Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside!

Brrrr!!!!! It was a lot warmer outside the last time we blogged! Our first snowfall hit the ground over the weekend and it just keeps getting colder!

We've been away for a bit and during this brief hiatus, we started working on our holiday decor around the house. Santa still visits us - though the littlest member of the household (aside from the cats) is asking a lot of hard questions and she seems highly skeptical of the whole ordeal. This may be one of the last couple of years for the fun of old St. Nick, so preparing our home for our very first Christmas here, and his visit, has been a lot of fun.


Step 1 : Assembling the tree. We almost opted for a real one this year after fearing that we'd never find this one, but when it was finally located and thoroughly inspected, we were really excited that everything was in good-enough repair and up she went!



This tree has a ridiculously huge amount of pieces!


Step Two: Digging out the outdoor lights!



Step Three: Find a man that knows how to sew (and make just about anything else!) and put him to work! We loved the furry fabric we scored earlier in the fall for Alex's panda Halloween costume, so when it was time to hang our stockings, we opted to DIY them this year with some of the leftover swag. 


I love the way they tie into the rest of the living room. 
Christmas-y; yet not too over-the-top with holiday gaudiness.



After sending this pic to my mom, following a long day of tree and mantle decorating she called us freaking out with equal parts excitement, hysteria and shock (insert head shake).

In other words, save your phone calls folks, that 4th stocking belongs to the felines and not some yet unannounced family addition. :)


Moving on...


Alex received a letter in the mail from Santa (who curiously had the same return address as Evan's Grandpa in Michigan) and this incredibly thoughtful gesture was very well received. We especially enjoy the fact that Alex could read a good portion of the letter on her own --- though not well enough to know we improvised with a few very specific "reminders" for good behavior at the end. :)

It's amazing what a few "suggestions" from Santa can do this time of year. :) I'm just saying it comes in handy. A few years back I potty trained Alex in a single weekend after a certain letter from Santa persuaded her to give it a shot. With the big guy, there is a small window of opportunity that only lasts about 6-8 years. I recommend taking full advantage of it while you can. :)

Next up: Cookies!

Only Alex knows the true joy of watching cookies bake in sub-zero temperatures while dressed in full Hawaiian gear (see grass skirt!), a robe and apron.



We had grand plans of distributing these to the neighbors for a little holiday cheer, though in the last two days our inventory has become rather thin. We on the other hand, are not getting any skinnier... Sugar cookies are hard to resist!


Back to the tree for a few finishing touches and below, no tree would be complete without a little surprise Evan dug up...
                                             video

Finally, tonight is Alex's holiday program at school and we imagine it will be super difficult to record at any close up range, so we got a little preview last night of what we can expect. Name that tune anyone?

video

Believe it or not, this one tends to be more of a solo artist.  She's really not one to sing in groups, so chances are she'll just stand there smiling tonight.  :) Thank goodness for the dress rehearsal.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!


We have so much to be thankful for this year!  
Here's wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and blessings galore!


UPDATE: Below is the holiday card we sent out this year: 


Happy Holidays! 


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Don't Forget to Vote


(photo courtesy of the Kansas City Star)

We voted today.  You should too!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

It may have been Alex's 4th Annual Ice SCREAM Spooktacular, but it was officially our first one in our new-to-us home at 26 East!



In years past we've had a decent turn out of party animals.  Last year, if I recall correctly, we had about 8 kids and that was mass chaos on its own.  This year, just under 6 hours ago to be exact, we had 23 adorable little monsters in our home, and surprisingly, it went very smoothly!




Almost everyone in her class (not all pictured) showed up and we welcomed all their siblings too and after a delicious dinner of ice cream sundaes with Halloween fixen's --- bat brains, werewolf hearts, skeletal bones--- we hit the streets for some trick or treating, ambushing anyone who dared to answer their door. 





All in all we had a blast! Such a great time!  Trick or treating as a group definitely beats a solo effort, and much to our surprise, the house wasn't in terrible order after everyone left!

