Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas 2010

We celebrated our first Christmas in our new home and it was wonderful. To have my husband, children, son-in-law and grandchildren all under one roof was the best present I could ask for! There's no gift you can buy that tops the warmth in your heart as you watch the ones you love laughing and enjoying each other. Those memories will be with us forever. Christmas is a time of reflection as well. As I look at the ornaments on our tree, I am reminded of past Christmases and the many dear friends and their gifted ornaments. Many of those friends are no longer with us but they're remembered every year as we decorate our tree.

This sweet Santa ornament, made of cotton batting, is one of my very special ornaments. It wasn't given to me as a gift, rather it was discovered it in a box of treasures I'd bid on at auction many years ago. We'd bought several items that day and it wasn't until near the end of the auction that I found out the name of the person whose possessions we were bidding on. They belonged to a very lovely woman named Carol. She was an interior decorator who I'd met through work. We'd chat over the years and then she stopped coming. What I never knew is she'd had a stroke, a bad stroke. She was in a nursing home, unable to speak and her life was changed forever. Her mother was auctioning her possessions, and many of her treasures. When I opened the box I found this Santa tucked under layers of yellowed tissue paper with a note pinned to his chest which read, "Santa Claus...made in second grade." Every year I think of Carol as I gingerly place her ornament in a special spot on our tree and it reminds me to enjoy every minute of every day.

I wish you and your families a magical, memorable holiday.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The view from my kitchen window! Yesterday's storm was categorized as a blizzard and it's definitely lived up to its name. I find it difficult to pull myself away from the window to get some work done. There's nothing quite like a "snowed in" day with the fireplace going, Christmas music playing and beautiful oak trees! Hope you are all snug and warm in your homes too!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Someone pinch me...please! The Great Move of 2010 is officially over and we're finally living in our cottage in the woods! Moving day was rainy as predicted but we were able to pack and unpack the U-Haul truck in between showers. As we drove up to the house we were greeted by a WELCOME HOME sign Carrie had made. And, to see Mikey standing behind it...well, let's just say, kleenex was needed! We moved from the condo to the house and then from the storage shed to the house. All of this was completed by 3:30 p.m. thanks to lots of hard work on the part of friends and family. What wonderful people they are! Boxes still need to be unpacked, pictures need to be hung and the fireplace needs to be tested before we can enjoy our first fire. Yet, each morning I wake with a feeling of peace and contentment knowing we are just where we're meant to be....HOME.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Countdown Begins!

A very busy week...but productive! We painted, painted, painted all weekend and threw in attending our grandson's 3rd Birthday party in between (I think we're getting pretty good at multi-tasking!) Our son-in-law and his friend spent the past two weekends building retaining walls and yesterday topped it off with rough landscaping and a gravel driveway! I was speechless when I walked outside and saw the incredible job they've done (hugs and tears to both guys here.....). Brad the Builder finished the fireplace wall and it's turned out exactly as I'd hoped it would. I can't wait to turn on the gas fireplace on a cold winter's night! I've been asked why I opted for gas over wood. I'll defer that question to Mr. Amazing as, amazingly, he would only make a wood fire over the holidays. Now I can have a lovely fire with the flick of a switch! Next Saturday Phase III and IV. I am definitely getting excited! Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat!

I received a wonderful Trick or Treat email today. This picture was taken in 1952 when I was in Kindergarten. I'm the little witch in the back row. How fun is that!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Now The Fun Begins!

Only two weeks until Phase III and IV of The Great Move of 2010! I can hardly believe it! A lot has happened since last weekend and there's sBoldtill more to do. We headed out early Friday morning and stopped for breakfast at Lazy Jane's Cafe on Willy street. It's by far my favorite place to eat breakfast or lunch. Then on to the City-County building to vote early. From there we headed west to our house to see what progress Brad the Builder made last week. Floor360 had been there and the tile in the shower and around the fireplace looks amazing! But my favorite is the kitchen. I love my kitchen! Just makes me smile to look at it. Can NOT wait to bake bread in that kitchen! I'm so glad we decided to use the IKEA beech countertops. They're the frosting on the cake! Pictures are out of order...but you can get an idea of just how much stone was delivered Friday. Can you say retaining walls! Next week even more changes! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Three Weeks and Counting!!!!!

