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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

We're Moving!

Yesterday was my 200th post. Can you believe it? It's hard to believe that just a few short months ago, no one was reading this blog, and I considered it a success if I updated it every month or so. Things sure do change quickly, don't they? Well, in honor of my 200th post, I thought it was time for some changes around here at Words On Wendhurst. And my announcement is that... we're moving!

Don't worry, we're not selling our beloved castle. :-) In fact, we plan to stay here for a very, very long time. We are, however, moving to our own domain name! From now on, you can find us at

So head on over, and join the party! We've got lots of cool new stuff for you over there, so start clicking!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February Goals

Last month I didn't set any goals. *gasp* I know, it was a weird month. Truth be told, I was tired, and wanted to enjoy a month without the pressure of "I have to achieve this" It's a firstborn thing. I did lots of fun stuff like reading magazines, cleaning up holiday messes, working on the dining room and failing on my attempt to recover a lamp shade (more on that to come) But it was a good start to 2010.

Here are my 10 goals for February:
  1. Recover lampshades
  2. Read two classics
  3. Love my husband more each day, and tell him so!
  4. Make a fun Valentine's craft
  5. Blog every weekday
  6. Not complain about winter
  7. Take some fun pictures
  8. Continue working on the basement, and live to tell about it
  9. Draw something
  10. Entertain once or twice

There's a pretty good possibility that we'll be spending the last two weeks of February in New York City for Lover's work. If that is the case, I have a few additional goals:
  1. Go to an Anthropologie store
  2. Shop!
  3. Take tons of pictures of the city
  4. Shop!
  5. Find cool fabric for clothes and crafts
  6. Shop!
  7. Go to all the museums
  8. Shop!

Anybody watching Lost tonight? I'm on the fence. Part of me wants to watch the series one week at a time, and enjoy the suspense. The other part of me wants to wait till the season is over, so that I can watch the whole thing at once, without any breaks. Hmm....

P.S. Don't forget to come back tomorrow for my big news!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Basement Remodeling: Part 1

The first completed project in our basement was actually completed by a professional! After two years of renovating our century old foursquare, and doing all of the work ourselves, it was nice to have a pro come in to take care of a job.

The previous owners had elected to cover up two of the four windows that let light into the basement. Of the two windows we uncovered, one was glass block already, score! The second, however, was just single pane glass, and broken, at that. Because of its large size (nearly 40 inches wide) we decided that it would be best to put in a glass block window, for security reasons. We also figured it would be nice to have the new window match the other three.
When the previous owners decided to cover up the window (instead of fix it), they chose to put paneling right over it on the inside, and a weird slat/frame over it on the outside. Apparently they weren't fans of natural light. :-(

Our work on this project consisted of removing the paneling from the inside, so the window was accessible, and then calling for quotes. We chose a small business owner who had years of experience and was also the best rate. Here's a tip when calling for quotes, be prepared to call as many contractors as you can, and be sure to mention that you are calling around for estimates. They are much more likely to work with you on price. In the end, the contractor we chose gave us a quote that was only $15 more expensive than the actual materials would have cost us at Lowe's. It was obviously a no brainer.

The window was installed and functional in two hours on a Wednesday morning. Not only did the contractor remove the old slats, glass and metal frame (and haul it away for us) but he did such a good job with the new window that it made our old ones look shoddy by comparison. At some point we'll have to have him out to replace the old glass block ones too!

We opted to include a vent in the window, as none of the others have one. We figure it will be nice to be able to air out the basement every once in a while.

So there you have it. A quick and easy renovation job where we didn't even have to lift a finger! (Well, except to write the check, of course. :-)

P.S. Don't forget to check back this week for some fun blog news!

Linked to Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Make Your Monday @ Twice Remembered
Make It For Monday @ Cottage Instincts

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Favs: My Project List

Last year, in a fit of despair after our trip to Florida was canceled, I made up a list of the house projects that needed completion. At that time, I thought the trip had only been delayed three weeks, and so I made us a "to do" list for those three weeks. The list contained pretty much all of the house projects that I blogged about last year. So you would be safe in making the conclusion that it took us a bit longer than three weeks to accomplish. :-)

I made the list almost exactly one year ago, and it has hung on our fridge since then. The last item was crossed off probably sometime in the fall, and I left the now completed list hanging there to boost morale. :-) It was nice to look at it and think "look at all that we HAVE accomplished." Especially once we turned the heat on and I had to dust multiple times a day due to the incredible amount of dust the furnace was pulling out of the basement and spewing throughout the house. Let's just say that we will need a spring cleaning this year. :-)

Every once in a while I would think about making a new list. There are some little odd and ends projects that need completing, and then, of course, there's everything that needs to be tackled in the basement. But, to be honest, I didn't want to start another list. I didn't want to think about more projects. So I left the completed one up, and it made me smile every time I saw it.

I blogged Tuesday about how we were seriously needing some encouragement in this renovation process. I think the combination of a large renovation project, the exhaustion of the holiday season, Lover's traveling, and the fact that we had plans to be gone for another month long business trip were really stressing us out. It wasn't fun anymore. We were trying to finish the basement by March 1st, for a visitor, and it just wasn't happening.

So we sat down and had a long talk. We reminded each other of the promise we made when we moved in: this house was for us, and always would be. We'd renovate on our own schedule, and we wouldn't become crazy, stressed out, maxed out renovation people. We told our upcoming visitor that the basement wouldn't be done in time, we took a weekend off, and we both felt better. And the funny thing is, we've accomplished a lot more in the last two weekends than we had previously been getting done. It's fun again!

