Thursday, December 29, 2011

Front Door

It's been forever since we've updated on our house progress and it's probably because I'm ready to put my head in a hole with it right now.  We've been catching up on so much painting..... two coats on all the trim that has gone back up and then painting the walls in the master bedroom, den, hallway, etc.

It doesn't sound like much, but it is, just take my word for it.

And, while painting and getting up and down constantly on a scaffold... I'm pregnant.  Thank goodness our house is situated on our property where we can open just a few of our windows and the breeze will literally flow from one end of the house to the other and get the fumes out.... and yes, I've been wearing a heavy duty mask while painting.  Hank cannot be trusted painting, so it has continued to be my task.

Again, just take my word for it. 

One of the thorns in my side right now has been our front door.... well, actually the whole entry way.

We stripped the front door and left it bare to dry out for a bit.  Then we decided to start on the limestone.

Like everything else around here, the limestone around the front door had previously chipped and been painted over and we decided if we're going redo it, then let's REDO IT!  So, we started with stripping the limestone.  If you put Peel Away on anything, within 24 hours the paint is literally sliding off the surface.  So here is our entryway ready for stripping.  Sorry for the ugliness, neighbors!!

 I scraped.

And scraped.

 And scraped.

I couldn't believe what a mess it was.  Some parts were caked on for so long and hard that Hank had to get a grinder and get through the last layer of paint.

 * Side Note:  You see that work face?  That is a Watson work face.  When Grady starts doing that... then I'll worry. 

After a lot of scraping and washing, here is the front area totally stripped of paint.

It was a lot of work, but totally worth it.  The stone is so smooth and the door had a lot of bad paint on it and in addition to that, a lot of wood rot on the bottom.  We bought a wood rot kit and did all of the proper repairs on it and primed over it.

We have primed and painted the limestone, but I really didn't want to show photos just yet.  The front door has been one big nightmare for me and we hope to get it finalized this weekend.  After we get it finished, I'll take "after" photos and post them.

Hope all of our hard work has been worth it!  I guess we'll see.  :)

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Did We Share The Good News?

I cannot believe that it has taken me this long to actually post our good news... I mean.... I'm only about 27 weeks late in doing so.  But, if you were to see me... there is no hiding it... this little baby is definitely there!!

We don't know yet if it's a boy or girl.... and most likely we're not going to find out.  It was so much fun waiting to find out when I was pregnant with Grady and so far we're heading down the same road.  The only advantage at this point would be so we could paint the nursery, but honestly... that hasn't been important enough yet to find out the sex of the baby. 

I think Grady understands to a point what is going on, but I'm sure he will be in a state of SHOCK when the baby gets here.  So far he will pat my stomach and every now and then try to lift my shirt to say "hi" to the baby.... and a few weeks ago he patted my stomach and said, "baby, be safe".  Ha!  When I ask him if he wants a baby sister or baby brother he says, "baby sister"..... sure kiddo.... we'll see. 

This is me a couple of weeks ago... and the happy big brother... who is just always happy to have his picture taken!! 
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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls... A.K.A. Buckeyes!

Raise your hand if you love anything with chocolate and peanut butter!

Really, who doesn't love something that is another version of a Reese Cup?  These peanut butter chocolate balls are awesome.  There are quite a few different versions out there, but this is the one I tried and it was a big hit.  Most people call these buckeyes, but since I've never been to Ohio and am not a Buckeye fan... I'll just call them chocolate peanut butter balls.

These were very fast to make and pop into the fridge to set.

First, using your paddle attachment, combine the peanut butter and softened cream cheese.

Add the graham cracker crumbs and mix for just a few seconds until combined well.

Next, add the powdered sugar and melted butter.... mix slowly until it starts to combine, then speed up the mixer and get it mixed thoroughly.

When finished, the mixture will be a little stiff and dry looking.

In the palm of your hand, take a tablespoon size of the mixture and roll it softly into a ball.  It should stick together and form well.

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate until it is completely smooth and ready for dipping.  You'll want it nice and warm so you can really get the peanut butter balls coated easily.

With a toothpick, poke the side of the peanut butter ball and dip or roll around the ball in the chocolate.  You'll see here my toothpick accidentally went all the way through, but it will not matter when that chocolate runs down and sets over the hole.....

After all the balls have been dipped, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.   

