Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oh Crap....{literally}

Hi friends!  I've been busy taking doors off the hinges in my house and painting them...2 coats on each side.  I'm sure you can imagine how torturous fun this process is!  When we bought our house we were fortunate enough to inherit 3different trim colors throughout the house.  My favorite trim color happened to be the color that they painted in our room (can you feel the sarcasm dripping from that comment???).  Honestly, from the looks of it, it's as if they painted a polyurethane coat over top the trim and it yellowed.  So nasty.  The color we decided to paint our trim ("White Umber" by Porter Paints) is very white compared to the 3 other trim colors going on in these parts...especially in our bedroom where it looks like someone peed all over the doors (apparently this post has a lot of bathroom references).  I've been quite busy trying to unify everything.

I decided to take a break and share a story with you that is only funny to me now because I've lived through it and will {hopefully} never have to live through it again......

The number one thing that everyone comments on when they come over to our house is our toilets.  I know, I know, what a random thing to get people talking.  The reason they get so much attention is because they have a dual flush button because they're supposed to be high efficiency...everyone's two-cents is that it's very "European"!
This is a picture of the top of our toilets...see the European flair?!

When we first moved in, I thought they were pretty awesome.  We can control how much water we used depending on which button we pushed - what a great way to save water and put a little extra moolah into our pockets.  It wasn't long before our master bath toilet quickly began to drive me and Stephen crazy.  It would randomly decide to run and we never could figure out the rhyme behind the reason.  We had lived in the house a little over a year when last October, it was literally 2am in the morning on a Friday morning (report cards+principal observation for me; studying for a test for Stephen) when we decided to go to bed.  We did our usual routine and both thought it was random that our toilet did an unusual gurgle noise before we left the bathroom.  It wasn't long before I could tell by Stephen's breathing that he had fallen asleep.  Quickly thereafter I began to smell a horrible smell that I can only describe as "dog fart".  I placed the blame on Stephen, assuming he was smelling up the room (of course he doesn't appreciate this part of the story).  That's when the toilet did another *gurgle gurgle* and it woke Stephen up.

***NOTE: it's not a good sign if your toilet gurgles.  Not a good sign AT ALL.***

Stephen wakes up and wonders what the noise is.  I'm quick to inform him of his dog fart problem only to quickly remember a horrible sewage story that my friend Mandy told me about a house she lived in during college.  Oh my gosh...what if the dog fart smell wasn't Stephen after all???????  Stephen gets up to check out what's wrong with the toilet.  What comes next can send me into a fit of laughter if I think enough about the different reactions that occurred.

First, let me tell you that Stephen was blessed with a wonderful sense of smell.  I love the man with all my heart, but he's sometimes a little bit dramatic about smells that don't appeal to him.  If he's helping me clean out the refrigerator, he'll hold his nose, sometimes even turn his head in disgust over the very smallest smells.  Imagine this blessing of smell as he enters our bathroom to discover....

...a bathtub and toilet filling up with sewage.  Yup - you just read that correctly.  Sewage.  That's old crap, people.  Picture it: Stephen, screaming from the bathroom while gagging and dry heaving.  There were a lot of senses being over stimulated: smells, sights, sounds.  It was cRaZy.  He asks me where our plunger is and I honestly can't this point in time, we haven't used it since Chicago - a year and a half must be in the basement.  He leaves our bedroom to go to the basement only to be greeted by a gurgling toilet in the hall bathroom.  Do you remember my note from earlier?  A gurgling toilet is NOT a happy toilet.  Imagine the blessing of Stephen's sense of smell as he enters the hall bathroom to discover...

...a bathtub and toilet filling up with sewage.  Yup. Sewage - old crap, people.  AHHHHHH!!!!  Now, I know some of you are thinking, "How does sewage fill up your bathtub? Where is it coming from?".  Let me explain - you know that circular metal cover that is screwed onto your tub underneath your faucet?  Sewage was seeping from behind this contraption and filling our bathtubs - that's a plural "s" - more than one.
This isn't our bathtub, but I figured it could work to show you that circular metal piece underneath the faucet - that's where all the action was taking place!

