Make My Wish Come Trueeee….

…All I want for Christmas is we’re back! Our last post was in September, but since many of you wrote in to Santa for Christmas specifically requesting we return to the blogosphere, well, let’s just say we were genuinely touched! We are very happy and the pets are doing well. Our weekends have been busy as of recently, and that trend will continue into the new year as we focus on friends and family in and around the great state of Texas.

We’ve made quite a few additions to Starling, some through bargain purchases or sales, and others inherited from our dear family members, which add a special reminder of family to our home. We are thankful for it all.

In our master bedroom, ever since we moved in, it was always Izzie’s request to have a separate vanity table to do her makeup and other womanly things (before she was sitting on the floor in front of the mirror). We finally managed to find a nice ensemble (Overstock, World Market, Kirkland’s) that played well with the style she was going for. So we set that up, and hung our full-length mirror on the opposite wall right next to the bathroom door. More projects down the road for the master bedroom include painting it a deep gray-purple to set the mood for sleeping and other things, and also painting the master bathroom and closet.

photo 1

This angle hides the untidiness quite nicely!

In our garage, we welcomed the addition of five five-tier shelving units on the side wall to afford us the much needed space to store additional lawn care items and tools (for now) and off-season supplies (we are still looking to the Corpus garage for inspiration–wow!) We were able to purchase these shelves for $50 a pop during Black Friday Weekend (a comparable shelving unit was $80), and since the local Lowe’s didn’t stock them, we reserved one of Saturday morning for a quick, picturesque drive up to Conroe to a Lowe’s there. Lake Conroe is really something! But it was definitely worth the drive to save the $65 truck delivery fee. More projects for the garage including hanging up a pegboard for tools, hooks in the ceiling for bikes to leave more room on the back wall for storage, and possible a work bench.

photo 5

Organization Station

And in the kitchen, yes we finally finally put the doors, drawers, knobs and pulls on! Hip-hip-hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! We had the hardware for awhile, but didn’t get around to actually putting them on until this past week (our friends coming from Houston was a great motivator!). After we put them up, it was a little awkward, like being in another dimension. We asked ourselves, “How do we know where things go now?” “Wait, so I have to actually open the door to get something?” After the confusion subsided we rejoiced in how great they looked! Mind the gaps on some, and some touchup spots here and there, our kitchen has doors again! We also replaced the gold pantry knob with a nickel-finish one to match the main interior/exterior doors.

Doors galore!

Doors galore!

Adoorable!

Adoorable!

In one of the spare bedrooms, we also added a bed we received from our parents (thank you for bringing it). It’s a nice sturdy wooden frame, and fits very snugly in the corner of the bedroom! Izzie gladly purchased a bedding set for the bed with plenty of color and character.

The bed is partially made; don't judge!

The bed is partially made; don’t judge!

In the office area, there was a space in front of the bookcase that needed to be filled out, so we solved that problem and also the issue of having our shoes by the front door. So we purchased a bench at a great price from Overstock that doubled as a shoe rack. The more things off the floor the better! And of course we couldn’t resist the chimpanzee print from Fab; he stares deep into your human soul.

Sit down and put on your shoes with me.

Sit down and put on your shoes with me.

In the living room we were very fortunate to be receive some our family’s furniture, which turned out to be a great fit for our living room. Here’s a great recliner for reclining into ‘Launch Position’ [in its most horizontal configuration].

I Have A Reclination

I Have A Reclination

We also were able to elevate our TV height [from the lower Ikea unit] with this great wooden entertainment unit. It does a great job of hiding the cables, with room in the drawers on the side and middle to store components and a good amount of DVDs. We put up a shelf above the TV for all the little things and even put those great wicker baskets we got from Mom to work…yes! (sorry for the dark pic)

The News.

The News.

And it certainly wouldn’t feel like Christmas if there weren’t stockings hung by the chimney with care. We will be hanging one of Lala’s paintings above the fireplace—it will look really nice!

HOHOHO

HOHOHO!

Continuing the Christmas cheer, we put up a Christmas tree we got from Sam’s (really easy to put up and has lights integrated in, not like the old school attach each tree branch separately), along with some red candles and new tree skirt. There are a few presents under there—don’t you dare peek!

HOHOHO part 2

HOHOHO part 2

And to close out the Christmas cheer, we have a festive wreath and doormat for the front door to let everyone one how much we LOVE Christmas. Whoa! (If you see a little white rat in this picture, you win a candy cane)

Well, come on in now!

Well, come on in now!

