If I was Martha Stewart, or at least owned an apron like any self-respecting woman of domestication, and saw that this was the sweat-inducing weather forecast…


…and that my poor kitten was melting into a puddle on the floor…


…I would whip up some refreshingly luscious dessert like this chocolate raspberry ice cream pie to feed all of my neighbors and possibly even the next town over. Because I’d have time to do that.

6a00e550e0c07988330148c8562cbf970cWoman’s Day

But since I’m not Martha Stewart, and I don’t own an apron, and the word “luscious” isn’t really in my everyday vocabulary, I stick with something like this instead. Dark chocolate + mint = take that, Martha.

DSC_0621 AKA the greatest ice cream ever.

An Edy’s fruit bar doesn’t hurt either.

DSC_0622 AKA the greatest popsicles ever.

Push-Ups, however, were better in my memory.


This is probably because sherbet in a cardboard tube is way more exciting when you are nine and also find great satisfaction in making neighborhood Cinderella movies that feature such special effects as Cinderella magically donning her ball gown while under her comforter. Plus the whole concept sort of reminds me of a tampon.

What’s your favorite from-the-box summertime treat? What treats do you remember loving as a kid? How does 93 compare to summertime temperatures where you live? It’s definitely the top end of the temperatures around here.

P.S. I’ll be taking next week off from blogland: we’ll soon be celebrating my birthday, Rick’s birthday, our anniversary, and my dad’s retirement. Busy, busy!


Our Dining Room: The “Plan”

I used to not understand why the first thing we did when we closed on our house was paint the dining room (seriously. why.), but now I know that it is all because of that nasty little bug I discussed last week. With the dining room, I was the student who wrote an essay in 5 minutes without knowing their thesis statement. Metaphorically speaking, of course. English teachers everywhere get frustrated with students like me. English students everywhere get frustrated with teachers like me trying to make everything a metaphor.


Let’s put it this way: I painted the dining room a deep, dark teal without any clue about what the rest of the room would look like. And maybe smarter, less clueless people would know how to deal with this in a way that didn’t require repainting, but I am not one of those people. Instead, I’m slowly putting together a “plan.” It’s only a “plan” as opposed to a PLAN because, historically, my “plans” are generally just Potential Scattered Thoughts That Change Monthly Daily, IF I have a plan at all. However, this is the first time I’ve ever actually thought about all of the pieces before I just started haphazardly slapping paint on the wall (obviously), and it is my goal to make it into a PLAN.

Are you following me?


1. Walls in Benjamin Moore Hazy Skies. It’s a taupish-grayish-greenish sorta color. I think. I’ll decide for sure once the chair fabric arrives. Either way, I will be going with a lighter color. Our dining room gets very little natural light, and the current dark wall color makes it even more cave-like.

2. Hutch in Benjamin Moore Fairview Taupe. The buffet in my “plan” looks nothing like our actual hutch, but that was my color inspiration. And as you can see from the picture below, we’ve made great improvements to it since we moved in. I strategically styled all of that junk to draw your eye away from the crooked drawers and other impairments. I read about that trick in House Beautiful.

hutch_thumb3Bjorn appears to enjoy his life amongst clutter.

3. Two upholstered end chairs in Premier Prints Duck Oatmeal. Duck oatmeal sounds like something we would have tried on our cruise. Yum? I don’t currently have these chairs, and will definitely not be attempting to reupholster them myself, but I’m liking something like this:


Let’s all take a moment and laugh about how I will never own $300 dining room chairs.

4. Curtains in Artee Cotton Duck Aqua.


I’d like to layer the curtains and have some white in there as well, probably using the same fabric I used in our bedroom.

5. Fabric for the chair seatsCovington Savannah Paisley Surf. Both this and the fabric for the curtains has been ordered and shipped.


6. A pretty girly chandelier. Maybe. Maybe something more simple. We’ll see what I can find. I seriously have a thing for chandeliers...

7. Eight shield-back chairs (my Downton Abbey replicas) painted antique white.


Same shape + slightly different patterns = a better match than eHarmony could come up with. Or something.

8. Large table stained dark oak. We already have this, too, purchased from Craigslist a few months ago. It extends to 108” with the leaves. I’m tempted to hire out for the refinishing process, because sanding intricate little things sounds torturous makes me want to thread my hair through my nasal cavities is not my idea of a good time. We’ll see.


