Wednesday, March 22, 2017

And they are off!

I woke Peter up at 4:50 this morning because it's Washington, D.C. time!!

He less than enthusiastically got out of bed, ate a little cereal and got dressed.  We double checked his luggage and his bag for the bus and we headed out the door at 5:30.  We made a quick stop to pick up a classmate and her mother (who is a chaperone on the trip) and we were at school a little before 6:00.

I told Peter that once I got a quick picture, and a hug and he got on the bus I was going to leave.  So as Peter's friends were loading on to the bus, he said, "If you want a picture get it now." I tried to be discrete so I wouldn't embarrass him. 

He gave me his half smile and I quickly snapped this. Then gave me a side hug and a fist bump and he got on the bus. 

A side hug and a fist bump? I guess I'll take it.

They have a lot crammed into this 3 day trip:

Arlington National Cemetery
The African America History And Culture Museum
Washington Monument
Mt. Vernon
Holocaust Memorial Museum
WWII Memorial
Lincoln Memorial - Korean Memorial, Vietnam Memorial
Basilica of the National Shrine of Immaculate Conception
Capitol Hill
Smithsonian Complex time permitting.

Even though our family has been to D.C. numerous times, I'm excited because there are several things Peter will get to see that we have never seen before:  The African American Museum, The Holocaust Museum and the Basilica. 

The African American Museum is new which is why we've never been.  We have never been to the Holocaust Museum before because we felt it might be a little much for the kids when they were younger and I can't for the life of me figure out why we've never been to the Basilica.  Seems like a good Catholic family would visit the Basilica - especially since it the largest Catholic church in the western hemisphere and one of the 10 largest churches in the world!

I'm excited for Peter and his class and even though it's going to be cold, I know they will have a great time!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

We need more sleep!

This week has gone by in a flash.  We've had the normal activities :scouts, track practice, swim practice, and art class.  And then Dan found out yesterday that he had to fly out this morning to Seattle for two weeks.

This meant the camping trip and Merit Badge college he and Peter were supposed to go on Friday night got switched up a little.  Dan not being able to go (and another leader coming down with the flu) meant there weren't enough leaders for the campout.  So, instead, my friend and planner extraordinaire, Wendy, coordinated drivers so at least the boys were able to go to the Merit Badge college in Mt. Airy which is an hour away.

Thank goodness she was able to do that because I wasn't sure how I was going to get Peter to Mt. Airy and back after a full day of Merit Badge class.  I wasn't interested in sitting there all day and I also wasn't interested in driving up, back, up and back again.  Thankfully there were two other parents that took the boys and will stay with them at the college and bring them back.

Unfortunatley, this meant getting up before 6:00 AM on a Saturday, dragging Peter out of bed and getting him to the drop off location by 6:45.  Y'all, Saturday is our day to sleep in.  And no one in my family has recovered from the time change.  We really could have used a day to catch up.  I would blame it on old age but the kids are struggling too.  Peter has been coming home in the afternoons and taking a nap.  Although, he was doing that prior to the time change so there might be a growth spurt involved.  Or it could be the fact that he's up late doing his homework every night.  Who knows.

Regardless, my normal two cups-of -joe a day have turned into 3 this week.  Hopefully we can all get back into our groove this coming week.

Sarah's Girl Scout troop is helping out with a local church's chicken pie dinner tonight. We have a track meet on Sunday afternoon immediately followed by Confirmation class for Peter.  He is not happy at all about spending his whole Saturday in a Boy Scout class and his whole Sunday in church, track meet, and Confirmation class.  This boy likes to have time to chill and when he doesn't get time to relax, he gets grumpy.

Then on Wednesday morning I have to have him at  school at 6:00 AM.  The 8th graders are headed to Washington, D.C. for their field trip. And then I have to pick him up on Friday night around 11:00 PM. And next Saturday morning he has a Confirmation retreat all day at church and another track meet on Sunday afternoon.  Would you like to know who is already NOT happy about another weekend that is full?  You go it!  That would be Peter. 

And the following weekend?  He has to be at the high school before 9:00 AM for a 3 hour placement test.  I foresee a lot of naps in Peter's future and a lot of coffee in mine!

Have a great weekend!

Just a little note that Peter left me.  And don't worry about his shaking looking handwriting.   He was trying to do a font with the I and the U. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Peter and The Joy of Painting

Peter is taking an after school art class on Wednesdays during the month of March.  For the first two weeks they worked on a still life.  Their art teacher is trying to teach them a certain technique (not sure of the name of it) and that technique is what they've been using the last two weeks. 

