Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving- Gobble, Gobble

Well, wrapping up my Turkey Day festivities.  We have been busy!  Nice to have a day few days off, back to work tomorrow.  Ridiculous, if you ask me!  But, I will take one for the team.  My belly is fully, my beauties are sleeping and my day is official coming to a close.

I hope that all is well with everyone else in the world as we all have so much to be thankful for.

I did not part-take in the thankful days this year, but I still would like to take a moment and say that I am truly thankful for my family.  I am thankful for the year that we have had, even though it has produced more downs than ups, and for finally getting into our house.

I am thankful to still be among the living and to have such wonderful little girls and a loving husband.  I am thankful for all that we have in this life and all that we are allowed to make of it.

Happy Thanksgiving all.

~until tomorrow...

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Gray Gables Nightmare!! ~ Day 2- No Heat...

Today is Day #2 without a Furnace.  Needless to say, last night was COLD!  We had 2 heaters running on the 2nd floor and 1 running on the 1st and it was NOT making a dent.
Hubby works 2nd shift and when he got off in the morning, he came home, said he left and went to Walmart to pick up 2 more heaters.  He put those in the girls rooms- which were frigid. 

The good news is that we are expected to get propane tomorrow- THANK GOD!  We could have had to wait 10 days - so 3 days is good.  Today was cold in the house, but we have a warmer 2nd floor and are running 4 heaters up there so its actually toasty!

Can not wait until tomorrow- heat again!

Bet this will NEVER happen again- what do you say?

Vaccines- My point of view

I saw this alot, but to each their own.  I would like to start by saying that my views are my own.  I respect everyone's views, but I do not appreciate it when someone wants to preach their views and not respect anyone Else's.  That being said, I might get a little controversial here, but again, this is my view.  I am going to say the things others might not, and I will try to see everything from both perspectives.  Whether I am able to accomplish this, that is in the eyes of the reader.

So, I was at work the other day and I was at work talking to a fellow employee and friend.  She was saying something about the flu shot and it came up in conversation that a friend of hers does not believe in vaccines, period.  I know that there are a lot of people out there that believe that the vaccines cause autism.  I respect those opinions, although, as a mother, I too have read the reports and the reports and the reports, the latest stating that there is no link.  She went on to say that she had to stop her friend from preaching her no-vaccine views on her cousins wife, who is pregnant and just received the flu shot.  She said that the face her friend made at the news was of utter disgust.  This got me to think about it, from the perspective of a Mom who does not believe in vaccines.  This is very difficult for me, because I do believe in them.  I feel like as a child I was vaccinated.  I think that through modern medicine the doses that my kids are getting are probably better than that of which I was given.  The thing about it is, if my kids were not vaccinated, I feel like it would create a harder road for my kids.  I know that this was our first year of Pre-K and the vaccine chart was required, including 4 yo vaccines. Would they not take my kid if she were not vaccinated?  I know that next year, Kindergarten, requires vaccines.  Also, did you know that kids do not get Chicken Pox anymore? They are given a vaccine at 4 that prevents it.  That is crazy!  But, then when I asked the doctor, her reply was that the chance of kids getting them are 99.9%.  I, of course, ask what would the circumstances be that they could, in which her reply was a kid who is not vaccinated that gets them and spreads them.  Isn't that interesting?  I don't think I would want to be "THAT" parent!

I know there is a lot - A LOT - of controversy with the Flu Shot.  Now, this I can relate to.  I did NOT get my flu shot this year.  I have gotten my flu shot every year for 5 maybe even 6 years.  I got it religiously.  Last year, I got sick, then I got sick again, then I got so sick I thought I was going to die!  I vowed not to get it this year.  Hubby did not get it and guess what, he didn't even get sick. WHAT?  Now, that being said, I did get it for my kiddos.  They were swabbed this year and the only reason I did was because Miss 4 yo is sick all the time since starting PreK. Well, guess what, I am sick now- because of HER! And Hubby is too.  And the rest the family- Thanks Miss 4yo!

I just feel like when it comes to school and life, I am trying to protect my kids from Polio - could you image your child getting this debilitating disease? - Whooping cough- Measles, Mumps or Rubella?

I am a Mom.  I respect those Moms who are not vaccinating their kids, but I am a Mom who will.  I also will NOT preach to you what the right thing to do is, I honestly don't know what the RIGHT thing to do is, I just know what the right thing for my family is.  I have two healthy kids and can only base my opinion on that fact.  To each their own, these are just my thoughts.

I would like to close with the fact that research needs to be done to make the right decisions.  Just because the doctor says it needs to be done, ask questions, be prepared, ask about side effects, what you can do to ease the pain, what the vaccine does, etc.  I have a very new school pediatrics office and they work with me to educate me on what is happening at the next appointment, giving me fact sheets so I can do the research and the sheets even have a spot for questions.  The sheets are great because the vaccine names are on the sheet for further research.  They are also open to phone calls to answer questions, which eases my mind because I have had questions.  With my first, I had questions from the first stick in the hospital, in which they had to bring my OB in because the nurses were unable to answer my questions, instead they just wanted to put that first stick in the age old bucket of that is procedure. Well, it needed to be explained to this new Mama.

~To Each Their Own~


Monday, November 25, 2013

Baby, its COLD outside...especially when you run out of Propane- UGH!

We really SUCK at this!  This is our first time not having natural gas and we are really dropping the ball!  Today, while I am at work, with my toasty heater blasting under my desk keeping me super comfy, Hubby calls to tell me he had BAD news... I love when I get these calls- to many to count since we got this house.

Then, he says, WE RAN OUT OF PROPANE and they can't come fill it for 1-10 days- SAY WHAT?  I am like, seriously.  OK, so the dry erase board with all the TO DO stuff has read, CHECK PROPANE for over two weeks now.. Ugh.  Then the dreaded, "I don't know what to do?"  I love this statement!  Again, heard it to many times. 

Propane is at least ordered up.  The problem is Hubby thinks we ran it all the way down, which means we incurred more fees because we now have to have everything tested for leaks- my favorite statement lately is OH JOY!

He informs me that he is going to check some ads and pick up some heaters- gee George, I would hope so- right!

