Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Living Room and Dining Room

OK, I lied.  It really has been two weeks since I showed you our gorgeous floors in the dining room and living room, and I promised to post some pictures of how it looks with the furniture moved back in.  But seriously, how does time go by so fast

Better late than never, right?  Here's what it looks like now.  Looking from the doorway into the living room:


Looking around the corner into the dining room.  Instead of putting the china cabinet back along the wall, we put it in the corner, and the shelf with the cookbooks too.  It works really well and leaves more room to move around the table.  Now we just need to find some artwork for that wall.  The roses we had on the wall in our old house are a bit faded.  They were on the wall for a long time, and I just didn't notice until we pulled them out here.  So, we're looking, but that can wait.  Also, Jeffrey just hung the new curtains on Friday, and I haven't taken a picture yet. 


The library area.  I think the books can stay now.  I unpacked them, organized them on the shelves, and then had to move them when Jeffrey painted.  They got put back on the shelves, though not organized in any way, and then moved again when we did the floor.  Now, to find time to read them...


Looking toward the dining room.  The kitchen is through that doorway.


It does look a bit different than it did before:





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Friday, March 21, 2014

American Dream Builders Lowe's Gift Card Giveaway

 #DreamBuilders - What could you do around your house to make it the American Dream Home? If you've been reading my posts, you see we've been doing a bit around here, and, let me tell you, the cost of home improvement can really add up!  American Dream Builders, a new show premiering this Sunday on NBC, and Lowe's home improvement warehouse want to help someone create the home of their dreams by giving  them $100,000 in products and services from Lowe’s and a consultation with the winner of the show.  I know I'm entering!  Enter for your own chance to win your dream renovation at www.nbc.com/lowes - one entry per day per person.   Starting March 23rd you will also be able to earn 5 bonus entries when you “Dream It Yourself”! Upload a photo or video and description of a home project you are working on and EARN 5 BONUS SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES.  I've got a picture or two to share, how about you?

(Learn how you can enter to win a $50 Lowe's gift card at the end of this post)

About the show:  
Hosted by famed interior designer and best-selling author, Nate Berkus, AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS follows the nation’s top 12 designers and home builders as they compete to be crowned the Ultimate Dream Builder and take home a $250,000 cash prize. It’s the home competition that will change everything!

Get an extended look at American Dream Builders, the new makeover competition show hosted by Nate Berkus and premiering March 23 on NBC, and follow the show on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win more prizes from American Dream Builders and Lowe’s!

For even more fun, you'll be able to live tweet along with the judges and Nate Berkus during the show.  Nate will be live tweeting all season long


Giveaway:
One reader will receive a $50 gift card from Lowe's (not the $100,000 big prize; you'll have to enter that HERE)  Entering is simple.  Just leave me a comment telling me what home improvement project(s) you'd do if you won the big prize.
Additional entries: (once per day on each site)

  • tweet about this giveaway with a link to this post and the hashtag #DreamBuilders
  • Share on Facebook and/or Google+
Giveaway is open to U.S. residents, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm Eastern on March 31, 2014.  Good luck!

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) $50 Lowe's Gift Card via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one winner per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
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Saturday, March 15, 2014

Look What We Did!

I know, it has taken me forever (2 weeks) to show you the rest of the updates we've made to the house.  You've been hanging on the edges of your seats, right?  OK, maybe not, but you do want to see, don't you?

After the dining room and living room were painted, we took out the carpeting,


and started putting down new wood flooring.



 We started in the dining room and then, when that was done, we moved the furniture from the living room into the dining room, and we did the living room.  We had never done anything like this before, so it was an adventure and really quite fun.  It's kinda like putting together a puzzle, and kind of addictive as you start to see things coming together.  Not quite so much fun spending a couple hours one afternoon taking up about 19 rows and putting them back down again because I noticed an extra-wide gap right there in the walkway between the dining room and the living room.  (But I had to get it done so we could continue that evening when Jeffrey got home from work.)



Now, we have this gorgeous hardwood floor in there.  And, yes, I still go in there - often - and say, "Look what we did!"   Or just look at it and enjoy it.


