Category Archives: Small Town Life

New Year, Big Changes!

Whew!  2015 was…weird!  I guess because it was kind of a blur of crazy busy days, selling our old Salt Box house, finding a new house, softball softball softball, and me kind of falling off the wagon with my fitness a little bit, only to come to the realization that that is totally normal & even sometimes necessary in order for me to keep going with it.

I am currently running what will probably be my last fitness group.  I’m making less social media a goal for 2016, and Facebook is the portal that I’m using for those groups, so I, at least for the foreseeable future, will be hanging that up.  I’m also fairly certain that I won’t be renewing my training certification when it expires in June.  Not because I’m turning my back on fitness, but because I don’t really plan on using it as means for income anymore.  I found out soon after getting my certification, that most of the one on one training I was able to do had to be done in the evenings, which took me away from my family at night.  No bueno.  Plus with practices, hitting lessons, and catching lessons our evenings are pretty booked now anyway.  It was fun & I’m glad I did something for myself outside of just being mom/wife/taxi driver, because I think sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of yourself and the things that are important to just you when you are wearing all of those hats all the time.

So, with all that being said, I won’t be renewing my certification & I won’t be running any more groups for a while after January.  I will, however, be returning to more regular blogging and am planning to make fitness a huge feature here, so for all (5? lol) of my readers…stay tuned for that!

I hate not being in my normal routine.  With Christmas break and a house that is half in boxes, I’m going insane over here.  But soon we will be moving into our new house!  And oh man, I am so excited about being warm in the winter & never running out of hot water & not having to slay camel crickets in the basement every time I need to do laundry!  It’s the little things in life, folks….

2006 Neal Dr

 So, I’m hopeful that I will be back into a routine soon after we get settled in.

Yes, 2015 was crazy.  And 2016 will likely follow suit, but I can’t imagine it any other way, so here’s to the new year & new beginnings!

Happy New Year!

 

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Sometimes the ordinary days are the best days…

Yesterday was such a good day (except for the fact that I was in mourning over the previous night’s Walking Dead episode 😦 ).  Well it was good, kind of. I got a call from the school that Hannah wasn’t feeling well & had to pick her up, causing her to miss her first basketball game, so that part wasn’t so great.  But the rest of it?  Wonderful!  Wonderfully boring and uneventful.  And sometimes those days are the best days.

I started it off with a 30 minute walk/jog through our little town.  It was breezy, sunny, & cool…in other words, a perfect fall morning.

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After that I had an awesome back & biceps workout then took the pooch for a walk with my auntie.  I spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning & doing laundry.  Lunch was a delicious spinach & feta omelet & apple.

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In the afternoon, I read a little, crocheted a little, until I got the phone call from the school nurse.  I snuggled up with my little sick kiddo & we watched cartoons.  She took a nap, then Katie & I made supper together which was baked pork chops using a homemade rub (delish!), peas, & PW’s au gratin potatoes.  More snuggling with the sickly child in the evening and early to bed.

Was there anything special about today?  No.  Not really.  But sometimes those are the best ones. ❤

Another Reason to Love our Small Town Life

This is from a couple of weeks ago.  The town square all set up for the kid’s Easter egg hunt.  Why we gotta be so stinkin’ cute all the time???  I ❤ our town.

Easter Egg Hunt on the Square

Easter Egg Hunt on the Square

Veggie Scramble and a Thundery Run Through the Graveyard

Yesterday I went on a jaunt through the graveyard to do my sprints.  I love going over there.  It’s so peaceful and quiet.  And on a stormy day, it makes for a nice creepy atmosphere and I love me some creepy.

Spooookaaay....

Spooookaaay….

I made it home just in time to not get completely drenched and then fixed this delicious veggie scramble for lunch.  I love pretty much all vegetables.  So weird because there was definitely a day when corn and potatoes were the only things I’d even touch.  But that was years ago and my tastes have definitely changed.  I have loads of veggies every day.

Veggie City!!!

Veggie City!!!

This is so easy to make and you can use any veggies you like.  I used an entire bag of frozen fiesta style veggies (Kroger brand).  I just sprayed my skillet and turned the heat on med/low.  Threw in the frozen veggies (because I forgot to thaw them in the fridge) and then seasoned with salt, pepper & garlic powder.  I covered my skillet with a lid and let them cook at least 10 minutes, stirring every so often.  While they were cooking, I whisked an egg with 1/3 C. egg whites.  When the veggies were done to my liking, I just poured in the egg mixture and stirred it all up and cooked it until the eggs were cooked through.  I then gave them a light sprinkle with sharp cheddar cheese and red pepper flakes.

