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Trying to stay warm!

Holy Freeze, Batman!  It has been sooo cold here.  Woke up this morning and it was -10 degrees (-23 celcius).  That is before any wind chill and that certainly doesn’t make me want to go to the gym. No way.  Good thing we have the bike trainers at home.

Good morning to stay in with a hot breakfast!

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This is cream of wheat cooked with a mashed banana and some egg whites (added at the end).  Good stuff.  I really have made some good habits since we moved, one of which is not eating breakfast at my computer.  I do still look at my phone, though LOL!  

I have to post this that floats across my pinterest feed periodically (including today) and it makes me laugh every single time:

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I have been there, doggy. I feel you :D

Pixie has been finding the radiators too hot for her now.  With this super cold, they run longer and get hotter, so she lays on them for a while and then lays on the floor near them.  I decided to move her bed near the radiator so she wouldn’t have to lay on the hard floor and she seemed pretty happy about that.  

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Now she alternates being on this radiator and then in her bed.  Of course, it is kind of in the tripping zone, but the things we do for our pets…

I am eating different veggies per my 2015 ‘project’.  Dinner tonight was roasted butternut squash with my chicken:

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I know some people call that a starch, but it’s a veggie to me:lol:   I am thinking about getting a veggie spiralizer to make veggies more ‘fun’ – since I apparently need to make them fun to eat more of them.  I have a gift certificate to Amazon and have been looking at the Paderno spiralizer.  Have any of you tried it?

With this cold weather and the fact that I work from home, it is really hard not to become a complete hermit.  We did want to get out of the house tonight and having to check to make sure the pipes at the old house hadn’t frozen was a good excuse.  John dropped me off at the library while he checked that and then we hit up the coffee shop:

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You might or might not remember that I am looking for an old trunk to use as a coffee table.  I have actually been coming across a fair number of trunks, but they aren’t quite right for the coffee table. However, they have a lot of potential, so I might just get one and try to restore it just because. Maybe sell it or keep it somewhere else in the house. Cause I really need another project, right? 

Great Veggie Experiment: Vegetable Tian

This recipe for vegetable tian was pinned 8000 million times on Pinterest and gets rave reviews, so I figured even a non-veggie person might like it.  I decided to make it for Christmas Eve dinner.

Vegetable Tian

It’s a very easy recipe, really.

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow squash
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large russett potato
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • Olive oil
  • salt and  pepper
  • 1 ounce of mozzarella cheese
  • 1 ounce of grated parmesan cheese

Of note, when I say large, it’s kind of hard to say the size. You will want equal portions of all the veggies.  I had a honking big potato and I used 2 small yellows and 2 small zucchini (it’s winter and they are smaller now).  In the end, I don’t think it really matters because you can just use whatever pan size you need.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Bring a pot of water to boil. Peel the potato, if desired, and slice into 1/4 inch slices.  Par boil the potato for about 6-7 minutes. I was worried that the potatoes would be rock hard as some comments pointed out, so I parboiled them and it worked out great for cooking time. You could probably skip this step, but it might take longer to cook.  Drain and set aside the tater slices.

In a small pan, add a couple teaspoons of oil and saute the onion.  This is optional.

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While the onions are cooking, slice all the remaining veggies into 1/4 inch slices:

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I used a 9  x 9 pan for this recipe and then had a small loaf pan extra.  It’s all going to depend on the size of your veggies.  Spread the onions on the bottom of the baking dish and then alterate slices of your vegetables.

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Once the pan is full, brush with olive oil and then add salt and pepper:

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Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Then remove the foil, sprinkle on the cheese and bake for another 20 minutes or so until the potatoes are fork tender.

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Then serve!

The verdict?  Tres delicious!  For me as a non-veggie lover, the potatoes are what made this dish taste yummy to me. They add a certain firmness to the dish and a good texture with the other softer vegetables.

