Thursday, December 27, 2012

New House, New Mattress

When you give a blogger a great big new house, what could be better to have in the new house than a brand new mattress? I know we would love to replace ours. Here's a chance to do it for free:

Good luck! Wouldn't it be great to get a new mattress, either for yourself, one of the kids, or the guest room?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Snowman Cupcakes


Merry Christmas, kids! Here are some snowman cookies you can't eat because you aren't here. Make yourself some! 

Bake cupcakes and let them cool.
Get tub of frosting and put in microwave for 30 seconds.
Dip cupcakes in frosting. This gives you a smooth top.
Let cool and set. 
Use additional melted frosting for adhesive for adding decorative bits. 


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lights and Outlets

     Something to think about when building your home is where you may need additional lights and outlets. Think of it before it is too late, and you'll never be sorry.


Do not take the standard kitchen lighting or basement lighting. You will be disappointed. Greatly. If you don't believe me check into it and make sure you know what you are getting. You really should go ahead and get the recessed lighting in these spaces.

We added light rough ins to each bedroom and each room which did not have lighting already, including the living room and office. 

We added recessed lights the alcove in the bonus room and in the large closets. The large utility closet on the 2nd floor got a recessed light. At some point it may serve as a small craft area or office area. (I wish I had also put an outlet in that closet). You may wish to ask for a recessed light toward the front of any large closet, including the pantry. 

And sincerely, as I sit here now I would definitely go back and put at least one outlet in every closet in the whole house, including the pantry. 

In the finished part of the basement we put in recessed lighting, but we also thought of the storage areas, how they would be utilized, and where we would need additional lights. 

We put in dedicated outlets for the freezers and the range in the basement. 

We added an outlet in the garage, and I wish I had added three more. two outlets on each side wall, in addition to the one which Ryan places near the light switches would have been perfect. At least one towards the front of the garage would be a help with Christmas lights, etc. As it is we are running an extension cord from the back wall. Not a huge issue, but it would be nice to have an outlet where the control for the driveway light is. 

In the master bedroom I would have added an outlet exact middle of the headboard, and also asked for a light switch for the big overhead light near the bed. 

We put a switched outlet above the mantel and above the kitchen cabinets. I wish I had added outlets at the bottom of the stairs and in the half wall for the purpose of Christmas lights. 

I also wish we had placed an outlet on the stair wall of the entry hall. It's the proper place for an entry console and there should be a lamp right there as well. It's also one of the largest blank walls in the place, and just ought to have an outlet. 

I would like one near French doors we had put in, to do decorations around them as well. Since they normally do not do French doors in the kitchen, for many people it may be a non-issue. 

If you have any other lighting/electrical ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments. It's great to see this stuff as you build!

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.    

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas, Stress-Free Style

See? This part of the tree is fine like this. It wont fall over. Promise!
 This year we aren't buying a bunch of gifts. As a matter of fact, the plan as it stands this year is to buy everyone a new pair of jammies so we can snuggle in and enjoy our own company. On Christmas day we will attend a family gathering. The other part of our plan is to go see Les Miserables. Maybe on Christmas day, maybe after. It's low pressure, can you tell? And guess what? It feels great. I invite you to relax and enjoy the season. If it is already too late for you this year, then I invite you to try it next year. 

      Yes, we have five children. They range in age from seventeen to twenty-six. And you know, the thing is, we have everything we need. We have a lot of what we want. This year I felt no pressure to go and buy things we may or may not even want. Ask yourself what you bought for people last year. If you can't recall or they can't recall, take a few minutes and decide what that means to you. Do you find yourself in stores looking for stuff to buy to fill a certain amount of space under your tree or lines on your list? 

     I have seen a lot of people suggesting the 4 gift rule, and it looks pretty sound to me:
  • Something to wear 
  • Something to read
  • Something they want
  • Something they need
      This Christmas I will not be putting iffy gifts on credit cards, spending countless hours with aching feet and shoulders shopping aimlessly for things, or wrapping them. I will use that time baking,  creating, or enjoying the company of my family. 

     If you need someone to give you permission or the little push you need to call off the madness yourself, consider it done. Merry Christmas. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Amazon Gift Card Winner

Amber P said...
thanks to our 12 month old and 24 month old the tree is only decorated on the top half :) i love your decorations though.

Congratulations Amber! You are a big old winning winner!

Amber, since you did not leave contact information you are going to have to get in touch with me to claim your prize. (I hope you are one of the regulars)

Because I hate it when bloggers only give you a certain number of hours (usually 24-48) to respond to their win announcement I will not do that to you.