Stephen ran to the basement to discover that our plunger had never made it to our new house but was still hanging out at my parents from when we were living there before we got our house.  Awesome. I, of course, got on my phone.  Stephen was super annoyed with me, thinking I was updating my Facebook status, "What are you doing?!  Don't put this on Facebook!!!" What was he thinking?!  Of course I wasn't on a social media while sewage is taking over our upstairs - I was googling, "sewage is filling my bathtubs and toilets".  I knew for a fact we couldn't be the only people in the world that this had ever happened to.  While I quickly learned that we, indeed, were not alone in having this problem, nothing was really helpful to me at 2am in the morning.

Thankfully, after a few minutes of the sewage filling the tub and the toilet, the levels seemed to stop rising.  Stephen and I stood there contemplating what we should do when all of a sudden we heard some more gurgling and then a "whoosh" as the sewage began to descend back down the drains.  With disbelief and relief on our faces we watched our poop problems disappear before our eyes.  What the?! Don't get me wrong - we were grateful, but what now?!?!  My wonderful husband scrubbed the tubs with bleach and bleached the toilets and we both decided to go to bed and deal with it the next day.

On Friday, Stephen called plumber after plumber only to be received with a, "We don't deal with that kind of stuff."  Really?  You're a plumber.  It's like me saying that I don't teach kids that are really difficult to teach.  Isn't that your job???  Finally he lined up a plumber to come on Monday and take a look at everything.  In the meantime, we were afraid that something might be up with the main drain in our house (after googling the night before at 2am in the morning we read many warnings about this) and so we decided to not use any plumbing at our house.  Thankfully we live across the street from my parents (have I shared that with you, blogworld???) and so anytime a flush or shower was necessary, we walked across the street.

Fast forward to Monday when the plumber came to our house and seemed to find NOTHING WRONG.  What?!  You mean that sewage can just randomly decide to start gurgling its way into my life whenever it pleases?!  I was scarred - scarred for life and there was nothing wrong to lead to this poopy problem?!

I'm going to leave you there for now.  Of course, there's more to this story, but you're a champ and you've already read a lot.  If you're a homeowner, you know that as much of a blessing that it is to own your own home, sometimes it stinks.  Literally.

Do you have any traumatizing plumping stories or am I the only one???

Friday, June 21, 2013

Patriotic Treats with a Side of Summer Accountability

It all started when I was pinning (which I do quite a lot now that school is out and when I'm successfully putting off doing something) away on Pinterest and I came across this pin...

Stephen and I were going to enjoy a cook-out at his parents house for Memorial Day Weekend and I decided that I was going to make one of Stephen's most favorite treats: Cake Balls.  Have you ever made cake balls?  Have you ever tried them?  If you've never tried them, you need to get your hands on at least one and taste the goodness for yourself - they are truly amazing.  If you've never made them, let me caution you: they are very time consuming.  Back in February I made the mistake of asking Stephen what he wanted for his birthday.  He insisted that he wanted nothing and I insisted that it was HIS birthday, I would make him ANYTHING he wanted (did you read my post from Monday to see how busy I was during this time?).  He decided that he wanted cake balls.  I'm pretty sure a part of me died a little inside when he said that...of all the things he wanted, he chose the most time consuming dessert possible.  However, I did tell him that I would make anything he wanted (dang it!) and so cake balls it was....

Fast forward to May - school was about to be out and summer was on the verge of happening - I was feeling adventurous!  I was going to make cake balls...not just any cake balls, Patriotic Cake Balls!!!  {cue the dramatic, excited music}

These were my inspiration from this website:

1st step was to make the cake balls.  If you've never made them before, here is the recipe (there are a million if you google "how to make cake balls" or "cake pops" and they're all about the same).  I used a half a tub of frosting to make mine.  I went with white cake (mine and Stephen's fav) and white icing.  After I made the cake balls, I arranged them in my 13x9 metal cake pan to get an idea of how many of my balls {insert inappropriate middle school boy jokes here} needed to be red, white and blue.

