Sunday, September 4, 2011

Yowza what a year!

I just looked at back at some of my previous posts and it shocks me how much happens in a year. Especially when I feel kinda bored most of the time! And I'm disappointed I didn't show y'all a picture of how overgrown our veggie garden got.... whoa!

Now imagine all that twine covered with vines and dragging those poles to the ground and you're almost there.
This weekend marks two things for me. First, a Labor Day that I actually have off because it's Labor Day! Second, this first weekend I've had off from everything in about a month and a half? Last weekend, Ben and I went to Destin (pictures soon). Weekend before that was Atlanta for business and fun. And the rest of my time has been eaten up by house stuff, dealing with Foster injuring his eye again, working on the new business, real work and... oh who knows where the time went?

Okay, I may end up with a bunch of little posts today but at least I'll catch this thing up with the present! But right now I've got to get ready to meet a customer...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good-bye Summer....yeah, right

I think today is the last first day of school for the kids around here, so lots of people are saying to good-bye to the summer. But not us! It's still in the 90s, I'm still getting tomatoes and cucumbers, just now finding butter beans, and we haven't even gone to Atlanta or Destin yet. I realized yesterday that I don't start saying hello to fall until maybe the end of October. So I thought I'd celebrate two and a half more months of summer with some pictures of ours so far...

And you'll have to excuse me, but I'm kind of in love with the hipstamatic app...hehe!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Kitty Nook

I am so so so so proud of my latest creation! Here's the backstory: our house is small and only has two tiny bathrooms. Our house also has two dogs and a cat. Said cat, and the humans who love him, likes to have a bathroom to himself if at all possible. And since we'll be completely redoing the extra bathroom eventually, we've let Ceti have it for now. Which meant having a litter box in the shower and his food and water on the back of the toilet....not anymore!


It's taken a little getting used to for Ceti.
And my favorite part is the hinged brackets! This way, on the rare occasions we need in that closet we just pop the shelf down. no attention to those fail holes on the wall...
 Even better, the only things I had to buy for this project were the brackets and the dish towels I used as curtains. (And if I still had my mound of fabric I had to give away in the move, I would've been able to spend even less money!) Oh dear, looking at these pictures makes me think I'll have to buy Ceti a real water dish. And different flooring. And different paint.

Whaddya think?

When it rains, it pours. Part two.

This past month's absence is brought to you by...smoking. Not that I smoke, my mother does, or did until about month ago. I get a text one Friday night from my sister just saying "Mom's in the hospital." I  couldn't make the trip down to Meridian that week because of work, but came down the next weekend only to find out Mom had pneumonia, an abnormal heart rate that almost killed her, low blood count and severe anemia. I knew she wasn't the healthiest person, but I was shocked with how bad it had gotten. Luckily, she's out of the hospital and pulling through. Also, luckily this scared the bejeebus out of her and convinced her she needed to kick the habit for good! I'm so proud she's gone a month yesterday without a cigarette!

When I could finally make it back home after making sure my mother was going to be alright and taken care of, Ben's mother went in for her first chemo treatment. It went well and so far, so good. She went ahead and got her hair shaved off in preparation of losing it, but....she hasn't lost it yet. Which she finds rather funny.

This past week was spent working at real jobs, working at upcoming jobs (we hope), trying to tame my beast of a vegetable garden, and helping out the in-laws. MIL was just told she can't leave the house unless it's necessary because of a low white blood cell count and FIL is also at home with a broken foot. So...I'm exhausted. And really need to catch up on my blogging!

Friday, June 3, 2011


I think living in Franklin has made me a nicer person. The other day I had to rescue one of our neighbors, Margaret. I was potting a raspberry plant when I heard someone yelling for help. I looked around and there she was sitting in her backyard and couldn't get up. I went over and tried helping her up, but she wouldn't let me so we called her son instead. It was nice to meet another neighbor, even if it was under these circumstances. Margaret is so nice and was fun to talk with, even if she did keep forgetting my name. Turns out everything was fine, she ended up falling on the grass instead of anything really hard. I joked with her and her son I would have to start charging a fee since she's the second neighbor who's fallen and needed our help.

Unfortunately our other neighbor, Jane, who we helped up is not doing so well. She ended up needing a hip replacement and is still in the hospital and even worse her daughter, Janet, just passed away the other night. I knew something was up two days ago when I saw a bunch of full trash bags behind the house. Mary Alice, our immediate backyard neighbor, stopped me and told me that Janet was really sick and hospice was staying at the house since Jane was still in the hospital. We found out this morning that that night she passed away. We suspected either she had or she was close because there was family there all night. I didn't know they had that much family since we only saw a couple of people visit.