It's always a good idea to leave your email, twitter handle - something when you enter a giveaway. Either that, or subscribe to the blog by email so the information hits your inbox.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

You Fellow Ravenna Owners

     To the fellow Ravenna owners,  I would love to see what you did with the entry area by the front door. (And the back door, too, but especially the front) I mean, we have no closet, and a really long wall on one side, but it's not really a hall since it is open to a room on the other side. I'm very curious to see what you guys did with that entry area. Warning: I am looking for swell ideas to steal.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A New Kind Of Nightmare

     Last night I was not in peaceful slumber. What made it remarkable is that this time my nightmare was the kind only a homeowner could have. It involved: our old landlord, who was also our neighbor, our old next door neighbor, and other people I do not think I know. Also? People from our normal Chinese takout place. You know dreams are always weird. 

     The worst part of the dream though, the thing that pushed it from a very weird dream to a nightmare was that I had an issue with my floors. If you have been following along for the whole ride you know how much we are in love with our 'perfect floors'. We really chose well. But you would also know these are not the floors either of us really wanted. I wanted the drank brown hand-scraped hardwoods. He wanted the yellowish ones. 

     When he looked at the ones I loved a college professor came to mind - one he didn't adore. When I looked at the ones he wanted I pictured my whole house looking like an elementary school gym. So we compromised.  By compromise I mean we chose the only floor one of us didn't hate. I had my concerns about it being to orange once it was in the house, and he wasn't in love with it either, but at least we were able to look at it without one of us feeling repelled. 

     It was such a strange way to make a choice about the house. All of our other choices had been led by one or the other of us having a strong desire. I really wanted slate around the fireplace, oil rubbed bronze everything, gray siding, the really nice cabinets,and a jetted bathtub. He insisted on the type of stone we got, the granite, the really nice tile in the bathroom, 

     So our floors, our one big compromise, they turned out to be one of our favorite selections. And when people see the house, the always comment on how much they love our floors. When I become sainted the whole world will consider them the 'holy floors'. Too much? Okay. Anyway, the floors are a great source of happiness and we really can not imagine them any other way. 

     In my dream, though, there was a problem with the floors. (This may stem from the issues we had with the baseboards being put down before the wood floors and so instead of the floors going wall to wall with the baseboard on top the floors were, at least in some places, crammed under/between the baseboards, causing them to buckle) But in my dream we were not just fixing the issue in the upstairs hall. They were replacing the whole downstairs, too. 

      I woke up in the morning, and saw, much to my horror, the floors I had originally wanted. And they were very imperfect, had lots of places where the dark brown was missing so the floor was a sad, depressing gray. I freaked out and ran downstairs to my husband's office, which was not really the same office he has downstairs. It was cold and uglier than an old unfinished basement. The whole downstairs was covered in the really crappy looking dark brown plastic (?) flooring and I was upset. There was an area where they covered great big junky tiles - with old white carpet. But not all of it. So there was my house with dirty carpet, junky tile and tacky plastic floors. Nothing was cut properly and there were places missing flooring. It was so upsetting and so ugly. The whole house was very dark. I cried. 

     Then I was with other people - can't remember who now, in a vehicle. Whoever was driving was using their phone so we were stopped at the crest of a hill.Because dreams are weird. 

     *Proving once again that life is also weird: last night my cousin ripped out my mailbox with her mom's beautiful leased car. One minute later my mother tripped over the other side of the end of my drive and fell. She was carrying a glass casserole dish and a glass pie plate. Result: One messed up car, one messed up mailbox, and one mommy with cut hands and a very bruised knee. The only thing worse than seeing your kids hurt is seeing your mom hurt. With your kids some weird mom hormone kicks in. With your mom - you just want your mommy. Except it's her you need to help. 


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Go - Go - Gelato. Paciugo in SouthPark Center, Strongsville, Ohio


You want gelato in northeast Ohio? Strongsville? Medina County? Well guess what!? Now there is a place called Paciugo to get great gelato right at Southpark Mall! Can you believe it? I couldn't! It's right under the escalator, so don't miss it. You don't even have to go upstairs into the food court for it. Bonus!

It costs about the same as whatever you would get upstairs at Dairy Queen, except it's amazing! And has real flavor. Remember real flavor?

Also, check out > their facebook page,< where they sometimes put out coupons you can't get anywhere else. 

The staff is always friendly and you can taste any flavors you like before deciding. According to my husband they have excellent espresso. 

Want to take some home? No problem. They have styrofoam to-go packs from 5 serving sizes up to 15 serving sizes. 

No more searching for a great dessert in northeast Ohio/Cleveland/Medina County - go gelato! (Yes, I know Strongsville is not in Medina  County, but it's just a toe over the line for us) 

Want to call them? (440)238-5106

*This is not a sponsored post. I am thrilled to find them, excited they are nearby, and would love to share the greatness of their gelato with you. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Show Me Your Tree

Duuuuude! I want to see your house all decorated up for Christmas! So what are you waiting for? Show. it. to. me!

