Before & After: All Fenced In

Last time I blogged, I rambled about the mundane tasks that go along with homeownership, but our list of to-do’s didn’t stop there. We had been ignoring our weed-filled brick path for months, so we finally set aside a Saturday to deal with it.

This meant lifting all of the bricks, putting down weed killer, chiseling bricks that didn’t fit the edges, and filling the gaps with sand.

When Pete took charge chiseling, I weeded, trimmed the bushes, and spray painted the lattice he built for the front of our house.

Then after that, around 6 p.m., we realized we had one last fence to remove in preparation for our new fence install. This bad boy:

About 5 hours later, this happened (doesn’t he look thrilled?):

Except it was still dark out, so we had to take an “after” shot of the concrete post in the morning. Our neighbors, who were having a birthday party in their backyard at the time, cheered us on as we finally pulled the fence post out in a state of exhausted hysteria. We thought that was the worst of it, since the other two posts we dug up weren’t so bad, but there was another post just like this one. So that’s what we ended up doing with our weeknights.

I think it was all worth it, since now we can take Betty White outside with the utmost laziness. Plus it just looks prettier.

Here are a ton of “after” shots of the yard with the fence. Harold, our lawn gnome, quickly got used to his new digs.

I felt the need to document Betty White’s first fenced-in bathroom break, but left out the photos of her going #2 (you’re welcome).

We’re pretty smitten with how good our backyard smells right now with all of the fresh cedar. It’s kind of crazy that we’ll be getting hitched back there in a little over a month.

Advertisements

Revisiting the Guest Room: Before & After

Our upstairs has been seriously neglected since we moved in this past summer, so Pete and I decided to give the guest room some much-needed attention this past month. We’ve tackled a ton of house revamping, but we have barely touched the second floor, so we set a goal for ourselves to remove the wallpaper and paint the walls by the time my parents visited (last weekend).

Here’s a peek of what we were dealing with before, and below is a glimpse of what the bedroom looks now, with Artesian Well by Martha Stewart and a shit ton of paisley. We aren’t really paisley people (in this photo, Pete is obviously the ginger and I’m Cameron from Modern Family), but perhaps our future guests will be. I spray painted the previous owner’s headboard bright yellow and we’ll be adding other bright yellow accents to tie the room together. Right now it’s way too matchy-matchy, but I’m hoping we can tone it down if we bring in some more neutrals and nix the ginormous lamp for something more metallic (I wish we could find the darn receipt from Home Goods so we could return it!).

Betty White approves of the changes we made, but we still have a lot of work to do to make it homey (like artwork on the walls and thrifty decor).

Here’s a photo of the room when we moved in, complete with the previous owner’s canopy, curtains, VCR, and stained mattress.

We have to figure out what to do with the antiquated air conditioning unit, which has a nice family of very opinionated birds living in it. We’re thinking we’ll have to turn it into a small window…not sure what other choice we’ll have. The furniture we inherited from the previous owner is a frightening shade of yellowed white, so we have a lot of spray painting in our future once the weather warms up. The closet could also use some white paint since the sad, hollow wood doors seriously bum us out.

For those of you who have a good eye for detail, you’ll notice we haven’t touched the wood paneling in the hallway since it was half-primed when we moved in. I guess that’s next on our list. I’m not sure what to do about the ceiling tiles (how difficult is it to replace ceiling tiles?), but I did appreciate the break from having to paint the ceiling with several coats of white.

Betty White was being very contemplative when I shot this in the bedroom mirror like a total sneak. She thinks we overdid it with the matching and the paisley, but she has faith that we can make it look better with a little love.

Tackling our last wallpapered room was tiresome, but it’s satisfying to know we can pack away the wallpaper steamer—unless we get incredibly ambitious and remove the wallpaper in our closets (yes, our closets).

Is anyone else guilty of making a room too match-y?

As Requested: Chinchilla Lovin’

Yesterday I asked my Twitter friends for some requested topics for my blog since I’ve been lacking ideas (apart from wedding related geekiness, which I am sure no one finds particularly interesting except for our moms). Jenn Hall asked for “more chinchillas,” so ask and ye shall receive!

Meet Maude, who I got six years ago during college…she was my top secret, on-campus mascot. Maude had a snuggle buddy named Ethel for four years, but unfortunately she passed away (sad face). Even though Ethel isn’t around anymore, Maude still tries her best to befriend a very terrified Betty White.