It's strange having someone die that lived right next to you. It gives home-ownership even more permanence. I think of our house more as a project sometimes than a home because I just know this isn't where we'll live forever. Even though I didn't know Janet that well, I knew her better than I ever knew a neighbor while we were living in an apartment. It's just...strange. I guess that's how today will be.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


To my cousin Lea Anna and her now hubby, Chris on their new life together! The wedding was gorgeous (and hot), the reception was gorgeous (and hot) and the company was fabulous (and hawt). They were married at my Grandma's home in Meridian, Mississippi and the reception was held in the Soule Building which is an old steam-machine factory that the city has been renovating recently. I was in love with the reception building, it's exactly what I had wanted for my own but we couldn't find a place close to looking like the Soule.

Here's a few of the pictures I took...

The newlyweds leaving for the reception. Yeah, not the usual place for the "leaving" picture, but my Grandma's house was a much better background for it.

One of the buildings the reception was held in.

The first dance.

My sister, Shanna and I. You'll have to pardon me, most of my makeup had melted by this point. It was 95-degrees during the ceremony!

My cousin's daughter, Torre, on the left and my sister, Jolie, on the right.

Shanna, my cousin Shannon, and my mom. I kind of love this picture!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Well, I never!

This is what I awoke to yesterday. Sigh. And let me tell you, yes they did leave huge scars in the front lawn and no they did not get the dirt/gravel out of our drainage ditch. Oh well, at least I got some free leveling dirt and gravel out of the ordeal for our...

...tree ring!

Thankfully the street guys took their lunch right before the delivery guy showed up with our stones. Poor fella had to walk then drive his forklift the whole length of our street just to get to the house. I started work on the tree ring yesterday and I'm so excited with how it looks so far! And I'm in too much pain to finish it today. My left arm is about dead from lifting these bad boys and the bags of sand needed to make them level. I got two levels up yesterday and a bag of pea pebbles down for drainage. Still need more pebbles (a lot more) and dirt and plants. But I've hit a bit of a financial wall. After I bought these, I realize I had to get a hotel room for my cousin's wedding this weekend, bought presents, and then Foster had to go to doggy emergency room. He's fine now, well, except his pride.

"What are you wearing?!"
He's got another corneal ulcer, but thankfully this one is very tiny compared to last time. Last year he had the same thing and we didn't get an e-collar on him in time and he almost ruptured his eye. He had to have a cornea graft and now he's partially blind in that eye. Which is kind of humorous, because I'm also blind in the same eye so when we go on walks or pass by each other in the hallway we both move the same direction because we favor our good side. Looks like he'll have to take some medicine for a week then go back to the vet for a check-up. But after all that, plus a skimpy month in pay for me, these next two weeks are going to be tough. Probably won't be getting any hostas in that ring anytime soon. Unless Dad's got some plants for me when I visit... 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Grandmother Shower

Yesterday I attended the first ever (as far as we know) "Grandmother Shower" for a fabulous lady at work, Melanie. My work is a very family affair, as in the doctor is my husband's friend and when he first opened his practice it was him, his sisters and his mom, Leslie, running the place. None of them work in the office directly anymore, but his mom comes by to visit occasionally and his dad has just started to work our "gravyard shift", as he likes to call it, cutting lenses with our newest toy. And when they hire people to work in the office usually that person is known through someone and quickly is adopted into the family.

Leslie had emailed us all about a week ago with the idea of a surprise shower for Melanie becoming a new grandmom in the next couple of months. I thought it sounded like a lot of fun and was relived I knew the perfect gift to bring. If you ever know anyone that's about to become a grandparent I strongly suggest the Grandmother Remembers / Grandfather Remembers series. I found my Grandma Hazel's to me after the Alzheimer's had started being a problem, but when I would ask her about things she had written it was like a lightbulb going off in her mind. She looked me square in the eye and told me all about her and Grandpa meeting for the first time without any of her usual "ummm's". That afternoon was probably the last time I saw any clarity from her before she passed away and it's such a happy memory for me.

Anyhoo, the shower was gorgeous. Leslie had a rubber ducky theme going and lots of delicious food (and sherbert punch, a personal favorite!) and everyone had a wonderful time. Until the ladies who have already had children started telling their war stories, and the four of us who have not had kids were a little freaked out...haha. One of the guests remembered she had morning sickness of 16 weeks and I stopped mid-other-conversation to make sure I heard her right. 4 months?! With both her children?! Please, Lord, do not let me have that much puking going on....oy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eek! Aah!

