Saturday, January 30, 2016

Old Meets New

To be honest, DH and I are not very 'formal' people.  Our lifestyle, and pleasures tend toward the simple.  Since our new home will have a room, a formal living room, that we were not sure quite what to do with, our good friend Steakburner suggested we make it our library/reading room.  We jumped on the idea, only to realize we didn't really have a lot of furniture to put in such a room.

Off we went a week or so ago, to the monster Nebraska Furniture Mart.  We spend a couple hours, looking at tables, chairs and book cases.  We have always loved the Arts & Crafts period, and Mission/Stickley furniture, but such is typically well outside our price range, especially if it is antique.
MDF construction drop leaf secretary

At NFM, we saw a line of furniture that caught our eye.  I even went back midweek to look closer at it.  In the end, I called the manufacturer, only to learn it was MIC (made in China), and was built on a frame of MDF (medium density fiberboard).  I called DH and gave him the bad news.  I am not going to spend that kind of cash for MDF furniture!

Disenchanted, DH began to poke through the local Craigslist, spotting some stunning antiques.  One, a drop leaf secretary, had been listed at a fair price, but had been out there for a full month.  Our experience with Craigslist and desirable pieces of anything, is that sellers tend not to remove listings, or even reply to inquiries.

With a sense that it would be pointless, but like the Lottery, if you don't play you never win, I went ahead last week and sent the seller an email.  And heard nothing...that is, until late last night, when an apologetic email came in, telling me it was still for sale.  I replied, and arrangements were made to go see the piece this afternoon.

This was what we found!  The hardware is original, save for two drawer pulls, and the stained 2x4's under the original feet.  We will be removing those feet, once we get it moved to our new place.  It even has the key for the bottom cabinet, though the lock for the top drop leaf does not work.  
Above, is what the sloped cabinet opens out to be, a leather covered writing surface, and small desk organizer inside.  The oak is solid oak, not veneers, and you rarely see that grade of quartersawn white oak these days.  Needless to say, we bought it!

In addition to the desk, just last weekend, I snagged with DH, an antique rocking chair, smaller than the one we already had, and very comfortable.  It was at the local Restore:  Habitat For Humanity resale store.  It is mostly original, though the rockers are likely replacements, they are not "new".  This is a Tiger Oak veneer, and the veneer is old and original.  Tiger Oak refers to the pattern of rays (the stripes) in the quartersawn veneer.  Sadly it does have one significant chip out of the seat veneer on the leading edge.  We are planning on how to repair that, though we do not have the missing piece.

And for the Old Meets New?  Well, our plan is to use the secretary desk in the library, to hold a laptop, just like this!  And the rockers will be the reading chairs, along with the new-to-us leather couch also from Restore.  As for the rest of the furniture we desire, we decided to piece it together from what we find at sales, antique stores, auctions and such.  Honestly, we never really were the "everything has to match" type of people!  So our library will be a work in progress.  And part of the fun, will be in the hunt!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

In January, and blooming again.

It is the end of January, and the twiggy bush out in the front planter area is blooming again.  In the dead of winter, this thing blooms, every year, like clockwork.  It's not drawn by warmth, as it is frequently below freezing here in this timeframe, yet it blooms.

Come summer, when it is covered in leaves curled and damaged by the aphids that will soon swarm it, it is an utterly unremarkable shrub.  Ugly even, by many standards, yet in winter it truly shines.

I think there is probably a lesson for us all, in that.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Monday, January 25, 2016

Silly dogs and tasty food!

I luv you Mom, now feed me...
The last couple of days have given me a chance to take some silly dog pictures.  Our pack is both goofy, and fairly photogenic, even with my anemic photographic skills.
We haz a new couch!  No room for you, diva.

Yesterday, in between football games, I made a tasty meal/snack.  Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries.  Dave had spotted the recipe, and I thought it would be good to try yesterday.  It proved to be quite tasty, and easy to make if you cheat. (I used a bag of crinkle cut fries instead of cutting up my own potatoes.  I was pressed for time.)

