Sunday, August 28, 2011

bland to BAM.

It's almost been a year since we moved into our house. Hard to believe, huh? I thought so too. But then at other times it doesn't feel like a very long time. Like sometimes when I walk into the house, I can still smell Nancy, the previous owner. Ok, maybe that was weird. I shouldn't have told you that. But, nonetheless, it still doesn't always smell like home to me. Except for last Saturday when we were cleaning the house, Rob was going to vacuum and we have this Febreze vacuum stuff that you sprinkle on the carpet before you vacuum to help make it smell better. I didn't realize he was going to use it and when I came upstairs, it smelled like home! I had an instant flashback to the apartment because we always used the product there. Weird how smell can do that to you, isn't it? Anyways...this post isn't about Nancy or how she smells or how our house smells, it's about our front door. 

Just so you don't think I'm completely crazy, Nancy did have something to do with the original post topic before I got distracted by the smell of home. Nancy is a very nice lady, but boy, did she make some boring (and/or terrible) paint color choices (if you saw our bedroom before we painted it, you would know what I mean. My mom described the color as: "Baby poop after they eat squash." Trying going to bed in that every night). The front door was one of the boring choices, in my opinion. There was nothing about it that said, "Hey! Look at me!" or "I want to welcome you to our house! Come in!" So, Rob and I started thinking and decided that bright blue was going to be our answer. 

After searching at a couple of different stores (no need to pay full price, right?) and scrounging through the "Oops Paint" sections, we finally found it - a gallon of bright blue paint - and for only $5!

And so, my friends, here you have it. Our front door went from bland to BAM! in a matter of 2 hours.


Our front door is so bright that you can't even tell that the painter's tape is still on it around the window and the door handle - it blends right in. And actually, the picture doesn't even do the actual color justice. It's brighter. But, I like it. I can't believe what a difference it makes from the outside. Something about driving up and seeing the bright blue door says: "Now it looks like Rob and Stephanie live here." I'd show you a picture from the outside, but the door only has one coat of paint on it currently and it needs at least one more. So...we'll do the final reveal after that happens. 

Or, you could just stop by and see it. Unlike the boring green door, it will welcome you right up on to the front porch.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

butcher block.

In order to create some more counter space in our kitchen, we had been on the look out for an old dresser that we could paint and top with a butcher block. After doing some research, I realized just how expensive butcher block tops actually are! So, I left that DIY dream behind and moved on to this beauty instead. (Please excuse our messy garage. It looks much better now.)

I found this pre-made butcher block/kitchen island on Craigslist. Yes, we do love Craigslist. And, you should too, if you don't already. The best part is that we bought it from a guy named Rick and Rob and I both had created a picture in our minds of what he looked like. Let's just say his crazy, curly blonde hair that stuck out in 500 different directions was not what we pictured a "Rick" to look like!

The island was dirty as all get out and needed a good coat of paint in order to better match our current kitchen. So, a few coats of paint and poly and 3 weeks later, here she is now:

I love that there is a full size drawer and an enclosed cupboard. My baking cupboards are currently packed full and not nearly big enough, so I plan to move that stuff into the cupboard of the island. It even has a slide out drawer in the cupboard for easy access! We also don't plan on storing our empty coffee cans and our flashlight on the shelf, but hey, whatever. Eventually there will be a second shelf that Rob made for me (it still needs another coat of poly) and then we will store some of our more frequently used pots and pans there since their current cupboard is not an awesome situation.

You will notice that Beacon has already invaded our kitchen and he hasn't even moved in yet! I figured we should get used to the bowls being there before they have food and water in them for us to make a mess with if we trip over them...which, with me, could possibly still happen. I'd like you to take note of the fact that these bowls are usually $10.99 EACH at PetSmart and we scored them for $1.87 EACH instead!

It adds so much space! I love it! And the top of the island matches almost exactly to our current cupboards. I don't know how that worked out so well, but I'm so glad it did! And the black accent works out nice with our other black accents - coffee pot, canisters, etc.