Pictures of all the furniture moved back into place coming next!  (I promise not to wait two weeks.  Really)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Free Shopping Planner and Coupons for New Moms


Sign up to get a free shopping planner filled with deals and coupons.  The planner includes spaces for menu planning and shopping lists as well as tips for new moms and easy recipes, too.  It also includes coupons for things new moms need, from breastfeeding support products to organic baby wash.  There are in-store manufacturer's coupons and coupon codes for online shopping, and it all comes in a convenient booklet you can tuck into your purse or diaper bag.

The best part is - it's FREE!  And, the more moms who sign up, the more coupons and deals they'll be able to offer.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Heart Healthy Recipes and Savings from Campbell Soup

This post is sponsored by Campbell Soup Company

The busier we all get the harder it becomes to eat right and keep our families healthy.  It's just easier to grab a fast food dinner while on the run or fix pre-packaged convenience foods.  That's OK once in a while, but studies have shown that eating home-cooked meals at least five days out of the week can have a big impact on your health.

Of course, that's not all there is to it.  I cook most of our meals, but I don't always think about whether a recipe is heart healthy, low in saturated fat or cholesterol, or any of the other health-related concerns I should probably be thinking about.  Usually I just fix whatever sounds good to me.  Thankfully I do like healthy food, and I'm not a big fan of fried foods or sweets, so we probably eat healthier than a lot of people.  There's always room for improvement, though, and I really want to feed my husband healthy meals because that is one thing I can do for him and his health.  I can't exercise for him - though now that we're into Daylight Saving Time, we have some extra daylight in the evenings so maybe I can get him back to walking - but I can make sure he eats right, at least most of the time.

Campbell’s Soup realizes that keeping our families healthy can be a challenge for all of us, so they've put together some heart-healthy tips and “American Heart Association Certified Recipes” as well as great coupons and special offers at addressyourheart.com.

Here are some of those hearth healthy recipes that caught my eye:

Slow-Cooked Chicken & Butternut Squash
(easy and healthy, don't you just love the slow cooker?)

Creamy Chicken & Vegetables over Spaghetti Squash
(I love spaghetti squash!)

Creamy Turkey & Vegetable Lasagna
(looks like comfort food to me!)

Pizza Primavera with Cauliflower Crust  (I have been wanting to try a cauliflower crust and look at those veggies!)

Pork Medallions with Spinach & Barley  (I'd use turkey since I don't eat pork, but I'm kind of obsessed with spinach and barley right now)
Don't those look yummy?  Just click on the picture to get any of the recipes.  There are quite a few more recipes available so be sure to check all of them out, and visit the Campbell's Kitchen Facebook page for even more.  Also be sure to grab some Campbell's money-saving coupons before you head to the store so you can fix dinner for less.
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Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Win a One Year Subscription to iparent.tv - Giveaway!

What is iparent.tv?

If your kids are awake, they’re probably on a smartphone, in front of a smart tv, downloading apps, or posting to social networks - and most likely you have no idea what they’re doing.
  • 80% of parents have no idea how to monitor their kid’s online activities 
  • 74% of parents say they do not have the time or energy to keep up with their children online
  • 62% of parents don't think their teens can get into serious trouble online
If any of those describe you, then iparent.tv might be just what you need to help keep your kids safe.  Set to launch in June 2014, iparent.tv will be a subscription-based site for parents that will include hundreds of videos, reviews, and  how-tos that are current, cutting-edge, and trending, keeping subscribers ahead of the tech curve  - and ahead of their own kids, or at least right along with their kids in understanding technology and what's going on online.  It will be the largest site on the net helping parents understand tech, what's safe, what’s not, and what's age-appropriate.  You'll get articles, news, and information on what’s new in the world of tech and how it affects your family.  There will be ratings, rankings on which platforms are safe for kids, and age ranges so you know if a site is safe for your children.