She said there are many different ways to paint and each artist needs to find their best method.  So the next three weeks they will be exploring other ways to paint. 

But, I think Peter has found his preferred way!

He has been talking a lot about Bob Ross lately.  In fact, Santa brought him a Bob Ross tee shirt for Christmas that he has been wearing proudly.

On Friday evening, he got out some oil paints that Santa also brought him and said he was going to try to paint a Bob Ross.

But he kept getting frustrated because he didn't have the right brushes and the paiting wasn't looking like he wanted it to look.  He will be bringing home some supplies after his school art class is finished and it will include a fan brush that is a Bob Ross staple.  But another tool Bob used all the time was a paint knife.  Without that knife it's very hard to paint the pretty little trees and the happy little mountains.

So Peter ended the evening with a not so good painting and being very frustrated.    This looks nothing like the painting he was going for which you can see in the background.

I told him not to give up.  (Peter has a very bad habit of giving up things if he's not good at them right away.)  I reminded him of the drawings that he's been doing lately.  They started out pretty bad looking but have greatly  improved over time.  He agreed but was still frustrated.

On Saturday, after Dan and I painted half the bonus room, he took Peter to Hobby Lobby where Peter used his own money to buy more canvas, more paint and a paint knife.

Yesterday, he sat back down at the table with his canvas, his paint and a video on his phone of Bob Ross working on a painting.  He put all the right colors of paint on his palate and got to work following Bob's exact instructions.

 Dan and I left to run a few errands and  I got a text that said, "Mommy, I messed it up."

"Oh, no," I said to Dan.  "He's calling me Mommy.  He must be upset."

He sent me a picture and I thought it looked great but he messed something up that Bob was doing and he was getting frustrated. 

"That big swish was supposed to be foothills. I've been trying to fix it but I can't."

"Looks good to me, Pete Just look how much better this painting is compared to the one you did Friday!"

"I can't fix it.  I've tried."

"Can you add some more mountains?"


Fifteen minutes later - "I'm fixing it with autumn trees!"

And when we got home from our errands, we were greeted with one extremely happy artist and this:

He was so proud of himself and I was pleased that he didn't give up in frustration.   I think Bob Ross would be proud too! It looks like Peter has discovered The Joy of Painting!

Friday, March 10, 2017

7QT - So much randomness and a really bad picture of me!

It's Friday so I'm linking up with Kelly for Seven Quick Takes!

1. Sarah just completed a math assignment on the Wheel of Theodorus.  Which if you are like me and don't know what that is, according to Wikipedia it is is a spiral composed of contiguous right triangles. It was first constructed by Theodorus of Cyrene.  Sarah had to construct her own wheel which is done mathematically and if you are interested in how, please don't ask me but it tells you how here.  Once she drew her wheels (or spirals) she had to turn them into something and she chose elephants.  I think she did a great job!

Wheel of Theodorus:

Sarah's wheel turned into elephants:

2. Science Expo is gearing up!  Both of the kids have already worked with their groups to do their experiments and since today is a teacher workday and there is no school, they are each meeting with their groups to work on their papers.  Sarah's group is coming over her (and somehow she talked me into a sleepover) and Peter will be going to another friends house to work on his.  Hopefully both groups can stay on track and get this paper completed today!

3.  I am on Snap Chat but I never use it. Well, that's a lie!  I do go on there and play around with the filters to amuse myself when I am totally bored.  Here's a picture of me that makes me look like my Dad from the 1970s!

4. For Lent this year, I have decided to pray the rosary every day.  So far, so good!  I have added it to my morning routine and it is the first thing I do when I wake up.  I have also started a list of prayer intentions for this rosary and unfortunately it just keeps growing and growing. I have added something or someone almost every day since Ash Wednesday.  Seeing all of your prayer intentions written down is  overwhelming especially when the list keeps growing BUT  it does bring  peace knowing that you are turning all these problems over to God.

5.  That picture of me with a mustache is really creeping me out so here's a normal one.:

6.  Sarah had swim practice last night and the first thing she said after she got out of the pool was that she was sore!  Which is also the first thing she said after the first track practice.  She is going to be fit as a fiddle by the time spring is over!

7.  And speaking of spring - Don't forget to spring forward one hour this weekend.  Ugh!  I know everyone will be a grumpy tired mess all of next week.

