Apr 27, 2012


UPDATED: Wednesday, May 9
It's purge time. All items are on a first-come, first-served basis, and we will update this posting as items are purchased and added ;)
Amish-made wide-seat chair (new 3 years ago): $100

Tile-top table with 4 chairs (set): $150
(That's the table.... see it there... look harder...)
 (A close-up of it's surface.)

Sofa, chair and ottoman (set): (They are super holey, but SO comfy! We just put blankets over the holes!): $40

Children's IKEA furniture- nightstand, dresser & wardrobe (set): $150




Bookshelf: $10

Lamps (set of 2): $30

7 piece bedroom set- 2 nightstands, long dresser, tall dresser, 2 mirrors, 4 poster bed: $250
4-poster bed

 one (of 2) nightstand- both have glass tops
long dresser- door is broken, but we have it

2 mirrors

tall dresser- includes glass top

Table with 4 leather-seat swivel chairs & 2 leaves- table extenders (set): $50

We also have:
Round wooden table- $30

Baked Oatmeal

For many, many moons, I was a Camp Tecumseh camper. Then, I was a staffer. Oh, what fun those summers were! You always knew it was going to be an extra awesome day at camp when baked oatmeal was served at breakfast. Yum yum yum. You can be creative and add diced, peeled apples, or blueberries before baking. I like to eat mine warm out of the oven with a little milk poured over it and some raisins.

2 1/2 C oatmeal
1/2 C oat bran
1/4 C white sugar
1/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 C applesauce
1/4 C oil
1 egg
1 C skim milk

Mix together and bake 30 min at 350*.

Sandy's Meatloaf

I've made this recipe over and over again, and always gotten rave reviews. It was actually given to me by a friends mom, when she made a newlywed cookbook for a bridal shower of mine. I guess it was tried and true ;) I've altered it just a bit over the years...

1 lb hamburger (I've been using ground turkey, which is just as good!)
2 eggs
3/4 C bread crumbs or dry oats (Italian bread crumbs are extra delish)
1/2 C ketchup (overflowing)
1/4 C warm water
1 package dry Lipton onion soup mix

Mix all the above ingredients. Form into a loaf shape. Bake in a loaf pan one hour at 350*. Or, you can bake it in a larger pan and add sliced peeled potatoes and carrots around the uncooked meatloaf. Bake both for the same amount of time.

This recipe can be doubled.

Birthday craftiness

Today is my most wonderful mother-in-law's birthday. If there was an ideal mother-in-law, it is mine. She is loving, respectful, generous, caring, giving, joyful, patient and relaxed. She's so good at her dueling roles of daughter to elderly parents and active "Nana" to her three grand kids. Most of all, she loves Jesus a whole, whole lot. (I'm sure that's what keeps her going on the weeks she goes from watching the little ones to care-taking the aging.)

A few months ago I showed her some of the cute "word art" on Pinterest. She loved it. So, I channeled my inner craftiness, and whipped these up for her. They're not perfect, but I'm happy with how they turned out. They don't match, but I think they'll be a lovely asset to the toy room.

Happy Birthday, Andrea Beth.
What a blessing you are!

Mexican Chicken Lasagne

3/4 C chopped onion
3 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 C salsa
1 pkg taco seasoning
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 egg
16 oz. ricotta cheese
1 tsp crushed garlic
10 oz. lasagna noodles
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into cubes
1 4 oz can green chilis
1 1/2 C (about 6 oz) grated Monterrey Jack cheese

To make sauce, combine chopped onion with tomatoes, salsa and taco seasoning. Stir in beans. To make ricotta layer, whisk egg in small bowl with a fork. Whisk in ricotta cheese, garlic and green chili.

Spread 1 C tomato sauce mixture over the bottom of a greased 9 x 13 pan (should barely cover bottom.) Top with 5 uncooked lasagna noodles, overlapping slightly, then with half of the chicken. Spread on one half of the ricotta cheese mixture, spread lightly. Spread 1 1/2 C more of tomato sauce mixture. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese. Top with remaining noodles, chicken, ricotta, tomato sauce mixture and grated cheese. Cover with foil, label and freeze. Or, bake uncovered for 40 min. at 350*, or until noodles are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings.

Apr 21, 2012

Just call me Alice (In Wonderland)...

I've never seen "Alice in Wonderland" all the way through. All I know is that it's kind of freaky and a rabbit sings a song about being late. Somewhere in there, however, I think there's something about a tea party?

Anyway, I was slightly pumped when I was asked to host a table at the Ladies of Grace Church spring tea. Not only do I have a ton of my grandmother's entertaining pieces, but it's only about the fifth time I've used our wedding china! I also thought it would be a great opportunity to use some of my Pinterest "pins," but that wasn't necessary. My dear, creative friend-- the other SRG-- was the brainpower behind this work of art. We decided on a yellow/green/black color scheme-- which stemmed from the idea of a lemon centerpiece, with hints of lime.

We started by getting all options out on the table...

For "placemats" there were plenty of ideas. Chargers were $2 each at Hobby Lobby. Tempting, but I decided on scrapbook paper which was half off of $0.59.
Now... how to make it not look like scrapbook paper...
Next came the favors... yellow watering cans from Dollar Tree, pens and coordinating Post-It notes from the Target Dollar Spot, and green M&M's from the South Bend Chocolate Cafe.

Now for the centerpiece. It started off catastrophic as I realized that lemons don't stack. (Duh!) They also don't hold together with Scotch tape (FYI). However, if you ever need to stack lemons,
employ the ever-helpful toothpick!
The lovely black and white plate is actually the cake plate from our wedding, which my sweet sister made for us almost seven years ago!

And now to piece it all together...

And, incase you're curious, here's what the other tables look like. So fun!