You can store these in the refrigerator for up to one week, but I doubt you will really need to test that theory.  Plus, with just one taste... you will be reaching for more quickly.  :)


1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs 
3 cups powdered sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Muffins

I saw this recipe awhile ago online.... on Pinterest I think.  I bookmarked it and have been really wanting to make them, but every time I think about it, I never do it!  The other day I had a sweet tooth (what pregnant girl doesn't?!?) and the only ingredient I was needing to bake these, was unsalted butter.  Lucky me, I was headed out to the grocery store.  How convenient. 

These were truly so fast to mix up and bake.  And they are truly delicious.  As soon as they came out of the oven, I broke one open, popped it in my mouth... while doing the breath in and out cool off thing... and then stood at the refrigerator with the doors open drinking straight out of the whole milk jug.  Not only was it glorious, but it was pretty much at that very moment that I was glad my husband wasn't home because he would be telling me to NOT complain about gaining weight.... and if I WAS gaining weight, why was I pigging out?  The baby needs it... I would have said....

Here is the recipe.  Give them a try.  You will not regret it.  Well, unless you eat the whole batch and then step on the scale.  But just don't do that.  :)

1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup sour cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3.  In another bowl, combine the egg, sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla extract, mixing well.
4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. Gently add in the chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.
6. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared cupcake liners so that the liners are about 3/4-full.
7.  Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean, about 16-18 minutes.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Stationery card

Seasonal Chic Christmas Card
Find unique and modern Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.
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Monday, December 5, 2011

Ho, Ho, Ho

So.... last week I'm on my laptop looking at photos and doing a few things online and my computer starts having glitches and acting funny and my internet closes out.  I open it back up.  The internet is running fine, then BOOM.... everything gets crazy on my screen and my computer crashes.  Me... being me... I immediately start panicking and sweating and texting my husband at work... saying everything is wiped off my computer, that all of our photos of the past year are gone, all of my documents are gone and what on earth am I going to do?!?!  He of course says it probably can be recovered and we'll have it repaired.... to which I respond.... that if it cannot, it's no different than having a house fire, that all of the memories from the past year are gone and what on earth am I going to do?!?!?!

Two days later, my computer is repaired and I have all of my photos and files back. I hate it when he's right (well, except this time).  And he hates how I freak out.   I yam who I yam.....

So, the real reason for this post was to show Grady cutting down his own Christmas tree.  Wait, let me clarify.  He chose his own tree.... Daddy cut it down.  Trust me, Grady didn't miss any of it though.

Seriously, just give this kid a task... he's all over it.  He looks like this when he takes out the garbage for me...
And he is so proud.  He is such a happy boy... so full of life and personality!!  He really finds joy in everything he does.  We are so blessed!!

I need to get a photo of his tree decorated.  It's the cutest thing!  

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting Ready for Christmas

This has been a long week. The little man and I have cabin fever. He's had a terrible cold and the weather has gone from hot to rainy to cold to cold and windy.... so I haven't wanted him out at all. But since we have been inside, he's been so sweet to sit and watch cartoons and movies and then do some crafts later in the week. I know he's starting to feel better because his devilish side is coming back out and he's back to being obsessed with playing with his truck and semi toys. He is a little rascal..... :)

Next week is Thanksgiving and we're trying to wrap some things up here in the house to get the living room (construction room) cleared out so we can put our Christmas tree in there again. Hank and I have had the tradition of cutting our tree down the day after Thanksgiving and now that we have children (OK... just Grady and one on the way...) we want to make it a big deal for the kids. This year will be the first year that Grady can have his own tree. Hank and I will have the "Big Kid" tree and Grady and any siblings will always be allowed to have their own little tree that they cut down and decorate any way they want. We are super excited and I think Grady will have a blast with it. Today we started making some decorations for his tree.....

 He made a huge mess and loved painting the pine cones.  Maybe I can bribe him to pick up the rest of the pine cones in our yard if he thinks they are for his tree.....

I found some little felt balls at Target for $1...... gotta love Target....

So we made some miniature trees with ornaments....

We tried to make some clay ornaments with a flour/salt recipe I found online, but it was a FLOP!  They didn't bake hard enough.  So, next week we'll try another recipe I found for a baking soda clay.  Hope that works better.  

Until next time..... Happy Thanksgiving!!

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kid's Room Update

I was just on my computer going through some photos and realized (even more) how lazy I've been about showing updates as we have finished projects around here.  I have been taking pictures of the progress on a regular basis, but we stay so busy I seem to never show how things improve.... only the mess we begin with. 