Chicken Bacon Ranch Fries

Oven baked ranch fries smothered in bacon, two cheeses, and creamy ranch chicken.
YIELD: Serves 5+
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes
 ** Note:  I roughly doubled all ingredients because I used the whole bag of frozen fries.
  • 4 slices bacon (I used a whole package of thick cut bacon)
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch matchsticks  (I used a bag of frozen fries)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup shredded cooked chicken (about 4 ounces) (6 or 7 cooked breast tenderloins sliced up)
  • 1/2 cup Skinny Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip (I used plain greek yogurt and 1 whole pkt. of ranch dip mix)
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh chopped chives


  1. Place rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil and set a baking rack on top. Lay the strips of bacon flat on top of the rack, then bake until crisp, about 12-15 minutes, depending upon the thickness of your bacon. Set between two paper towels atop a dinner plate and pat dry. When cool enough to handle, chop and set aside. Increase o¬ven temperature to 425 degrees F.
  2. Meanwhile, peel and cut the potatoes. Place in a large bowl, then toss with the olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, dill, salt, and cayenne. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray, then spread the fries onto the sheet in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes, flip with a spatula, then bake an additional 10-15 minutes, until lightly crisp.
  3. While the fries are baking, heat the ranch dip in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, just until warm. Toss with chicken to coat.
  4. Remove fries from oven and top with the chicken, cheddar, mozzarella, and bacon. Return to the oven until the cheese melts, 3-5 minutes. Top with chives. Serve immediately.
Ranger pronounces it tasty and fit for consumption!
Hey Mom, where's mine?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Looking forward

While they say hindsight is 20/20, it is forward into the not-quite-clear-future I shall look now.  Our move from here to there, is now at the beginning of the end, rather than the end of the beginning.  We have at last found a house to buy, and are awaiting paperwork, and the various things that must happen for closings to occur.

Things I am looking forward to...  Forward to building more fencing...building a chicken coop...moving all our stuff from storage and sorting thru it all again trying to clear out yet more clutter...looking forward to having DH at HOME every night!  Forward to volunteering at the local animal shelter, forward to helping out at the local food pantry if possible, forward to getting off this bullet train called selling a house and stepping into the slower pace of life that is life in NETX--life outside the Metromess.

Wish us luck and say a prayer as we step off into the grand new adventure!

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Crazy, it burns!

Yes, the 'crazy' does burn!  I had no idea how wild this ride would be.  I have just spent most of the last two days, stuck in my van, with three near-teenagers and three big dogs.  We have had 14 or 15 showings of our house for sale, in 48 hours, which is super news, except that now I feel like I've been put through an old fashioned laundry wringer at least twice!

We did get some good news from our realtor last night, so the 'crazy' should end soon, but not before Monday at the earliest.  So we are on track to spend some quality time at the TIRR Rescue ranch Saturday, doing whatever work they need done, and not living in my van.  Even with the threat of a wintry mix of weather, and a 20-30* drop in temps, working at the rescue beats being stuck in the van all day.  This will give us the chance to have more showings, and an open house here.

We are going to take a 'sanity night' tonight though, at DH's request, so we can relax a couple hours, and maybe catch Star Wars VII finally.  Which means no showings tonight after 5pm.  At least that is the plan.

And to add more proof that God is driving this bus, the long lost original purchase docs we received when we moved in here back in 2003, were found neatly organized in the nearly empty file cabinet, and not buried somewhere in one of our storage units!  This is really good news as I will not have to pay for a new Plat survey.  That saves us close to $400.  I am truly blessed to have an organized husband.

The next 'crazy time' is also fixin' to fire up next week, as we try to buy a new home and conclude that purchase in coordinated time with our selling this one.  Yeah, that's gonna be interesting...

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The "Crazy" has begun!

My realtor came by yesterday to update the yard sign to "For Sale".  He asked if I was ready for the "crazy" to begin.  I told him yes...not quite knowing what to expect.

Our house went 'live' at 5:44PM yesterday.  At 6:01pm I got the first text requesting a showing.  By 8:26pm, I had two more requests!  I guess that's what he meant by the 'crazy'.

Bring it!  I love the crazy!

Keep us in your thoughts and prayers, please, my friends.  During all this sale stuff, we are also trying to buy a property.  I feel sometimes, like a juggler, with too many balls in the air at once!

Monday, January 4, 2016

My, how time flies...

when you're having fun!  17 years ago yesterday, I was blessed to marry my special person, my Marine.  I was warmly taken into his family, they became family to me.

Like most (any?) life-commitment, it has not always been smooth or easy.   There have been rough patches,  job changes, kids,  a doctor who uttered the immortal phrase , "Oops, I must've cut the wrong thing! ", surgeries and scares  along our shared path.

But we have been blessed.  Blessed in more ways than I can give voice to here.  Our kids are healthy.  We can afford to share our home with dogs we love.   DH has a good job.  We are finally getting our chance to live a more rural lifestyle, something we have both sought since before that day,  17 years ago.

This whole moving process is coming to a head at last.  We should be on the market a week from Monday.  The process has seen us spending several nights a week apart, as DH can't afford the time to commute 170+miles each day.  While neither of us particularly enjoy being parted, it's just something we have to put up with for a little while longer.

I just know how lucky and blessed I am to have DH as my husband.  I shall be forever content, with him in my life, however long my life may be.