 Wouldn't you know... I AM late for a very important date! BEDTIME!

Apr 12, 2012

The Treasure Box

For one of my baby showers, waaaaaaaay back when The Girl was born, my sister gave me this box. It has become one of my most favorite traditions, and the one thing I would go back into my house for if it was burning to the ground. (Assuming all living things are out, of course!)

Each year, on the kids' birthdays, The Hubby and I write them a letter. We talk about the last year, how they've grown, and what we look forward to in the year ahead. The letters are then sealed, placed inside, and forgotten about. The premise behind the box is that 21 days before their 21st birthday, you start mailing them the letters, one per day. (I know, sob!) I'm not sure if we'll do that, or mail however many we have that many days before their wedding. (For The Girl, that means we only have about 8 more years, as most of her wedding is already planned. She'll just have to narrow down which groom she'll have.)

Anyway, The Boy had a birthday, and here's what he'll read from me 20 years from now...


My little buddy. My little stinker (literally—every diaper I changed in the last 48 hours involved #2). Happy 1st Birthday! I cannot even believe we’re saying that already.

There really are no words to express how much joy you have brought to our family in the last 365 days. We had to coerce you out of the womb, but pretty much since that moment you have shown your independence. (Unlike your sister, you never let me snuggle you to sleep!) You rolled over on your own when you were a mere 5 weeks old, and made it an easy habit by 3 months. By 8 months you were climbing the stairs with ease, always ending up in the bathroom, where you either 1) climbed into the tub or 2) unrolled the entire roll of toilet paper.

You are, and always have been, such a happy little guy. I’ll never forget trying to get you to laugh when you were two months old, and the hilarious sound you made. That sound has turned into one of the best baby gut laughs I’ve ever heard. Every part of you is ticklish.

Rightfully so, your first word was “Adda.” And, as much as Dad would have liked to claim you were looking for him, we all knew you were talking to your big sister. She loves you so much, and you absolutely adore her. I pray you two become the best of friends, even though I know there might be a few rocky years in there, too. Your second word was “ball,” which you’re quickly learning how to “throw.”  I can’t wait to see what sports interest you, or if you end up interested in sports at all?

When you were born I was still working full time as a Realtor. I took six weeks “off” and never figured out how to get back into things full time. By the time you were six months old, Dad and I were trusting God as we felt Him calling me to be home full time. I’m so thankful for that blessing, as we’ve been able to have so much fun together this year—without the distractions of my work.

Jack, you are a joy. You are all boy—into everything, happy only when there’s a mess, and melting hearts with your dimples and curly blonde hair. I pray that God grabs a hold of your heart, and that you do great things to bring glory to His name.

With love,


Our house has been on the market two weeks, as of tomorrow. Today we're having our 11th (ELEVENTH!) showing.

When I was selling real estate, I encouraged my clients to reduce their price every 11 showings, or 21 days--whichever came first-- if we didn't have an offer. And though I used to think I was brilliant, we're not heeding that advice. We did have an offer in that time frame. However, we don't have enough funds in our savings account and retirements accounts combined to come up with the shortage that sales price would have gotten us.

Anyway, our home is gleaming. I'm talking sparkling. I try and do something before each showing to freshen the overall scent (i.e. Lysol toilets, Pine-Sol floors, Windex glass, etc.) The problem is, I'm quickly running out of scents stunts. I think for our next showing (don't worry, it's already scheduled for Monday) I'm going to throw caution to the wind and "go Lexus" on 'em. That's right, I'm going to just climb on the roof and tie a bright red bow. What bigger sign could the potential buyer need than that?

"Honey, look! It even has a big red bow! It's perfect."

But seriously, having a sparkling clean house is not all that it's cracked up to be. Let me tell you, I've become a raving lunatic. My kids can attest-- well, the kid that can talk-- to this! And, it's all so fleeting. You get it sparkling, you leave, and 10 seconds after you come back it's a wreck. Not. Worth. It.

However, I keep reminding myself that one of these days the next owner of this home is going to walk through its front door. And though, like high school choir concerts in which you've sung the song 10,000 times, it's the first time for someone to hear it (or see it in this case), so the cleaning must go on!

My other gripe (as long as you're still reading I'll go on...) is the times of showings. Ohhhhhh myyyy worrrddd. The first-thing-in-the-morning request make me jump for joy. Kids go to bed. We clean. They wake up. And we have Martin's doughnuts on location for breakfast. The showing requests for 5-7 pm are just brutal. There's no other word. It's just enough after nap time that the house is wrecked... Hubby isn't home from work to aid in the last minute prep... and the Boy and Girl are usually starved for dinner.

But, the alternative is no showings, and that would be even more miserable.

Anyway, I'm off to find a ladder. Gotta get that bow up!

Apr 3, 2012

Cosmetic surgery

We listed our home for sale on Friday. Our first showing was Saturday-- less than 24 hours after we listed it-- and they also gave us our first offer. It was pitiful. Honestly, I was sorry for the agent who had to write it up. Just embarrassing.

Tthough I'm still convinced we priced it very aggressively, I enjoyed this walk down memory lane. This house has endured a complete cosmetic surgery in the three short years it has become our home.

Here's what we bought....

And here's what we're selling. (That big old Ash tree was over taken by the Emerald Ash Borer. Sad.)

 The master bath we bought (and lived with for almost 3 years...)

 The master bath we're selling...

The hideous kitchen...

And the sweat equity... plus the enlarged doorway...
(not to mention new floors, appliances and light fixtures.)

And last, but certainly not least, the dining nightmare room...

Lovely, if I do say so myself.

So, Mr & Mrs Buyer. Offer us more than 87% on day one of our listing, and we might take you seriously.