Calories for this dish will vary a bit depending on the size of veggies you use, but Debby also made this recipe (and the picture is so much more classy than mine since she did a spiral design) and came out with a good general 140 calories per generous serving.   

Notes:

- Try to find veggies that are similar in size so they look nice and neat in the dish. You can see my squashes were smaller than the other veggies.

-  This is an amazing leftover. I just sauteed some up and tucked it inside an omelet. It was very gourmet, as John said LOL!

More wallpaper and sister time!

Playoff weekend!  And wallpaper removal weekend :D

Getting started right at the beginning of the year.  I actually wasn’t intending to do the downstairs foyer first, but I was taking ‘before’ pictures of the upstairs bath, bedroom and the hallway and then I saw a little loose strip of wallpaper and it pulled off a big sheet, so that was it.

Here was the old wallpaper:

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It was dirty and had a lot of rips in it.  And kind of ugly.  I really don’t have a problem with wallpaper, per se, but it has to be well done.  That is absolutely key to pull off wallpaper.  It has to work with the house and when you combine papers, they should work together.  In this house on just the first floor, there were 12 different patterns of wallpaper used. TWELVE!!  That doesn’t count the layers there were underneath the top layers, either.  It’s almost like the people just found all the patterns they liked, couldn’t decide and put them all up. There are only about 8 different kinds upstairs, so there is that.

Here is an example.  This is the entry going to the downstairs basement. It had plaid wallpaper on the top.  That in no way goes with the paper in the foyer or what was in the nook/kitchen or dining room. This was John’s work area for the weekend:

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He was lucky enough to have a double layer to work with. Lovely:

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I was in the foyer:

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I am an expert in wallpaper removal now and this area was a breeze to remove. It came off really easily, which after some of the tough rooms I did felt like a treat.  However, I decided after a while I would rather do a little shopping and on a whim asked my sister to go out to an upscale consignment shop with me that was kind of near her house.  It’s called La Moda Lisa and it is a huge shop that sells everything from furniture to clothes to jewelry. New, used and vintage.

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I think Elton was here, maybe.

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I *almost* bought these shoes. They were $8, but I can’t imagine where I would wear them. It was just fun to find spike heels that actually were comfortable to wear on my wide feet.

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I walk too fast to have wobbly shoes, though.  I would be on my butt sooner rather than later.

You can get a red velvet barber/dentist chair if you want:

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Pretty tops:

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It’s a fun place.  I ended up buying a faux fur coat. I wasn’t anticipating buying a  coat, but the  price was great and it was really warm and comfy (and fun).  So in keeping with my 2015 goals to upgrade my wardrobe:

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Now I see why people take these selfies high overhead. Thinner and taller.

Anyway, it was great to have sister time.  We stopped for coffee afterwards:

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I wish we could do that more often.

Sunday was back to the wallpaper and I got it all down from the foyer.  It was lickety split!  I just patched the walls and it is now ready for paint.  I will be using Golden Mushroom for the walls.

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I am going to paint the doors and windowsills as well. Just a few shades lighter.

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It’s brighter without that paper.  I stopped where the next papering end to get a clean edge in the stairwell.  That is going to be a huge job and I don’t want to do that until the upstairs bedroom and bathroom are done.  

Do you like how I am drying my boots on the radiator?  Those things are great for drying laundry and putting jammies on there before bed to get them toasty warm :D

Thoughts for 2015

So, sneaking this post in on a Friday when very few people read LOL.  I don’t mind setting goals for a year. It’s no secret that I like to set monthly goals or other types of goals just go give me some kind of focus, otherwise I am like a bee flying around everywhere landing on every different flower.

This is just a list of ideas of things I would like to happen this year or to do.  Some things I can’t make happen, but I would like them to happen. Other things I can help along or just plain old do.

1. Create.  This is a big one for me this year.  I am a creative person. I spend most of my day being noncreative with my job and I don’t like that. Not that my job isn’t important, but it doesn’t do much for the soul. This year is going to be about creating things, whether that is the garden, furniture, new friendships, or hobbies.  Whatever.  I guess this would be my word for the year if I were to choose one.