So now that I've gotten my second (fourth? fifteenth?) wind, I'm ready to make a new list. This crisp new one is hanging in place of the old one, inspiring me to get moving on some new projects. And this year I'm being realistic. I probably won't get them all done in three weeks. ;-) Heck, the basement may take us another five years, for all I know. :-)

You'll notice that the right side, where it says "basement" is blank, with a lot of little boxes. I figured it might get depressing to list every single project that needs doing down there, and if I summed it all up in one, a la "finish the basment", well, that would just be depressing. I've told you before how I like lists, and being able to check things off. One line item for the basement just wouldn't cut it. :-)

Oh, and the old list? It's going into the scrapbook. I want to make sure we document all of the hard work that's going into this old castle. :-)

I've got some fun news coming up next week for the blog. It's something I've been working a ton on, and I am really excited about. Don't forget to check back in with me next week!

Linked to Finer Things Friday @ Amy's Finer Things

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sparkly Senior Portrait Session

It's snowing outside my window, and the wind is brutal, so I thought I would share a session that I did this summer (when it was warm and sunny. Yay!) Carly was heading into her senior year and needed some affordable portraits done. She is an extremely talented and artistic girl, so we brainstormed some fun locations and outfits that would reflect that. She told me she wanted to do some "glamour" shots (how fun!) and showed up to the session with awesome makeup and even neat little pupil enhancing contacts! Here are a few from the first location we chose:

And for the next location, Carly told me she had chosen a "Michael Jackson" inspired outfit, as he was her favorite artist. We had a lot of fun with this one, and got some really neat looking shots.

All in all we had a great time and I was really happy with the pictures that I took. What's your favorite picture of the bunch?

Linked to Talented Tuesdays @ My Frugal Family

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Inspiration Tuesday: Fellow Renovators

We're up to our eyebrows in basement renovations, and, to be perfectly honest, it can get discouraging at times. I think the hardest part is the time right before you start rebuilding, and everything is torn apart and looks a mess and makes a mess, and you wonder what were we thinking to tackle this enormous project?

When we started the basement renovation, we had no idea that the previous owners had covered up huge holes in the walls, or shoddily replaced a door with chunks of drywall. We weren't aware of the fact that the basment was actually seven feet tall, and they had lowered the ceiling more than a foot in many places. We also found two windows that they had completely blocked off, drains they had covered, and electrical work that was a disaster waiting to happen.

Needless to say, it turned out to be a project that was far beyond what we were expecting, which was both overwhelming and discouraging. (Have I mentioned that my office/craft room was next on the list? oh, yes, I have)

That said, we're finally at the rebuilding stage (after months and months of demolition and carting garbage out to the curb) and things are moving along, albeit slowly. I'm finding great solace in other bloggers who have tackled huge renovations and either lived or are living to tell about it. ;-)

There's Kim and Ryan at Newlywoodwards, who renovated their entire home, and then bought a rental last year and renovated that too. I think they are actually reincarnations of Popeye and WonderWoman. :-) Click this link to read about their first renovation.

Then there's Layla and Kevin at The Lettered Cottage, who are slowly remodeling their less than picture perfect home into something seriously stunning.

And Jennifer at The Old Painted Cottage, who truly had a vision for her kitchen and dining room that took the rooms from sea-surfing weirdness to awesome.

And lastly, anytime I start to feel sorry for myself, I head over to Thirty Eight 20 and read about Emily and S's adventures renovating their log house built in the 1800's. Nothing, and I mean nothing, we've endured renovating compares to the stuff they've put up with: no running water, no heat... even no toilet for a while! These two are hardcore. I am in awe.

So there you have it. A bunch of people with mad skillz that encourage me to keep on keeping on, with the hope that one day, our little (!) basement project will be finished. Next week I'll start giving you pictures of the basement renovation, with lots of information and pictures and a few before and afters. Fun!

On a side note, isn't it funny how, when you're in the midst of a renovation, money begins to be represented in renovation items? Example: we have $60. Oh, perfect, we now have our new toilet. :-) A weekend of overtime = 2x4s and sheetrock for the walls. :-)

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spinach Stuffed Chicken with Bacon

Lover and I are enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon, especially because Lover just finished working 32 hours over the course of Friday and Saturday. It's insanity I tell ya! We decided to make up something delicious for dinner, using whatever we had in the fridge. We decided on spinach stuffed-bacon wrapped chicken breasts, and let me tell you, they were ah-mazing! Here they are all ready to go in the oven:

And then on our plates, ready to be devoured.

If you'd like to make your own, here are some guidelines:

  • 4 green onions, sliced
  • one medium onion, diced
  • one stalk of celery, sliced
  • two cloves of garlic, diced
  • frozen spinach
  • two handfuls of mozzarella
  • small container of ricotta
  • four large chicken breasts
  • 6-7 bacon strips
  • spices (thyme, garlic powder, rotisserie chicken spices, etc)
  • a little salt
We chopped the onions, celery and garlic, (and thyme to taste) and sauteed them all in oil till tender. While that was cooking, we heated up the spinach in another pan with water. Once the spinach was warm ,we added it to the onion mixture, along with the ricotta (about half the container) When the ricotta was heated, we added the handfuls of mozzarella, and then let it all simmer together for about 5 minutes. While it simmered, we trimmed the breasts and cut them open for stuffing. We sprinkled them inside and out with garlic powder and rotisserie chicken spice.

Then we carefully stuffed the breasts, keeping them closed with toothpicks and wrapped the bacon around them. Then we set them in a glass pan we had sprayed with cooking oil, and cooked them for about 15 min, or until they showed a safe temperature.

All that's left to do is enjoy the yummy goodness!

Linked to
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps On The Porch
Made It for Monday @ Cottage Instincts
Make Your Monday @ Twice Remembered
Making the World Cuter Mondays @ Making the World Cuter

DIY Day @ A Soft Place to Land

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