First, I should show you my house all decorated up, right? Well I would, if it was done. We do not have the bottom piece to our tree. Maybe it got gone with the 3 truck and trailer loads of stuff we donated from our old house? Seriously, I do not know how we got so much stuff.

Anyway, yesterday morning at the crack of 8:00 I took the puppy outside for a squat and saw my neighbor donating a huge tree to Salvation Army. If I knew they were getting rid of a tree I would have asked to use it. Alas, I was too late and just a tiny bit too proud and bad breathy to go chase down the Salvation army truck guys. So I did the next best thing, and stopped by the store. Oh boy do they have trees! I got a lovely tree for... $14.99. If you are feeling sad and treeless go to a Salvation Army store. You can turn your frown upside down. I also got wreaths for 1.99 each! I never would have thought to go there had the truck not been out front yesterday morning. So there's my Christmas miracle. (Now, I would still take an any-other-day miracle and be so super glad to see my wedding rings again.)

Since my house is in a state of upheaval, and items are being moved every few hours/minutes/seconds, depending on the time, what better time to share, right? 

Here, in whatever order blogger decides, are some photos of my grand decorating skills. Or whatever.  

This morning things looked like this

Now it looks like this
Does it make me a bad person if I offered my neighbor's dog a cookie if he would stop barking?

Even if he didn't stop, so got no cookie? Just curious.

Now it's your turn. Share your photos with us! Let your friends come and vote for your photos (all in fun, everyone likes to vote for their friends, right? The prize is bragging rights. Also up for grabs is a $25 Amazon gift card, drawn from everyone who leaves a comment on this post. *Unless we win powerball. If we do, the prize is ridiculous awesome. Like iPad minis for you and your spouse and all your kids!  And A laptop computers, too! Why not? It's five hundred million dollars, people! 

*Giveaway will end Dec 12th  - linky will still be open. 

Click the blue linky button - or else!

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Reality - What Is Wrong With This Picture?

      Reality is rarely exactly as I had planned things would be. Part of the reason for me is I plan all of these projects, I dream them up in my mind, and they are so pretty. Then I do them, look at them, and think 'Aw shucks, this isn't what I thought it would be like. Everyone else's stuff seems so polished and perfect.' I feel like the kid in art class who never quite got it. This could be because I was always the kid in art class who never quite gets it. You might be thinking I am just too hard on myself, but if you get a super close look, you will see what I mean: 

Exhibit 1: Bookshelf trim not caulked or painted. See how nicely it lines up?  

Exhibit 2: Although the shelves were made deeper in the appliance garage, I still haven't painted and prettied it up at all.
I am afraid I will never get my embossed "Grown Up" card.
You guys have those, right?

Exhibit 3: What the heck happened to my stoop? I dunno!? It was like this yesterday.

Exhibit 4: All those rocks were what we dug up in lieu of dirt when the azaleas were planted too close together and never moved.
Ignore the non-existent upgraded lawn. Thanks for nothing on that one, Ryan Homes. 

The drop cloth I bought for curtains, still in the washer.
This would be no big deal if I had not failed to remove it for four days straight.
That's right folks, it's on it's FIFTH wash cycle right now.
I'm sure my Grown Up card is just lost in the mail, right?

blurry photo of the marks made on the wall just hours after I did touch up painting all over the house. 

The dog toy, leaves (other dog toys) and a different, already washed and dry drop cloth.
I am using it to make a screen the dogs can not penetrate so we can put the tree in the front room.
What? Don't judge me. 

Dining room. Someone needs to come and make my stuff look magically delicious.
 Marian? Miss Mustard Seed? Sarah? Thrifty Decor Chick?
Ann? Can I get a "No Doy"? Anyone? Ferris?

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.  


DIY Mammogram

     While out shopping with my dearest, most elderly  old friend the other day we came across this:

A DIY Mammogram:

Health care reform, anyone?

Foyer Party!


     Before you say anything... I know I have already posted these photos on this blog in other places. But! Sarah over at Thrifty Decor Chick is having a "Show us your house" party and I always post too soon or too late to join in the fun. Doggone it I want to do it this time, so I'm posting the photos again. Please find it adorable rather than annoying. Embrace my neediness, Lord knows I seem to embrace it. So, here goes.

     This one is about Foyers and Mudrooms. Since I have no mudroom, and I attend the gnashing of teeth event about this fact each and every day I will be sharing my front door entry. It's warm and embracing with plenty of room to come in and take off your shoes. 

Come on in!

Welcome Home.  

Have a seat on the pew and take off your shoes. 

Gratuitous picture of the same thing for no other reason than I like it. 
     As you can see I haven't done anything fancy yet. My big floppy hat is there to save me from ruin when I walk the dogs. I snagged the old windows from my grandparent's house when they replaced them last winter, so they will go on the wall above the pew. One day. When I get to it. There is so much to do in a brand new house to make it really ours. 

