitch, but also had a smaller cylinder engine that seemed a little loud (don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about? Totally don’t), and the seats were semi comfortable but somewhat, for lack of a better word, tippy. Ultimately the lack of hitch and the lack of sufficient funds for a trade in on the super sexy silver sable, the white Explorer did not make the cut.

One Friday Honey asked if I wanted to take a drive to see a car. To Ohio, about an hour and a half away. He showed me the car. It was black and it didn’t have 4 wheel drive. He thought it would be a good choice for us. Now I have known Honey for a good many years and I am aware of his extensive, thrill of the hunt skills, and if he said this was a good deal for us, it most probably was. But it was black and didn’t have 4 wheel drive.

When I woke up that morning I told Honey that I had a bad dream. We drove all the way to see the car and it smelled AWFUL!!! Seriously stinky, like a combination of an old gym bag, mixed with dog and cigarettes. So far, not so good. On the drive down I felt like the Lord gave me good idea. If the weather was bad and I had to be out, I could STILL drive Juanita! I mentioned this to Honey and he agreed that that was a good solution to the lack of 4 wheel drive. So onward HO to Ohio, to see the 2016 Explorer with 16,000 miles and a hitch, that was also by the way, still black.

I figured, baring some unfortunate circumstance, we would be purchasing this car. We arrived, met the seriously nice salesman who had come in on his day off to show us the vehicle. It was a very nice car. It had more cylinders (still don’t know what I’m talking about), therefore was not as loud, we marveled at how quiet it was! The seats were comfy, not tippy at all. It had bun warmers, a temperature gauge, a hitch and many other awesome features. And it DID NOT STINK!!!! It unfortunately did not have a navigational system, 4 wheel drive and it remained black.

There was a little haggling, no pressure, and we almost went home in the super sexy silver sable, but then they came up with the offer Honey was looking for. Honey asked me what I thought, because 1/2 my wish list needs were unmet. Since the Lord had already dropped the winter weather advisory / Juanita solution into my mind, there was still the pesky fact that the car was black. I chose the other colors because they look the least dirty when in fact they might be dirty. I extracted the promises from Honey that next time we purchase a vehicle, I can get the color I want, and until then, I don’t want to hear him complaining that my car is DIRTY!!!!!  He agreed. Besides, he knows the way to the carwash. Plus he is retiring next year and will need something to fill his time!!  😉 Honey ❤

On the way home in our new to us black Explorer, I asked Honey what he wanted to name it. He said since it was black inside and outside, he liked the name Johnny Cash. I asked if he was sure the car was a boy? I think of all cars as girls. He was sure. Here he is, The Man in Black, otherwise known as MIB.

IMG_1535 (1)

It really is a great car, comfortable and full of gadgets, I learn something new every day!! We are thankful to have him, and will be taking him out on his maiden voyage this weekend! We are road tripping to Pennsylvania, to attend the wedding of Nurse Lauren, daughter of our Dear Friends The Hostler’s!! 

Thanks Honey for all of your hard work!!!!!

Fitbit and a Painting


Hi Guys!

Just a few random things that have no relation whatsoever.

Hope you all had a swell weekend. The cooler temperatures combined with the bonus of a relaxing weekend, as opposed to one of the least relaxing Labor Days I have ever had, made it most enjoyable!

I woke up on Saturday morning thankful I did not have an agenda. Seriously, NO plans. I did computer stuff. I caught up on a couple Project Runways that had been lounging on the DVR. I did so little that I cannot even remember what little I did! I do know that when Honey woke up and saw me still in my pajamas, he laughed at me. I said I was taking a personal day.

Just in case you think I am pulling your leg, I told Abby that I consulted the Fitbit after church at 12 and I had already walked more steps than I had the previous entire day!

Speaking of the Fitbit, I am liking it! Nothing makes me more aware of my activity or sloth level. What has been most illuminating has been the tracking of my sleep.

Until this current stage in my life, I was a pretty good sleeper. Sure, stressful things could knock my train off its tracks, but for the most part, I slept decent. My sleep has gone the way of the hormonies, unreliable and all joophered up. I can usually fall asleep, it’s the staying asleep that is elusive.

The pink lines are awake, blue means restless.