I just saw a commercial an hour ago about Lowe's having a sale on retaining wall stones. I've been dreaming of making a big tree ring around our monster in the backyard for months now, so it seemed a little heaven sent. Then I checked the website and the sale is over in, oh, fifteen minutes. I hurriedly decided what color/type stone (ugh, based on my theories of what we'll paint the shed and trim on the house), calculated how much I'll need and whipped out the credit card. That last part hurt a little. Ben and I both try very hard to live debt-free or at least debt-smart. With the exception of the house, all of our debt is interest-free so I don't mind owing a little here or a little there. But this had to be put on a real credit card with real interest, ugh.

On the bright side I'll have something productive to do this week since I don't work half the week and Ben's gone to Atlanta all week.

::sad face::

Dang, that bright side didn't last long...haha. In other news today was spent putting together our grill, a Christmas gift from my parents, and learning how to use it. The results were....tasty!

We made grilled corn on the cob (of course), lime-tabasco chicken, and attempted peaches with honey.
Everything was really yummy, except the peaches. I thought it was odd the recipe called for frozen peach slices and not thaw them, yeah they were ice cold still...ah well. Hopefully I can get my hands on some farm peaches for the next try. I used to live a couple of miles away from a peach farm that belonged to a classmate's family. They always had the best peaches and strawberries, would kill for some right about now. It was always fun buying from them too, because they usually hired our teachers as cashiers while school was out and you could catch up with them for a while.

By the way....

...the gardenia bush finally bloomed! I was beginning to fear we wouldn't have any this year. Ah, the smell of summer!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Cannot wait for this bad boy to bloom. So glad the multiple cold snaps didn't kill them!

Pretty Veg Garden

Finally bought some tomato cages yesterday, though I can just hear my grandma's disappointment from beyond the grave. But hey, I didn't have any sticks lying around and we haven't a storm knock any branches off in a while. Anyhoo, I noticed at Lowe's the other day they had colorful tomato cages for sale. As in for $3 more a, yeah right. So I got my $3 cages at Big Lots and spray painted those suckas!

Sorry about the cruddy pic, the two on the right are blue, but the sunset wasn't doing me any favors.
I'll need some more stakes and lines (or whatever it is you use for beans and peas, need to do more research) eventually and I think I'll get some different colors just for them. Our garden is going to look cur-azy!

Thanks Mom and Dad!

Last weekend my parents and my youngest sister, Jolie came to visit. We had a great time despite the nasty weather we had for a few days there. (We've had yet another cold was 40-something for a few nights!) They got to see what we've done with house since moving in. The last time they were in town we were *still* sanding the floors. The highlight of the weekend was going to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival. Every weekend in May each year the Freeman family about 20 miles outside of Franklin open their home for tours and in the field across from their castle are food, games, shows, and Renaissance-thingies to buy. This was my third visit to the Ren Fest and I finally made it for the castle tour. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera with me, so I'll have to wait for Mom to post hers to facebook before I can share.    :-(

One of the real reasons you go to Ren Fest: Deep-fried Oreos!

One of the beautiful fountains from a local coppersmith. It was a bit too much, but I did get a copper rose.

And most visitors come dressed appropriately. And if you don't have any appropriate garb, there's plenty for sale.
Sunday was rather lazy since it was cold and gray and we were beat from walking all Saturday. We went for traditional Krispy Kreme (there's not one where my parents live) and they came over and gave me a TON of plants and bulbs! My dad works for the plant that packages and ships these bulbs to Home Depots and Lowe's all over ther company. Seriously, look at the bottom of the packaging and it will most likely say "Van Zyverden, Meridian, MS". The best part is at the end of a season the employees can take home whatever is left over and they brought me a few things.

Now where am I going to put all these?!

I've figured out a plan for most of them and planted a few yesterday. I'm really excited about the blue potatoes, but who knows if they'll turn out, I've never attempted to grow potatoes before!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Some of our blooms so far

Not quite a month...

since my last post but darn close. These past couple of weeks have been extremely tough and tiring for our little family. Two days after my last post a huge outbreak of tornados swept across our region. It was exhausting going in and out of the bathtub (our safe place) with the animals to checking the radar on tv, and then checking the live streams of the tv stations where we have family and friends. A tornado touched down about a mile from my grandmother's house and where my sister works in Meridian, then the huge one that tracked across North Alabama was about a mile away from our old house there. That night and the next day was spent trying to get ahold of folks to make sure they were okay and to see if we could help them out. Then we find out a family member is sick and it may be serious but we don't know yet. The next day Ben gets a phone call saying he didn't get the promotion he was trying for. I can't even remember the other little bad things that kept happening, but it has seriously been one crappy thing after another. I had joked if only April would get over with maybe things would look up, but May has been just as tough on us. Turns out that family member is seriously ill, and will have to start extreme treaments. And I just found out yesterday a friend of the family had passed away.