You'll get articles, videos, reviews, tips, tools and expert advice on EVERYTHING like…
  • Popular Apps
  • Social Network Sites
  • Major Websites
  • Top Devices ... and more.
Learn more about iparent.tv and the people behind it:

)

My kids are all grown up, but I certainly could have used something like this, even though I like to believe that I'm more tech savvy than some other parents I know.  Currently iparent.tv is in pre-launch, raising funds through indiegogo and offering some really good perks for your contributions.  A regular one-year subscription will be $49, but you can contribute through indiegogo right now, and get that same membership for only $29.  Not only that, but you will have access to iparent.tv before the general public.  There are also some other options you'll want to check out, including a 2 years for the price of 1 subscription and a lifetime subscription.  Visit the iparent.tv fundraising page to get started.

Now for the Giveaway:  One reader will receive a one-year subscription to iparent.tv ($49 value)
To enter:  Leave a comment telling me what you think will be the best part about iparent.tv or something you're looking forward to learning more about through the site.
Additional entries: Tweet about this giveaway, share on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, or other social media; be sure to include a link back to this post and the hashtag #iparenttv (once per day per social media site)  Be sure to leave a comment for each tweet or share.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents, and all entries must be received by 11:59pm Eastern time on Friday March 14, 2014.  Good luck!

Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Subscription to iparent.tv via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Progress

We've been busy making changes to the house - which is why I haven't been doing much updating.  (OK, I may not have been updating this blog regularly anyway, but that's as good an excuse as any)

If you'll remember my last home improvement post, we had just stripped all the wallpaper off the dining room walls, and we needed to get the paint.  Here's what the room looked like before we started:

Photo courtesy of my wonderful husband
who actually took some Before pictures
And after he painted it, a lighter, brighter color (Artist's Canvas) on top, and green (Stone Walls) on the bottom:


The light color is also on the ceiling in both the dining room and living room and on the walls of the living room.  The green goes around the corner from the dining room into the library area off the living room, though  the lighting in this pic makes it look a bit lighter. 


 And since we really like this green - it's the same one we had in our old house when we had it repainted after the tornado - the wall in the family room, too.  It looks so much better than the blue it used to be - see kitchen wall picture comparing colors further down in this post.


 We* also covered the blue in the hallway leading from the front door to the breakfast area.  There's really no light in this hallway, so having light colored walls really helps to lighten things up.  I find that I have no pictures, but you can just catch a glimpse of the entryway here.  It wasn't blue, but the color was dark enough that it really needed some lightening up, too.  (*I use the term 'we' loosely because Jeffrey is the one who did all the painting.  I usually try to stay as far away from fresh paint and other such things as possible.  Thankfully the fumes weren't too bad this time - they must have improved the paint since we had our house painted in Wisconsin - but I still didn't want to spend too much time in close proximity.)


And then we covered the blue in the kitchen and breakfast area with a lighter shade of green:



I do need to take some more pictures of the kitchen, but trust me - it looks better.  Not that I hated the blue.  I know some people love blue, my mom included, but it's not a color I'd ever actually choose.  It was OK, but the green is just so much warmer.  It looks so good.  I'm really loving the color and the way it looks.

And... that's not all the progress we've made, but that's all I have time for right now.  Stay tuned for some really amazing changes.  I keep walking into the room saying, "Look what we did!"

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Science Behind a Happy Relationship

It's kind of hard to ignore it.  This time of year, love is in the air.  We're coming up to the most important day in any happy relationship.  And if you don't get candy/flowers/jewelry/lingerie/something special, then your relationship must be in trouble.  Or you're dating a loser.  Right?

The people over at Happify put together this infographic showing the science behind a happy relationship.  There is some interesting information here and some good tips for making your relationship happier.  Valentines Day doesn't show up even once.  That's right - a happy relationship means every day of the year, not just one.  Or two or three.  And it's not about stuff or things.


What do you think?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Before and the After

I am horrible at remembering to take Before and After pictures.  The house was fine when we moved in - of course, not exactly what we might have chosen if we'd been the ones to choose the paint, light fixtures, etc. ourselves, but definitely liveable until we could change things.  After seeing some of the houses on the market with the gaudy wallpaper and/or different bright and obnoxious paint colors in every room, that was a real plus!

