Friday, October 30, 2009

Foodie Friday - Loaded Mashed Potatoes

 Foodie Friday, I am linked up to the party over at Designs by Gollum.  Make sure you go and check it out!

Loaded Mashed Potatoes
(either in the Crock Pot or the oven)

I use about 5-6 lbs of potatoes to make a big batch

5lbs russet potatoes or your favorite potato
3 – 4 wedges of laughing cow cheese  ( I use the garlic and herb light version)
4-5 ounces Cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons milk
1 stick of butter
At least 1 cup shredded cheddar/Monterey jack cheese mix
4-5 green onions sliced
5 ounces or so sour cream
Salt and pepper

Boil and mash potatoes.  Add cream cheese, milk, ¾ of the butter, sour cream, laughing cow cheese. Salt and pepper well and mix.  If you are baking the dish, grease or spray a large casserole dish.  Oven to 350 degrees.  Put half the potato mixture in the pan, sprinkle half the green onions on.  Sprinkle half the Cheddar Monterey Jack cheese blend over.  Top with remaining potatoes.  Sprinkle the other half of the cheese blend and green onions on the top.  I cover this and bake it for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for about 10 minutes more.

If you want to do the crock pot method, refrigerate potatoes until you are ready to warm them in the crock pot.  Use the same technique as above, spraying the crock pot, layering the potatoes, green onions and cheese.  I heat this on Low for about 3-4 hours. 


Thursday, October 29, 2009

This week's Joy

A great deal of things brought me joy this week.

Being able to finish up the house projects has brought me joy. 

But These guys are who REALLY brought me some joy this week!

She just makes me smile!

he has been such a helper and his honesty this week about how upset he still is over losing his dad when he was so little.. really impressed me.  It took a lot of guts for him to open up to me like that.  I love this kid

McGyver.. cause he is INCREDIBLE guy.. and the way he has tuned in to Paco.. made me fall in love with him even more.  He is a pretty amazing guy and brought me much joy by finishing up a mirror.. which I will post all about this weekend!  Our first Transformation!!!!

The Pony is Moving!

So.. I wish I could report that I am bring the beautiful Beau home this weekend, but we are not quite there yet.  On other happy fronts, the appraiser came by this morning and it looks like we will pass with flying colors.

Good thing McGyver knows his stuff.. and how to let people who think they are important, feel important.  He has his eye on the goal.

Barn work will start next weekend, and one of the dead trees is already down with the second one falling today.  This means that we can haul the logs out and fence.  Important when you want to keep your ponies home.

I am so excited to get started, but sure will miss the warmer weather.  We will be doing the basics to get the stalls ready, the paddocks built and the tack room enclosed.  Everything else with the arena will happen after.  I always have to remind myself that it is progress before perfection in this house stuff.

I will be posting more pictures this weekend and I have a pretty good recipe to post this weekend as well.. can't wait to share it all.

Friday, October 23, 2009

House Photos

I have come to terms with the fact that I live in Chaos right now.  To satisfy the terms of our Holdback, we have to do much work in a small amount of time.  This weekend we will do the final bits of big work and then next week we should be complete.  By Halloween, I should be actually moving boxes and putting beds together.

The following weekend, I should be finally working on the Barn.  That is when I will really get excited.

My uncle came over last night and looked at the two trees we think need to come down.  He doesn't feel comfortable felling them himself, so he is calling a guy to come and do it for us.  He will help McGyver and I chip and chop up the logs once they are down, but we cannot build any fences until those two trees come down.  One is really dead and he suggested removing that one ASAP before the heavy wind storms we normally get around Thanksgiving come.

I have included some Day 1 photo's here  and some progress photos.  Enjoy!  If I haven't been responding or commenting much, it is only because we are literally working all the time.  When I am not at work, I am working on the house.  Up until today, this week at work has been crazy as well since I was gone three days.  I will be back to visiting everyone very soon!