Aaand that’s my “plan.” Implementing this" “plan” is on my “to-do list” for the summer. It’s only a “to-do list” and not a TO-DO LIST because I recently found my TO-DO LIST from last summer and laughed about how 3 things were crossed off of a list of 85.

Are you a “planner” or a PLANNER? What do you hope to accomplish this summer? Do you use that tip about using clutter to draw the eye away from eyesores?


Save Money: Make Your Own Rug Pad

This post is about saving some money so that, instead of spending your cash unnecessarily on a pre-made rug pad, you can buy one of these


…and send it to ME so that I can wear that shirt while I have meaningful conversations with my cat and simultaneously earn another badge to pin on my Crazy Cat Lady Club beanie. After that, I can work toward the one where I buy my cat a matching shirt and then get our portrait taken by a professional photographer called Mrs. Snuggles.

Or something.

But if you don’t want to contribute to my downward shame spiral, I’ll share how I am going to save enough money to buy one of those shirts for myself anyway, beginning with this new thing I discovered called rug padding by the yard.

buy rug padding by the yard

The rug that we needed a pad for is an Indoor/Outdoor rug from Marshall’s that I inadvertently bought for our bathroom, intending to use it elsewhere. But being indoor/outdoor, it can be hosed off with soap and water AND is supposedly resistant to mold and mildew.

use an outdoor rug in the bathroom

This seemed like a logical thing to try since I hadn’t had luck finding a “real” bath mat that I liked, what with these being out of my price range:

moss-bath-matWould you want one if I told you that “This bathing room carpet is produced of imputrescible foam named plastazote”?

We still needed a rug pad, though, which I found by the yard at Joann Fabrics. It is regularly $7.99/yard (54” wide) but my friend Joann has this habit of sending out 50% off coupons approximately every other minute, making it just about $4 a yard. That means for a 3’x5’ rug, your rug pad will cost a mere $4 since you will only need one yard. The same size costs $13 at Target, $12 at West Elm, $16 at Walmart, $14 at Overstock, and $13 at Amazon. (All of those were online prices. The store might be different. But if you’re going to go to the store, you might as well go to Joann’s.) We needed 2’x4’, which meant 2/3 yard of rug padding. Once home, I just trimmed off the excess to make the exact size that we needed…

buy rug padding by the yard 2

…and tada, a rug that stays in place. Even if a certain chubby cat isn’t laying on it possessively.


This is in sharp contrast with a rug that skids and scrunches because said chubby cat and her soon-to-be chubby sister insist on diving into it like it’s a big pile of meat.


Total cost for the rug pad: $2.66.


With the money you and I will save, we could practically buy a moss mat and share it. You know, like an every other weekend and take turns at Thanksgiving sort of thing. Or, you could fly to my house and help me renovate our bathroom so that Jordan, Trey, and Grace are no longer rub-a-dub dubbing in our tub and our window can be covered with something better than a partially used sheet of white fabric.


Or, there’s that cat t-shirt thing. Just sayin’.

Did you know Joann Fabrics sold by-the-yard rug padding? What would you do with $10 saved? Who believes me when I say that I would wear that t-shirt proudly?


The Dangers of New Homeowner Euphoria

File this post under “Things I Know Now that I Wish I Knew Then.”

Once upon a time or yesterday, I realized that getting your first set of house keys messes with your brain. The words “closing” and “homeowner” and “mortgage” cause you to break into fits that can only be described as symptoms of “New Homeowner Euphoria.”


Symptoms include (but are not limited to):

1) A feeling of being superhuman, like you can knock down walls and closets and put up new drywall all in one day and still have time to watch Titanic that evening and maybe even get in a round of Monopoly.


2) A haphazard approach to list-making, characterized by overly general “things to do” such as one: remove carpet; two: stain floors; three: move in furniture; four: *accessorize*!! :).


3) Severe decorating ADHD, characterized by flitting from one project to the next before finishing the previous. Characterized by conversations such as “What would you think about porcelain tiles in the upstairs bathroom?” “That would be great; when should we knock out that wall between the kitchen and the office?” Characterized by the cracked windowseat still not being sanded and painted after you wood-filled it four months ago…


…BUT you somehow found the time to sew a pillow for your bedroom in that span of time.