I go about my day in my toasty little world, and DAMN is it cold outside!

So finally end my day, get home to my chilly palace!  We have a heater running and it is still SO cold.  I go into the kitchen and want my coat. This SUCKS! 

Our second floor WAS a little warmer- we have 2 heaters running to keep the girls warmer and I put them in the fleece pj's and lots of extra blankies.  I am not having fun here.  I am freezing with a heater in our room and a dual heat electric blanket and I am still freezing.  I had to keep 1 heater downstairs to heat the dog!

I hope this is a mistake that WONT EVER BE REPEATED!  If nothing else, because ITS COLD OUTSIDE and I don't have a cuddle buddy...

Here's hoping they deliver propane tomorrow.  I guess its going to require more prayers, I am going to owe God big time!

Campbell's Soup Can Propane Tank

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Arm Knitting Tutorial- by

So,  I have had this skein of blue and orange (GO BEARS) yarn next to my bed with a brand new set of knitting needles that I have YET to pick up.  Tonight, while pinning, I found a tutorial on Arm Knitting an infinity scarf.  Sounded intriguing.  I grabbed my yarn and set on a path to learn!

Well, I did it!  I arm knitted an infinity scarf. This got me thinking- how about a blanket?  Would make great Xmas gifts.. So I watched this tutorial- HOW EASY!!  I can not wait to go to the craft store and pick up some more yarn!

Arm Knitting Tutorial for Blanket

The above link will take you to the tutorial.


Beautiful and Simple – DIY Arm Knitting a Blanket – Tutorial and Video, thinking shawl or scarves as I think it would be too loopy as a blanket... but not sure.  I'd have to try it.  @Michelle Floriolli White

Saturday's Things I like for Gray Gables from Pinterest

I am just looking at things on Pinterest and found this idea that I LOVE for our house!  I have a closet at my entryway (ok, so it is NOT finished - just a rough opening, no door, no rod, no floor besides original untreated wood- but it has a cheap hall tree that we are using for coats, so it works..) but I have an empty wall that I would like to put something on- I was thinking about a table- or drop zone for Hubby.  (He currently uses my kitchen table as a drop zone and its really annoying!)
But, I really like this..

hall storage furniture painted Benjamin Moore Wyeth Blue

I also found a pin for Yearly Organization at a glance- this idea is right up my ally!  I am dying to find a way to keep myself and our family organized.  This might be the ticket!

52 folders for each week of the year

A file folder for each week.  I think I might even be able to pull this off- maybe a 2014 project!  I purchased a NEAT system for our family last year and since the house project, I really havent put it to good use yet.  I did use it for receipts and so forth- but havent touched it since April.  I would love to use the NEAT system along with this system and know what comes next- scan bills that have been paid and DISCARD them and keep on track of everything!

I like this alot!!

More to come....

Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs- Please don't judge me!

Today has been a BUSY day!  We got up - way too early in my opinion!  I made Scrambled Eggs and Toast- my girls ATE it up!!

We ran our Saturday errands!  Picture day is tomorrow and due to our Mailbox Mishap, we have had to go to the Post Office to get our mail- only problem is Hubby and I forgot yesterday and I did not know they were opened for morning hours today- so there is where all our mail sits, with the Navy Blue shirts for Hubby and I to match the girls Navy Blue dresses.

 Then to Target- our favorite store!  It snowed today too!  The 4 yo's reaction was the BEST!  She stuck our her tongue and said she was trying to catch the flakes in her mouth.  Sometimes I love her innocence!

Well, it was pretty late by this time- thank you Target!  So we made a quick pass through Arby's drive thru and headed home for a late lunch. 

Well, as I mentioned in my previous post (The Lake House) - I got a nap out of 2 yo , and downtime our of 4 yo and by the time we got done getting up and playing, it was after 6:00- so the daunting question came up- What's for dinner.  Now, please don't judge me!  We are still in the dreadful Hotdog, Chicken nugget phase- YUCK!  I make chicken breasts and only little one will eat it!  I make Roast, again youngest will go hard the oldest won't touch it.. So, it was Tomato soup? NO,  Hot dog, NO (thank god), Turkey Breast roll ups? NO.  Ok, Mom's getting desperate here!  My 4 yo says, Mom, I want CoCoa Puffs that we just got today.. I think to myself, hmm... Ok. And I hear a SURE come out of my mouth!

Hey, it could be worse, right! 

They were happy, they ate it all and because it was *chocolate, they skipped a snack too!  

And, I joined in the fun.  But I don't like CoCoa Puffs so it was Honey Nut Cheerios for me!

Am I a bad parent?  Well, my kids don't think so, so I must not be doing to bad!!!

But then comes the BIG question- Did they go Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?  Heck yea they did!
Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs since 1958!

The Lake House- *Movie* - a Favorite!!

Today, I had the pleasure to do something, during the daytime hours, that I never - NEVER- get to do... What, your wondering?  I was able to watch a movie.  OK, yes it is a movie I tried to watch the other night but only got half way through because of a 9:00 conflict with Gray's Anatomy (which is weird because I do DVR it?)  - but I was able to watch it in its entirety - commercials and all- since it was on Cable- THANKS E!!  and Movies we LOVE!

The Lake House (2006)  I know the masses hated it but it I'm a softy.
The Lake House is a great movie.  It is one of those movies that when it is on, I feel compelled to watch.  Keanu, Sandra- the story line is one that moves you and makes you think during the entire movie!  I just love it and I am so ecstatic that I was able to watch it while one of my kiddo's took a NAP- yes, I said it, a NAP, the three letter word that has not been practiced in our house for quite some time now.  But, I guess with this sickness comes sleep!  The big one was busy watching a movie on her own and playing in the mirror- oh to be 4!!

What is one of your favorite movies?  I guess I have one that is my all time FAV and i really have been craving it lately too-  guesses, anyone...anyone... Sweet Home Alabama is my all time favorite!

