Home Sweet Home

I’ve been a little lacking in keeping up with this blog since we found out we were moving back home last year. It’s been a whirlwind—hubby’s new job offer  came while we were in Disney last September, and three and a half weeks later we were packed and moved. Easy-peasy, right?

Not so much. We rented out our house when we moved to North Carolina, and when we moved back we were pretty sure we wanted to move back in. Unfortunately, our tenant was only one month into a year-long lease, so we needed a fairly short-term plan B.

The view out of my temporary office window this fall.

We found a cute apartment a few blocks from our house, figuring that would give Hubby a good test run of the new, longer commute before we committed (especially through the winter) and decided to give it a few months, but the longer we were here, the more we knew we wanted our house.

We gave our tenant notice in February so that he would have plenty of time to find something else before the end of his lease. It didn’t take that long—he bought something and was out of the house in early May. Yay!
Our temporary kitchen was actually quite nice.
Since the house is fairly small (with only one bathroom), we decided we wanted to do some renovations while it was empty. The house was built in the 80s, and not much had been updated since.
Kitchen, mid-demo.
Our to do list was lofty:
  1. Redo the kitchen (paint the cabinets, new ceramic tile floor and backsplash, new counter top, new pantry, and new appliances)
  2. Expand the Master Bedroom closet to a 5 foot by 12 foot walk-in.
  3. Take the bathroom down to studs and start all over. 😃
  4. Paint the whole house.
  5. Remove all flooring. Tile the kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. Carpet the rest.
  6. Remove the cabinets from the sunroom, paint the lovely wood paneling, and carpet the concrete floors.
  7. Replace all the heaters, baseboard and door molding, interior doors, ceiling fans, receptacles, etc.
  8. Replace the back door and screen door.
Our timeframe? We were moving in exactly 30 days after we got the keys back. No problem, right? 😉
Laundry room, fully demolished.

Everyone said we were crazy, but we pushed through. I worked on the house from 8 am – 2 pm every day. My newly-retired dad often joined me. I would go back to the apartment and work a few hours in the afternoon, then Hubby and I came back to the house from 6-midnight every night. Weekends, we were there all day.

After four days, a fifteen yard dumpster was full.

At the end of thirty days we were exhausted, but we got it done–with a few small exceptions (a little caulk, some paint touch-ups, etc.) And we were finally home! Yay!

Living room as furniture started coming in on day thirty.

I learned a lot—demo is fun, it can be depressing to be in a pretty much gutted house, that flooring made more of a drastic difference than anything else. And that there’s no place like home.

Pup lounging on the back patio.

In the coming weeks, I’ll post pictures of the transformations in the three rooms with the most drastic changes—the kitchen, bathroom, and sunroom. I’ll share what we learned, what we did right, and things we may have done a little differently. And, I’ll even admit to those things I would never do myself again, even if I am super-proud of how it turned out.

Our hibiscus is just a bit overgrown.

I also have a stockpile of recipes I’ll mix in—some from my shiny new kitchen, and a few I put together in the temporary apartment.

First cake in my new kitchen. 🙂

Until then, do you have any of your own renovation stories to share? Success stories? DIY don’ts? (I have some of each! 😂) Please share in the comments. 😃


Beauty of Spring

Just as spring was starting to fully bloom in North Carolina, Hubby, Pup, and I had to make an unexpected trip to Pennsylvania. Because we had an already-scheduled vacation in our hometown a couple of weeks later, I ended up spending three (very cold) weeks sleeping in my childhood bedroom.
Early April
Just starting to come back around in early April.
When we arrived at my parents’ house in early April, we were amazed at the difference between eastern Pennsylvania and North Carolina. Everything was still bare—no leaves on the trees, very few flowers. At the end of our trip, flowers were blooming and the trees had buds.  Our allergies were a mess! 😉 Essentially, Pennsylvania was where North Carolina was three weeks earlier. (Yup, we got to go through peak pollen season in two states. Fun stuff. No wonder we were both sick this week!)
North Carolina Welcome Center
North Carolina Welcome Center
I have to be honest, while I watched the changes happening on our trip, I didn’t think much about how much would change at home in North Carolina. I’m not sure why, but I was expecting it to look about the same as it did when we left. It probably had something to do with the fact that we usually only travel for a few days or a week, so in my head, we weren’t gone long enough for a drastic change. I should have known better, but I didn’t really think it through.
The view from the same spot a few weeks later.
The view from the same spot a few weeks later.
On Sunday, we came back to summer views and perfect spring temperatures. Tons of bright flowers, full leaves on the trees, and no more yellow cloud of pollen. It is beautiful, and just being outside lifts my mood immediately. Even better, the summery view from my desk makes me crave beaches and boardwalks—which is perfect when writing a coastal mystery! 😉
What does it look like outside where you are? Has spring taken over, or is it still working? Do you find the bright days of spring lift your mood as much as mine? Does it make you think of beach-bound road trips? 😉 