4) An insatiable desire to paint every wall in the house, fulfilled by slapping some Valspar on any wall in the house, with no discernible thought about why you are choosing those colors.

Picture3More on our dining room fail later this week. 

5) Impulses that make you take photos like this and post it on your blog, and then post it on your blog again in a post about the disease that made you do that in the first place.


What does it take to be cured of this disease, you ask?

1) Own a house for more than a year.*

*Results may vary. 2 out of 2 recently surveyed homeowners** found that one year of home ownership was enough to quell the unbridled insanity with which they once pursued home projects.

**Only two homeowners*** were surveyed.

***One of the homeowners was a pharmacist and, therefore, you should trust him.

Rick's graduation 014

Did you succumb to New Homeowner Euphoria, or did you get your vaccine? Is there anything you did right away that you wish you didn’t, or have since changed? Better question: have you gotten over it if you’ve owned a house for more than a year?


Dining Room Chairs a la Downton Abbey

My life includes a long history of joyful oblivion. This is partially because I am biologically predisposed to be the last person my age to get my period and partially because I live under a very nice rock. For example, I only last week figured out why those stupid Make 7/Up Yours t-shirts were banned from school.


To be fair, though, it was really the first time I had thought about that particular piece of attire since being an Adult who knows Things. The last time I thought about it, I was playing with a Tamagotchi and wearing saddle shoes. Obviously that was last month.

tamagotchiSpeaking of things that were banned from school.

So it should surprise no one that I didn’t even hear of Downton Abbey until a couple months ago when it had already completed two full seasons, at which point I proceeded to call it DowntoWn Abbey, because, you know, that makes sense, and what the heck is a “downton” anyway. But Rick and I finally hopped on the proverbial wagon and instantly got sucked in, prompting dinnertime conversation regarding whether or not we should move to England so we can watch Season 3 sooner and why Thomas needs to be devoured by a pack of hungry wolves, preferably with the ex-Mrs. Bates stapled to him at the time.


But now we have finished Season Two, and are going through withdrawal. Or something. It’s caused us to do weird things like google pictures of what the characters actually look like in the 21st century (hint, Ms. O’Brien isn’t actually a frumpy old maid) and trying to find a dress like Lady Mary’s.


I even went so far as to buy mismatched shield back chairs that are just like the mismatched ones at Downton.


dining room

Actually, I’m not quite that lame. Actually, I acquired those 8 chairs via two separate Craigslist purchases for a total of $150 long before we watched Downton, with big plans to give them makeovers at some point during my life. I did, however, spend several episodes squealing “THOSE ARE OUR CHAIRS!” whenever the Granthams ate dinner, and I also commended Lady Grantham for her excellent taste in people who decorate her home. We are practically twins.


Now I just need to work on my inability to sit around and do nothing. And probably my posture.

-Lady Erin

P.S. Since I haven’t yet been identified as a Grantham heiress, I have to work, and like I mentioned in my last post, I got a new job. Since some of you were wondering, the abbreviated version is: I will now be teaching 7th and 10th grade English at a school just 10 minutes from our house. I have been driving 45, so this is definitely exciting and an answer to prayer!


Pool Boys and My Plot to Own Ducklings

By giving myself a slight bloggy break over the past few weeks, I have managed to accomplish a lot of…absolutely nothing in the way of home improvement. We’ve chosen instead to do all of the following:

  • lots of family stuff
  • get a new job for next school year (me)
  • join the rest of the world in its love affair with Downton Abbey
  • pet the cats
  • open the pool
  • hire a pool boy.


This particular pool boy came with his own pool girl.


Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard have chosen our now-open pool as their private waterfront residence. It’s like the Hamptons, for ducks.



They apparently didn’t get the memo that there is a lake approximately 150 feet away.


This is, of course, an improvement over the black lagoon that we dealt with last year.


But, nonetheless, Rick would like them to stop pooping on the rim around the pool. Gingerbread would like to eat them. I would like them to have babies, and have told them so.


So far, they aren’t complying with any of our wishes.

Have you ever had any unexpected animal guests? Any pool stories to share? Who wants to help me name the ducklings?

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