"Why you wanna marry me anyway?"  "So I can kiss you anytime I want.."   LOVE IT!
Sweet Home Alabama

Now, if only I could find some time and a DVD of the Great Gatsby, Leo edition, I would be set!  My favorite book turned into new movie and I still haven't seen it!

gatsby, retro, print, writing, font, black, cursive, design
Well, I guess there is always tomorrow... Hey, a MOM can Dream, can't she!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday- Decorating Ideas for Christmas

I love the holidays! I also LOVE having a new house and new spaces to decorate for holidays!

So, here is what i found- thanks to Pinterest!
lights, bells, ribbon - sweet christmas decor Love this!  Rustic bowl, jingle bells painted gold, gingam red ribbon tied to a strand of xmas lights!  Simple, yet awesome!

REALLY like this:  {I've been} Framed Christmas Tree Ornament Wreath - Simplicity in the South

Who knew trying to get your Certificate for Occupancy could be SO HARD!

Ok, so, we obtained our house in March of 2012.  We have spent a year and a half in demo.  In October, we HAD to move in.   Well, everyone worked really hard- and in the end - we were unable to obtain our certificate of occupancy in time.  So, we talked to our main inspector who couldn't give us the go-ahead to obtain the certificate, but bascially said, if you have to move in, you have to move in.
So, we had a list of stuff we needed to do to get our certificate.  We finally got that done and passed the inspection- well almost!  The plumbing inspector is a piece of work- who has given us problem after problem.  Well, we still need him to come in and give the plumbing a final inspection- oh joy!

So, keep your fingers crossed.  We need this certificate to get deed to our house.   Everything is in working order, just more money and work to get done. 

Please God, let us pass and get our certificate.


End of the line: 13abc Cherokee is done! - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

End of the line: 13abc Cherokee is done! - Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

I had to share - my Hubby is on the Cherokee line!  So proud of him and the work he is doing, the company he is working for and all that he does for our family.


Eat...Sleep....Jeep ....

5 Facts You Might be better off NOT knowing (Just for FUN!)

Fun FactsFun FactsFun Facts
Fun FactsFun Facts


& it needs to get here fast soooo I can be FREE; starting my leave early and so grateful I can.

Sampling: A Short Story.

Old House Revisited my favorite style. I want this!

A Connection within


K. Amstutz

New Beginnings

      The old, rusted, blue Honda finally came to a stop in front of the weathered Gray House.   Her travels had been long but what was before her made the trip worth while.  It was more stately than she had imagined, even more so than the pictures that had been sent to her via email.  A whim, her mother had called it, a gamble said her father.  She had bought the property through the help of the internet and a phone call.  Looking back two months ago, when it all happened, it had seemed like a rash decision, one that she really had not taken the time to think through, feeling compelled.  Then making the arrangements, long distance had been full of its own struggles and challenges, all of which she had overcome.  She traveled the two thousand, three hundred and nine mile trip from San Diego, California to Oregon, Ohio.  It now felt more like a dream, except for the fact that here she was, standing in front of the old house, the one that spoke to her through those grainy pictures, that told her that this was for her, her home. 

      She opened the squeaky door as the cold air and wind wrapped itself around her short sleeve covered arms.  She quickly wrapped her arms around herself to ward off the cold, the type that went right through to your bones as she used her body to  bump the  car door closed behind her.  She was enthralled with the bricks and mortar beyond her, looking up to the attic windows with white paint chipping all around then, the cedar shake siding that looked loose and decrepit as the wind pasted through it, beyond it with an accelerated gust. 

      A tall, dark man was exiting his shiny, black Acura.  He had casually pulled up near the massive front porch of the residence.  He gray suit complemented his car very nicely.  His brown hair, not a piece left unkempt, his face, tan causing his blue eyes to stand out along with his bright white teeth.  He looked like a model, very polished and had a kind smile that was inviting, almost drawing a person to join. 

      “Kara?  Hi, I am Josh.  I am so glad you made it, and in good time.”  He continued to smile, showing his perfect, white teeth, accentuating two adorable dimples on either side of his mouth.  His blue eyes were piercing into her own, his hand gently extended to take her own in a hold, rather than a shake.

      “Hi.  Josh, it is so nice to finally meet you.  In person." Kara said, her nerves making their way to her voice.   "So this is our old girl, huh.  The pictures didn’t do her justice.  She is huge!” she said, her own smile showing off a set of equally perfect white teeth.  Her brown eyes beaming up at her purchase with as much anxiety as eagerness to unwrap, so to speak, the present and see the inside.

      “She needs a lot of work.  Let’s go in and I can show you around.  Do you have a moving truck coming?” Josh asked, curiously.  He had spoken to her once a week for over two months and knew she was making a long-distance move.

      She smiled kindly at him.  He made her feel like they were old friends.  “I actually left everything behind.  I brought a few things that would fit, but I am starting fresh.” she said simply. 

      They walked up the twelve once gray stairs to the impressive, large porch area.  

      “Obviously, I need to speak about the massive portico.  I am pretty sure you will even be able to park your car underneath this beauty.  At one time, it looks as if it might have even held a chandelier." he spoke easily to her.

       They both looked upward, toward the all wood ceiling, still in excellent condition,due to the many coats of paint it had received over the years. 

      She felt captivated by the house.  It was almost immediate, as soon as she pulled into the long, stone drive.  This house had a story, she could feel it.  She stood on the porch and looked out onto the acres of land.  Land that was now all hers.  Her heart was fluttering, a mix of emotions were flowing through her system.

      Josh opened the old wood door.  Some of the glass panes were broken or missing.  The musty smell of the old house soaked immediately into Kara's mind, triggering emotions that she was unaware of until this moment. The entryway featured a foyer with yet another door before walking into the massive living area with a grand, stone fireplace.  The house was dark.  Cobb webs hung from every corner.  The story was just beginning, Kara could feel it.  She was in love, despite the disrepair, the emptiness and the dirt and dust left behind.
      Josh loved this part of the real estate business.  He loved the reaction from his clients when he took them through their new purchase.  The tour began, a little out of order in this case.  Usually, his clients were just looking at this point, not the home owner, but all in all, it was a treat to watch Kara make her way through her new home.  They started on the third floor.  This was a converted attic space that now had four individual rooms.  In once corner was an unfinished part where old boxes of left behind artifacts from previous owners still took residence. A full staircase lead to this space and had plenty of room for either storage or to make it into office areas or what not, with plenty of light from the old windows in each peak.  The second floor housed three bedrooms, all very large and a master.  There were also two full sized bathrooms, one in the hall, one in the master bedroom.  Visions were dancing in Kara's mind.  Down the steps to the first floor where a large kitchen, separate pantry area, dining room, living area with the stone fireplace, enclosed and insulated porch room full of  windows and a laundry area filled the footprint.  In the kitchen were steps that lead to the basement area that was mostly finished as well.  The furnace needed an upgrade, as well as the electrical box, as the rooms all had twist knobs to turn on lights recessed in the ceilings.