And this past weekend, we were tickled to the core and delighted to have some of our beloved friends from Houston visit us. Kenn and Jenn will be expecting their first child sometime in late December/early January, and this weekend trip would be their last in CS to relax and be in good company (we have a pic from our other camera, we’ll add that here). We also celebrated Jenn’s birthday while she was here with a very moist chocolate cake and a harmonized rendition of the classic Happy Birthday song!  Keith & Janet, John and Alex also came by for a day trip to see the crib for the first time, and to also help out with a very special task: Getting Dirty Outside!

Our flowerbeds don’t have any flowers in them yet, but they were looking a little sad because there wasn’t enough dirt in them. In the spirit of Tim Allen, we needed more dirt! Here’s a before pic of the front beds:

Sad flowerbeds :(:(:(

Sad flowerbeds

And here is roughly 4-5 yards of dirt delivered to the driveway! It was exactly enough to do what we needed and more…amazing estimate by Keith, math DOES work!

A pile of soil/mulch. Yep.

A pile of soil/mulch. Yep.

After about 1.5-2 hours of hard work…

Much better!

Much better!

More dirt!

More dirt!

Getting dirty in the corner!

Getting dirty in the corner!

Soo dirty!

Soo dirty!

Dirty!

Dirty!

Even the trees got some love! Still need some stones or something around them, stay tuned..

Even the trees got some love! Still need some stones or something around them, stay tuned..

Dirty Birds ft. Moonraker

Dirty Birds ft. Moonraker

Thanks for the help, guys! It was great to have you at the house and to also put in some good exercise! What a great step to beautifying the front and back lawns. We will work to maintain the setup we have now, and also plan out what kind of plants and foliage we want to add in.

That’s it for now until 3 months next time! Happy NESTING!!!!

Advertisements

Swinging Hoes…You Knows?

Hello friends, welcome to the first day of the rest of your life! We are back in action with another post, blogging straight from the heart of it all, College Station, Texas!

We have been fretting over our toasty lawn, which because of records highs and not enough watering, has become the Captain Crunch of neighborhood grass worldwide. Our sprinkler head unit was defective, so per Austin’s advice, we ordered the exact same one off of eBay for about $40. We installed that and programmed the sprinklers to run two times a day, 5:00 AM and 8:00 PM. We have five total zones, and each one runs for different times depending on priority (the main lawn gets forty minutes, the flowerbeds ten minutes). We need to nurse this grass back to life, even if we are expecting triple digit highs in the coming week and not a drop of rain in sight. We would like to avoid reseeding, and are looking forward to rolling around in lush greenery!

Anyways, we are concentrating on the front flower beds right now, because they have been overgrown and ugly for long enough. We’d like to tidy it up and add a little bit of color splash. We concentrated on the one closest to the front door, hoeing down the weeds, and taking out five or six shrubs that had alien-like root brains (Izzie was not amused by the shrub’s undercarriage tentacles when Matt showed her up close). We left the small tree and an adjacent, medium-size shrub that we shaped earlier with some shears (we were going for round, but ended up closer to “egg”, which is fine).

It’s an old fashioned hoedown!

A regular Paul Bunyan!

So we still have to level it out, clean up the soil, and throw down a weed mat and go from there. But here are some pics of the cleared flower bed and beheaded shrubs thrown in for good measure (we forgot to take them out of the picture).

Ahh! Much better!

Those bushes have to go!

All in all a good weekend that yielded a sweaty workout and less weeds—score! We will be tackling the rose bush flowerbed during the week and will let you know how that goes. As always…

Happy Nesting!

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program To Bring You…

Penny! Dogs love to run, this is, in fact, a fact. Dogs are territorial too. Especially when it comes to birds patrolling the backyard fences.

Izzie managed to capture Penny in one of her most focused, super-uncoordinated pursuits of justice set to the rousing sounds of twangy pursuit music. The low quality is due to Penny’s blistering speed, so do not attempt to adjust this setting.

The Great Outdoors!

Hello Nesters! We are back in action, hitting up the blogosphere with an incredible tenacity the world has yet to experience! Just as we mentioned at the end of our previous post, this post will be all about the outside and nothing about the inside. We’ve also updated the ‘About Our House’ section, so be sure to hit the top link.

House Got Back

Using the Photosynth iPhone app, we managed to capture a few panoramas that will assist in “stitching” together a visual story for those that aren’t physically here to see for themselves. If you don’t have the latest Microsoft Siverlight plug-in installed for your browser, you might want to make a quick stop and do that first since the Photosynth website uses it. Surprisingly if you’re viewing on the iPad/iPhone, it works without plug-ins because it doesn’t need them! When you’re ready, feel free to click here and here to see two different vantage points in the backyard.

