I travel the world and am truly amazed with the sights, cultures, and people but in my eyes there is no place like home.


28 February 2013

Slow but Steady

These aren't the greatest pics as all Iphone pictures taken late at night with no natural light. But seems that is the only time my schedule allows work on my brother's house right now. Progress has been slow due to limited free time but we do have progress. The "workout room" now has crisp white windows (hardware is ready to install as well), and original woodwork free of paint and restained. Next up walls and ceilling.
The bedroom has the same progress - with the bonus that I tackled the lovely ceilling last night. Nothing as fun as painting ceilings right? I was covered in splatter by the end. I am one messy painter! So hope it turned out good.
We did have one slight fail - my brother picked out a very cool stain color but sadly on his woodwork it turned out looking more burnt wood than rustic (so we started fresh and ended with a more light honey color you see in the first picture)

27 February 2013

Midwinter Walks

Prior to the latest snow storm we had a perfect relaxing weekend at our cabin with several days of weather nice enough to walk and explore.

Nature's beauty always amazes me. Just so perfect.

Someday I will live in the country surrounded by this beauty on a daily basis. I want the ability to run outside sans clothing if I desire. Space to raise animals and vegetables. Plenty of walking to clear away the daily stress. The list could go on.

Until then I am grateful we have this cabin and land for weekend escapes (which may become more frequent if we do get furloughed!) These images make me anxious for spring - I want fields of green, trees full of leaves, flowers bursting from the ground!

24 February 2013

Snow Day

We have been lucky and have had a pretty mild winter this year. Last week we did have a "snow day" - everything looked so much prettier covered in a blanket of white!
And it gave me the perfect excuse to stay inside and bake cookies. I decided to attempt a slightly healthier version and surprisingly they were delic.
·   2 cups whole-wheat flour
·   1 teaspoon baking soda
·   1 teaspoon sea salt
·   3/4 cup virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
·   1 cup packed brown sugar
·   1/2 cup granulated sugar
·   1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·   2 large eggs (I instead used 2 tablespoons flax mixed with 6 tablespoons water for several minutes)
·   1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.)  Dark chocolate morsels
Bake at 350 degrees - be careful these bake VERY quickly and they will be chewy if in even a few minutes too long.
I also figured while I was bundled up to shovel might as well grill dinner - totally normal right?

21 February 2013

Location Scouting

My little brother and his fiancé are contemplating getting married in Niobrara at the State Park there. The views are to die for! We scoped it out over the weekend and took a few quick photos. The top photo is where they would actually get married.

Gorgeous right?

Sadly the lodge was closed and due to the slow time of hear and holiday we weren’t able to check it out. It’s pretty bare bones but sure with flowers and the views it would be gorgeous. 
 Obviously much prettier in the spring when everything is colorful and green.
The tables and chairs inside the lodge were pretty blah looking (older metal chairs and basic tables) - almost tempted to consider dragging the picnic tables inside as how fun and rustic. Or is that tacky?

19 February 2013

Niobrara Insta Snaps

Many more pictures to come this week but a few Instagram snapshots of my weekend of relaxation.

Something about that fresh country air and no civilization in sight.

The little dusting of snow was quite pretty and believe it or not the weather was halfway warm.

Except for the day of the pretty bright blue sky - that day was downright frigid.

But fresh air and a final walk was a must before heading back to the rat race in the city.

Pretty red barn - in desperate need of a paint job. Thanks Niobrara for always working your magic on me!!

15 February 2013

Valentines with those I Love

I am happy to report my grumpy mood and bah humbug Valentines attitude quickly improved as the day progressed. I had plans to make dinner at my house for my mom, dad, and grandpa so set up a pretty table and prepared yummy food.

My awesome little brother and his fiancé were so thoughtful and got me flowers. Such a fun sweet surprise when I got home. They are gorgeous.
I also got a pink gun! Yes you read that right a pink gun! Amazing right? From a friend who is obviously an amazing guy.
And my parents got me this really neat new Vera Bradley (perfect for council meetings as holds our new ipads) full of all kinds of treats for Aeisha and I.
Grandpa brought me red roses which I forgot to take a picture of. By the end of the day I definitely felt lucky and loved. Hope everyone else had a great day.

(I obviously need to break out the real camera more and take less Iphone pics as realized several of these are blurry due to bad lighting - sorry!)

14 February 2013

Scripture to Live By

Not really in a festive Valentines mood today so no sappy Valentines post from me. Sorry!

My cousin Sarah sends me daily bible verses which I love getting! Today’s really hit home.
       "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to thier needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29
So true and a reminder just how hurtful saying things we don’t truly mean can be. How damaging gossip can be. I am going to make a very conscious effort to not gossip about others. I want to say only things that will build others up or make them feel better.  I want to be a positive and supportive friend, coworker, sister, daughter, you name it. Thanks Sarah!

12 February 2013

Love is in the Air

Obviously not for me as even though I may excel at many things dating is not one of my strong points.  Luckily my brothers fair much better in this department and I am super excited to say congratulations to my little brother Justin and his new fiancé Chrissy. I’m looking forward to gaining another sister in the next year.
They just got engaged over the weekend. Such a fun time of year for a proposal (we did try to get them to wait till Valentine’s day as even though it’s cheesy both my mom/dad and my grandpa/grandma got engaged on Valentine’s day).  Congrats you two - Let the wedding planning fun begin.

08 February 2013

Yearning for Spring

I am antsy to get my hands dirty digging in the dirt planting new flowers, starting a garden, mulching up the beds. We still have several months of winter but I am envious of those who live in milder climates, those who are already planting spring flowers and herbs. I miss fresh herbs and veggies! Spring needs to hurry up and arrive. Or we need a mega snowstorm so at least I can go out and play surrounded by sparkling white instead of dirty brown. In the meantime some more photos from the breathtaking Smoky Mountains. 

04 February 2013

Slow but Steady Progress

I have been trying to help my brother renovate his house as much as possible. Sadly there are never quite enough hours int he day but we are making progress. Thanks to a painter friend I have learned the easy way to strip wood of layers of nasty paint.
Can't wait to sand it down and see how much richer the rooms look with freshly stained pretty wood! Guessing a huge improvement from blue or pink painted woodwork....We did give the windows a fresh coat of a nice bright white for now as tackling the stripping of all windows seemed overly optimistic (plus my brother and his girlfriend like the somewhat more modern mix of wood and white)

Thanks to HGTV I learned a trick for removing caked on nasty paint off brass hardware. Soak it in ice water! I was skeptic but it truly works, a bit of time in ice ice icey water and the paint will scrape right off. A little cleaning with steel wool and pretty tarnished (Justin didn't want shiny brass so I left it a bit aged) brass hardware! Magic.
Sorry about the blurry Iphone pictures
I never could have predicted I would get excited over power tools, sanding, and paint stripper! Maybe with a bit of time and practice I can have my own show on HGTV like the chick from Rehab Addict!!!