Of course these are a couple of my worst nights, a usual night has me restless about 18 times. The natural path doctor asks about sleep. She reasons if my sleep is poor than I am not getting that good, restorative REM sleep. She wants me to bring my Fitbit sleep record when I come this Friday. I have to say it has been a little better since I last saw her. She says my nervous system  does this thing called switching and she is trying to get that straightened around. It does not surprise me that my nervous system is confused, my body confuses me a great deal at this time in my life.

She is having me take two little supplements that taste like dirt at bedtime, combined with my usual 2 magnesium supplements. Y’All, I am cautiously optimistic.


Maybe I am getting less confused.

We have a friend who is a local artist named Thomas LeGault. He is a lovely man who is enormously talented. Because Honey likes a project, he looks for these paintings on Craigslist. He found one several years ago and snapped it up. It is hanging in his office at this very moment! I love this picture.


I was not aware that he continued to look, but he found another a couple of weeks ago! It is also hanging in his office, on the advice of Capri Patt. She said it was the perfect spot.


The gal we bought this one from said her mother was downsizing and she was selling it for her. I mentioned that we loved his work and she said her mom did too and had about 15 other paintings on her walls! She said she would keep our number and call if her mom decided to sell more.


I am thankful for Tom’s God given talent! And for Honey’s thrill of the hunt mentality.

BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) starts back up this week! Honey and The Ab-Cat go tonight and our class starts on Thursday. I have mentioned before that I am apprehensive about studying Revelations. It seems hard and weird and people like to argue about their interpretations. I have said it before and I am continuing to repeat “I will be blessed, I will be blessed, I will be blessed…”

Revelations 1:3

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Ok, bring it on.

Have a productive Monday.

The Tail End of The Sassy Cat Visit


What would a visit to Sassy Cat Hill be without a little shopping? We don’t have the stamina like we used to, shopping from morning until night. Oh no, we are morning until mid afternoon gals now. Plus we had to get home to feed a baby beaver, you know how that is.

We have our favorite stores and we both had some luck, which is always nice. Schmenky blobbed about it here.

Like she mentioned, we usually have our Memorial Day Extravaganza the end of May. But this year Capri Deb and BFG’s daughter was busy getting all hitched and such so we just shifted the Hootenanny to later in the summer.

Because of the later date we were able to shop for TWO seasons instead of our usual summer attire. Always good for me because I don’t shop as much as I used to and it seems I do the majority of it while on vacation. Summer stuff at Schmenky’s and winter stuff in Florida.

Mrs. Schmenkman found this at Kohl’s! She didn’t get it because she has a fear of white clothing but it sure was cutey-cute! And appropriate!


I usually only find one or two of the flowy top thingies that I like to wear, but this time I hit the jackpot!!!! Oodles and oodles, summer AND winter, I am a happy girl! Long enough and flowy enough to hide things that need to be hidden! I even talked Schmenk into a couple! I don’t think they were as important to her because she still wears pants with zippers.

Speaking of pants with no zippers, my bargain of the trip, the month, and also possibly of the YEAR, were a sweet pair of black Bandolino capri jeggings from a place we lovingly call The Big Cheap Store. I only saw the one pair on the rack, they were amazingly MY SIZE and they fit like they were made for me. PLUS, with the added bonus of being only $5.99!!!!!!! And when I got to the cashier they came up as $3.99!!!!!!! I have worn them almost every single day since, that’s just how strong the love is.

I am quite sure that the outfits will show up on the blob as time goes on, I will try and make it a point to mention it.

We always like to take a picture to commemorate the trip. It’s always a mixed bag. Schmenky was using her tablet and we had a bit of timing trouble. Then my glasses were VERY uncooperative. We tried switching sides. Location, location, location!


Aren’t our hairs cute? We cut one day, then tweaked another. It’s funny listening to hairdressers tell each other how to cut their hairs. Not at ALL technical. Tweaking is essential.


Thanks for having me for TWENTY YEARS Schmenky Catherine!!!!!!! Here’s to 20 more!

We discussed plans to meet again in the fall and this time I will bring Honey! He and Mr. C will have a fine time doing manly things like fitchin’ and stuff. Can’t wait!


Goodbye Sassy Cat Hill, see you in the fall!!!!!!!