We are fortunate that the house already came with a sizable concrete slab to dress up later with perhaps a pergola down the line, and also a small covered patio area for a grilling area (which we’ve already outfitted with The Beast!). There’s also a outside fan above the patio, which is a nice touch to keep the air circulating on those spicy summer days.

This holds a TON of hot dog wieners!

The only major thing we have invested in in the backyard is our revered succulent collection, made possible by the fine folks at Lowe’s. We will probably be moving this guy up to the front of the house, as we found out from our recent trip to Laredo that there are inexpensive options for some really nice Terra cotta pots. We would need a trifecta of pots, one for each free side of the concrete slab (with the remaining side being connected to the porch). We’ve had less success in the past growing and maintaining plants (herb garden)—they kept on dying for no apparent reason, ha! These succulents do not need to be babysat in Texan climate, and they are continually bearing new appendages, which is good!

You succ

We thought this hummingbird feeder would be an probable lure, but we have not seen one feeding since we got it. It might be too hot, who knows. There was a sparrow that landed on it momentarily for a quick sip, but soon left, leaving us once more with too much sugar water. We still have some sugar mix left, but after that is gone, we will probably be letting this guy off the hook.

Attracting hummingbirds is harding than we thought!

We don’t have any huge mature trees to provide massive amounts of shade, but we are fortunate enough to have two crape myrtle trees, one having white flowers and the other, pink. This type of trees is fairly common in neighborhood-type settings, and it does a good job of bringing some color into the backyard without being overbearing.

This one is located in the back right corner.

This one is in the middle of the right side of the backyard. Penny agrees.

The previous resident left us a lot of leftover bricks, which she used to plug all the holes under the fence (she had four dogs). We will need to move this somewhere out of the way, probably in the garage. Also on the agenda is removing those bricks along the fence and filling them in with dirt. There are also some uneven pits in the lawn (deep enough that if you ran around and you’re not careful, you could twist an ankle) that need to be remedied too.

She’s a brick…pile.

There are two flower beds in the backyard that could use some TLC, but we haven’t really decided what to do with them yet, but have talked about adding a major color splash in the form of flowers! One has a rosebush and the other has some random shrubbery, so it’s pretty open-ended. That hose needs to be tamed.

Extreme Flower Bed Makeover: College Station Edition

The roof is not charred, that is a finger shadow

It’s a great backyard: clean rectangular shape, two medium size trees, two flower beds, and a concrete slab that is begging for lounge material. The fence needs to be replaced but that’s not a high priority for us, especially when it involves neighbors going half in and contributing to the cause.

And lastly, we love seeing Penny running around chasing and barking at the birds and blade bounding around the yard. Our previous residence, a townhouse we were leasing, had a small backyard, and is easily an eighth of what we have now!

It’s too damn hot! Let’s go inside, bro

Stop Front-in’

Here’s the link to the Photosynth panorama for the front of the house. It’s not as good as the backyard panoramas.

Two weekends ago we did some weed-pulling to get the front back on track as far as yard maintenance goes. We like the fact that the house already had landscaping stones in place, since those can run quite a bit on their own(maybe around $3 each?). We still have some weed-pulling to do (and also weed killing on the walkway and driveway), but after that we’d like to do a complete overhaul on the stones, dismantling and washing them, and then straightening them back out. Then we can work on the inside of the bed and trim the shrubs, prune the tree, and get some color splash in there!

Mold me, use me, plant me, spruce me

Matt wasn’t too crazy about these Knock Out Roses in the beginning, but once they bloomed he changed his mind. We need to trim this guy and prune all the dead buds that are there, and there are a lot of them.

Overgrownery

At one point in his life, Matt used to play basketball. But those days are over and this thing has got to go. It doesn’t even have a bankboard!

The end is near, my friend. You are destined for the Great Claw that comes weekly on Thursday.

Here’s the left side of the house, with a place for our trash can, an ancient 17-year-old AC unit that is still chugging along, and access to the backyard. We might end up putting a mini-fence around the AC unit, and painting the trash can a brick pattern so it blends in more with the wall (Izzie’s idea).

To the left… everything I own in the can to the left

And here the right side, the utility side, with the gas meter and breaker box. There used to be a small oak tree that was growing in the flower bed near the gas meter, but it was strongly suggested that we take a saw to that guy and cut him down, just because those things can cause problems later being close to the house. Our brother (and brother-in-law) Austin actually mentioned an option for us to do down the line, which is to move the backyard fence up to the front of the house, giving us more backyard space on the side. We would have to finagle the flower bed and make that end a little earlier than it is now, but with our neighbor’s fence already up in the front, it wouldn’t look out of whack and would allow us to have something like a storage shed on the side in the backyard. It’s a great idea and quite possibly could happen in the future!