Happy Friday!!!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Well, hello there!

I use my crock pot all the time.  And usually with decent success.  I can throw the meat in the crock pot and it cooks all day and then when Dan informs me that he's on the way home (which can be anywhere from leaving the office at 6:00 to leaving the office after 7:00), I then start working on the side dishes.

But lately, everything I've made seems bleh.  So I decided to start looking into the meal delivery plans to spice things up a little bit.

I checked out Blue Apron because several friends have used it and like it.  But to me, the meals seemed a little, upper crust maybe?  Not sure if that's the right word to describe it or not.  For instance,  the meals contained bulgar wheat, bok choy, or freekah.  Even the pictures of the food did not look very appetizing to me. Perhaps we would like these things if we tried them but I didn't really want to take a chance.

So I checked out Hello Fresh.  Their meals had more recognizable ingredients and seemed like something that we would normally eat only maybe a little more elevated.

I found a coupon online and ordered for two weeks.  I chose the classic plan and picked 3 meals.  Under this plan, there are 6 meals offered each week and you can order 3,4,or 5 meals.  You also get to select which meals they are going to send you and which day of the week your shipment arrives.  You can also place your subscription on hold or cancel at anytime without any penalties.

***Please note - this is NOT a sponsored post.  I did NOT receive anything free from Hello Fresh.  This is just my experience using the service.***

On Monday afternoon the UPS man rang my doorbell and I was delighted to find this at my door:

I opened it up and it looked like this inside:

Each meal was in it's own separate box and was clearly labeled.

And there were detailed recipe cards for each meal.

I put everything into the fridge and when Dan got home Monday evening I told him what I had done and showed him this in the fridge:

His response?  "What are we?  Made of money?" (Typical Dan.)

To which I laughed and said something along the lines of, "Well, it's more expensive than our normal dinners but hopefully will be better than our normal dinners"

Dan and Peter had Boy Scouts on Monday and I normally don't cook because Dan gets home just in time to go to scouts and they don't get back until 8:15 or so.  But Dan has another trip this week and with meatless Friday and other plans, I wanted to make sure we used our meals. Sarah and I got to cooking while they were gone and we had a late dinner  when they got home.

We chose to make Sweet As Honey chicken with snow peas and jasmine rice.

Here's the back of the recipe card.  I like the card because it told me exactly what to do and in what order for the entire meal.  It took all the guess work out of having to figure out when to start what so that all the parts of the meal would be ready at the same time

And here are the ingredients:

The soy sauce was in the cutest little fish and the vinegar was in the cutest little bottle.

I will say, that while I did appreciate the cuteness of the little packages, it all felt a bit wasteful in terms of packaging.  But I tossed it all into the recycle bin and I felt a little better.

Here we are cooking up a storm:

Selfie time! Aren't we cute?! I had a lot of fun cooking with my girl.

The meal card said that prep for this meal was 5 minutes and cook time was 30.  I would say that for us the prep time was on the mark but the cook time was more like 40 minutes.

And here was our plated dinner:

And here was my plate afterwards:

Y'all!  It was really, really good.  Everyone ate almost everything.  The kids did leave a few snow peas on their plates but no worries, I scarfed them up.  Peter said I should make it again which is very rare.

Since I have the recipe card, I will definitely be adding this to our normal rotation. And in case you are interested, Hello Fresh has all their recipes online so you can download the recipe card yourself even if you don't use their service.

Last night, I made Mustard Pork Chops with potato rosti and roasted green beans.  Again, something similar to what we would normally eat but elevated.

I'm not going to lie.  This recipe was much more involved.  The card said the prep time was 15 minutes and the cook time was 45.

It took me at least 30 minutes to prep because the prep included peeling potatoes and grating them on a block grater as well as striping fresh thyme leaves from the stem (those leaves are tiny!) and trimming the green beans.  However, I had read the recipe card before hand and knew it was going to take me a while so I allowed for the extra time.

The cook time would have been 45 minutes if I had not turned off the preheated oven by mistake and then had to wait for it to reheat!  UGH!  I was so mad at myself.

This meal was definitely more labor intensive than the first meal but it was just really yummy!

Here's the finished product:

What really made both of this dishes excellent were the pan sauces that we made for each one.  They had so much flavor!

The 3rd and final meal in this week's shipment will have to wait until Sunday evening but I expect it will also be very delicious.

I am already looking forward to next week's delivery.  However, last night Dan mentioned another potential extended trip the last part of March so I will most likely have to suspend the subscription after next week.  Boo.