     I hope you like it! I hope you leave me gushing comments telling me how charming it is! I hope you go over and see some more at Sarah's par-tay!

Thrifty Decor Chick

       *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.    

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Progress Report

     A couple of weeks ago I told you about some projects I am working on around the house. Lest any of you realize what a total slacker I am, here is a report of some progress:

Built in Bookshelves in Office. We need more bookshelves!
They are not completed, but they are coming along, right?

Now for the closet by the garage door. The previously useless closet:
Coat closet turned appliance closet. 
 Also unfinished, but coming along. We are going to extend the shelves so they are deeper. Yes, we do need three ice cream makers. We are a big family!

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.    

The Wings Of An Angel


     I simply do not know how long I have wanted these angel wings. I had seen them around but my gosh, they were expen$ive! I started following Decor Steals when it was newish (I think it was, anyway) and it was called WUSLU. They would bring them out and the timing wouldn't be right for me, or they would all be gone before I got to them. But last time was my lucky day and I was able to get them!

     They arrived yesterday and they are everything I had hoped they would be and more. I absolutely adore them. All you new house gang - I know we are all looking for things to decorate our new, bigger homes. Decor Steals has a new fabulous deal every day - and a sister site, Antique Farm House, where there are more deals going on all the time. Don't let the name fool you - I'm sure someone with any decor style can find things they love. 

Welcome Home!
 Same picture, but different edits. I took this with my phone pressed up on the window from outside. I guess because of the double paned windows(?) I got some inside and some outside. I thought it was a neat surprise!

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.  

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Week's Worth Of Thanks

     This week I am thankful for:

  • A husband who is understanding, kind and loving. I'm so proud of him.
  • Children who fill my heart with love and inspire me in new ways all the time. I'm so proud of them.
  • My kids have grown up knowing my grandparents- two amazing role models.
  • All the women who took me to Sunday School when I was little. 
  • Our new lovely home filled with the people we love. (and dogs we love)
  • All of our friends, who are such a great gift to us. Good friends keep me sane.
  • Being blessed enough to be born into the United States where our freedom rings!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Big Fat Bummer

     Today while I was out running errands my wedding set fell off my hand. I have no idea when or where. I've called each place and they've looked and taken my number in case it shows up later.  My husband has gone to look for it himself.  am positive  I wore it today because I was looking at it while I was at the car dealer waiting on my oil change. Of course, that was my first stop today. 

    This wasn't just any old ring to me. It had so much special significance.  The diamond was mined in South Africa, cut in Belgium, and then purchased by a South American jeweler, who sold it to my husband and set it. The most beautifully cut diamond, really. Jewelers who looked at it would admire the skill with which it was cut. 

     A few years ago my husband had trilliants placed on either side of the solitaire. I would go back and forth about getting them removed because while they diffused even more light into the stone, they were not as great as the solitaire and somehow detracted from the overall perfection of the ring. 

     There's just no replacing it. I feel so guilty. I feel so stupid. I feel so frustrated. It's just not possible to replace all the history and sentiment. I pray it shows up and I'm afraid someone will just keep it. I love that little ring. 


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Please Remember To Vote on Tuesday

Please take the time to go vote. Your one vote matters. It is your chance to stand up and be counted, even if it doesn't go your way. Vote your conscience, vote your heart. Decide what you think is best and do not worry about who might not agree with you. 

Thursday, October 25, 2012

For The Love Of Dogs

     When we first got our little furry love, he was just a puppy. Puppy - baby, same thing. He would spit up all the time. He rejected kibble most of the time. He would eat a food for a little while, then he would refuse it, too. It was worrisome. I read a lot about it and ended up cooking for him. Eggs in the morning, boiled chicken and brown rice, ground beef and rice, etc. Still, his stomach problems persisted. He grew tired of eggs so I began making him oatmeal in the mornings. 

     We were in one of those pet botiques which popped up in the malls in recent years, and my husband found him a bag of treats. He was always buying him more stuff he wouldn't eat. But our picky little shih tzu loved these treats. I returned to the store to buy some more. I went to ask for the Stella & Chewy's Carnivore Crunch. They didn't know what I was talking about. They didn't care stuff permanently. I did what any person does out of love. I scoured the internet for the treats. 


     I don't know how long it took me to try the Stella & Chewy's dinners, because they are not inexpensive. If you believe a dog should eat the least expensive stuff you can throw in the dish, this is not for you. But if you are like me, and you can't believe it, but you love the little critter with your whole heart and would do anything for your doggie, this may be for you. Especially if your dog has paws smelling of Fritos, is always licking them (Frito paws are itchy!) or vomits much. There are no grains or fillers in this food. 

     I gave up trying to find it in stores and always order from Amazon. There may be a better price out there somewhere, because I've been ordering it for years and haven't checked in a while. I get free 2 day shipping with Amazon Prime, so I stuck with Amazon. 