A little breakdown of the festivities to follow and a Happy Halloween to you all!














What's not to love about this tradition!?  Costumes. Candy. Chaos.  We love Halloween!   



Friday, October 29, 2010

Spooktacular

The Pumpkins are carved!


Around here, we just can't get enough of Halloween!  We've been slacking on the blog the last few weeks, still have lots of great projects to update everyone on, but for now, a little break in the action to celebrate our favorite time of year.

We carved our Girl's Team and Boy pumpkins last night and Alex submitted the design, but was less interested in the actual carving, and more interested in making "witch stew" with all the goo.  Either way, they turned out pretty cool and you can't tell from the pic, but the one on the right has a saw through its head.  :)




The fall in this part of town is incredible!  There are so many awesome trees and the leaves are falling all over the place.  With Alex's Halloween party on Sunday, followed by trick or treating, and the still-warmish weather, we can't wait to hit the streets and celebrate our very first Halloween here!

Here's wishing everyone a spooktacular weekend!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We Don't Wanna Brag....

....but this panda bear just won "Cutest Costume" at her school Halloween party!


And we can't help but agree. :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Cheers!!!

“Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy.”  
          -Benjamin Franklin

Wise words from a wise man.  There is an ever wiser wo(man) however, my fiancĂ©e Kelly.  When we watched a “Renovation Realities” one evening where a young couple, such as ourselves,  installed a beer tap in their kitchen she said to me “we should do that!”  I stared deep into her eyes for a moment, kissed her passionately, then let her fall to the floor like John Belushi dropped Carrie Fisher in The Blues Brothers and started sketching up the blueprints for this…

BAM!!!
We’ve known for a long while there was an old chimney hiding behind some drywall in our kitchen, we just never knew what to do with it.  When Kelly had the beer tap-iphany, we knew the chimney’s destiny at once. 

BEGONE DRYWALL!!!
  (I wanted to start small and maybe have the chimney only PARTLY-exposed.  My "irregular" cutout with the router just wasn't right though.  In the end Kelly was right...it was all or nothing!)


Just as the brick smokestack of Boulevard Brewing Company has for years been a symbol of local brewing at its finest, so our little chimney would as well.  Cheers to you brick masons of 1912!


In a matter of days I found a fridge, CO2 tank, keg coupler, and beer faucet (yes...this is really what they’re called) on the cheap…where else, but on Craigslist.  I picked it up and somehow conned a friend into helping me hoist it down the stairs.  Cheers to you Travis M! 
(Andre pictured admiring my test-pouring setup downstairs...sorry we didn't get any muscle shots Travis)

(the gear...brand new CO2 tank and regulator...thanks again Craigslist!)

After one stop at Habitat Restore and another at our local Grainger, I picked up enough PVC fittings and a small, electric blower to put together a cold air-chilled beer line from our basement to the tap upstairs.
(you can see the back of the fridge in the bottom left)

(thank you Dad for handing down the fabrication skills!)

After one more stop at BedBath&Beyond (shudder) I found the perfectly sized tap tower mounting surface in the form of an upside-down, broken apart bamboo silverware tray.  Cheers to you for the idea Baby!


And finally cheers to you HGTV for coming up with Renovation Realities in the first place!  J

Bottoms up!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getting Crafty: The Reveal

Back in this post, we started talking about our copycat CB2 light fixture we were attempting to recreate.  Well, it's been up for a few weeks, so we thought we should do a quick reveal.

Since we weren't quite ready for a full-on electrical extravaganza, this was a great option for this area because we only need to add tea light candles, and it gives off a pretty amazing glow at night.  It's definitely not something you can turn on everyday, but when the mood is right, we think it looks pretty cool.

Plus we scored some battery operated LED candles at the dollar store, so all in all this was big fun with a little price tag. 

A bright idea you might say.

Here is the one from their blog/catalogue:


And here is ours, a little longer vs. wide, but we may add a few more down the road...




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