Since we've moved in, we've taken the stair rail out, so we could get my new dresser upstairs. I didn't even think of taking pictures of the old stair rail until it was already gone.  The new one isn't up yet, so I'll have to wait on the after pictures.  

We've changed the ceiling fan in our bedroom -


The new one looks really good with our new bedroom furniture, and it's quiet.  The old one was a bit noisy for sleeping, and it looked like - Well, I forgot to take a before picture.

We changed the light fixture in the dining room, too -


It's much nicer than the old one, though you'll have to take my word for it, because I didn't take a before picture of that one either.  However, this could kind of be a before picture for this week's project.  See that wallpaper on the dining room wall?  We pulled it all down this week.  And, again, I didn't think about taking any before pictures, not until we were almost finished and there was just one area of wallpaper left beside and behind the china cabinet -



The wallpaper wasn't horrible. I mean, I didn't hate it, but it wasn't something we would have chosen, either.  Thankfully it came off the walls fairly easily, and the more stubborn spots scraped right off with a little warm water from a sponge.  Now we just have to get the paint.  But, for now, no more wallpaper!


This last picture should qualify as both an after pic and a before pic then - after the wallpaper and before the paint.  Right?

I'll try to do better from now on.  It is kind of fun to see the changes. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

This Kohl's Store is a Disgrace

Every time I walk into our local Kohl's store here in Anderson, IN I am absolutely appalled.  And embarrassed.  I haven't worked for Kohl's in years, but it still bothers me seeing one of 'our' stores looking the way this one does.  It is an absolute mess.  I have never seen a Kohl's store look this bad, or any store for that matter.  Either customers around here are even bigger slobs than customers anywhere else, or the associates in this store have never heard of recovery - or they just don't care and the manager lets them get away with it.  I'm thinking it's the latter, because even the Kmart here in town looks neater than the Kohl's store.

The first time I was there this fall, I thought maybe someone had been sick or they'd had a really big sale and just hadn't had time to get caught up.  Not that either of those would have been legitimate excuses for the place looking like this:



If it was just a rack or two, that would have been one thing, but it was basically every single rack and fixture in the Men's department, and most of the fixtures in the other departments, too.  We spent most of our time in Men's, so this is the department that really shocked me.  This is Kohl's, the store that had to get rid of shopping carts so they could carry Dockers - because a store with shopping carts is not high class enough for Dockers.  Oh yeah, well there are no carts here, but the Dockers are a huge mess.


Along with everything else.  Stuff on the floor, unfolded and tossed on the fixtures, and just a huge disorganized, disgraceful mess.




How did they let it get this bad?  I'm hoping things will get better and back up to Kohl's-like standards one of these days.  The last two times we were in there, I actually saw people straightening and organizing, which I had not seen before.  Maybe they got a new manager or someone from Corporate came in and told them they better straighten up.  I was going to post these pictures ages ago or send a note to Corporate after we first went in there, but I didn't right away.  I just kept putting it off, and then thinking that since I hadn't been there in a while maybe they'd improved, so I should wait and see.  Then I went back, and it was just as bad, and I still kept putting it off.  Just so you know, it's been bad since at least September. Pictures in this post are from September, November and December, and there was another time in there that I forgot my phone so I didn't get any pictures, but it was just as bad then.  I don't know about before September, but it had to get this way sometime.   And now, because they let everything get into such a mess, it is going to take a very concerted effort to get it back to the way it is supposed to be.

In the meantime, the Kohl's associates are going to need to keep on top of things, because the customers have obviously gotten used to the total mess of this store and see no reason to change their behavior.  Even racks or fixtures that have obviously been straightened recently had a few items thrown over the top or lying on the floor.  Customers as a rule seem to be pretty messy creatures, but I'm thinking they're more likely to at least try to leave things neat if they're already that way - but if they're already messy, why bother?





I used to work in those departments.  You spend your entire day roaming the department, straightening what needs straightened, picking things up, hanging things back up, etc.  (In between helping customers, setting ads, doing markdowns, putting out new merchandise, and all the other stuff that needs done)  And, when the store closes, everyone stays until all the departments are recovered. 

It never ends!  But, if you don't keep at it, it will get out of control.  Like this store.