2.  Eat a lot more vegetables.  I get so stuck on the same veggie all the time, which would be the broccoli, and after making a vegetable tian for Christmas, it made me want to get more veggies in forms I like.  I am not the biggest fan of veggies in general, which is why I made the Great Veggie Experiment. I need to get back to that.  I am thinking about getting a spiralizer with a gift certificate I got.

3. New volunteering.  For the last 2 plus years I did literacy tutoring.  Now that I am not doing that anymore, I want to find some other volunteer opportunity. I think I need one with less time committment. The tutoring was 2 hours a week every week!  That’s a lot of time. Anyway, I will be researching the opportunities and try a couple before settling in.

4. Hiking.  It’s back!  The goal I never did last year.  No excuses.  There are some really great trails around here and we are going (Linda – I will take you up on your hiking offer :D )

5.  2000 miles on the bike.  This actually shouldn’t be too hard since it is a pretty normal biking season, but last year with the house remodel in the fall we ended up losing some bike time.  What was that I just said about hiking???

6. Sell the old house.  Okay, I can’t make that happen, per se, but we really need that to happen.  I know it will, but please let it be sooner rather than later.

7. Change up my wardrobe.  I am a thrift shopper, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be stylish. With so much rehab, I pretty much wear jeans and t-shirt or thermal shirt with a fleece jacket all the time. I am not a fashion plate, but I have been feeling downright frumpy lately. So, I will be thrift/sale shopping to be a little more stylish.  The key is to actually *wear* that stuff on a day to day basis. Since I work from home, there is no reason even for me to change out of jammies – although I do :D  – but I could stand to look a little more put together.

I think is a good place to start 2015 from.

Note: I am not even putting wallpaper removal on this list, even though there are still 3 rooms, a foyer, stairwell and hallway all to be depapered this year. :D   That’s just going to happen. 

That 2014 To Do List.

It’s always interesting to me to look at what I had in mind for the next year and how close I actually came to doing those things.  You just never know what life has in store to change those plans or how maybe *you* change and those goals are not right any more for what you want to achieve.

Anyway, back at the beginning of January, back when we had the house closing scheduled for the 24th…. I wrote these goals:

1.  Build somethingI had plans to build a piece of furniture from scratch, but didn’t quite get to that.  I did reupholster a piece and basically built a kitchen from the walls out, so I think this was accomplished LOL!

2. Hiking.  Fail.  We love biking so much that we just never got around to this, which is a shame because there are so many trails in the Adirondacks.  This item will be moved to the next list :D

3. Focus on healthy eating.  Hmmmm… I did a lot of stress eating between the job and house closing stress. I turned to my comfort, which is food.  

4. Heavy lifting.  Yep – I got back to the gym in February and back to lifting. A little sparse the last week with shorter gym hours and busy me, but good to be back. I have to reevaluate the budget for 2015 and the gym.

5. Be a better person.  I don’t really know how I would judge this.  It’s not really a goal per se, but just an idea to be more thoughtful or think in advance before doing/saying something and make sure I understand the implications. Of course, this would be a lifelong goal and not just for 1 year.

6. A possible house flip.  Well, with that whole delay in closing fiasco, this was not even on the table. It’s not even on the table now since we still have our old house and won’t be on the table until we get that sold. There was no control over that situation.

Definitely a very memorable year, that is for sure.  I hope all of you have a very happy and safe New Year and I will see you on the flip side with my ideas for 2015!

2014 Rewind

Almost the end of 2014 and what a crazy year it turned out to be!  One year ago at this time, we were thinking the house closing was going to be in less than a month and we would be rolling along. However, life had other plans for us.

January:

- News came that the house closing was delayed for an unspecified amount of time. We were told 6 months to a year or possibly longer. Nothing like narrowing that down…   :roll:  I have to admit that this waiting period was really hard for me because of the unknown.  It really set the year up to feel very unsettled.