How I Finally Learned to Stop Hating this Old House

This house….boy, where do I begin?  This house….well, before I start with this house, let’s go way back to 1997.  In 1997 we were living in a new house on an acre out in the country.  I loved that house.  I mean LOVED it!  It was new.  It had 3 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms.  It had a GINORMOUS kitchen.  I had a big garden.  We had horses behind us that Katie loved to sit out back and watch every day.

So why in the world did we move, you ask?  Well, it turns out that that beautiful new house had a very hefty house payment.  We were making it, but not comfortably and little did we know, but big financial changes were just on the horizon for us.  We didn’t know that, but we did know that we weren’t comfortable with scraping by.  The other negative was that the house sat on a road that is a very heavily traveled road that links our small town to the nearby bigger town.  There was a lot of traffic and nobody was obeying the speed limit.  The girls were 5 & 3 and I was scared to death that at some point they would get out of my sight for a minute and out to that busy road.

We listed our house and were completely unprepared for it to sell in only a month’s time.  Worse than that was that the people needed to be in right away.  We had nowhere to go!!  I was looking to move into our cute little town.  I had grown up there and I missed it.  I wanted to be close to the school, park & library.  The problem with a small town is that there isn’t always a lot of real estate to choose from.  And the other problem with this particular small town is that the houses are O-L-D.  So odds are pretty likely that if you are buying a house here, you’re going to have lots of fixing up to do.

It just so happened that my parents had just purchased a big farm house out in the country and their realtor had bought a house in town to flip.  I remembered them telling us about it and about all of the work it needed.  So when our house sold and I saw that there was absolutely nothing for sale here, I thought of my mom’s realtor.  A few phone calls later and a walk-through and we’d made an offer that was accepted!

Prior to this house, all of the houses that Brian & I had lived in (with the exception of our very first rental house) were modern and nice.  So, when you go from that to an old, crooked, drafty house it can be quite an ordeal.  Not to mention that our girls were actually frightened of their new home.  Yes, for real.  Frightened.

Everything in the house needed attention.  There’s no other way to put it.  The roof…oh my the roof!  Old, single-pane windows and several of them were broken.  The old original wide-plank wood floors with huge gaps.  And everything was crooked.  The floors, the stairs, the walls.  No wonder the kids were scared!

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The previous owners had done some of the work themselves.  Siding, furnace, air conditioning….but there was (and still is) A LOT left to do.  But, the beauty of it was this:  we had bought this house cheap and we could afford to fix it up.  Maybe not all at once, but we could do it.

old-pic-of-house

This is what she looked like when the previous owners bought her! Can you imagine???

 

However, life had other plans and not long after we’d been here…maybe a year?  The economy tanked and Brian was laid off from his job.  Talk about scary times.  What a blessing in disguise this ugly old house was.  Because of it, we were able to scrape through that time.  And the remodeling has been sloooow going ever since because #1) we used a lot of our remodel money to live on during those lean times and #2) we are now so busy that it has just taken a back seat.  And finally #3) we are NOT do-it-yourselfers, a fact we quickly learned once we moved in and started projects.

My hair was so short!!

My hair was so short!!

But we have managed to do some things over the years…windows, floors, roof, a new deck, paint (most of the rooms).  The kitchen cabinets are still ugly.  The ceilings are still hideous and my bedroom still hasn’t been touched, but it’s home.  The girls are 13 and 10 now and we are crazy busy with life now.

I’m ashamed to say that I have sometimes been embarrassed to have people over.  You know, it’s all so hip and cool to have an old house in the middle of remodeling because there’s proof all around that it will one day be updated and nice.  But when you’re just living in an old house & the renovating is nonexistent?  Not cool.  Not cool at all, my friend.

We are no longer kidding ourselves.  The remodeling is not happening anytime soon.  We can’t afford it now.  We don’t have time for it now.  We don’t even have time to paint for Pete’s sake!  And even when we do have time, we don’t want to.  We just want to sit.  And play board games or go to the movies.  Or some other fun thing because seriously, life is flying by us every day.  Perhaps the day will come when I live to remodel.  But that day is not today.

And so, I’ve learned to stop being embarrassed by my unfinished home.  And quite frankly, the people who visit us here could care less about what our house looks like.  And maybe there is a lesson somewhere here for my girls that says something like, your true friends will love you for you.  Not for your house.  Not for you possessions.  A house is a home when love lives there, crooked floors and all.  ❤

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WE ARE COMPLETELY INSANE…IT’S THE ONLY LOGICAL EXPLANATION

When we moved into this old house 7 year ago (7 years ago!!!), it was with the intention of living here a few years while the girls were little and wouldn’t mind sharing a room and fixing it up a little, possibly make a little money off of it and then buy something newer, bigger, better.  So, fast forward a few years and Brian gets laid off from his job and our world gets turned upside down for a period of time.  Then enter travel softball, which now consumes a huge portion of our lives and here we are.  7 years later.  There have a been improvements to the house here and there along the way, though it’s FAR from where I’d like it to be.  And those girls who were 5 and 2 when we moved in?  Well they are now 12 and 9.   That sharing a bedroom business is about to push this woman over the edge.