        She was seeing the pictures in her mind, the way to make this her own. She was seeing how it used to be, the furniture that used to live  in each space.  For a moment, it felt as if she were stuck in between two spaces, two times, two worlds.  

      A permanent smile was plastered on her face, a glow illuminating from off her skin.  She was silent for the tour, room by room, taking it all in.  Josh commentated each room, showing her this and that as they made their way, as they took in the ambiance of what was today and perhaps what was once before.  Before her time.  Before his own. 

      “You see it, don’t you?” Josh said, finally, when they had made their way up the basement steps and were back in the kitchen area, or that which once was.  The kitchen lacked the things a kitchen needed.  Cabinets were gone, appliances were no longer present.  It was a footprint, a good one, in Kara's mind, but it was unfinished and could be completely scary.

      She smiled back at him, and his comment.  She couldn’t explain it, but there was definitely a connection between them.  Her, the house.  Her and Josh.  She could feel the draw, even as she was outside, oblivious to the man, she still knew he was their, knew that he was a part of this journey.

      After the tour, they both made their way to the front porch.  She sat upon the steps, taking in the country air, the crispness, the wind blowing colder than it had even as they entered the house.  

      "Do  you need any names of contractors or furnace and electric professionals?" he asked, his frigid hands in his pockets as he struggled to find warmth in the cold wind. 

       "I think I might.  Can I give you a call tomorrow, if you have a few to pass along?" Kara said, her eyes affixed to his. 

        "I would like that." he said, not realizing his own words, "I mean, sure. I think I have a few I can give you that will give you a good price and do great work on her." he said pointing to the house, finding a bit of his wits.  "What are you doing for dinner tonight?"  he asked, already at the bottom of the stairs she was still sitting on.

         "Oh, I'll be alright. I have a few canned goods and a microwave.  I am sure that old electricity can hold up for a few nights.  I had it turned on before I left.  Nothing like being prepared.  And if all else fails, I can always stay in a hotel or whatever." she said, smiling graciously at him and his kindness. 
        He stepped back towards her, handed her a sleek, black card with embossed white writing on it.  "If you need anything, my cell is at the bottom.  Kara, call me.  I don't live to far." he winked at her as he once more made his way down the stairs and towards his sleek car. "I am serious.  I will talk to you tomorrow, if not before.  Have a good night, OK." he said as he stepped inside. His kindness sweeping over Kara.  She waved as he backed out of the driveway, past her rusty old car. 

         He left her to the emptiness of the house.   She made her way inside.  She stood in the living room for a long time,  just taking it all in.  Kara was HOME. 


      The following day had been a busy one for Kara.  She had unpacked what little she took with her from her car the night before and spent most of the morning cleaning up the dust bunnies that had been left behind from years of neglect.  Her prior evening, after Josh had departed had been uneventful.  She made some Wanton Soup, from a can, in her microwave, which worked just fine, thank goodness.  She inflated her air mattress in the living room, for the time being and had a make shift table and lamp set up next to it.  She slept soundly.  Better than she had in weeks, due to traveling around the country.  By the time she was able to take a break and give Josh a call, it was almost four o'clock in the afternoon, which was probably quitting time for him. 

       "Hi." she said, awkwardly into the her cell phone.  "This is Kara.  You sold me the house on County Road B." she added.

       "Hi. I was going to give you a call in a few and make sure you were OK."  he spoke sweetly.

       She laughed.  "I am doing better than OK.  Just settling in.  I tackled a lot of cleaning today." she said.  "Oh, sorry, is it a good time?" she asked, cautiously.
       "Sure is." he said simply.

       "Well, I was able to get some stuff moved here and there and would love to have some contractors numbers so that I might start a time line and get moving on the rehab." she said.

       "Sure.  There is a great company, they kind of do it all.  They are real reasonable too."  he said.  "Do you have a pen and paper?"

       "Yes. I am ready." she said.

       "OK, this contractor comes highly recommended.  Of course, check with the BBB, and I can always provide photos of past projects.  You want to reference, check out the company, that is important, Kara."

       "Of course, sure." she said.  She was patiently waiting, enjoying the interaction with him.

       "OK.  James Mcaud & Sons." he said, pausing.

       "Wait.  Your father?" she said after a moment.

        "Yes.  We are all involved.  There are five of us." he said.

         "Why didn't you say so?" she said.

        He could almost see her smile, even through the phone.  "I don't want to be bias." he spoke, quietly.  "I know it's kind of conflict of interest."

        "Are you kidding me?  How so?  That is awesome, and it just makes sense.  You sell houses and work on them.  That kind of makes you a jack of all trades in the housing world, doesn't it?"

        "I don't know about that.  We work on a lot of housing projects in the city.  Enough to make this real estate thing a gig for me, due to the construction demands. But it still makes it awkward when you have the gem you just bought that needs work, a lot of it."

        "When can you give me a quote?" she said simply.

       "Do you research on us, first." he said.

        "Than, an estimate? When can you all come out and give me an estimate?  Let's start there."

        They set everything up, Kara already knowing that this was a done deal.  She had found a person in this new place that she trusted, she felt connected to, and it was easy.  Something that she had never felt before.  Yes, a crush, she would call it and had to determine if she could control her crush while he worked on this old house, in close proximity as her.  She knew that it was time to set up her office, get a phone hooked up and her internet installed and get back to work, before they started to let the hounds out to retrieve her.   She had a deadline, although months ahead, she knew that communication was key, especially when dealing with her boss, and now that several thousands of miles were separating them, literally, it would be more important than ever for her to not disappear.