February:

- My Broncos made the  Super Bowl and then proceeded to lay the biggest egg on the field.

We took our trip to New Orleans with my mom, which was fabulous!

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Then it was on to Colorado to visit John’s family! I wish they weren’t so far away.

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The annual Healthy Heart Weekend was had!

March

- Since we were delayed on closing on the Manor, I decided to do a few ‘small’ projects around the old house and redid the countertops.

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I really don’t know why we didn’t tackle that before. It didn’t take that long and wasn’t that hard, although I did slice my hand pretty good.

April

- More waiting on the house closing… and finally getting the bikes out for the year.  It was a slow start to biking season!

- This month started major work stress for me.  2014 was a rough year with the job, although it is much better now.

 May

- More busy projects to keep my mind off the house, including redoing a table and my dresser:

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June:

My birthday!

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- With all the work stress, John asked if I wanted to get away for a weekend and we headed to Portsmouth, NH and it was so great to get away!

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- I had a new iris bloom this year, the Honey Tiger:


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July

- A good month of biking!

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- I finished my very first upholstery projectWP_20140709_007:

- After 2 years of literacy tutoring, it all came to an abrupt end with my learner and I decided that was it for me.

- I also started a second job, which I only did for a few weeks into August.

August

- My sweet hubby’s birthday!

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- and FINALLY!!! after almost 9 months of waiting, we got the clear to close:

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I have to say that seemed kinda like forever with no updates during that time. 

Then reno began:

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That seems like eons ago…

September

- It seems like from here on out for the year it has been project after project on the house!  Oh right, that’s because it was…

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We had hoped to move into the Manor by the end of the month, but didn’t quite make it finishing up the kitchen until that last weekend:

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October

-Moving time!

- The dining room was finished  this month:

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Just in time for the annual pumpkin carving party!

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November:

- Finished the living room this month!

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December:

- Finished the downstairs powder room.

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One room per month is about the pace around here :D

Then of course was the first Christmas party at Radiance Manor!

What a crazy, crazy year.   At least we know one thing for 2015.  No moving!! :D

Festivations!

We had a great couple of days.  The weather was really rainy on Christmas Eve, though.  I kept thinking that if it was snow, it would have been a blizzard and we wouldn’t have been able to have dinner!

I had a surprising amount of work to do on the Eve and I was intermixing that with getting ready for hosting dinner.

Icing tasty mini cinnamon roll cookies:

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John cooking up eggnog :D


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I just love his face in this picture. <3

I got out great grandmother’s china and set the table.

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Quick selfie while I was still all cleaned up and unhurried :D

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All loved ones started arriving and we got dinner on the serving table.

We had a chicken cordon bleu casserole, baked macaroni and cheese, vegetable tian, roasted carrots, biscuits, green bean casserole (for my dad).

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Yum!

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After eating, we had the usual music by John.

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It looks like a supernova exploded behind his head – not sure what happened there LOL!

Here is a tiny blip of his playing.

Then it was time for present opening and lot of mess :D Since our gas fireplace is not functional right now, we had to substitute:

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I recieved a game I have been wanting for a long time (Ticket to Ride) and we got down to business with that while having dessert!

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My sister also set up the dessert tray with our cookie swap:

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She is talented.  Colleen made these adorable cookies, too:

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John and I had a quiet Christmas day before heading on down to Saratoga for more games and cookies!  I am starting to wear out on the cookies LOL!

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I received some very thoughtful gifts this year.

The paper star lanterns I was eyeing:

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My annual cupcake ornament from my mom:

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The Aeropress – pretty excited to try this one:

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John got me a PS3 game.

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Games are my guilty pleasure:oops:

A very enjoyable couple of days, I have to say.  The first of many Christmases at Radiance Manor.  I hope all of you had a wonderful few days as well!

Merry Christmas!

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

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We our ready for our dinner and lots of family time!