     This year we added another pup to the family. She's been eating Stella & Chewy's since we brought her home. No upset stomach problems for her. 

     If you have a picky little shih tzu who wont eat anything, try it! Or, if you have a picky puppy of any breed. 

     Oh, and it's made in the U.S.A. - in Wisconson. 

*Stella and Chewy's did not compensate me in any way to write this post, nor do they have any knowledge in advance of my posting it. This has been an answer to prayers for us and I wanted to share it with people who may be searching with the same problem we were having. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mysteries Of The Universe, Unravelled

     If you've ever doubted for even a minute, the charmed, charmed life I lead you need to find out why even Click on this link, or you have cooties --->Chicken Poop is lucky for me. <--- Click on that link! I mean it!

      Try not to be jealous. We can't all be this lucky. But I bet if you think very, very hard you can remember a time poop was lucky for you, too. I can't wait to hear about it!


Even Chicken Poop Is Lucky

     Yes, you read that right. In my experience, chicken poop is a lovely, lucky thing. Here's what happened:

     This lady, we'll call her 'Darla'- (because her name is really Marla, you see, so I'm protecting her identity because I am thoughtful) decided to have a giveaway on her blog. And I think 'Darla' was sitting around asking herself  "Self, how do those big judging agencies who give away big prizes, and the people who pull names for jury selection and God, in his infinite wisdom, decide who gets what?" And I think it dawned on her right at that moment - they let God's creatures decide!

     So she gets her bright idea and she runs with it, runs like the wind! Right out to the barn, I reckon. She engineered the most righteous, ridiculous, amazing, fair giveaway in the history of ever.

     She wrote all the names on paper and took the giant thing out for the chickens to poop on it. First poop to land on a name = winner! Well guess who some chicken pooped on first??? Me! I won a $45 gift certificate to CSN stores, which is now Wayfair. (I have used them a lot - fast shipping and great problem resolution, in the rare instances I've had a problem)

     My records show the next day I ordered a: Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 6 Quart Covered Stockpot. My records don't lie. I bet this was not a coincidence.

     If you don't believe me, go read 'Darla's' post yourself, where she chronicles the whole dang thing. Really, she is hilarious. You just can't make this stuff up.

     I also thinks this makes us even, winged population, for the time a bird pooped right on my head as I was standing in my front yard. At the time my friend was laughing her fool head off and I was just plain embarrassed, but now I see what the universe had planned.

    And it was Kismet, people, because She posted about the win on October 25th, which is my husband's birthday. I should always win something on my husband's birthday.

*Wayfair stores in no way sponsored, endorsed, or had previous knowledge of me writing this post.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

What Does Your House Say About You?

This question really came from somewhere else. Go check it out, I'll wait. 

     What does my home say about me? To my face it’s fairly quiet, but behind my back I suspect it tells everyone who will listen that I am  hopelessly sentimental.
     You see, our house is brand new. As it was being built it probably thought about all the newfangled, fancy, modern items it was going to house. A series of Nest thermostats, a kitchen island with the little kick at the end, an intercom, built in speakers throughout, etc. Oh, it thought it was going to be fan-SAY.
     But no. I moved in with my great grandmother’s treadle sewing machine and put my great-great grandfather’s church pew right in the entryway. A buffet which went through four generations of a family landed in the dining room, and their old piano in the front parlour. I've lugged in vintage and antique typewriters, tables, mail sorters, projectors, dressing tables, beds, armoires, dressers and chests. I think I heard my house sigh when I went out to the garage and began to… build my own bed.
     My house will tell you – I am hopelessly sentimental. What does your house say about you?

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.    

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Here's Your Chance!

     I have a bunch of things going on, and I seem to be starting new projects before finishing the ones I already have underway. I am dumping them out here on my blog to share with everyone, hoping to basically shame myself into sticking to it and getting them all finished. When I do I'll come here and show the finished projects, and you can all tell me how great I did, and how proud you are that I did it! Sounds like a plan, right?

     Feel free to heckle me if I am not getting them done. Be relentless. Send tools, chocolate, and ponytail holders to keep me going. 

     Here are some of the projects I have in an incomplete state right now: 

Yes, the crazy lady is building a bed. Not just any bed, a farmhouse bed.  The headboard and footboard are put together, and I've been sanding until I can't feel my hands. Seriously.  

Dinah is still laying on a huge (also unfinished) desk in the garage. I really need the whole neighborhood to come and help me get her upright in the garage, and secured to the wall.   Then I will be able to tackle her insides.

Built in bookshelves in the office. Honestly, they are further along than this right now. They have trim and are extended up to the ceiling and have the crowne moulding and baseboard in place. They need caulked and painted. 