If anyone has made it to the end of my post and you are interested -  Hello Fresh sent me the following link.  If you use it, you will get 6 free meals.

Just copy and paste into your browser and then enjoy!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Look Ma! No holes!

On Friday, the painters arrived as expected.  Well, actually they were a little early, but that was fine by me.  They got to work in the stairs and the hallway and I did somethings in the office - paid bills, make a flier for a PTO fundraiser, got up to date on my celebrity gossip - you know, the usual.

The kids had a half day so I picked them up and we headed to Fresh Melt for lunch.  It's a new place in town that serves grilled cheese sandwiches and soup.  It was really good and the perfect place to go on a meatless Friday in Lent.  Although they do have several sandwiches with meat on them and I would definitely be willing to try those on a non Friday in Lent!  I got the Skinny Melt and it was loaded with cheese, veggies and guacamole.  Who needs meat when you've got guac?

After that we headed back home and the painters were already done.  And it looked great!

Look Mo!  No holes!  It looks tan in this picture but it's grey and currently matches the hallway and the whole downstairs.  And the best part of it all?  It's flat finish!  We previously chose a semi gloss to help in the clean up of dirty finger prints but what do you know?  Teenagers are less apt than toddlers to leave dirty hand prints down the hallway so no more shiny walls! 

I took my goofy looking spare tire to the tire shop and hoped for the best.  If you will recall, Friday morning when I called about a replacement tire for the flat, the guy I talked to ordered me four tires, we were going to check out the condition of the tires and determine if I could get by with one or if I needed a new set.

When I got there, the guy I spoke to had gone home early because of a family emergency and the owner helped me.  I told him the situation and we went out to look at my tires.  Also, if you will recall (because you guys remember everything I've ever typed here, right?) we got our car at CarMax over two years ago.  The tires that are on the car now are the tires that came with the car.

The owner of the tire place looked at my two back tires and then went around to the front to look at the good front tire.  He wondered why I had two different types of tires on my car.  We then checked the deflated tire in the trunk and it was the same as the other tire on the front.  Apparently the two on the front are in excellent shape and are very good tires.  I am assuming CarMax put those on when they got the car prior to selling it. Or who knows, maybe it came to them that way. The two in the back are cheaper tires and showing more wear (although they are still good condition).  The front two are in excellent shape.

The owner of the shop recommended patching the flat tire.  And I slapped my head and was like, "Why didn't we think of that??" I guess it was because Dan wasn't able to plug the tire and we didn't even thing about having the tire shop do a patch.

Luckily he was able to patch the tire (sometimes they can't) and I was out the door in 15 minutes at a cost of only $15!!  I'll let you guess who was happy about that!

I will also let you guess who is still lamenting the fact that we had to pay painters to patch a hole and paint.  And I will let you guess who is ecstatic that she did not have to spend this weekend painting.

But it's not like we were just sitting around all weekend.  We got to work on a few annoying projects that we have on our winter to-do list.

I had been repainting a cheap old pine bedroom set and finally got done with that.  (And please don't ask me how the taxes are going.  I can only do so much.)  We moved that into the guest bedroom this weekend.

Dan hung curtains in the office and repaired the blinds in Sarah's room.  One of them stopped opening and closing but my handy man fixed them!  Dan also planted grass seed where the county had come through this winter and dug up our yard to lay a gas line.  Supposed they put down grass seed but nothing was coming up.

We also replaced a window on the front of the house.  I guess it was a defective window because condensation kept building up between the double panes and cause a gross film to cover the window.  We actually realized we had a spare window in the basement and used that and it looks so much better.  Don't get me wrong - the windows are all dirty and could use a good scrub inside and out but this film was making the whole window look brown.  Gross.

Next weekend, I think we are going to get started on painting the bonus room and/or the kid's bathroom.   These are the only two rooms in the house that have never been painted and are still in the builder grade paint.  And  they are so filthy.  You wanna talk about dirty toddler fingerprints everywhere!  

Enough of my rambling.  It's time to get this week started.  The groceries aren't going to buy themselves and the laundry isn't going to wash itself.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, March 3, 2017

When it rains, it pours!

Well, the painters are here and Dan is complaining about the cost of this and how he should have done it himself.

And all this is exacerbated by my tires.

Let me explain.  Right after I got-our new-to us Pilot a couple of years ago, Sarah and I went to the mall.  And, in retrospect, what the heck was I doing at the mall??  I hate the mall.  I must have been getting a dress for Sarah for the Father/Daughter Dance because that is one of the few reasons I would go to the mall.

