Mail Time

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but our mailbox is a hot mess.
Mailbox2Ok, it’s actually a really nice mailbox, a heavy metal one, large enough to hold small packages without screaming “giant mailbox”. And I’m sure at some point it was really gorgeous, but now it’s covered in mildew which blends in with the hunter green color it is painted, but probably grosses our mailman out. Also the metal numbers were falling off and sad and I couldn’t find replacement numbers for them anywhere that matched.
Mailbox1

One day we’d like to upgrade to a brick surround mailbox (we’re one of the only ones on our street that doesn’t have a brick one), but the one we have is perfectly fine for now, at least with a little sprucing up. So I attacked it with some black spray paint. :) Our front door and shutters are black, so the green mailbox always kind of bothered me. The project was simple enough, Joey took apart the pieces that he could for me, like the little red flag and the pull on the front, which I spray painted seperately before reattaching to the finished box. But I spray painted the rest just in place, it was easier than trying to take it out and reinstall it.

Red Flag

Red Flag

I started by cleaning the box with just some regular old Lysol wipes…and then once it was dry sprayed a coat of Rustoleum primer. An hour later I was able to spray with a semi-gloss coat of black paint. It instantly improved our look. :)
Mailbox after1

The project was really easy and straightforward…but I have a couple of tips if you try this at home:
Tip #1 use your phone camera instead of your fancy camera when taking blog shots for this one…otherwise your neighbors may judge you for taking photos of your ugly mailbox. This may or may not of happened to me…but now our neighbor Bob across the street thinks I’m a crazy person.

Tip #2 Keep your spray paints seperated…I was doing another side project at the same time, and managed to place the bottle of Oil Rubbed Bronze spray next to the Black spray bottle, and definitely sprayed a coat of ORB on our mailbox as a second coat. Sigh…the really sad part is, I didn’t even notice until I was halfway through the second coat…lol.

Tip #3 If it’s overcast outside…don’t attempt this project. About 5 minutes after I sprayed the mailbox with ORB, it started to rain. At that point I went inside and told Joey we might be getting the brick mailbox sooner than we planned…haha. Luckily it was just a light rain and didn’t seem to affect the finish. Later I just went out and dried it and applied a 3rd coat, this time in black. :)

I’m very pleased with the outcome. Joey’s a little upset with my paint choices…he never noticed there was a fleur-de-lis on the front until I painted it, and now he’s devastated that our mailbox not only has the Saints symbol, but it’s also black and gold. Which is apparently unacceptable in our Buccaneer household. Although I can safely say there will never be a pirate flag on our mailbox, we’re not that big of fans. :)Mailbox after2_edited-1

Life Lately

Well once again it’s been awhile since I’ve checked in here…sorry about that…Things got crazy busy with work for both of us after the holidays and we both just kind of have been vegging when we get home both on the week nights and week-ends.

There has been a lot of this going on lately

There has been a lot of this going on lately

But I’m pleased to announce that all that hard work has certainly paid off, because Joey got a HUGE promotion at work!!! I’m so proud of him, and I know he’s really honored and pumped about it. Although now he’s even busier than he was before, which I’m not sure we anticipated was possible…but apparently it is. :)

It’s been about a month since he started in the new position, and I think we’re finally getting adjusted to the craziness. So hopefully there will be less vegging and more productivity in our future.

Especially since spring feels like it’s coming finally! We’ve had a really cold winter, and even earlier this month we thought we were actually going to have some snow! Sadly…we mostly just had freezing rain and icy roads…it was miserable and we had to go to work still, so it was overall really disappointing.

Lady waiting for snow

Lady waiting for snow

The dogs are settling down a bit, but still rowdy. They’re happy that it’s warming up and they’ve been playing (aka digging) in the backyard a lot lately. They’re also getting really good at snuggling. Sometimes even each other like the photo below:
SpooningI still can’t believe I was able to document this moment before Lady growled at him and army crawled away from him. lol. But all in all, other than work we’re pretty boring these days.