Hey this is crazy…

That’s the outdoor rundown! We look forward to making changes and really curbing that appeal!

Come back, okay?

Happy Nesting!

William Perry Has Entered The Building

Good evening and hello to you, wherever you are, whoever you are!

This will be a mini-update of The Nest, and we apologize for the lack of photos to accompany our progress. We have been progressing, and we guarantee you, the train has left the station and is well on its way, full steam ahead.

Last Friday was a good day because we finally got our fridge delivered to the house! And boy, is she a cutie.

Tell me, have you ever seen a moonwalking refrigerator delivery man?

Ah, this feels good!

Izzie had the pleasure of being home for the delivery and made sure to take some really fantastic pics of the drop-off. The delivery man did report a small leak at the water line valve, so we will have to follow up with that and replace the valve. From what we have researched though, it shouldn’t be too difficult to perform. But the ice is cold and everything seems to be running properly. It’s not loud at all and, with about 18.2 cubic feet of storage, will suit our needs just fine. The stainless steel comes through as being fingerprint-resistant and we can vouch for that claim after a myriad of sweaty, oily fingertips have graced its surface with nary a print left behind. If you didn’t know, the house did not come with a refrigerator, so we had to purchase one. There really wasn’t much going on in used appliances on Craigslist in College Station, so we made a trip to Lowe’s and purchased one that suited our needs and made us happy. And we can definitely say that we are happy with it. It sticks out a few inches from the door frame, but we are both skinny so it works out just fine. Today we managed to transport all of our food in our old refrigerator to the new one, but still have a lot of the dry goods in the pantry to bring over.

Lowe’s has become our new favorite place, and we honestly go there almost every day to pick up odds and ends. Luckily we live right by one and usually takes about 6-7 minutes to get there. And with all the change of address business that we’ve been doing, we have been hoarding three 10% off Lowe’s coupons perfect for when the other major appliances enter the arena. For right now we are keeping an eye out on our house budget and will be waiting a month or two before contemplating our next major purchase (we have a few options: stove, microwave, washer/dryer, etc.).

It’s amazing what you find going down the aisles of Lowe’s. What we are learning is that there is definitely a healthy assortment of “things” that make certain tasks easier/more efficient. We bought these great Painter’s Pyramids that allow you to prop up your cabinets for easier painting on the sides, not to mention not sticking to the paper we laid out (we had an annoying problem with the paper sticking to the wet cabinets on the sides, and probably should have went with a fabric if we were to do it again without the Pyramids). There was a very big difference in how we approached painting the cabinets after we got these bad boys set up!

Penny approves of the Painter’s Pyramids

Tonight we went on a painting frenzy in the kitchen and got the first coat of paint up on the walls. Nadia came by again also to help out with that (thank you!) while the American Idol finals were on in the background. We are actually pleasantly surprised with the color and can’t wait to get the second coat on tomorrow night to see what it looks like. And we are happy because our method for picking the paint swatch for the kitchen literally took less than thirty seconds between the both of us, going back a few times between choices, saying “Done” and walking to the counter. We are taking comfort in knowing that some things in life are better when there is less thought involved. Obviously this cannot be prescribed to all situations (that would be carelessness!), but for things like paint colors in a house, if it turns out bad or not quite what we had in mind, we would live with it and love it and laugh because it really is paint, and paint is paint.

Over the past few days we’ve also managed to pick up some much needed lawn equipment (why does grass grow so fast?). If you have seen the movie The Avengers, go back to the theater where you saw it and ask for your money back, because you ain’t NEVER seen superheroes like this!

Everyone’s here…

We ran some numbers and the benefit of maintaining your own lawn as opposed to paying someone else to do it for you was the way to go. We purchased the least expensive self-propelled mower under the assumption that both husband and wife could take the reins if need be (we will revisit this assumption…) ($275), a corded edger ($84), and a cordless trimmer and blower ($130 bundled together). Matt took time to do the works on the front yard and back yard on Monday, and the results are astounding. Astounding. We will have more outdoor posts in the future, but trust us when we say it makes a huge difference to have the yard edged properly. We are still working at eradicating the dozen or so condos the fire ants have invested in on our property, but such eviction takes time, persistance, and many granules of death and destruction bestowed upon their rabid colonies.

So we will finish up painting the kitchen tomorrow. We are still working on the cabinet doors, and will get to those on Thursday and Friday. We took off on Friday and Tuesday (we have Monday off like a lot of folks), so we have a lofty five-day weekend ahead of us to do our packing, moving, unpacking and everything else in between. We will make up for the lack of pictures in the next post…believe it!

Happy Nesting