Anyway, we came out of the mall and someone left a note on my car saying they noticed a nail in my tired.  Sure enough!  There was a nail embedded in my tire.  But, it was acting as a plug and no air was leaking out.  So we kept using the tire.  Occasionally the light in my car would come on stating that the tire was loosing pressure so Dan would fill up the tire.

And about six months or so later I got another nail in a different tire.   It's not like I'm driving around in construction zones so I'm not sure where I'm picking up all these nails. 

So, now we had two tires that we had to nurse.  And it was no big deal for Dan.   The low pressure light would come on, Dan would fill up on tire of the other  with air, and all was well in the world.  The leaks were very slow and there was on danger of the tire going flat.

Yesterday the light came on again.  So after dinner, Dan helped Peter with his math homework and then went out to put air in the tire.  I recently had the tires rotated so I'm not sure if this was one of the normal tires that lose pressure or not.  Regardless, this thing was losing air fast.  It wasn't like our other leaks.

Dan spent an hour trying to plug the thing to no avail.  So, at 10:30 last night, he gave up trying to put the plug in the tire and deemed a new tire necessary.  He sent me to bed  while  he put the ugliest spare tire in the history of the universe on my car. 

And he eventually made it to bed around 11:30.  Poor thing!  He said the way he had to get the spare out of the car was ridiculous and took him forever.

He mentioned the one new tire and I told him I was going to get 4 new tires.  That did NOT go over well with him. The timing of the  painters arriving coinciding with me suggesting a new set of tires was not good.

I called the tire place, they are going to order me 4 tires and check the treads on the other 3.  If they still have some life in them, they will send 3 tires back.  Although I'm sure they will say you need 4 new tires because they are a tire place! However, they are very reputable so I'm hoping they will be honest. 

And because everyone loves a blog post with pictures, here's the silly looking tire.  Not only is it goofy looking, but it is also covered in dust. I should probably hose it off before I pick up the kids from school today, but we all know I won't.  I'm too lazy for that!

Enjoy your weekend!  May it be free of ladders, painters, and spare tires!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Sometimes, you just need to call in the pros!

So the weekend didn't go quite as planned.  If you will recall, our weekend project was to paint the stairs and hall way.  No big deal, right? 


After dinner on Friday, Dan took Peter to a friend's house for a sleepover.  While he was gone, I got out the painter's tape and started taping the floors of the stairwell.

Dan has painted the stairwell and hall twice now because he loves me very much.  He could care less about dirty hand-prints down the entire length of the hallway (which is why we (he) painted it the first two times) or a bad paint color choice (which is why we are painting it now).

I had just finished taping the lower portion when he got home and I helped him bring the giant ladder up from the basement.  Our ladder is an adjustable ladder like this one:

It can be be made into a short ladder, a medium ladder, a long ladder or scaffolding depending on how you lock  the hinges.

After we brought the ladder up from the basement, we put down the tarps so paint wouldn't spill on my new wood stairs.  When we had the wood floors put in down stairs, we also had them put in going up the stairs. 

The whole project of painting the stair well had me very nervous.  The stairwell consists of  steps going up to  a decent size landing, and then there is a turn and the steps go up to the second floor.  And it's 15 feet from the landing to the ceiling so painting and taping this area is a huge pain in the rear end.  However, Dan is cheap so it's a pain he's willing to deal with.

I helped him adjust the tallest position. Like the picture on the right:

Because of the design of the stairs, Dan had the top portion of the ladder leaned against the wall over the stairs and the bottom portion situated right up to the wall on  landing.  Here's a picture to help explain better:

 The bottom of the ladder was against the wall with the window and the top of the ladder was on the portion of the wall right above the top of the steps which we can see below:

Good grief!  Could I drag this boring story out any longer???

And just for a little more perspective, if I stand underneath that window, and reach my arm straight up, I can reach almost half way up the window.  So it's tall in that stairwell even though it doesn't appear to be in these pictures.

I was paranoid about Dan going up the ladder but he's done it twice before and he's not afraid of heights like I am.  All was going well until we adjusted the ladder a bit so he could reach the ceiling right over the top of the stairs and then THE LADDER SLIPPED. (When he painted before, the carpet kept the ladder from slipping.  But now that we had hardwoods, the ladder/tarp slipped.)