I know the Lord only gives us what we can handle, but I really could use a break! It's tough work trying to keep positive and not cry when everyone around you is so sad about what's happening. Thankfully we've had a lot of company lately. My parents and sister just left after visiting for the weekend, and some of my friends from Huntsville have been up to visit a couple of times. Once, just to get away from not having electricity and having a city-wide curfew!

House-wise not much has happened, I've mostly been working outside: I bricked out and mulched the rest of our front yard, cleaned the gutters, set up our vegetable garden, and cleaned up our window boxes.

The other half of our front yard's flower beds.

Our veggie garden! Soon we'll have tomatoes, yellow tommy toes, cucumbers (for pickling), black eyed peas, butter beans, and sweet potato leaves (and I guess sweet potatoes if someone else wants them).

The forests of maple saplings that were growing in our gutters. Ben said he felt like he was destroying whole civilzations pulling them out.

Petunias in the window boxes. Might build real window boxes one day...

Even Foster's been busy, just look at those holes he dug! Don't know if he wants me to plant something there, or he thought I didn't have enough to do and wants me to fill them. What a sweet dog...haha.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fuse box solution....temporarily.

When we were doing the heavy work on our house, my husband was adamant that the wood paneling in the study had to go. Fine with me, growing up in a log cabin has made me despise wood in almost all forms. Welllll, turns out when we were hanging the sheetrock, we had solved all potential problems except the fuse box. For the past couple of months there's just been a hole and I couldn't for the life of me figure ou what to do with it. 

I was planning to put up trim and a door like the previous owners had, except there wasn't wood behind all the sheetrock around the box and I hadn't found something light and sturdy enough for the spot. I've seen plenty of blog posts about people hanging pictures over their fuse boxes to hide them, and some that put hinges to allow easy access. The only problem I kept finding was that, what if someone needs to find the fuse box in a hurry and isn't familiar with your house, like a fireman?

It may not be the most obvious picture I could've put on there, but it does the trick. I found a picture of some vintage fuses (like what's found in our box...eek!) and decoupaged them on a canvas. I would've preferred having the picture printed on a canvas for a better quality picture, but I'm not willing to spend $70 on a temporary fix. Anyhoo, added  a couple of hinges and a magnet, and...

I figure this will work fine until we can have the box changed to a breaker box, and I'm hoping when that happens we can get a real cover put in that's flush with the wall. But I kinda love this until then.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Our main bathroom, now.

This is after what I'd like to call stage one in our bathroom's life. I finally found some colors that Ben and I both like that go together, bought the necessary items for a bathroom (remember, we moved in with almost nothing to our names!), and did a few repairs. But there is definitely more to be changed!

Small, right? Haha.

Our bathroom art for the past few years.

Curtains made from napkins I found at Tuesday Morning. Originally we had some cheap black cafe curtains just so the neighbors didn't get a show every morning, and boy were they dark! I think these work MUCH better.

Yes, the weight live in our bathroom. I like to do quick reps while waiting for the water to heat up.

The new toilet seat I installed. Who knew it was so easy, you don't even need tools?!

And here's my organizational skills getting a workout:




After! I am in love with the little white bowl from World Market I got for my rings.
 Unfortunately, still haven't figured out what to do about that toothbrush charger...
Now here's what I would like to change at some point...

So far, haven't found anything better (that I'm willing to pay for).

Wondering if I can just give it a good scrubbing?

Brushed nickel, please!

This would be the biggie that I haven't figured out. Do we try to recover it and make it white? Do we take it out and tile? Either way, I can't stand the almond color and you can just feel how cheap it is.
 It's tough. I want to modernize the bathroom as much as I can, because you know it's a good place to put your money. Buuuut, I also love the original tile job and would hate to erase that part of the house. At least it's not pink or royal blue tile! Also, I forgot to mention we have to replace the sink bowl since there's a huge crack in it that is impossible to cover. By the way, if see something that claims you can paint it over a crack and it'll hide it, don't believe it. It ends up looking like a kid painted a weird-looking tree on your sink. And I want to tile the floor. Normally I love a checkered vinyl floor, but it's just too busy in a small bathroom and it doesn't even go into the closet. At least I already know what I'll put in though, just have to find the time and room in the budget for it.

Zoey says it's time to go now, she's ready for her bath!