You don't need to see more. But know this: I have a list as long as my arm (and that's just the beginning) of projects for the house. I am hoping to get an appliance garage started and finished this week. It's going in the coat closet. In our Ravenna the coat closet is the most underutilized space in the whole house. It is going to be the home for my fondue pot, food processor, toaster, toaster oven, giant roaster oven, George Foreman Grill, vertical storage for baking pans, etc. I will put hooks in the mudroom and I have a very strange idea I'm not willing to share just yet for the front  door area. 

Yes, I'm starting the closet-to-appliance-garage conversion before I finish the other unfinished projects. 

Let the heckling commence!

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.    

Question for Ravenna Owners

     You know that bedroom in the back by the hall bath? Do you have heating/cooling issues with that room? If you did, and they fixed it, what did they do?

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

World Market Find

I had to stop at World Market yesterday for Chili Seasoning. We really like one of their blends. They had changed up the store, much to my chagrin, but I decided to browse just a little anyway. Look what I found!

 I found this fabulous measuring carafe.  Isn't she a beauty?
She's a big girl, too. Tall and slender.

 She measures Sugar in three languages! She also measures sugar, flour and rice in grams and ounces. Then there are sides  for ML, Cups, and Fluid ounces. FAN-CY!

And she comes with this handy pouring spout as our gift to you!

Pretty cool, huh?

If you want one you better run to your World Market or  call and ask them to hold it, because there was only one left at my World Market after I bought this one.

She was a steal at $12.99

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Now This Is Fun!

     One of the coolest things I have seen in a long time are these Crayola Crystal Effects Window Markers! I'm such a non-artist, I swear. I am the person who caused the "She can't draw a straight line with a ruler" cliche. But these are so much fun I do not even care about my lack of artistic ability.

Everything is way cooler/prettier in person, but you'll have to see for yourself when you go buy some.

 No skill required, see?  
Haley did a self portrait.

Jessica created a rainbow.

This was just too much fun! I can imagine so many possibilities, and I  am not even  a good imaginer! (creative  license)
The white marker is really cool, but somehow I didn't get a picture of it or the cocoa colored one. I was practicing pumpkins at the top.

Crayola Crystal Effects Widow Markers. What fun!

You have to go buy some. I got mine on clearance at the local Giant Eagle for a buck and some change. What else can you buy for less than $1.50 that is this much fun? I challenge you! 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Things They Asked For And Got!

     We talk about non-standard requests all the time. For me, hardwood stairs were a non-standard request. For many of you, those are on the list. Here are a few notable non-standard items people were able to get in their homes:

                                                        BD got an awesome spa shower

      They also got a pot filler, got custom cabinet changes, a warming light over the stove top, special kitchen faucet with soap dispenser, wet bar in the basement, custom basement window trim with electric for backlighting, an insulated garage door,  etc. 

Guess what? It's a lot more difficult to find the blogs/posts showcasing all the great non-standard stuff people got. If you have some to add to this list share them and I'll add them to this post.

Make sure to read the comments to see what others have to add!

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.    

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dear Ryan Homes

Dear Ryan Homes,


     We recently bought a Ravenna model home in Northeast Ohio. We were very happy with most of the items you offer. There are a few options we think you could offer to make people even happier:

  • Oil rubbed bronze kitchen faucet. There are ORB offerings for lighting, hardware and plumbing, excluding only this very important faucet. 
  •  Different finish on the sink as an upgrade, too.
  • A large island which is square or rectangular as an upgrade.  
  • Upgraded shower heads
  • Trim packages around the windows. 
  • Upgraded mantle option:   Beefier mantle - without the twists in it.
  • Steps from the back door. 
  • Patio/Deck 
  • Front porch options with each elevation. 
  • Bathroom cabinet options. One sink and big counter or tall cabinet option.Double cabinets with one sink in the middle.
  • Basement bath available in a bigger size to allow for a double sink. Luxury bath option.
  • Extended garages for longer vehicles.
  • Upgraded window options.
  • Upgraded interior and exterior door options. 
  • Pocket door options on first floor for dining & living room.
  • vestibule options
  • pot filler at the stove
  • Ability to change out lower cabinet for a drawer stack.
     These things would be great options, and there are others, too. During our sales meetings our reps told us the more requests buyers make for things, the more likely they are to add them. What other things are easy to substitute and need to be added as options?

  *To read more about our Ryan Homes Ravenna click the "Our House" button at the top of the page.    

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Make A List Like It's Christmas

     If you want it, write it down. Ask for it. Ask your sales rep. Don't wait until someone offers, because maybe they never will. I know I am being vague, but that's because it could be anything.

     Do you want a backsplash in your kitchen? A shelf in your shower? A seat in your shower? Reinforced walls in the laundry room so you can hang cabinets later? There are lots of things you may want. Make a list of those things and make sure to ask for them. Google spreadsheets are your friend. They're free and you can access them from any computer. 