I’ve got a few projects we managed to get under our belt this year so far, so I’ll be sharing those very soon! :) More posts to come, please don’t give up on me even though I’m so sparatic with my posting cycle!

Lady window

Happy Holidays

Christmas CardMerry Christmas from the Meyer family! This is our Christmas card this year, that of course won’t be delivered this year until AFTER Christmas…Sorry family and friends. Don’t ever use Walgreens as your print source unless you’re going for fashionably late Christmas cards of course.
Our cards were not delivered until the end of the day on Christmas Eve…Thanks Walgreens!

Sigh…so they won’t even go out in the mail until after Christmas. But that’s o.k. it’s the thought that counts right? :)

Anyway, we’re spending this morning with my parents and my brother and then hitting the road to spend the rest of the week in Land O’ Lakes with Joey’s family. We hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday with their loved ones and that Santa treats you all as though you are on the “nice list”! :)

It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…

Well Thanksgiving came and went, and we were so busy that I never got around to taking many pictures, which is sad since we had lots of wonderful family in town and I failed to document it. :(

I did manage to document this awesome cheese ball turkey that my aunt Janet made though!

I did manage to document this awesome cheese ball turkey that my aunt Janet made though!

Joey’s parents came up and stayed with us for a few days, and we had a wonderful weekend together! My uncle Gary and aunt MaryAnn came down this year for Thanksgiving as well, which was nice! And then of course we had our usual crowd, in total I think we had 15 people this year.
Jess and DebeeBecause Thanksgiving came so late this year I started getting itchy to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving was even upon us. So the day before Turkey day I cracked and we hung wreaths on the windows of the front of the house. They had just come in the mail, and I was soo excited to get them that we just had to put them up!
exterior

I love this addition, and plan to step it up next year with candles in all of the windows and maybe adding some LED lights to the wreaths.
dogs with wreathWe also added some net lights to the bushes in the front of the house. At least the bushes on one side of the house…haha. Our house is odd and has no outlets outside in the front or sides, so we’re limited when it comes to putting up Christmas lights. So we decided since it was so late this year to just throw on some net lights and call it a day. Next year we plan to have an electrician come out and install some outlets so we can light the bushes on the other side of the house, and maybe add some icicles to the roofline.

I picked up these luminaries last year at Goodwill, they were really sad and pathetic before they got a nice coat of silver and gold spray paint perked them up!

I picked up these luminaries last year at Goodwill, they were really sad and pathetic before they got a nice coat of silver and gold spray paint perked them up!

We didn’t do much decorating at all the first year in the house, we were still adjusting to having Chief, and tired from all the events in 2012. So this year I was really pumped to decorate, and I plan to continue to add a little more each year for the next few years.
Living Room

We got the flu in the second week of December though, so we lost steam about half way through. Luckily we got the outdoor lights and the tree lit and indoors before the flu officially hit, but our tree didn’t get decorated until just last weekend. And we didn’t even bother with putting on all of the ornaments…just the ones that we truly loved and have sentimental value with. Partially because we just weren’t feeling up to it, and partially because I didn’t want to put any ornaments too low for fear the dogs would get them.
Tree

So far they’ve been ok with the tree, much better than we thought they would be. But they also don’t get much in the way of unsupervised opportunities for destruction, so I can’t give them too much credit. Lady has slinked around the tree a few times which makes me nervous, but so far so good, she’s so agile that sometimes I think she does stuff like that to test her skills. If Chief attempted something like that, the tree would certainly come crashing down and he would wind up twisted up in lights. lol. Poor baby lives his life like a bull in a china shop, and doesn’t know the meaning of the word gentle or grace.
Nativity

We had our friend Jaclyn take some holiday pictures, she interned awhile back with our wedding photographers that we love, and we were so thankful that she was willing to take some shots of us! Although trying to get our dogs to sit still long enough to be photographed was pretty comical. Lady mostly cooperated, Chief on the other hand took a little more work, and we have some pretty funny outtakes. But Jaclyn was very patient, and took some great shots so we’re very happy and thankful that she was willing to do that for us! We didn’t have any pictures as a “family” so it’s nice to finally have some. We need to work on the dogs with the “stay” command before we attempt something like that again though. :)

Would have been a great pic if Chief wasn't being a goober!