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Holiday prep!

Crunch time for the holidays!  Work has been surprisingly busy this week, so I haven’t had a ton of extra time to get stuff done.  We just tick one thing off at a time.

Interesting story. We needed to get the yearly inspection done on the Saturn, which is 14 years old.  John took the car down for an oil change and inspection and then texts me that the car failed inspection and they quoted him $1500 to fix it.  Woah, woah, woah. Not gonna spend that much on this car right now. We decided to bring the car home and think about whether to donate the car or take it off the road for the winter and fix it in the spring.  Then the woman at the counter gave John her card saying that if we were interested in getting rid of the car to give her a call.  *Then*, the mechanic was also interested in buying the car if we didn’t want to fix it.  Makes you go “hmmmmm…”

Long story short, we took the car to a different shop  and it passed inspection. How weird is that?  :?: 

We are prepping for Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow at the Manor!

I think it won’t quite look like this, though :D

Animals are just so funny. Every time.

I just got done making “the cake”.

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This Christmas would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday! I didn’t realize that until my mom mentioned it the other day.  Maybe we should put a 100 on the cake, if it holds together.  It has a big crack in it currently. You never know with this cake… :)

Tiny cinnamon roll cookies were done.

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These are so durn cute and very poppable. Oopsie.

I plan on a vegetable tian like this tomorrow, so I am going to try to prep that tonight if I get time.  I don’t know how busy work is going to be tomorrow, but I will take whatever money comes my way!

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Doesn’t that look yummy?!  Here is the recipe for that. It is pretty simple, which is always good for the holidays.

Lake viewing and silver find

I got presents wrapped (or gift bagged) this weekend, which is earlier than usual for me – so yay!  Pixie now stays under the tree since I put my little village on her radiator board:

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She is totally eyeing John”s present from his folks :)

The bathroom is just about done.  I had started painting on Friday using the golden mushroom that is in the dining room because I really like that color and I figured it would go well with the green floor.  However, once the first coat went on, I realized that it almost matched the fixtures enough to clash with them.  Oopsie!  So, we went to Lowes and started pondering colors.  I have a different vision for that room which is more blue, but until we change the floor, that isn’t going to happen.  So, I decided to use the same green color from the kitchen (and I had enough leftover paint to do it, too).

Old bathroom:

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New bathroom!  Ready for company on Wednesday, just in time.

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Remember that bad wall?

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Much better now:

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I decided to put up trim around the door because the bad condition of the wall around the door frame and I knew my repair skills of that weren’t as good as I wanted them to be. So the trim helps with that.  It needs painting, but it looks so much better.  The color also doesn’t show as green as it really is in real life.  More minty green.  Anyway, one more room down and I think I am done with any major stuff for the rest of the year.

We finally got some more things on the wall in the kitchen.  My great grandmother’s painted plates went up and they go so perfectly with the wall color!

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I just mopped that part of the floor, which is why it is shiny, FYI…

 

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We were at the lake on Saturday. The sun finally came out after days and days and it was so nice, except really cold :D

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Isn’t it just gorgeous! After being outside walking around, we headed to Cafe Vero to warm up with a coffee!  They moved to a new building and did a nice build out with a fireplace.

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And do you love my latte art??  So cute!  Great latte, too.  They roast their coffee right on the premises.

I also have to show you another thrift find.  There is a thrift store really close to our new house and I like to stop by there on my way home from places hoping to find some chairs.  I dropped some stuff off there on Friday and looked around and scored with a great set up silver!

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$15 total for these 3 pieces.  It had some tarnish on it and the person at the checkout asked if it could be cleaned and I said “Barkeeper’s Friend”.  It really is your friend! This is why people get rid of silver:

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Then I find it and make it pretty again!

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If I could just find the creamer and suger bowls, this would be complete. I am most stoked about the tray.  It will be serving cookies on Christmas Eve for our dinner!  

Okay, I think I have meandered around enough :D