Over the years, we have gone back and forth a thousand times on whether to stay or go.  And just recently we had said, Okay!  We are going!

Until…

One day, Katie and I took a walk.  We were talking about all the things we still needed to do before we could sell the house.  And how in the world we were going to make that happen with softball season approaching.  And then out of the blue, my daughter, the one who has said since she was 7 years old that she just couldn’t wait to get out of this old house and have her own room, stopped me in my tracks with this:

I don’t think we should go.

!

?

!?!?!?

She proceeded to tell me that she would be so sad if we left.  That she has so many good memories here.  Not to mention a neighbor boy who, though they fight most of the time, has become like a brother to her.  And our awesome sledding hill?  How could she survive a winter without that?  And walking to the library and park and cafe on the corner?  How could we possibly go away from that?

So, I did the best I could to not just bawl and hug her to death because honestly, as mad as I get at this old house and all of it’s inconveniences, she is right.  Those things are so wonderful.  They really are.

And here’s the next crazy thing, when I told Brian about it, even HE said he would like to stay.  And he has been the BIGGEST hater of this house from the day I decided we should buy it.

Now Hannah?  That girl lives in the moment.  She wouldn’t care if we lived in a barn.  She goes with the flow and she’s got way more important things to do than sit around caring about where we live.

Of course, that doesn’t help the bedroom situation at all.  And that’s going to be a big, costly project that I have no idea how we will pay for, but we’ll work it out.

In the meantime, I am breathing easier knowing that at least we have finally made a decision.  And honestly, I’ll be 39 in a few months.  My drive and energy for doing things like buying and selling houses….well that train done left the station.  I’m ready to be settled in and enjoy my old age. 🙂

 

 

The I-Don’t-Know-How-Many-Years Annual Pumpkin Carving Party!

We had our awesome pumpkin carving party again last night.  It was so much fun, as usual.  The Spinster really outdid herself this year with some really awesome Halloween treats and even a craft for all of us to do.  We tried to figure out how long we’ve been doing this and we aren’t really sure.  It’s been at least 5 or 6 years, but we’ve only been documenting it since I’ve had my blog.

Anyway, I got some great pictures and am very happy to report that I actually did a good job on my pumpkin this year!!  If you’ll recall, last year I ended up doing just a regular jack-o-lantern face because I was so traumatized over the pumpkin-carving incident from the year before.  So, this year I was determined to redeem myself and just feast your eyes on my creation!

Never mind the fact that I completely blocked everyone & everything out for at least an hour while I was in deep concentration on my pumpkin.  Never mind the fact that I had pumpkin pulp from head to toe by the time I was finished and never mind the fact that I looked like I had been run over by a mack truck from the amount of stress I was under to be successful.

Never mind all that, k?  I was a pumpkin carving queen, people!

My sister was a lazy bum and just carved a heart into her pumpkin.  Puh-lease!  But we did get a really cool picture of the heart that she cut out, so I’ll let it slide…this time.

Nanner decided to draw on hers instead of carve (thank you, Lord!).  And then after we had put candles in all of them and she saw how cool they looked, promptly changed her mind.  We were out of daylight at this point, so I am gonna help her carve it this weekend.

Katie did an EXCELLENT job on hers.  I expected no less, she is a perfectionist.

My niece, Madie, made an “I {HEART} Candy” pumpkin.  😀

Mamaw wasn’t feeling well, so she didn’t carve this year & the Spinster made a cool ghost picture on hers.

This crocheted candy bowl was the secret project that I told you about a while back.  I made it for the Spinster as a thank-you for always hosting such a great party.

Look at the awesome spread that the Spinster prepared!

After we were all done with carving & eating, we sat down to do a fabulous bonfire.

Did you happen to notice the goose in the noose up in the tree in that last picture?  Well, you might think that was part of our spooky party decor, but actually that is a practical joke that my uncle (the Spinster’s brother) played.  He was supposed to take that goose to the dump for Mamaw, but instead came over & hung it in the Spinster’s tree.  We thought it went along perfectly with our party’s theme.

We ended the night with an adorable little craft.  The Spinster went over to the graveyard the day before and collected some small rocks.  She then got some twigs, orange acrylic paint & tacky glue.  We painted the rocks orange, attached pieces of twigs to the top for stems & then used black Sharpies to draw on jack-o-lantern faces.  It was quick and easy & I thought they turned out awesome.  What do you think?

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