Once I figured out how many balls needed to be what color, I got to work and did each color separately.  I used the Wilton colored candies from JoAnns (or any craft store - even Wal-Mart carries them) to coat my cake balls.  I had lots of trays of different colored cake balls sitting around my kitchen.  Talk about needing self control to just hang around them without eating them!  If you do make cake balls, be sure you make lots of extras so you can just pop them in your mouth while you're working!

Unfortunately I did not do my math correctly and I didn't have the right amount of white cake balls.  What's scary about this is that I teach 4th grade math....this was a perfect example of math in real life (because everyone makes cake balls, right?) and yet I failed at it.  Stink.

The good news is that even though I was short on the white balls, they still tasted great!  It's a good thing that these desserts take a while to make, otherwise, I'm pretty sure I would make them entirely too often and my thighs would pay the price for this bad addiction!

For this upcoming 4th of July, I'm thinking about making this dessert from Betty Crocker:

I'm also thinking about making these to hang under the pergola by our family room window:

Now onto the side of Summer Accountability.  I know you probably don't care about how I'm spending my summer days and please know that this part of the post is entirely for me.  Last summer I found myself getting overwhelmed by all the different things I wanted to accomplish during the summer time. This overwhelming feeling kept me from accomplishing much of anything.  As a way to try and ward off laziness, I've decided that I'm going to blog about my daily activities during the summer.  Maybe it'll keep me from getting sucked into Bravo's Real House Wives Marathon because I'm ashamed to tell all of blogland that this is how I chose to spend my day!  So here it is, my daily what dos:

Monday: walked Princeton in the morning, changed the sheets on the bed and washed them, put sheets back on the guest bed, did the laundry and put it up, blogged, did my Bible study, worked on a small art project that I had been putting off, touched up trim in the entry way, went to Bible Study.
Tuesday: walked Princeton in the morning, put a first coat of paint on the inside of the front door, put up the last basket of laundry, went to dinner with my parents, took Princeton on an evening walk.
Wednesday: walked Princeton in the morning, put a second coat of paint on the front door, cleaned up in the basement, my friend Julie came over and we hung out most of the afternoon, took Princeton on an evening walk.
Thursday: cleaned up the paint mess, went to the grocery store, worked out in the backyard for 3 hours, vacuumed and tidied up, made dinner and Stephen's parents came for dinner, took Princeton on an evening walk.
Friday: filled the dishwasher, did the rest of the dishes, worked in the vegetable garden, painted the first coat on our bedroom closet, emptied the dishwasher, blogged.....

Do you think I'm crazy yet?  Feel free to skim past these random lists of my uneventful days...I'll be honest - I did get sucked into a few episodes of Real House Wives of the's like a train wreck and I can't turn away.  These women are SO mean to each other.  It's hard to wrap my mind around the fact that they exist, they're adults and I'm aiding their richness by being sucked into their drama.  Ugh. Do you have any "guilty" tv pleasures?  I'm not gonna lie....I also get sucked into Real House Wives of NJ....okay, enough confessions!

I'm linking up with these parties:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What a Year!

As of last Thursday, I wrapped up my fifth year of teaching...and what a year it was!  If you've been hanging around here long enough (despite the fact that it's sounded like a big cave with crickets chirping for the past couple of months) you may recall that last year I had a very challenging year teaching an intermediate split (4th and 5th graders).  This year, I had the blessing of teaching one straight grade (4th) and I had the advanced students for Math and Reading.  Needless to say, this year my job was much more enjoyable than last year, simply because I had the same grade level all day long.  Along with teaching, Stephen and I made sure we kept our candles burning on both ends and we had quite a busy year...

Our weekly schedule during the school year looked like this:
*Monday nights my sisters and I enjoy dinner at my parents house - spouses are welcome but not always available to join.