One room that is literally one step from being completely finished is Grady's bedroom.  When we stared, the crown molding was chipping right off and falling onto the floor, the fireplace mantle needed to be stripped along with the window trim, baseboards, doors, etc.  Hank replaced the two windows in this bedroom and one of them had a lot of wood rot that Hank repaired.  The walls were in crazy shape... I posted about that here.

Here is a reminder of what the bedroom looked like before.

And here are a few pictures of what it looked like while working on it....

And... after finishing those walls, trim, windows and buffing the floors.... here is what it looked like.  :)

Now of course we have a ceiling fan installed, curtains up and all the furniture in the room.... it's just that it's been difficult to get a picture when "the toddler" hasn't destroyed it with toys.  I need to work on that...  :) 

We did leave the crown molding down.... until JUST last weekend.  Ummm... that means a year looking like that!  We had a huge stack of trim in our attic that needed to be stripped, but with so many other projects going on, we just told ourselves we'd get to it when time allowed.  Thank goodness, most of our large projects are over and for the last couple of months we have been hammering away on that stack of trim.  We really didn't mind... if all we had to deal with was an ugly area around the ceiling for awhile, we could do that.  But, now that we're getting it all stripped, primed and nailed back up again... it's like a breath of fresh air!!!!  So, this bedroom has the crown back up and hopefully I can get it painted in the next week or two. 

I'll post updated photos soon... I hope....  :)
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chicken Fried Rice

This is a great and simple recipe that my mom emailed to me a few weeks ago.  My husband loves things like this and I remembered my mom making this every now and then when I lived at home.... so I decided I'd give it a whirl.

First start off by washing your chicken thighs (and I pulled off the skin) and adding some salt and pepper.  Bake them in the oven on 350 degrees until done.  I cannot remember how long mine baked... but I guess I knew they were finished because they were no longer screaming....

Get it???  heh... heh....

When the chicken is finished baking, take all the meat off the bone and set aside.

Scramble about four eggs... more or less depending on how much you like in your rice and then set aside.

Set aside about 1/2 can of small green peas... drained. 

Cut up some green onions.... I like a lot of onions... 

And lastly.... cook your rice.  Again... however much you do or do not want.  I think I made enough servings for four.  And it was PLENTY!

Add your ingredients to a skillet.....

Then add your rice to the skillet.  Mix it all together... and VIOLA!!.... you have a simple chicken fried rice dish!

You can switch this recipe up however you like.... add some water chestnuts, or chopped carrots, or celery... or get creative!

 Add soy sauce to taste, throw a few egg rolls in the oven to eat with it and enjoy!!!  :)


Four chicken thighs
Six green onions
Four eggs, scrambled
1/2 can green peas
Rice (about four servings)
Soy sauce
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sweat & Anxiety

The sweat would be Hank for all his hard work and the anxiety would most definitely be me.... well... because I'm that type of person.

The lot our house sits on is 1.5 acres and we have quite a few pine trees.  It has been said there were even more, but over the course of time I guess some people cut them down and we know a few have fallen.  One fell over the dining room a few years ago... which is why we have our new roof (we think).  Well, for some reason, the HUGE pine tree right over the driveway was still going strong.  Who would get rid of trees, but leave the one that is going to fall on the cars?  Hank and I have been saying we need to have a tree weekend.  Get all the dangerous trees out of the yard before our cars or house gets damaged.  Not to mention that our little neck of the woods is notorious for small tornadoes... oh... and hello hurricane season!  So, we finally set a weekend aside and decided to tackle the big one beside the driveway.

Meet Mr. Big Pine.

I was so dreading this...

I wanted no part of this...

But somehow, by being married to Hank, I'm kind-of married into helping with this...

So, we rented a man lift for the task.

Hank started cutting the limbs from the tree and I'm down on the ground (thank goodness) just waiting for my orders for the day. 

I guess I was too busy running around and doing what I was "told" to do, that I didn't take too many pictures during the cutting of limbs.  You see, in this Watson household, there is NOTHING worse than being needed for a task and NOT being one step ahead of the person who needs you.

Insert Example:  Hank is finished cutting a few limbs and needs to move the man lift.  He gets off the lift and limbs were not moved.  

Hank:  "Why are there limbs still here?  I need to move the lift and I can't because there are limbs in the way.  So now I have to move those?"  