A busy weekend! The usual painting, painting, painting with some added sealing of cedar boards for the porch. In between all of that, we celebrated Jim's birthday with Barbara and John on Thursday evening and on Sunday afternoon drove to Oshkosh to have lunch with an old college friend and his daughter who flew in from NY to attend the Packers/Vikings game (GO PACKERS!!!). Here's a peek at the flooring. This week Floor360 comes in to tile the shower and around the fireplace and Brad the Builder will put trim on upstairs. This is all making my head spin, but Jim remains calm and reassures me we will be able to get everything done prior to Phase III of the Great Move of 2010! Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Unusually warm weather has allowed many flowering plants to show their beauty just a bit longer. The Morning Glories on my daughter's patio were no exception... treating us to one last explosion of color before winter. I'm not sure I can call it a vacation, but we spent the past week dog sitting and painting walls and trim in our little cottage in the woods. I'm amazed that my right arm still works! Mr. Amazing and I worked quite well together and finished a first coat of Benjamin Moore's Simply White paint on all the trim. I need to give Benjamin Moore a plug here as their Advance paint is truly incredible. It went on as smooth as butter and, as a bonus, is an environmentally safe paint. I did question the wisdom of painting everything in site, but I'm hopeful the finished look will be what I've envisioned. We were also able to stain and seal the beech countertops from IKEA. I've attached a picture of the three products used. While we painted, Thompson Flooring was installing the wood floors upstairs. Monday they will apply stain and Tuesday apply a seal coat. Next comes Floor360 for tile in bathroom shower and around fireplace. All in all a productive week. Did I mention how sore and tired we are? Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another Lovely Fall Weekend

Drywall is up and base coat sprayed on. Next week Mr. Amazing will be painting walls....Benjamin Moore's Linen White. Willy Street Festival was on the agenda for weekend entertainment as well as a bonus trip to Elkhorn's last Flea Market. How fun is that!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Just About Time To....

...start thinking about things like painting, staining and color schemes! I don't remember where I found these images, perhaps the Cottage living website but I absolutely LOVE the stairway in the first photo and...don't the next two photos make you just want to curl up on the sofa and relax! This is the first weekend we didn't make a trip to our little cottage to see the progress. Saturday was spent at Floor360 to check in with Erin...probably the best sales gal ever...on carpet and bathroom flooring, then to the Benjamin Moore paint store, Home Depot and the local antique shop. I've picked up a few pints of paint to try for wall color and found the Waterlox we'll use on our kitchen countertops. All in all another productive weekend! Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What a wonderful way to start a Sunday. Up at 5:30 a.m. to see the sun rise from Barbara and John's boat and watch the start of our fair city's 9th Annual Ford Ironman triathlon. Over 2,000 athletes from around the world came to compete. Competitors are vying for 72 qualifying spots to the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and a $30,000 pro prize purse. One participant made it through the swim and was heading out on his bike only to have tire problems. He had to walk/run back for parts. We had the feeling he was not going to give up!

Insulation, Countertops, Lights!

Yesterday was a busy day. It started early with a trip to IKEA in the great state of Illinois to purchase countertops. We needed three 8' pieces of beech countertop but ended up purchasing four. The price is fantastic ($59) each...thank you IKEA! We filled the car with the panels and headed to Milwaukee to BBC Lighting to pick up lights that had been ordered and 4 ceiling fans! Believe it or not, Mr. Amazing was able to fit it all into our small CRV....thank you Mr. Amazing and HONDA! A long day in the car but a lot was accomplished. Not much visual progress to see on the house. Insulation was blown in...dense pack and the garage is filled with siding. Next 2 weeks will be drywall! Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


Windows are in! I was expecting the house to start feeling smaller as windows and drywall were installed; and I was right. It's amazing how much smaller those openings become once windows are installed. Top photo is of the kitchen. I've already decided to trade a larger, lower level bedroom window for the one selected above the sink. Middle photo is the dining room area and, though the triple window is good I WISH we would have picked french doors leading out to the screen porch. Darn! Bottom photo is looking at the fireplace wall and the triple windows on the outside wall be good. Lesson learned here is YOU CAN NEVER HAVE WINDOWS THAT ARE TOO BIG!!!! Pick what you think you want and then go a size larger! This week heating and air conditioning, rough electric and plumbing. Stay tuned!

Monday, August 16, 2010

We Have a roof!

WALA! A busy week for Brad the Builder. The heat index was over 100 degrees and there was one entire day of rain. Yet, in spite of all that...WE HAVE A ROOF (and probably a really hot and tired contractor)! September will bring the plumber and electrician followed by the really fun stuff...flooring, painting, carpeting! Kitchen cabinet order going in this week and windows should appear within the next two weeks! I've been told, once the inside work begins, I'll see progress slow down. However, the decisions on where to place lighting, what color to stain the flooring and wall paint selection should keep us pretty busy. A trip to IKEA one of these weekends is planned to buy wood countertops. I've never been to one of their stores but I'm told I'm going to want to bring a trailer! Stay tuned!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Lovely End to a Busy Day

After a busy morning doing "house stuff" Mr. Amazing helped John move his 1,000 lb. boat lift toward shore. There's been so much rain here that John wasn't able to get his boat on the lift. Barbara and I were skeptical and had Michael John not come home we're pretty sure the guys would still be standing on the lift wondering what to do next. We spent the rest of the afternoon on their deck enjoying the beautiful day and topped it off with a cook-out and a movie! What a wonderful way to celebrate our 40th Anniversary!

Brad the Builder

Just have to put in a plug for Brad the Builder! Here he is going over the plans with Mr. Amazing.

Weekly Update

Having never built a house before, I'm amazed at how quickly things move along. The lower level is framed in and Brad the Builder is capping it off! If the weather permits (and rain is predicted on and off all next week...) we could see the main level framed and roofed by next weekend!