I screamed at the top of my lungs  and y'all that scream was blood-curdling

But instead of Dan plummeting to his death as I had envisioned, the bottom of the ladder got wedged into the wall and the top of the ladder went right through the wall:


Dan managed to hang on to the ladder while it was sliding down the wall and didn't even fall off.

However, in the split second that it took for the ladder to slip, I had envisioned the ladder slipping down the wall until it reached the air, then the ladder hitting the bottom steps with Dan on it and then Dan's mangled body resting underneath it.

Hence, the blood-curdling scream.

I was extremely rattled but Dan was fine. So fine, in fact that he immediately starting googling how to patch large holes in dry wall. I, however, immediately began to ask him if we could just call the painters in to do this job.  And as soon as he seemed sort of agreeable, I sent our painter a text and he's coming on Friday.  I also sent him a picture of the giant holes in the dry wall and he said he can fix those as well.

I'm so glad I got him booked because about 30 minutes after I did that, Dan started saying how it was going to cost too much, how he could do it himself, how it was a waste of money.  BLAH BLAH BLAH.  And I knew he would do that which is why I booked the painters as soon as he seemed agreeable.  This ain't my first rodeo. 

The only downside is now I will have to spend the next 10 years (or maybe more!) hearing Dan complain that he really could have done it himself. 

I guess I will just keep this picture around to remind him of the truth!

And just in case you were wondering, we spent the weekend painting some old furniture so all was not lost.  And next weekend, we will paint the bonus room which involves zero adjustable ladders - just one really short normal ladder that even I can handle!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Chit chat and what not.

The kids had a good day at Model UN.  They didn't come home with any awards though. 

Peter was annoyed because he felt like the team that won the award in his room shouldn't have won.  Not necessarily that Peter's team was more worth but that the team that won should not have. But overall, he was just relieved that his teammate made it.  He got a text right before we left that his partner didn't feel well and he might not make it.  But, luckily he made it because Peter did not want to sit in a room full of people he did not know all by himself.  (He is his mother's son.)

Sarah didn't care that she didn't win anything.  She was just happy that she wasn't as nervous as she thought she would be. She spoke up frequently when making resolutions (or whatever it is that they do) and several other countries wanted to work with her and her partner.  So, she considered the day a success.  And then several boys from another school sat down with her at lunch to get help with the paper they were working on.  That totally annoyed her based on the amount of eye rolling she did while telling me that. 

We are seriously just clicking through this school year at lightening speed.  This is our down week and we are enjoying it.

Next week we start track practice and then the week after that we add in swimming for Sarah and an art/painting class after school for Peter.  Not to mention trying to cram in scouts on top of that.  And speaking of scouts, Peter is heading to a Merit Badge college this weekend to work on another badge he needs for Eagle Scout.  And Dan, who is in charge of all the paperwork and what not needed for Boy Scout summer camp has been working on spreadsheets and email in the evenings necessary to coordinate all that for the troop.

And in the midst of all this fun and excitement I'm working on our taxes.  Every year I say that I'm going to outsource this fun job and every year, the thought of getting everything together to give to someone else to do, is more overwhelming than actually doing it myself.

To top all that off, we will be starting to paint the hall and the stairwell this weekend.  Well, I'm planning on that, I just need to get Dan on board.  We last painted the hall and stairwell 3 years ago and the minute that Dan got the first coat of paint on the walls, I hated it.  Hated the color, hated the finish, hated it all.  So for three years I have suffered in silence because Dan busted his butt to get that painted (our stair well is very tall and it was very hard for him to paint) and I didn't have the heart to tell him I hated it. 

But once we repainted the downstairs with a color that I love, I told him the hallway/stairwell was next and that we would be using the same color.  I also told him that since I painted the entire downstairs by myself, he was going to have to help me with the upstairs.  So it's a fun weekend around here!!!

And one last interesting tidbit - I was reading that a local strawberry farm already has berries on it's plants due to the extremely warm weather we've been having.  If we don't have a cold snap they are predicting that the berries will be ready to pick around March 21st!  Around here, berry picking season is the end of April through the end of May.  That's a whole month earlier than normal.  Unfortunately though, I'm certain we will have a cold snap.  It's gong to be in the mid to upper 70s through Saturday but I'm sure it will drop back to more normal temps after that. 

I'm not going to lie though. I love it being warm. We've been sleeping with the windows open at night this week and that is one of my favorite things to do!

All right.  Enough chit chat.  I've got taxes to do!