All of these first photo's were taken the first few days we were there.  We actually slept on our mattresses in the dining/family room area.

Above picture is our Family Room and off to the left of that space is the Dining room and Kitchen

This is the Main Bath.. it needs SERIOUS help.  Mcgyver is actually working on this room today.

This is our Living room, Day one.. it had a swirly, gaudy VERY filthy Carpet, and the drapes were pretty icky as well.  Since this picture, there is NEW carpet, and the drapes have been cleaned.  I am waiting to replace the window treatments in this room as they are HUGE windows and the bedrooms have to come first.

This is the Master Bedroom, it also was in need of some SERIOUS attention.  It now also has new paint, new trim, and new carpet.  I will photograph it when it is put back together.. although I think I did take a couple of shots with the new Carpet and the new paint.

 This used to be my kitchen.. in my old house

This is my new kitchen.  It won't look like this forever.  Just until after the barn is done and my pony comes home.  I am sacrificing having new stuff in here and getting started on painting cabinets to get my pony home.

Now for the updated photos:

McGyver installed Cedar floors in the Hall Closets.  The Hall Closets were so gross I had to wear a mask to clean them out.  Now they have been Bleached, primed with a stain killer/blocker, the shelves were all cleaned, bleached, painted and put back in and he put in Cedar floors to make them smell nice.. it is wonderful and was a really inexpensive solution to our flooring dilemma in these closets.

This is now our dining room.  Paco is sitting at a CLEAN table in the dining room.  It has since lost this look and is now functioning as a work area again since the rain started up again.  he Paneling in this room has been the source of a couple of very "heated" discussions between McGver and myself.  HE thinks it is fabulous and is inherent of the character of the house and because it is in SUCH good shape, we should leave it.  I want it gone or painted White.  I want a different look in here.  So.. I am sure we will revisit this room again.

This is looking down the Hallway to the bedrooms and the Main Bath on the Right, Hall closets on the left.  This was in pretty bad shape as well and had NO trim.  Now the walls are Waverly Natural and the Trim is a nice White that I can't remember the name of right now, as I have purchased more paint in the last week than I care to remember right now.. and  75th Trip to Lowes is today right after work for guess what.. More paint.

This is the new carpet in the Living room.  It is made by Mohawk and is a Smart Strand.  You can do up to a 50/50 Bleach Water combo on this.  It is WONDERFUL carpet and we love it.. but it is a little on the pricey side.  We got ours on sale for 17$ a yard.

This is with our 50 inch plasma up.  We now think this looks little.. and that is my beautiful lab's BUTT in the shot.. Whooops.. she didn't run Quite fast enough.

Progress on the Master Bedroom.  I am finishing up the cut in stuff this weekend.  The color is Pine Needle Green.  It was scary in the can.. (mushy peas), but now I love it up on the walls!

We still have some things to do.. but with the new carpet and the white trim.. it is coming together nicely..

All this work made for some very tired people.. but these guys were absolutely EXHAUSTED

 These guys were all tuckered out.  They have totally settled in though.

Thanks for bearing with this very long post.  I hopefully will get to post again sometime this weekend with some more pictures.. otherwise it will be sometime next week.

Happy Weekend folks!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Wow!  McGyver and I have been working on the house non stop since last Thursday morning which is why I have not posted until now.  I came back to work to get a bit of a break on the home repair front.  He is still working on the list this week.

I will have to post pictures later as I did not bring the nettie book with the pics on it with me today. 

So far We have done:

New Trim and New Baseboard Trim in:
Master Bedroom (including trimming out the closets)
Both of the kids rooms (including trimming out the closets)
Kitchen area

We have painted the ceilings in all of those areas as well
Painted the two hall closets and trimmed out the floors in Cedar
Painted the shelving in the hall closets
Got new carpet in all the bedrooms
New carpet in Living room
Cleaned most of the kitchen cabinets and removed most of the icky contact paper
Caulked all of the areas that needed it (that was a HUGE job)
Caulked the south wall of the garage and prepped it for paint
Cleaned the pellet stove and decided that our life is now all about pellets
Removed the nasty draperies and dropped them at the cleaners
Painted all the bedrooms and hallway
Cleaned and trimmed out the master bath

Today he will be doing the exterior stuff as we are having a one day break in the rain, and then we are back to interior stuff this evening and the rest of the week.