Celia:  "I was taking photos... and you didn't tell me to move limbs."  

Hank:  "You can take photos later.  Now we're wasting time moving limbs when they should have been moved already.  You should always be thinking one step ahead of me."

Celia:  (thinking to myself... "I don't care... I'm not a man... this is men's work.")

So, Hank got as high as the man lift would take him, he removed all of the limbs from about 40 feet down and now it was time to top the tree.  Hank told me that he would cut the tree in a way, that when we attached a rope to it, attached the rope/chain to the truck, and I pulled the rope tight... the top of the tree would fall where we wanted it too.

I guess this is typical tree cutting stuff, but for someone like me, the first thing I can think of is... when I hit the gas to pull the tree down it will somehow swing and hit Hank... who is still 40 feet in the air... in the midst of sawing another 15-20 feet off the top of the tree... while I'm tugging on it.  

My anxiety is starting to rise at this time.

Celia:  "I'm just scared that the tree is going to hit you."

Hank:  "How can the tree hit me if you are driving away from me, pulling it down with the rope and chain?"

Celia:  "Well, what if it swings down funny and one of those limbs hits you?  Then what... you go falling down from 40 feet!"

Hank:  "Celia, I've done this my whole life and that is impossible.  Just do what I tell you and it will be fine."

Celia:  "You don't understand.  I have never done this and I don't know what to expect.  And don't get smart with me... crazier things have happened!  Freak accidents!"

Hank:  "It's my life up here... if I didn't think you could do it... do you really think I'd be making you do this???"

Celia:  "I'm sweating... I think I might pass out... I can't do this..."

Hank laughs... (not nice Hank)

Hank:  "You get in that truck, put tension on that rope, keep your eye on me.  I'm going to start cutting the tree.  When I yell at you go "GO!"... you floor the gas and "GO!".  That tree will fall away from me.  Oh, and if at any point you see the tree starting to fall before I do... you just gas it and go!"

Celia:  "Oh my goodness... and you are going to make me decide that?????"

So, I had no choice.  Marriage says for better or for worse, right?  Blah.

Hank started cutting the tree.  He stops and tells me to put tension on the rope.  I move the truck a little forward.  He cuts more.  He tells me to put more tension on the rope again.  He starts cutting again as I keep tension on the rope... and then he screams, "GO, GO, GO!!!!!"

Seriously... I'm not exaggerating... I was so petrified... and literally sweating with anxiety... I floored that truck!  And when the top of the tree fell down... the limbs stuck into the ground so hard, that it jerked the truck so hard... I felt like I had whiplash!!!!  Hank said he could hear the truck being jerked to a stop!  OK, I'm actually laughing right now... but I'm not kidding.... 

Here is the tree!!

And here is my mark on our yard.

And here is my husband laughing....

I don't know if this gives you any idea of how big this tree was?  Maybe you had to be here...

And then he made me do it all over again for the rest of the tree.

He has no mercy. 


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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kitchen "Before" & "After".... Whew!

We finally had our backsplash go in and I am finally getting around to uploading the photos.  It's such a relief to have the kitchen finished... for the most part.  We still have a few things to do... pantry doors and trim around the ceiling and baseboards.  But, overall.... it's complete!!!

Please... bear with me and let me remind you of what the kitchen looked like before...
These were not the original cabinets, but they were old and nasty.  The lower cabinets were literally one LONG cabinet.  It was crazy pulling them out of there.  The floors were originally red oak, like the rest of the house, but linoleum had been placed over them... a few times.  The windows were original and paint was chipping everywhere.  And there was no way I was putting my food in that refrigerator and cooking in that stove.  The ceiling light... wasn't even centered...

And this is when we ripped everything out to start over.

And here are the end results!!!  Everything is new.  We pulled out the old windows and replaced them. 
New custom made cabinets with granite countertops.   And had tile put down.

We had a small desk built to put beside our refrigerator... where is was just open before.

We installed lights above the sink and workspace area.

We put in recessed lighting throughout the kitchen ceiling.

And.... when we installed the new windows, the trim was not original to the house and it was a mess.  
So, Hank had to build new trim around each window and doorway.


And last... but certainly not least... we had a new backdoor installed. 

It's such a relief to have this finished (besides a few small tasks).  We LOVE our new kitchen.  And to be honest, when we feel overwhelmed with everything we are still doing... it's nice to walk in there and see the end result.  It helps us "keep on keeping on" with the rest of the house!!!
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