Would have been a great pic if Chief wasn’t being a goober!

We’re finally starting to feel better so it’s nice to feel like DOING stuff again, and not just laying around in bed. But speaking of laying around in bed, our dogs have been SUPER snuggly lately. Its been a nice change of pace…
Sleeping ChiefSleeping LadyThat’s about all that’s been going on around here…we’re just gearing up for the holidays! Hope you are all having a safe and merry holiday season as well!! :)
Christmas Stockings

Forgotten Cookies

Well it’s very near the holidays, and it’s getting to be that time of year again when I crave one of my favorite cookie recipes (to eat and to prepare) so I decided to make a few batches to share with our co-workers.
Forgotten Cookies 9I don’t usually share recipes on my blog, but this one is so good and so easy, that I felt guilty not sharing it. Forgotten cookies are seriously one of the oldest and easiest recipes in the book! But if you’re unfamiliar with them, they are basically little meringue cookies that melt in your mouth and deliver a yummy crunch of chocolate and/or nuts.

Here is the basic recipe:
2 egg whites
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips (any flavor)
1 cup nuts (if desired)
Forgotten Cookies 1

The first thing to do is preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and then line a cookie sheet with foil (shiny side down).

My highly sophisticated method of separating egg whites

My highly sophisticated method of separating egg whites

Next step is to beat the egg whites until foamy,  I’ve found it’s best to use a stand mixer if you have it, but definitely an electric mixer either way!

Beat the eggs until foamy

Beat the eggs until foamy

Then you gradually add the sugar to the egg whites, and then continue to beat them on high until the mixture forms stiff peaks (this is critical or they’ll come out runny and won’t harden).

This is a "stiff peak" But think less dirty and more delicious..

This is a “stiff peak” But think less dirty and more delicious..

Next, add the vanilla and the chocolate and/or nuts and just kind of fold them in.
Forgotten Cookies 4Then you drop them by the teaspoonful onto the foil lined pan. No need to space them too far apart, they don’t expand or anything.
Forgotten Cookies 7Once you’re done, put them in the preheated oven and promptly turn it off. Then
forget about them! Leave them in the closed oven overnight (no peaking or they’ll crack!!) and in the morning pull them out and put them in an airtight container until you’re ready to eat!
IMG_3438
Usually I’m a purist and I just go with old faithful semi-sweet chocolate chips and no nuts (because I’m against adding healthy things to cookies). But this year I made not only the semi-sweet chocolate ones but also experimented with chocolate mint chips (AMAZING and I highly recommend!! Makes them even more Christmasy) and white chocolate chips (these turned out ok, but I think I prefer mint chocolate chip or regular semi-sweet). But use whatever you like! It’s all delicious!

Halloween Party

I’m very late to post this…but to be fair, some traumatic events occurred at our Halloween party this year, so it took this long for me to be able to write this post. Ok… that’s a bit dramatic, I’m also lazy…you have to take that into account too. :)
smittysThe month of October flew by this year, and all of the weekends seemed to be spoken for by Florida State football games. Lots of home games this October. That and Halloween was on a Thursday this year…so Julia and I decided that our Halloween party should be a little low key this year, especially since we were scheduling it on a Friday night before an FSU home game. So we decided to go with a dinner party this year, with a subtle witches and wizards theme.
trioDecorating was easy this year, since we spent so much time last year collecting lots of Halloween items. We decided that we should make ahead the items for dinner, so we went with a vegetable lasagna (Julia) and a baked ziti with meat sauce (me) stuff that would be easy to heat up, along with salad and bread of course.