       A few weeks had past since she last saw Josh.  His father, a kind-hearted, jolly man with salt and peppered short hair, tanned skin and a deep voice had swung by the day after asking for an estimate from Josh.  He was eager to take on the project, and really wanted to know Kara's vision so that he could make that a reality.  He had pride in his voice when he spoke of his five sons and each of their abilities, especially Josh.  His price was right and the work began the very next day, tackling the electrical issues, getting a new furnace and air conditioning unit installed and working on the kitchen area.  Four of the brothers each had a duty and the project was taking shape, but Josh was held up in real estate projects, so he was no where to be seen...or heard from. 

       Kara had already managed to acquire some things, as she did a little shopping here and there within the city.  She was taking her time with this task and letting the furniture pick itself.  She found a great antique shop in the heart of the city of Toledo that was also very reasonable and scooped it right up.  

      She found a fanning couch in a soft yellow that simply spoke to her.  As soon as she saw it, the pictures in her mind placed it in the living room.   She had also found a dining table that was mahogany, very ornate and dated back to the late eighteen hundreds, matching the period of the house.

      She had taken on the painting, as she found it very relaxing and rewarding and had managed to painted every room.  She chose a yellow for the living room, a grayish blue for the dining room, a neutral khaki for the kitchen, a gray for the hallway leading upstairs and a light gray for the upstairs bedrooms.  She chose colors that were historic, trying to keep the era of the house alive. 

      A knock at the door distracted her from her daydream about what her expectations for the living room should be.  She was in the process of setting it up as the visions played out in her mind. 

     Josh was standing on the other side of the heavy, rod iron, and black screen door.  He was wearing jeans and a blue polo and looked handsome as she remembered. She stopped and took in his presence, before going to the door to let him in.

      “Looks like you’re getting settled.”  He said, smiling.

      “And what do I owe the pleasure?”

      “I just wanted to check on you, see how you are doing, you being new here and all. And see how my family was doing with the progress”  he said as he looked around at the freshly painted walls that greeted him.  "This color is perfect." he commented as he walked further inside.

      She wasn’t sure what to say.  The chemistry between them was electric.  She felt like he could see every part of who she was, but yet, they did NOT know each other.  It was causing her blood to heat up slowly within in her body, to cause a slight vibration in the air between where they each stood.

      “Settling just fine.  Thank you for the support on the color.  I was not really sure, but went with historic paint colors, to preserve the history." she said smiling. 

       "I would have picked the same color." he said finally. “I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to interrupt your day.  I just feel a tie to this house and, frankly, to you too.”   He said as he put his head down, focusing on his shoes.

      She took a step back, not knowing how to digest his bluntness.  “Oh,” was all she could think to say as a response.  “Well, do you want to have a look around?”

      She led him through the massive floor plan.  He commented on the colors she had chosen and the few pieces of furniture that she had picked up so far. He noticed, observed and inspected his father and brothers handiwork here and there. 

      “Are you hungry?  I was going to make a sandwich, if you would like to stay?” she said, as they made their way  into the new kitchen, now equipped with updated electric, appliances and counter space.

      "Wow." he said. "This looks amazing.  I love those cabinets.  Are they custom?"  he asked.

      "No. Honestly, I found them on Craigslist and Dylon, your brother, painted them for me.  They turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  I love the dark blue and the gloss he suggested were just what they needed to really stand out."  she said, her eyes twinkling with delight.

        "This is amazing.  You have a good eye, Kara." he said.  "About that sandwich, if you don;t mind.  I know you have a lot going on here and I don't want to be a bother." he said gently.

       "Not a bother at all.  I have to eat anyways, but I am going to warn you, I will probably put you to work." she said smiling at him sweetly.  She stopped in her tracks, as she felt like she was flirting with this man who yes, she was attracted to, but she had no idea if he was married, or maybe just in a relationship. "Agh, on second thought, maybe you should go." she said, her mood changing quickly, her smiling fading fast.

       He looked at her, taken back at the sudden change that was happening right before him.  He found a seat on the empty stool that was under the counter and put his hands on his head, calmly, before he spoke.  "What just happened?" he asked her. "Did I do something to piss you off?"

     "No.  No, it's nothing like that.   I just assumed that you had nothing else to do.  I don't know your situation and you certainly don't know mine." she said.

      "I don't have a situation, Kara.  I like you.  I feel drawn to you. I don't know what we have, but right now, I want to be your friend, get to know you." he said sincerely.

      She didn't know what to say.  She was startled when he quickly got up, made his way around the other side of the kitchen island.  "Do you have a silverware drawer yet?" he asked before searching himself.

      "The drawer right in front of you." she said simply.  He went to the fridge, grabbing the mayonnaise, turkey and lettuce.  He opened a drawer near the silverware, finding the white bread and began making two sandwiches on the clean, white marble counters.

      She watched him.  Watched the way he spread the mayonnaise on the bread, the way his mouth twisted  in a sexy way while he was so determined to make a great sandwich.  He cut the bread into halves and grabbed a paper towel, sliding one towards her on the other side of the counter.  "I call this my world famous turkey a la Josh" he said casually.  "Beware though, it makes the women fall in love." he winked his baby blues at her, melting her beating heart just a little more.

     "Why is it, when you make a sandwich it never tastes as good as when someone else makes it?" she asked him, breaking the silence that was hanging between them.

     "Told you." he simply said.

     She smiled, knowingly in his direction.  "You know, I don't have a situation, either." she finally said.

      He looked at her, staying quiet, as their eyes locked and held.  He moved towards her, slowly, testing the waters, before he reached around her on the stool, taking her into his arms and turning her into a kiss that would have surly knocked her off of her feet.  It was full of passion, lust, want and need.  It was new and exciting and lingered on and on for what felt like minutes.  She let herself go, as he did the same, molding into one consistently beating heart.

     When his lips left her own, a tingle resided, not just in her now tender, pink mouth, but circulating throughout her body, moving down her arms, to her legs, settling into her feet.  It left her unbalanced.

     "I think we have a situation." he said finally, as the same feelings resonated within his body, mind and soul.  He was still holding her hand, the energy building once more between them, igniting something that felt as if it were lost.