     We don't have a backsplash in the kitchen, because at no point in the buying process did anyone offer any options for it. I think we should have asked at Rite Rug. Actually, I think they should have asked us at our Rite Rug appointment. But they did not, and we did not, so we have no backsplash. Ditto shelving in the shower. We wanted a seat, but were talked out of it, but we couldn't even get any shelves. I even asked the tile guys when they were here, but they weren't allowed to go off plan. Your mileage may vary (and it will) - I know some people who dealt directly with the guys in the house doing their tile. 

     I know they give you a list of options which is about 90 miles long. By the time you have decided on all of that stuff your brain is turned to mush and all you want to do is eat, sleep, and cry. But think about it... what's not on the list? Some people get patios and/or decks, lay their tile at different angles, have extra driveway added, they get blinds for the windows, etc. Think beyond the overwhelming list. Your list will be different than mine, since it seems to be regional. 

     Also, things vary depending on which model you choose. I wanted transom windows - big fat no. They don't do them. But? My cousin has them. She lives across the street. They were standard on her house. We got the door with the built in fake transom window. I wanted a single back door. My house had a slider. I upgraded to french doors, but to 'upgrade' to a single door would have been even more costly. Strange, but true. Same cousin? Has a single door - standard issue. In our development they don't do decks or patios. They even say "Ryan Homes doesn't do decks or patios because they can't warranty them." There were quite a few houses built in a row after ours - all of them got decks. I'm not sure if it was Ryan Homes or if they all just happened to build decks immediately? But I know this: Ryan Homes does decks and patios. Some of you already know it, too. Because you bought a Ryan Home with a deck or patio - or both. 

     I think a lot of what you can get will depend on your PM. My hardwood stairs? I would not have them without my PM. Sales rep said they don't do them, but put in a non-standard request. We got a no back on it. We pushed some more, offered up other blogs as a guide, and our sales rep took it to our PM, who dealt with the factory on it. Our PM could have just offhandedly turned down the request, but he put in the time and effort to help us get what we wanted. The more I read the blogs the more I realize how much the PM has to do with what you, as a homeowner, will be able to get. He's the one who can do the research, talk to the mystery people at Ryan, and get things done.

     I've seen people get double-decker decks with intricate staircases- the idea of their PM. Access to the jetted tub put in closets to pretty up the bathroom, because the PM thought of it. My cousin got a much better driveway than expected because their PM thought it would look better this way. We got a usable space in our basement for food storage because our PM made sure the utility room in the basement was done in a way which made sense - everything in one area, instead of spread out across the span of the room.  

     So, take nothing for granted. Ask questions, and ask for what you want. Maybe you can get it! 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

That Giant Return Air Vent, Part III

*See Part I  and Part II if you are so inclined.

     My PM has spoken with the head dude in charge at Crown, who reports he has the famous 5 inch pleated filter in his own house. (Merv 10) Especially for our allergies, this is a good thing. You have to keep it maintained, though. They say to change it out every six months or so. My plan will be to check it monthly, when I replace the one in the basement. The basement filter should then be the cheapie one inch fiber filter with a screen backing. You can see through them and they are blue or green fiberglass-like mesh. It needs to be replaced monthly.

Big filter in the giant return air vent: Big honkin' Merv 10 pleated 5 inch filter. But keep it clean, kids. 

Basement filter: Cheapie 1 inch filter, changed monthly. ours is 16x25x1. 

This Is Why I Don't Do Ballet




This would have been my on my best day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

That Giant Return Air Vent, Part II

     I have heard from my PM regarding the giant return air vent in the house. (See the post here) I am not sure if I am remembering everything he said about it, but here are the (paraphrased) highlights:

1. The filter is required for energy star requirements. (Now that I know this, I can't imagine it was causing my system to work harder. Right? I mean energy star requirements are so you use less energy, right? Please correct me if you know something different. This is my understanding.)
2. The big downstairs filter should not be causing trouble for my son's bedroom. Maybe if it's super dirty, but otherwise, no. (This makes sense too, because really? That big filter managed to target my son's room? Why did I allow myself to find this as a logical explanation?) 

So, Ryan Homes probably doesn't want ya'll reading my blog and taking out all of your filters willy-nilly, messing up your heating and air systems, and causing problems. 

That's all I know for now. I'll keep you updated if I learn anything else. 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

That Giant Return Air Vent

     If you built a house with Ryan Homes you undoubtedly have that giant return air vent on the first floor somewhere. It could be a portal to... use your imagination. When I was cleaning things a week or so ago I noticed mine had a bunch of dust on the vents. Gross. Then, upon further inspection, I saw it had a filter in it, too. Nobody had ever mentioned this filter to us. I thought it was like all the other return air vents except huge. The filter was totally unexpected. So when the HVAC guy was here the other day doing to adjustments to our zone system I asked him about that filter and how often I should change it, etc.