We still have to do on the list:
Tile work in the master bath
repair to the wall board in the hall bath
Replacement of vinyl flooring in the 3rd bath/laundry room
2nd coat of paint on the trim that is icky
Finish installing trim in Living room
Cleaning the cabinets in hall bath
Install Blinds in all bedrooms, living room and family room

After the barn is done, then I have the following projects while he is remodeling the kitchen (besides helping him)
Chandelier painting and redo
Coffee Table redo
Painting all the Bathroom Cabinets
Replace all the bath countertops, mirrors, sinks and faucets
Replace Master Bath Shower door
Window treatments in family room, dining room and bedrooms

Whew.. that is a bunch.. but the progress.. WOW
It is amazing what some paint, carpet, new trim and murhpy's oil soap will do to a nasty, dirty, yucky space.

The back of the house, is lighter, cleaner, brighter and smells GREAT!

I love the cedar in the closets, and was thrilled when McGyver decided to do that for the flooring in the hall closets!  I will post those pics tonight.  I may just post the start to finish on Flickr and put a slideshow up.

Hope everyone's week is going well.. I am off to get caught up in what is happening in blogland and get some more GREAT inspirations!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Home at last

I have been absent from posting due to moving.. Yep.. that is right.  We are moved.  We have a ton of work to do before we can move things in properly, but I have my bed, the kids are both here, we can cook in the kitchen and so far, everything works!  Even the Arena lights!!!

I am posting a couple of our "before pics today" along with the first thing I am going to tackle, project wise.  I will have to wait a couple weeks, as we have items on the appraisal hold back tick sheet to complete first and I have to follow husbands law on that.

Here is the outside of our house right now.

It is a tad bit blurry, it is freezing outside, so I might have shaken a

and here is one of the first projects I want to tackle!

This chandelier is in the dining room (which is our bedroom right now, until we get the master painted and the floors done.  I have big plans for this baby so stay tuned.

Another project I have on my list is a coffee table I picked up at a thrift store right after we moved out of our old house.  It will most likely get done next weekend.  I have today off and am back to work for a couple days and then will be taking another few days off to help McGyver get things done around here.

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Coupon Renaissance

I have been cruising blogland for a little bit now, and I am blown away by all of the mad skills people have.  One thing that I have been watching and wishing I could get in on, are the coupon and crazy grocery deals that some are getting.

Yesterday, I think I may have finally got in the game.  As I have mentioned, we are finally moving into our house this weekend.  I have had very little storage space to utilize for stocking up on great deals and have had to shop on a very limited basis.  We do however, have an upright freezer at my sisters house (our fourth storage place) lol.. she also is housing our hot tub, our motor home and one child.  She is also my post office.  Well after reading NW coupon lady's blog about Albertsons having their double coupon event ending yesterday and some other deals available there, I went down and grabbed a Sunday paper and got the insert and found some coupons for things we needed that we could double and also noticed that they had a buy one get one free meat sale.

Well... I grabbed the baby from daycare after work and went to Albertson's to see what I could do. 
Here is how I did:  (Sorry no pictures, I am still having to store things at sisters where I did not have a camera)

1 pkg Hamburger Buns
1 package of Kraft Natural Shredded Cheese
1 Freschetta Pizza
2 boxes Granola Bars (Nature Valley)
3 Boxes GM cereal
1.5 lb Hamburger
1 Package Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (About 5 large)
2 Beef Roasts
2 pkgs Pork Chops
2 Large London Broil Steaks

Off the shelf price:  115.06
MY price with the double coupons for the Pizza, granola bars and Cereal, and the BYGO?
Yep.... 60.06!!!!  WOWSER

I LOVE that!!!!  I can't believe it!  I have makings for like 9 or 10 meals for our family for 60.00!!!  I still have items in the pantry for side dishes I can use all next week!  I will only have to get some basic supplies (Flour, Yeast, Sugar, Milk, Eggs and some Bread) and some lunch items and we are set for at least a week and a half.. How WONDERFUL!  I think I am so hooked now.  I can't wait to try this on a full scale and see what I can accomplish before Thanksgiving!