You will also notice the announcement of the next project in the foreground of the last picture. We'll have to see how it turns out before I show it to anyone. But, for $5 at Goodwill, anything is worth a try, right?

Friday, August 5, 2011

weekend away, part 1.

Last week Rob and I decided that we need to get away, even if it was just for one night. We've been quite busy lately and our lives are only going to get busier in the next few weeks as both Compass and Kuyper have Orientation and as Rob finishes up his summer class and starts a new semester and as I begin classes at Spring Arbor. So, we spontaneously (as spontaneous as we get, at least) planned an overnight trip to Cadillac. Perfect.

We've been wanting to go kayaking for quite some time now and after a little bit of research, I discovered a neat little place on the Manistee River up in Manton, just north of Cadillac. So, last Friday night after I got home from work, we loaded up the car and headed north. The drive is just under 2 hours so it's a perfect distance for an over night trip.

Cadillac is apparently a hoppin' place during the summer because we had a hard time finding a hotel room on such short notice. But, the day before we left, I was able to book this little room at the Rodeway Inn. Definitely not a 5-star hotel, but it was clean and provided breakfast so it worked for me.

After we checked in at the hotel, we decided to explore Cadillac a bit and find some pizza for supper. It has been quite some time since I had been to Cadillac and Rob was just a kid the last time he was there. After we drove around for a bit, we found a Hungry Howie's, ordered some pizza and found a beautiful park to eat at. We couldn't have asked for better weather. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze and the temperature was in the mid-70s. AWESOME. There was even a band playing music at the park while we were there.

After we ate dinner, we spent a long time walking around Lake Cadillac. It isn't a big lake, but it's definitely beautiful and provided a perfectly relaxing evening for us as we wandered the sidewalk around the lake and found a nice little bench to sit on and watch the sun start to set.

The thing that I love most about Cadillac is all the memories I made there as a kid. My very first best friend, Rachel, moved to Cadillac the summer after we finished 4th grade. It was probably the worst experience of my young life at the time. I remember laying in bed multiple nights in a row, crying myself to sleep after they moved. So thankful to have had such a wonderful friend during my childhood. After Rachel moved to Cadillac, I spent many weekends and a couple of weeks throughout the summer at their house with their family. 

I made Rob go on an adventure with me after we walked around at the lake to see if I could find my way back to their house (Rachel is now married, has a beautiful baby boy, and the rest of their family has moved to Washington State after taking a call at another church). Surprisingly, I knew exactly where to go to get back to their house. It looked a bit different then I remember, but only in color. We sat in the car in front of the house and I told Rob story after story of the time I spent there (the house is for sale and no one is living there currently so we weren't being too creepy or anything). I even found the path that led to a small wooded area near their house where Rachel and I built a tree fort one summer.

After our little trip down my memory lane, we headed back to the hotel to play Phase 10 and eat Skittles. We watched a show about logging and fell asleep early. It's a good thing, too, because we had a BIG day ahead of us on Saturday. We got up early on Saturday and packed up, had some breakfast and headed about 20 minutes north to Manton to find Chippewa Landing Canoe and Kayak Livery. It was back in the middle of nowhere and we only found it thanks to signs posted occasionally on the side of the many, many dirt roads we were driving on (I admit I was slightly paranoid that we were driving ourselves into a terrible situation - but that's just because I watch too many episodes of Criminal Minds). 

And that is Part 1 of our weekend away. I'll post Part 2 soon but I wanted to keep you in suspense about what happens next so that you have to come back and read our blog again. Actually, the real reason you have to wait for Part 2 is because Rob wants a back scratch and I can't find the camera right now so I can't load the rest of the pictures from Saturday so therefore I cannot post about the rest of our adventure. 

But, I will tell you this. It involved 26 miles and some sweet sunburn...and a perfect day with my best friend.