A clueless Betty White contemplates whether or not the wind will blow our roof off. *As a side note, I realize I should make the bed more often.

She had no idea Maude was pining for her from afar.

A sneaky Maude tip toes up toward Betty White’s brown feet.

(Still clueless.)

This is her “MOM WTF WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME MAUDE WAS RIGHT NEXT TO ME!” face.

This is her “seriously, this chinchilla needs to get a grip” face.

Not really sure what face this is, but I thought it was cute.

Um, they are totally besties.

Hopefully that’s enough chinchilla love to hold you guys over for a little bit. In case you may have forgotten, we have five pets (yes, we’re those people).

Cadbury is a major beyotch, but I still love her. I rescued her from the SPCA, where they told me she was a he. I also took her to a vet which confirmed she was in fact a he. I was concerned about why her testicles were invisible, but figured the vet knew better than me. Needless to say, I got a new vet when I found five baby bunnies on my kitchen floor. I thought Betty had pooped and that her turds were running across the floor because it was 6am and I was delirious.

I was told by several vets and a handful of message boards not to be surprised if none of the babies made it because Cadbury was incredibly aggressive with them, which meant I had to feed them on my own. One ended up passing away, but the others were healthy and given happy homes.

I kept the runt of the litter, Applesauce. He looks nothing like his mom and if he had a Match.com account, one of his “likes” would be running around his cage with a stuffed apple in his mouth. I heart him, even though he poops at an inconceivable rate.

Here’s Willie Nelson and his boyfriend Eeyore:

Sometimes Willie Nelson likes to do bad things to Eeyore, but I guess you could say he’s just hugging him really hard.

Thanks to Jenn for requesting more chinchilla stuff on the blog, I hope our freckle-eared chinchilla hit the spot! To everyone else out there, I’d love suggestions for topics you’d like me to cover on here! I’ll be sure to write posts covering the ideas my Twitter pals suggested (including a Betty White separation anxiety update and some photography tips).

A Belated Christmas Roundup!

My very first Schuster family Christmas was filled with all sorts of goodies, including the famous monkey bread, which makes Pete and the rest of his siblings make this face:

I tried to get him to take a normal photo with the two of us, but he insisted on making a crazy weird expression. I still love him, anyway.

I love these Vaillancourt Folk Art decorations…how fabulous is that super proud polar bear?

I could definitely get used to the delicious Mimosas, quiche and frittata yums every other year (we swap between our families for the holidays).

To give you a speedy summary of some of our gifts, I’d like to start with Betty White’s new chair pillow, which she is currently sleeping on.  Another favorite is the vintage map Pete got me for above our couch…I am a lucky lady.

Stocking stuffers are usually my favorite part, and I lucked out with new tights, slippers, and socks (is it sad I get excited over new socks?).

This fellow was a gift from my parents, who even drove the 2+ hours to drop it off the week before Christmas. When he’s not busy haunting the visions of passersby, he’s petting his dog, who I’ve named Norman (almost every stuffed animal in our house has this same name).

Pete got me this canning kit and book, and we can’t wait to get started on making jams and pickled foods. We’re going to can our own homemade jam for our wedding, so we’re looking forward to testing it out. I also got Pete some much-needed homebrewing supplies, so we’re also going to be making our own beer for the big day.

Pete’s parents gifted us with a handmade tray/bowl from Italy, where they vacationed this summer…it makes me excited for when we’ll honeymoon there in 2013. The flowers on the right are from the ginger for our anniversary…n’aw.

We also got this adorable welcome mat from Pete’s parents, which goes with our house’s bright & cheerful color scheme really well. I gave Pete these Northern & Southern Hemisphere prints by Brainstorm Print & Design, which he had been crushing on at the Holiday Art Star Craft Bazaar.

I treated myself to this vintage picture frame to showcase the boy’s proposal in our bedroom. It makes me smile lots.

That just about sums up our Christmas adventures and some of our presents…how was everyone else’s holiday?

30 Day Photography Challenge: Days 25 to 30

Here are my final photos for the 30 Day Photography Challenge: Days 25 through 30.

Something pink (Day 25): As fellow East Coasters are probably aware, we got quite a bit of snow this past Saturday. I figured I’d capture a photo of Betty White in her winter attire, since she is a shivering mess when she doesn’t have her pink coat on.

Close-up (Day 26): I decided to go for a bit of a photo walk around the block, where I usually walk Charsi during the afternoon. For “close-up,” I focused on holly leaves, which always reminds me of the winter season.