Family Rivalries and Opening Day

 One of my favorite days of the year is here again! Yay for Opening Day!

I have always been a Phillies fan, but I married a Red Sox fan.  For those of you that follow baseball, you know this is not usually an issue. Philadelphia is an NL Team and Boston is an AL team. They rarely play one another, and when they do, it is only one series a year.

At a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs game (the Triple-A Affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies)
At a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs game (the Triple-A Affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies)

Because of the lack of overlap, over the years I have become a Red Sox fan and my husband now considers himself a Phillies fan. Except when they play each other, of course! 😉

So, imagine our surprise when the 2015 MLB schedules were released and we realized (thanks to a change in scheduling) that the two teams play each other not once, but in two series in 2015–including on Opening Day. 😱

A house divided.

Now, Hubby and I are a just a bit competitive. We like to heckle, and we like to gloat. And the fan of the losing team may like to pout a bit. (We share our prediction on who that will be, based on what we saw in Spring Training, but anything can happen–that’s why they play the game!).

Luckily, tonight we are back on the same team–we will put away our baseball differences, pick up our cheerleader pup (who is named Cameron–as in Cameron Indoor Stadium, home of the Duke Blue Devils), and cheer our little hearts out during the NCAA finals–this time for the same team. 🙂

Resting up before tonight’s game. 😃

For the record, Hubby is used to living in a house divided. He is a Red Sox fan and a Duke fan. His older brother is a Yankees and UNC fan. Which says a lot about Hubby–he loves a good rivalry! 😉

 Are you a sports fan? What are your favorite sports? What are your favorite teams? Who are you rooting for in tonight’s NCAA Basketball Finals? Oh, yeah, and #GoDuke #GoPhillies 😉 ❤

It’s Pumpkin Season: Paradise Pumpkin Pie

My mom didn’t cook very often when I was a kid, and she almost never baked.  It wasn’t that she wasn’t able–she is actually a very good cook.  But, she doesn’t really enjoy cooking, where my dad does, so he took the cooking duties.

The holiday meals were the one thing she did enjoy cooking, and this pie always topped off our Thanksgiving dinners.  This is one of my absolute favorites, although I have taking over the tradition of making it.

I have actually made it twice already this year, although Thanksgiving is still over a month away, and i am sure I will make it a few more before the holidays are done.  I get a lot of requests for the recipe, so I decided it is time to share.  🙂 Read more

Lending a Helping Hand

One of my favorite thing about my community theatre group, CAST, is the family atmosphere.  My mom, dad, brother, and I all performed in my first show with this awesome group in 1996. Today, my husband and I perform together each year. We are joined by many other families, both on stage and behind the scenes.


By spending so much time together (three to four days a week from January through late April, early May), the theatre group becomes a family. By this time of year, we are acting like a close family, with love, friendship, laughter, and yes, even an occasional disagreement.  😉 Read more

The Best Summer Job Ever

Those of you that have been following along on Facebook and/or Twitter may know that yesterday was Pookie and my anniversary, and today is his birthday. So, I thought I would share with you all how amazing my husband really is. 🙂

Pookie and I met when we were both working a summer job as lifeguards. He was working the entrance to a lazy river, helping people into tube for the ride. I was helping them back out at the end, a few feet away. Read more