      She blushed.  "I think you are very right." she finally spoke, her voice a quiver with the electricity and heat that was still pumping wildly throughout her system.

     They finished eating in silence.  The heat was surrounding them, hugging them as the friction between them continued to settle.  He got up first, picked up her plate to bring it to the sink and wash it, showing her that he was caring and sincere.

    "Care you sit on the porch with me?" she finally spoke, her words more steady.

    "I would love to." he said, smiling.  "But, do you need my help around here with anything?"
    "Perhaps later?"  she questioned.

    He did not speak.  He grabbed her hand, brought her to him, molded her body to his.  His fingers moving through her long brown hair that was pulled into a ponytail, his eyes taking in all of her before his lips met hers once more.

    The vibrancy of their kiss, of their union was to much for either of them.  Hands were all over one another.  Bodies were pressed together.  Hearts were beating faster and faster.  Their lips never parting as she pulled him to the second floor, as she moved him to the flimsy air mattress that was serving as her temporary bed.  He laid with her, lips still attached, buttons beginning to be undone, flesh to flesh.  It happened faster than the mind could think, should think.  He felt her, all of her, he took his time, kissing here and there, lost in her body as she was lost in his own. He kissed her deep once more before moving into her, her head flying back, taking all of him, lost in him, in feeling that did not feel as if they were her own.  Moving with him, climbing higher and higher until she could no longer see.  Her head full, her body just as much as she dove off the edge into pure bliss, taking him down with her.

     All that was left were beating hearts.  He brushed her hair from her face, gently, her body wrapped tightly against his own, within his arms.  Her breaths slowing, as were his own.  Neither one spoke for a long while, just being together, touching one another softly, with so much care.  It was undeniable.  The draw between then.  The tie that both felt toward one another.  They both knew in that moment, in the silence, they had a situation.

Happily Ever After

      It had been a full year since she first arrived in front of the old gray battered house.  She sat on the steps of the front porch, the sun casting a brilliant glow on her brown hair, reflecting on how much her life had changed, for the better, since coming to Ohio.  She had experienced her first winter, and snow for the first time.  She had found true love.  She had a huge home, with acres of land.  She had found happiness.   She even had an English Bulldog who was her best friend. 

      Josh walked out of the house, the little dog following, and made his way to the old carriage house.  He walked back out with a handful of beautiful, red roses, a string tied to the dogs brown leather collar.  He walked down the stone drive, making his way to her side. 

      “This has been the best year of my life." he said.   "I loved this house but didn’t have the means to obtain it.  Through it I met you and found love.  I want to spend my life with you.  I don’t know where I would be without you.” his face was alive with love. 

      Tears escaped Kara’s eyes, running down her reddened cheeks.  The dog came up and put his head on her lap, a ring hanging by her feet.  She saw the light hitting it, reaching for it as Josh’s hand took hers and with one quick motion. He untied the ring and placed it on Kara’s soft, slender finger. 

      They had come full circle in just one short year.  Her new beginning turned into her everlasting end with the life she had once only dreamed about having, within her reach.  

      A true connection created an eternal happiness.

(C) all rights reserved.  Copyright 2017 Kel Amstutz/ Life at Gray Gables

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday in the house of the (Cold) Sick-OOOss

Well, Happy Holidays to the A Family!  We are one SICK household!  Ms. 4 yo brought home a cold from Pre-K and has managed to knock my Hubby and myself DOWN!  I have been sick for over a week now and it just plain stinks!  To top it all off Ms. 4 has a bad cough. Once she gets going it makes her puke!  Ms. 2 yo seems to have the best Immunity- she has a touch of the runny nose but luckily (yes, I am knocking on wood here) she has not developed this God, Awful, Chest pulling cough!

I have spent several nights knocking myself out, thanks to Tylenol Cold Multi Symptom night time relief - but it is only managing to knock me out- not the cold.

What are your thoughts on the FLU vaccine?

Well, I guess I should pre-face with the fact that I for-went the Vaccine this year.  I have been a believer for five years and last year did me in!  I received my vaccine and right after I was catching EVERYTHING that came down the pike!  I even got the worst stomach flu EVER!  I seriously thought I was going to die- and to top it all off, I had to go to a Chicago Bears game that Hubby got tickets to for Xmas- and I was a pale, miserable mess!

So, ever since then, I vowed that I was no longer going to be inoculated with said Flu Vaccine.  But, I did get my kids the nose swab this year.  I felt like if i didn't, would that make me a  BAD Mom?  I have gotten them the vaccine loyally, their whole lives.  Plus, I am justifying my actions with the fact the Ms. 4 is in Pre-K and catching "germ-ans" all the time.

Its kind of a tough pill to swallow, her being sick all the time.  We managed to only have one illness during her almost 4 years of life.  When she was two she got a high temp and we had to take her to the hospital.  She pulled through, but it was an entire night awake and a lot of medication.  Since, she was always healthy as a horse!  And Ms. 2 follows suite!

So, here we are this year and since starting Pre-K in August, she has had constant running nose syndrome and 2, YES, 2 colds this year!  What the heck.. But she is a trooper, sort of at least.  I have to give her night time Triaminic at 5 pm for it to unwind her by 8 pm.   If I give it to her at 8- we have all sorts of problems because we are overly tired and HATE sleep!

God, I love being a MOM!  I don't know what the heck my life would be like if I didn't have my kiddo's.  (This might be my Meds talking.. just saying)

So, I have survived yet another day, managing to only HACK up ONE lung today.  I am begging at this point for this crap to leave my body and let me be healthy through the rest of the season - but my hoarse voice is seriously FAILING me.

So, if I am distant, this is the reason.  Life sucks when your sick!!!  So eat more Chicken and Dumpling Soup!!

Chicken and Dumplings RECIPE!!