*Tuesday nights Stephen and I both attended Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) - he was in the Men's class and I was in the Women's night class.  Tuesday is also the day for faculty and committee meetings at my school so I would stay at school until BSF (6:45) and then come home after BSF.  We suffered through enjoyed 9pm dinners on Tuesday night.

*Wednesday nights were devoted to driving down to the University of Louisville's campus to help lead Young Life's College Fellowship group.  We hung out with college students, led Bible studies and helped try and train new leaders to volunteer in high schools around the city.  Wednesdays were also the day when I would have Quick Recall Practice (that's right: be jealous - I am the Quick Recall Coach at my school) after school.  We met every Wednesday from 4-5:30 so I would stick around school and drive to UofL after practice.  Stephen and I wouldn't return home until 10pm on Wednesday nights.

*Thursday nights were the "catch all" nights.  We didn't have a standing event and we welcomed what normally was an uneventful evening during our week.

*Friday nights we attended the weekly leadership meetings for Young Life.  Both Stephen and I would come straight from work to leadership - the good news is that dinner was served at Leadership so we'd actually get to eat at a normal time!

*Saturday is the day where we would sleep...and then run around the house like a chicken with it's head cut off to do all the things that got put off during the week.

*Sundays are always church days and then we enjoy lunch at Stephen's mom and dad's house with whatever family members can come that day.  Then, the dreaded grading and school work would begin, as I'd put it off all weekend long.

On top of all those things, here are some other fun things that happened throughout the year:
In September I ventured to Ohio to the outlets with my besties and enjoyed Chipotle for the first time in over a year (Louisville hadn't gotten one yet - dumb).  I am not at all embarrassed by my love for Chipotle and their amazing guac.

In September my good friend, Jenna got married so off to Lexington we went.  Here I am with some of my closest, oldest friends. 

In October, we visited Brown County for the weekend with Stephen's family.

In October, one of my best friends, Laura got married.  Here I am getting down and dirty on the dance floor with the groom.

In November Stephen and I headed back north to Chicago to celebrate the wedding of our sweet friends Zack and Marcia.  We were also blessed to be able to spend time with other friends.  Here we are with Debbie and Stephen - they're tying the knot this July!!!

In December I turned the dirty-thirty and got to celebrate with 3 of my best friends (Stephen, Donielle and Katie) as well as with a small group of super close friends.  What a blessing it was to be with them!

In January my best friend, Donielle joined me in the dirty-thirties.  Another trip to Lexington was in order!

In March, my Quick Recall team took home 1st place at the annual Mayor's Cup competition.  This was my 4th year coaching a Quick Recall team and it was my first win.  I couldn't have been more proud of them.  On top of taking home first place, the other students in the competition voted them for the Best Sportsmanship award!  My school went home that day with 4 trophies: Quick Recall 1st place, Future Problemsolvers 2nd place, Best Sportsmanship and then Overall 1st place.  What a great way to spend a Saturday!

In April I headed down south with good friends (Jenna, Katie and Julie) to spend Spring Break in Panama City Beach, FL.  The beach picture was taken at beautiful Seaside, which Katie and Julie introduced us to.  

In May I completed my 3rd year of BSF.  I'm looking forward to studying the book on Matthew in the Fall!

Throughout all of this, Stephen has been taking classes at night, after work to become a CFP (Certified Financial Planner).  He's currently in his last {review} class that is every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 5:30-8:30pm.  Needless to say, we're both ready for him to be DONE and are praying that he passes his test when the time comes for him to take it.  

After reading this, maybe you understand why my blog has been so neglected this school year.  Now that it's summer, I'm hoping that I can catch up on ALL the things I've been putting on the back burner all year long.  I have lots of small projects I've worked on (or started and never completed...) that I'm hoping to share with you and I'm hoping to keep up with this blog as a form of accountability to not fall into the temptation to be a slug all summer long.  Expect to see {almost} daily posts up around these parts as I try to have one of the most productive summers possible...lost of furniture restoring, painting, creating, reading, studying, and preparation for another upcoming school year will be going on around here.  I hope you'll stick around and join me for it!