Happy Wednesday everyone.. and wish me luck.. we are signing our loan documents and papers today at 1pm!!  Whoooooo Hooooo!  And the other GREAT news?  It is supposed to be dry and clear alllll weekend.. which means we won't have to move in the RAIN!  We love this!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Moving Day?

Well... It looks like it is actually going to happen.  We are movin' on up... to a house!

The funny thing is... it is the house we originally wanted to buy back in May.  After some loopty loos and roundabouts, we are finally cleared for docs.  We should sign either tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning and be funded by Friday am!  This means that we can actually get some keys on Friday and start moving in this weekend!

I will take tons of before pictures.  The before pics will be prettttty scary.  This house has been vacant for over a year.  The whole reason we wanted this place is because of all the structures and the acreage this place has.  It is almost 5 acres with a house, an extra garage, a shop, a barn and even.... a covered arena!  The covered arena is the biggest bonus for me.  For someone who rides and is a fair weather rider like myself, having a covered arena is a huge deal.  This one is 60X60 and so it is not a big arena, but it is plenty big enough for me to ride in most of the time.  It allows me to work my horse even in the crappy rainy NW winters.  It also allows me to be able to turn my horse beast out even in the worst weather with no fear of mud!  The barn has four stalls, a tack room and electricity and Water.  These are huge expenses that are already finished for us!  The shop is a mechanics dream and my DH will really really enjoy it!

While there is mucho work to be done there, we know that it is a really really sound investment.  I will have lots and lots of before and after's to share in the coming months, and I cannot wait to have a place for my things again, and most of all for our family to be together again.

I also am so happy that the Dogs will have room to run, room to play and a house instead of being cooped up in a trailer all day long.  I don't think our Beagle really minds, but I know that our Jack Russell and our Lab will be very very happy to move around more again.

It has been such a long journey and we are not at the end yet, just at the beginning of the real hard work that will start this weekend.  I so dislike moving, but this move I am really looking forward to.  Mostly because it will signal the end of our Real Estate struggles this summer.  I am so thankful that Hubby and I have made it through this.. in fact, he remarked that it has made our marriage stronger and us closer.  Most folks we know that have gone through real estate goes through a strain on their marriage.  Maybe because we are united in this?  I am not entirely sure, but I know that I am so grateful that we are seeing the light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel!

This week will mark the end of my long commutes and I am thrilled about that.  I have three and a half days left of work this week and then will be off for 5 and a half days to get this done!

I hope all of you that come here have a most fabulous week, and I will post an update once we have our signing appointment and our actual date to get keys!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Saur-Kraut Band

DSCN0483, originally uploaded by mysticfish.
I had mentioned that I would tell you all about the funny thing that happened while McGyver and I were in the bar. We had sat down at a table near to the front and These folks in funny clothes kept coming in.. there must have been about twenty of them. They are a band that is comprised of the American Legion chapter there and they raise money for charity by selling buttons, pins, shirts and hats. They were Awesome. The look on McGyvers face though.. Priceless.. he actually ended up enjoying it.. these folks were really good.. but they played Right in Front of us the entire time. Talk about front row seats. We really enjoyed them. They played awhile and then wandered down the street to play somewhere else. That is what they do.. just pop in, play and then head out to play somewhere else during the festival. Pretty cool, I think.

Here is McGyver watching


I will finish up posting some of the other photos from our drive back today, I really hope you have enjoyed them!


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