May 23, 2016

Updating our Deck

It was a big project but we completed our deck renovation this spring. 

We have a second level deck off the back of our house as well as a lower deck that covers a county drain. Both were in horrible condition...the top deck swayed when you walked on was scary. This spring we finally had them resurfaced. Our contractor was able to tighten the underneath boards and just replace the top surface boards and top of the handrails. It is so much better and safer!

Here are the before pictures....

And now the afters...

One of my favorite features of our new deck space is the lighting. Michael figured out to how use these poles from Home Depot to string lights around the space. They are also removable if we ever decide we want to take them down.

Source List:
Table & Dining Chairs: Target
Throw Pillows: TJMaxx
Side Chairs: Target
Planters holding Ferns: Walmart
Table Planter: TJMaxx 
Umbrella: At Home
Oil Cloth For Chair Bottoms:
Lights: Hometown Evolution

It has basically been raining in Richmond all month long so it was hard to get the best pictures! We have managed to eat dinner out there a few nights and hosted a nieghborhood party on Saturday night and thankfully the rain ended and people could be outside. I think we are going to really use the space this summer and fall!

May 16, 2016

Weekend Recap & Menu Planner

Clyde turned 7 this weekend! My baby is 7! The child who used to stay attached to my hip no longer wants to give me a hug. Sigh....

We had fantastic weekend celebrating! Here are couple shots from his party at Dave & Busters on Saturday.

This week's menu planner is posted below. I must confess...I have been in a bit of dinner rut! And this week it seems all that I am serving is chicken. Oh well! 

Also, have you heard about Walmart's new online grocery ordering? I have successfully ordered and picked up twice now and I think I kinda like it! Going to the grocery store is not one of my favorite tasks and this has saved a bunch of time and money. I have gotten produce and meat both times and had no issues. Only a few stores have it currently...for Richmonders, I ordered from Sheila Lane (Forest Hill). You can get $10 off orders of $50 or more right now with the code REALEASY.

Monday....Chicken Parmesan, Cannellini Beans with Roasted Peppers & Kale

Tuesday....Crockpot Chicken Pot Roast with Sassy Salsa

Wednesday....Gnocchi with Sausage & Spinach, Mixed Green Salad & Bread

Thursday...Chicken Parmesan Burgers, Fries

May 2, 2016

Updating a Kitchen without Painting the Cabinets

Since we moved into our house almost two years ago, I have been complaining about the fluorescent lighting in our kitchen. It never seemed bright enough and I was worried I needed reading glasses because I couldn't see well when cooking...I even mentioned it to my eye doctor!

Well I am not sure what took us so long because while it wasn't free, it wasn't that expensive at $700 for the recessed LED lights and installation and about $150 for a painter to patch and paint the ceiling. It has made a HUGE difference and I still feel young without reading glasses. ;)

Here is a before shot of our kitchen right after move-in....

The first thing we did was paint and that was a definite improvement...the yellow was a bit much. You can see the test spot on our new color, Sherwin Williams Sea Salt, in the left side of the above picture.

And here is the kitchen today....

I really want to paint all the cabinets a light color but we have some other projects for this spring (like resurfacing our decks - stay tuned for that blog post) and so it isn't in the budget. I did order new knobs and a pendant for over the sink from

And that leads us to the terrible scallop from the 80s at the sink window. I wanted to remove it all together but because of the crown molding position, I didn't think this would work. Thankfully Michael is handy because he removed it and then he cut the board into a arch which gives a move updated look. I found stain to match the cabinets which he used to cover the naked wood from the cutting the arch.

I would like to find a rug for in front of the sink and a valance for the sink window but all in good time. The pictures don't show a very dramatic before and after but it is definitely an improvement from move-in day. Baby steps!

April 4, 2016

Spring Break 2016

We had an easy going but fun spring break. Here are a few of the highlights! 

We kicked off our week with the Sur La Table Easter Sweet Cooking Class.
This was a fun activity - the kids really enjoyed it!

Easter Egg Hunting!

We finally made it to Luray Caverns! See a recap of our first attempt here

We stayed one night at the Mimslyn Inn in Luray! It was great. The rooms were nice and we got a suite with a pull out couch which was perfect for our family. 

On the way home from Luray, we were stopped in Charlottesville for lunch. After a quick trip to the Lawn and College Inn, we were back on track to Richmond.


Later in the week, we made a day trip to Busch Gardens! I wish I could say we had a blast, let's just say the trip had it's up and downs. We'll give it another shot! 

It felt good to be back into a routine today! Well it felt to good to me...not sure the children felt the same way. ;)

March 13, 2016

Weekend Recap & Menu Planner

It was a busy weekend for real estate! Friday night, I got my cute listing under contract! And Saturday found a great house for some buyers who have been looking for a little while. Spring market is here!
Under Contract!

I have been working on a page for this blog that includes links to many of our favorite recipes. I plan to continue to update but in the meantime click here to see what I have so far.

And here goes with this week's menu planner!

Sunday....Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos with Spicy Avocado Cream from the Skinnytaste Cookbook

Monday....Chicken & Potatoes Bacon Au Gratin & Mixed Green Salad

Tuesday....Store Bought Raviolis & Sauce from BJ's

Wednesday....Goat Cheese & Black Bean Quesadillas with Mango Salsa

Thursday....White Pizza