1 Sam's Club Rotisserie Chicken (take off all white meat and will get about 3 cups)  abt  $5.00
2 Boxes of Chicken Broth  ( I buy box at Sam's Club for abt $6.00)
Frozen onions (I buy in Frozen foods at Kroger's and keep on hand for abt $2.00)
Carrots (about 5 cut up)
Celery  (about 4 cut up)
8 Frozen Pillsbury Biscuits  (I buy Frozen from Sam's club  abt $6.00)
Dried Parsley
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Take out Frozen biscuits and put on counter to thaw.
2. Shred Rotisserie chicken and get all white meat off bird. Put into stockpot with any dripping from rotisserie chicken and add 1 cup of water.
3. Add 1 box of chicken broth.  Let simmer for 30 Min's.
4. Chop carrots and celery up and simmer with a dollop of olive oil and frozen onions until tender.  Add to stock pot.  Let simmer for 30 additional minutes.
5. Put flour down and thawed biscuits and use pizza cutter to cut thin strips.  Add to stock pot.
6. Add another box of chicken broth.
7. Add Dried Parsley.
8. Leave on Med/High heat for 30 Min's and let simmer.

Add salt and pepper to taste and serve!

 Chicken and Dumplings- when I need my Cracker Barrel fix :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Family: Picture day is this weekend!

Well, the time of year has come again, family picture day is this weekend!  I know Hubby is jumping with joy- um, not!

But, the little ladies are excited!  I picked up dresses this past weekend- navy blue this year, adorable!

Watch out JCP we are going to be IN THE BUILDING Sunday!

Our $20 Carter Dresses and YES THEY MATCH!

Mailbox- DOWN! Day is a total crap shoot!

Today was a ROUGH day, in general.  I had tons of fun trying to get through to the parentals that I did not wish for them to come work on our house because we are good.  In which, I am told that our living situation is ridiculous.  I then got told that I need to clean up around the house because I need to start worrying about curb appeal because people are checking out the house.

Lets get something straight- I DON'T CARE WHAT PEOPLE THINK!  This has been an issue from day 1.  I did NOT want to create a MUSEUM, I wanted to create a HOME. I am not worried about a Christmas tour coming through MY home. I was worried about making a safe place for my kids.  Yes, I let a lot of the historic parts of the home stay, but not every single thing.  We made changes, we updated and put our ideas, as much as we could, into play.

So, after dealing with this wonderful stuff!  I pull up to our house, and, my frickin' mailbox is lying in the yard, my mail is ALL over the ground and the pole is bent over. What?  I was NOT happy..

Now, upon further inspection, our mailbox is the ONLY one taken down! So, then, I get to relay the information to the sick Hubby.  Guess what, we know we needed a new mailbox- and I guess this puts a kick in our rear to get it done- but DAMN!

So, to another stressful day!!

Interesting read

Monday, November 18, 2013

The purpose of my blog- I WANT TO BE AN AUTHOR

So, I wrote a book. I started a few more, but I wrote a book from start to finish.  I let it sit for years. I found it again, re-read it, changed it up a little here and there and finished it again.
I took an e-course I purchased from - $20 for a 10 module book publishing course - I finished said course and yet here I am, still struggling to find the words for my Query Letter so that I can start submitting for publishing.

I am going to try to start with a Literary Agent, because I am noticing a lot of the publishing companies do not take independent work and self publishing is NOT an option for me.

I want to be legit.  I want to write, I love to write and I want to make this a career.  I want to be Nora Roberts.  She has been my favorite Author for as long as I can remember.  I am loyal, always pre-ordering the next book, dive in when it finally comes out.  I am a huge fan and want to capture my audience and paint the vivid pictures in others as she does for me.

I also want this blog to be about my life.  I am a Mom, Wife and a victim of home remodel.  I love my life and would only change 1 aspect, I would love, love, love to be a stay at home Mom.  Especially with my oldest getting ready for Kindergarten next fall.

I will start my journey to getting published and I am sure it will be a part of this blog as it will be a part of my life.

Thanks for following me, if you are! 

The desk is finally together and set up!

Life is good.  We accomplished *something this weekend.  Well, ok, a few things.  Hubby was only off on Sunday and managed to get the light up in our closet and the Desk together and set up.  Yeah!

I got our closet cleaned up, organized and all the stuff we dont *need right now, put in the attic.  I also managed to get the girls toys cleaned up a bit, and my tupperware organized!  GO ME.

I still havent ran the vaccum, but we will manage.  We have so much still to do.  The latest flavor of the week seems to be the Parents wanting to come back and help.  I have to give an answer and Hubby is like, no.  Right now we are stress free, noone hates him (or to his face they dont seem to) and we are all getting along.  I relay this and I am told that THEY will be coming over and Hubby doesnt need to know- what? I feel stuck.  I know my Dad will get stuff done around here, but it will be his way or the highway, whether I like it or not.  This approach does not sit well with Hubby and I, since this is our house and we would like to have a say in how we want it set up- if it wont work, at least think about it and give me valid reason WHY it wont work, not just that we are stupid, or we cant do that, or because we dont have time.  That kind of sucks, but it is in the past.

So my crossroad is, do I let it roll as we are, getting nothing done or things slowly done- or do I let them back in and even though they say they dont want to take over, they are already telling me to get a new cabinet here or do this, or we cant do it the way Hubby was thinking.  Ahh. It could all be so simple, but you'd rather make it hard, loving you is like a battle and we both end up with scars (sorry Lauren Hill screams in my head with them.)

 Where am I in my head?  Well, I feel like Hubby is making lots of that paper and I am trying to get my stuff situated to where I can put some of that paper away so I can just hire someone to come in here- put together my kitchen, laundry room, change out my half bath, add a door to the basement - tear off a funny room at the end of our house with a dirt floor and put on a deck.  Oh yea, we also need a concrete floor and loft in the pole barn.  I dont feel like this is unreasonable- no family ties- no drama.  Just work and money.

So ready for DISNEY!  Maybe in a few years.

Christmas is only 5 Saturdays Away- WHAT?

This is crazy! Why is time going SO fast?  I am still in the thick of narrowing down my little lists- and it is causing me a lot of stress. 
I went Pinterst-ing with my little ones today and looked at beautiful pictures of Christmas Decor- these are a few of our favs:

This is kind of putting me in the mood for the holidays.  I have NO idea how I am going to achieve getting my Christmas stuff down and put up- but if there is a WILL there is a WAY, right!