We rented tables and chairs so we could all sit together, and boarded the dogs so that we could light candles unafraid of them getting knocked over and setting fire. And four hours before the party we looked at each other and said, ” Can it really be? Can we really be done with setting up this early?” Famous last words….haha.

tableYes we were done with the set up and decoration…we prepared as well as we could have and had time to get ready and have a glass of wine before the guests even arrived! It was a dream…and felt too good to be true….it was. For some doom was to come upon us later in the night.
table scape

Shane and Lex

Shane and Lex

We used a backdrop this year, for a photobooth type of photo. I’m pretty happy with this addition, I think it’ll be a keeper. I think I got everyone but Jaime and Shiloh, which is sad because they had AMAZING costumes this year! They were voodoo queen and voodoo doll. Loved it, especially because we’re waay into American Horror Story this year!!

Rosanne and Mike

Rosanne and Mike

Adam & Judi

Adam & Judi

Matt & Jaclyn

Matt & Jaclyn

Hostesses

Hostesses

BillingtonsMore pics, sorry this one is going to be heavy on the pictures for a bit…

Bar

Bar

Breedings

SpellsConsole tablemantelfoodboo2You may have noticed a theme with the candles…we went a little heavy with the candles this year…we initially planned to do this outside, but then it rained so we moved to the living room as depicted above…

And we thought it would be fine since our dogs were boarded, so surely the amount of candles we had lit would be fine…four grown adults had approved it, combined with Martha Stewart endorsing the cheesecloth candle combo…

Well my friends, let this be a lesson to all of us that you should not play with fire…because while we were all gathered in the kitchen, preparing to make our plates and sit down to dinner…a shrill scream blasted through the air…the fire alarm.

We ran into the living room and all of the tables were ON FIRE! It was the scariest thing ever to see our living room in a blaze. Joey ran in and fearlessly began batting at the flames, and everyone kind of froze for a minute watching before we all kicked it in gear and started filling up cups of water to throw on the flames. Wasn’t really the best idea…all that really accomplished was a giant mess of an aftermath, but in the end, the flames were all extinguished, and we were all ok.

We were so very lucky though that no one was hurt, and that the house was ok. The tables suffered a bit of a scorching, but they all still work fine (although we’re still waiting for that bill from the party rental company-thank goodness I’m friends with the owner lol). Nothing or anyone was harmed other than the tables, a couple of the rental chairs, and unfortunately our floors suffered a scorch mark or two, or three…haha. But nothing that can’t be buffed out and refinished later on down the road when we care enough/don’t have doggies and babies doing their own damage to them. So probably whenever we go to sell…haha.

All in all, our ego suffered the most damage, but we’re recovering and hoping that one day it will be a funny story. In the meantime I’m trying to embrace the imperfections in the floors like everything else in our home… chalking it up to memories and reminders of how blessed we are everyday to be safe, healthy and have a beautiful roof over our heads.

The Entertainment Center Dilemma

We’ve been in need of a good entertainment center from the time we’ve been together. I honestly don’t even remember what Joey used as an entertainment center before we lived together, but I’m sure it was awful because it was kicked to the curb about the same time I moved in. :)

Not that I brought with me anything that was too fancy either. We’ve actually been using the same entertainment center (if you want to even call it that) that Julia and I (and let’s be honest, my DAD) built when we first moved in together in college, circa 2001? It was fire engine red when Julia and I shared it, and man were we proud to tell people that we built it!

Later the entertainment center moved with me to the Pool House, and when I decided to evict whatever Joey was using when I moved in, well I brought old red with me. Except when it went with me to Joey’s townhouse we decided to paint it black…you know, to class it up a bit. HA.
LIving room

Well it served us well for a number of years, but ever since we moved to the new house it started feeling a little TOO reminiscient of my college years. It was time for something more grown up, and we dreamed of something big and built in. With cabinets lining the bottom and shelving on the top. But it turns out custom cabinetry is expensive…shocking right?? So, then we looked at other options like the following from Ikea:
hemnes-tv-storage-combination__0209228_PE362819_S4Which actually as I type this I realize that this set has significantly gone down in price since we first looked at it, so it may go back on our list in the not so distant future as more of an option. Especially if we doctored it up to look like a built-in unit. But even with the drop in price, at $750 it is still out of our budget for now.