     The HVAC guy, who was from Crown Heating and Cooling, told me there should not be two filters in the house. He took that one out - it wasn't a half inch filter, or a one inch filter, but, get this... it was a five inch filter. With pleats. Apparently, pleated filters are bad. Especially five inch pleated filters. Of course I had to ask him why we were given one if they are so bad for the system. He said because without it, when you sit in that room, it's noisier when the system is running, because you can hear the air moving. Which is because more air is moving. So, basically, you are partly disabling your system with that giant, noise-blocking filter. Great! I wonder how much harder our unit worked this summer to keep us cool and how much extra we paid for it?

     I'll be asking my PM about this, because there may have been a reason for the giant, five inch thick filter in the front room, right? Crown did install the system, after all. I'll keep you posted.

P.S. You might want to check that filter because we moved in our house in February, and our five in filter was lousy with filth. Really, really, really gross.

Update:  Here

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Laws I Would Enact Given Just a Lick of Power

     As you drive into a car dealership to actually purchase a car there would have to be a little window where they take your order. Because you will be there when it is time for your next meal. Even if you already talked to the dudes who you already bought a car from just last month and you have it narrowed down to two cars. Because car salesmen are trying to put you on an involuntary diet.

     I am reminded of this because I just took my mother to buy her car on Tuesday. After buying a car from the same guy/s last month for our family, I thought I could make it fairly painless. I called the car salesman. We'll call him "Chris" because that's his real name. What does he need protection from? My involuntary diet class action lawsuit? Maybe. Would anyone like to flesh this out with me?

     I told him we wanted Cary Y. He asked why we didn't want car X if we were interested in car Y. We agreed he would have both cars ready for us the next morning.

     On the way to the dealership we made a pit stop. During our stop I told my mother I thought we should buy some amazing snacks- the kind that make people jealous of your snack. My plan was each time someone got up from a desk or otherwise left us unattended we would rip into another delicious snack food item. I don't know why she looked at me the way she did. I could tell she wasn't on board. (This is why I'm not giving her first dibs on the class action lawsuit, she just doesn't know a great idea when she hears one.)

     Several hours into our car buying ordeal we were both hungry, thirsty, and because we were right beneath an air conditioning blaster, freezing. Chris actually asked us if we wanted him to order a pizza,  but when I hastily agreed he didn't make a move for a phone, so I guess he was joking. Probably because he heard our stomachs growl. Who knows? When he left again I reminded my mother we could have been having jealousy-inducing snacks. When we finally got out of there and I got home I told my husband I was starving and  fell exhausted into a heap on my bed. It was pathetic. 

     When my new law is passed we will not starve in car dealerships ever again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

FYI: Ryan Homes Bruce/Armstrong Hardwood Floors

 Just a quick FYI: 

     If you are building your Ryan home and getting (or considering) hardwoods you can go to Home Depot pick up a free sample of the flooring. They have at least a couple different sizes. They are right at the hardwood display, so you don't have to pry one away from a sales person. There are plenty! I grabbed one of each size, even though I had ordered one through the mail during construction. Because it's nice to have a small piece of my floor to carry around. When our house was under construction I practically slept with the thing under my pillow! It's also good to have if you want to test out a repair or who-knows-what before you do it on your actual floor. 

   You're welcome!

Bakerella Cake Pops Set at Toys R Us

     In other exciting news, Bakerella is coming out with a cake pops set you will be able to buy at Toys R Us  in September! It's like a tea set, but better! I can see lots of kids of all ages getting this for Christmas.

Bakerella Cake Pops Toys - Coming to Toys R Us September 2012!

Bakerella Cake Pops Toy - Sept 2012

Another set in the Bakerella Cake Pops Line at Toys R Us
Coming Sept 2012

Who's with me!?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Stuff You Should See


There are some things around the good old internet I enjoy. And you should, too. So, here are some of them:

Jenny teaches you how to make good choices. She's just a lot hilarious. Also, she has a new book!

The nerve of "some people." (aka Lisa Rosenberg, aka "Bob's mom") Bob is funny. And six.

Erin makes me want to hug her, bake her cupcakes, and take her to the beach.

Everyone knows Ree, right? And she is good at everything. She's so neat.

Here is where I made the favicon for my own little blog. So easy - go get yourself one!

Chip It helps you with colors from any picture anywhere online! It's free from Sherwin Williams.

My flooring guy was here the other day to do some repairs. He told me about the wonderful hardwood floor cleaner made by Bruce. Oh my gosh, what a difference! I was using a Shark Vac then Steam. He practically begged me to not use it on my hardwoods ever again. This floor cleaner is so much easier and better. I'm 100% sold!

I learned about getting a $100 gift card for people who bought a Ryan Home.

If you lose your iPhone you need this. It will help you find it. It will allow you to remotely lock it and put on a passcode. It will, in the unfortunate event it becomes necessary, allow you to wipe all your data from a lost iPhone. 

I found this place and lost track of untold amounts of time.