Until then, I still have 5 more Saturdays, right?!?

Book Bub - $2.99 and Under Digitial Books for Kindle and/or Nook for 11-18-2013

Great deals today- check them out!

Did somebody say....Tornado? In November?

Say what? 

Yes, this is my reality!  We almost lost our pole barn yesterday due to HIGH winds, only to find out that a EF2 Tornado touched down- a block away!

The irony of the whole situation is, shortly after we bought this old house, we were able to work with the historical society, I am a history buff and really wanted to know the who built this house, why did they build it, how did they live- all those, now unanswerable questions, with a house built in 1892, right!
But the historical society caught up with a gentleman who lived in our house in the 40's and told a story about a barn on the property that his Uncle was living in and caring for.  In the late 40's, in late fall a tornado went through- at this time this house had acres of land- so it was all field.  It took out the old barn.  His Uncle survived, as did this old house- but the barn was demolished!  There is another garage- Carriage House- in front of said barn and that survived also.

Well, here we are over 120 years later and who builds their pole barn in the same spot as said tornado victim barn- my Hubby.  We honestly didn't know it was in the same location until the Gentleman relayed to the contact I have.

So, today, I thank God for letting us remain safe, letting our barn - who already fell down once during the build due to the winds last year- still stand proud.

Take cover!!

Ohio got hit hard, just down the road from us. The drive on screens crushed, power lines down everywhere and we almost lost our pole barn for the second time.
They aren't confirming a tornado, yet.
We have power but the wind is still gusting at 40 mhps.

I will post later when we are able to digest all the area damage!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

World News: China's Vow to Relax One-Child Policy


My views on this article are filled with thoughts of, um, ridiculous-ness!  It is 2013 people!  The Chinese are only allowed to have 1 child unless BOTH parents are only children, then are allowed to have 2 children.  The "relaxed" decision would allow those who want two children to do so ONLY IF one of the parents is an only child.

I understand that this is a population control issue and that it is NOT America! I am not that naive.  But, really, a government that dictates how many children you are ALLOWED to have?  I can not even comprehend that.

How do you feel about the Duggers?  I am sure that China mocks this family standard.  I don't hate them, they are a stable family, debt free even.  In my opinion, only having 2 children, I am ENVIOUS to say the least!  I hope to attain that financial status in the near future, but could never image with 19 kids under my belt.  The financial burden alone is a tough pill to swallow.  Again, this is in America.  These standards are NOT a 'reality' for China.

I just feel that God has a hand in fertility and the Government in China is dictating that.  I don't know anything about their religious backgrounds or anything, but I can only image, from my standpoint, that this is a normal thing for them and not to be challenged.

I would also like to note that as I feel that God has a hand in fertility, he does let us all have our own decisions.  I am comfortable with two children.  I don't feel like I would do myself justice as a mother with three, this is ME.  I know plenty of friends, family and women in general, who are on baby number three or four or five and they are excellent mothers and I can totally see them with tons of kids.  I don't look down on people for the number of children they do bare.  To each their own.

As an American, I think China is crazy, but I guess that is why I live in America, right!

Shopping for the home- Kirklands!

I love Kirkland's stores! They smell good, they are beautiful, they are fun, exciting and full of color!  The website does the same for me.  I am obsessed and Christmas time is NO exception.  I want everything, and having a NEW house, I find things that I want every-time I shop.  They also have great deals and are super reasonable.

My latest online (my kids are crazy today, so no errands here!) - shopping trip, I found lots of gift ideas, decorating ideas and awesome stuff.

My list:

I just love everything in this picture!

Gifts for Wine Lovers
And I am all about lanterns:

I am trying to go with an Industrial style in the new house (except for when its Christmas- then I need the snowman/moose, down home feeling!

I am in love with this lamp and its on SALE! for $199!!

I also have been looking for a console table for a wall past my entryway- something that looks old, where we can throw our keys and mail and miscellaneous stuff. (Hubby has a BAD habit of emptying his pockets on my dining table- ewe!)
And this table is also $199.  Right in my price range!  I am still debating though- our ceiling are mahogany coiffured and although our floors need redone because they are over 120 yrs old, they are almost an oak color at this point, except for the entry way path, its more worn and weathered, almost a gray color at this point and time.  We do have it in the plans to either have the floors redone -or- carpet - I am leaning more towards Carpet, fluffy cooshness on my feet- but we shall see!

I can't forget the most important part- the COUPONS!!

Free Shipping on Orders of $50 or More - Ends Sunday 11/17

Happy Shopping!!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

BOOK BUB & SWEET FREE BOOKS- the emails to get for Nook and Kindle!

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a local radio station and they were talking about some cool things to check out.  Book Bub was mentioned, I, being an avid reader jotted it down and stuck the piece of paper in my purse, only to readdress the paper at a later date.  Upon discovering this thing called Book Bub- I was prompted to enter an Email Address and like them on Facebook.

Now, I am OBSESSES.  I cant wait to get my email daily!  Were talking no books over $2.99.  No Joke!

This inspired me to look further and after some research, I found a site called SWEET FREE BOOKS.   awesome!  I wait for this email even more so than Book Bub!

I have SO many books on Nook AND Kindle that I am never going to have enough time to read them all in my life- and they keep coming - DAILY!

So, I have decided to incorporate this into my BLOG- of course!

My Downloads today, SATURDAY, November 16th, 2013 on KINDLE:

Free  -  Deer Season by Aaron Stander 

Deer Season
Free  - In a Small Town (A Small Town Series: Book One) by Marc A DiGiacomo
In A Small Town (A Small Town Series: Book One)
Free - This Shattered Land (Surviving Dead) by James Cook
 This Shattered Land (Surviving the Dead)

Now, I would like to say that I download a Free Kindle book on 9/17/13 - called  Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery by M. Louisa Locke. 

Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco Mystery
This book was Amazing!  It takes place in the early 1800s and I would BUY this book, that is how good it is.  It is NOT a fifty shades book in ANY means.  It is strickly mystery and an interesting plot takes you through the complex characters flawlessly.  It is definatly on my RECOMMEND list, even if you ahve to pay for it!

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