From a distance (Day 27): For “from a distance,” I made the trees in the background in focus since they are a brilliant shade of red right now.

Flowers (Day 28): I always see these flowers while walking the pooch and they stand out to me as being the most interesting on the block. I have no idea what kind of flowers they are, but I’d love to find out so we can plant our own in the future.

Black & white (Day 29): Not to get all nature photographer on you guys, but I liked the contrast of the organic shadows with the rough grain of the wood.

Self-portrait (Day 30): This is me being a noodle with my puffy South Park-esque hat on because it was COLD outside this weekend. I don’t care if I look ridiculous, I was cozy and warm and that’s all that counts.

Long exposure (Day 16): Here’s an oldie from when Pete and I started dating and we were playing around with long exposure photos. Hoping to recreate this in our new home once I gather the motivation to set up my tripod (these cold months make me lazy). He spelled out our initials in a heart while we kissed. I like my weird grimace face transitioning to us getting our smooch on…I’m sure I was asking him why he was spelling our initials backwards (I was a dumbfounded long exposure newbie). And yes, that is Betty White curled up to the right of my head on the couch arm.

I had a lot of fun doing this photo challenge, but I’m looking forward to creating new challenges for myself this November (perhaps removing all of the wallpaper upstairs?). Check out days 1-5 and 6-10, 11-15 and 17-24 if you haven’t already.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Betty White (sad panda) and I (Slytherin student) are psyched to hand out giant-sized candy to trick or treaters!

Classic Cornbread: Great Success!

In celebration of our 22nd monthiversary (yes, we still celebrate monthiversaries and I intend to until they are in the 1,000’s, so shut it!), I decided to whip up some classic cornbread. Pete and I saw this recipe while paging through the October issue of Everyday Food and he just about peed his plaid pajama pants with excitement. So, I figured I’d be a good girlfriend and attempt to bake something delicious (for once) now that our oven is back in action. Martha Stewart must have some country roots, because Pete gave the cornbread a thumbs up (which if you ask me, is reason to celebrate).

Alright, so here we go, first things first. Gather all of the ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for baking pan
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow or white cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs

Start off by preheating the oven to 400 degrees! Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.

In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs.

Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir just until combined (do not overmix). If you’re wondering why the mixture isn’t looking particularly Cracker Barrelriffic, just breathe easy and put your trust in Martha. She wouldn’t lie to you, even if the bowl looks like it’s seen better days.

Transfer batter to pan and smooth top.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

If you’re wondering what to do to pass the time, consider giving your pets some much-needed attention (in the form of treats).

If you’re particularly cruel (which I just so happen to be), cackle and snap photos while your foster dog’s tail hits your little shy dog’s face repeatedly.

Oh nooooes, Betty White just got owned by Chari’s tail!

Seriously, this happens just about every moment of every day of our lives since we’ve started fostering Charsi. Poor Betty White takes a tail to the face like a champ, though.

Anyway, at this point it’s best to stop photographing your squinty-eyed dog and let the cornbread cool in the pan on a wire rack, 15 minutes, before serving. (Store cooled cornbread, tightly wrapped in plastic, at room temperature, up to 3 days). Note to Pete: You best help me eat this sheeeeeeyit by Sunday or it’s going to get moldy!

If you want to go all out, light a birthday candle and stick in the cornbread and get prepared to wish your boyfriend a happy 22nd monthiversary when he comes home from work!

Here’s a suggestion though, don’t attempt to light the birthday candle with a votive candle because you’ll end up dripping hot wax all over your poor boyfriend’s cornbread. If he really likes you, he’ll eat it anyway and say it’s good. Happy 22 months, love!

{A Foster Dog Update: Featuring the Adorable Charsi!}

Charsi has been adjusting wonderfully here at home and now that her stitches have been removed, she’s officially geared up to find a forever family. Her and Betty White are getting along well (when Betty isn’t getting hit in the face by Charsi’s wagging tail), so she’d definitely do well in a home with other pets. She’s definitely changed a lot in behavior and demeanor since we picked her up her nearly two weeks ago—it’s crazy to think that she was listed as “fearful,” because she couldn’t be any friendlier now that she has warmed up to us.

Whoever ends up taking Charsi home will definitely get lots of love, but until then, we are happy to give her Beggin’ Strips and belly rubs. If you know of anyone who might be interested in adopting Charsi, please comment below and we’ll set up a date!