Following the kitchen reno, our budget for the rest of the house has become very limited. As in, I was told by my husband, no more “projects” for awhile. So I put the entertainment center on the back burner and moved on with life.

Then, in August when my brother moved to Raleigh, and had no furniture of his own, we decided that it was the optimum time to unload gift our entertainment center to him.
:) Luckily, we had picked up an old dresser from our friend Summer a few months prior. She was moving and decided she didn’t have room for it anymore, so we took it off her hands, not really knowing where we were going to put it but there is always room for a free dresser. Actually, when we picked it up I thought it would be the perfect size for a future changing table/nursery dresser. But when we decided to gift Justin with our entertainment center, we decided that we would try to re-purpose the dresser as an entertainment center.

I forgot to take a true before shot of it. :( Bad blogger. But let me paint a picture for you first…this dresser was free even to Summer! She inherited it from an old roommate in college that didn’t want to move it. It had a tall sibling, that I’m kicking myself now for not grabbing. But it was cream, almost a yellow, and it had very purposeful brush strokes that could be seen, its probably some 90′s treatment like rag rolling that I’m not aware of…but it was definitely some sort of treatment. It also had some terrible wooden hardware we snatched out immediately.
entertainment4I wanted to paint it a fun bright color like turquoise. It was a free dresser, we could take some risks. But Joey promptly shot that down and told me I should paint it white or black. The man has trouble “seeing” my vision…but to be fair, I’m glad he reigned me in because the end result works so much better for our house and the space.
entertainment2

I went back and forth on whether to paint it white or stain it cherry like our kitchen cabinets. Joey didn’t think it would stain since it had already been painted…I knew in my heart that gel stain was magical like Pandora Radio, and would work. I decided to try my hand at a two tone finish. The plan was to take the top drawer out, and use it as a shelf for our electronics. Then to use the bottom two drawers for dvd/game storage. My dad advised to use a matte black spray paint to paint the inside of the empty shelf so that it will fade out and be less noticeable. That is what is going on in the photo above.

We decided that to make it work as an entertainment center we needed to add some height to it…so we tore out the legs and decided to add new ones. The ones in the photo above are the new ones. You’ll notice a slight problem in adding the new legs…
entertainment3There’s about a quarter inch gap in between the dresser and the legs. Womp Womp. The issue is the hardware. Because this dresser did not have screw in legs, we had to buy a special hardware that would attach it but it had a raised configuration so there was really no way around it.
Source:15898

We went back and forth about it, debated adding trim around the base, talked to my dad about it, debated some more…before it finally dawned on us that if we just moved the legs a bit inward it would be perfect because the outside edges of the dresser were reinforced, but the inside wasn’t so there was a difference of about a half inch that would cover the gap perfectly. The lesson here is that sometimes it takes weeks to come up with a solution that was right in front of you. So don’t get discouraged.
entertainment5Here it is with a fresh coat of white paint, and the first coat of gel stain. You can find out more about this magical gel stain from my kitchen cabinet post here.
entertainment6Still the first coat, but you can see how uneven it is and streaky. Some of this is from the brush strokes that were already there, but some of it is just because that’s how the first coat of this stain looks.

We used spray Zinsser Bullseye primer to prime the dresser, and then generic white flat paint to paint it. If I could do it all over again, I would have bought good paint to do this project, but we worked with what we had and what we had was cheap white paint we used on the craft room desks. We had some issues with the hardware, the hardware I picked out (and ordered because both HD and Lowes FAILED me) came with screws that either did not fit the hardware, OR we have particularly thick drawers, either way we had issues getting them to anchor firmly. And this is an issue that continues because I love the hardware and haven’t made it out yet to buy new appropriate length screws. But they’re in, and they look pretty, they’re just not all that stable. haha. So I should work on that. In the meantime, feel free to ooh and ahh over our pretty new more mature entertainment center!

Thanksgiving entertainment ctr Xmas Entertainment Center
It needs a little poly, I got so excited about it being done that I didn’t actually finish it before we brought it inside and set it up. haha. I NEED to give it a nice coat of poly on the inside so that we can more easily wipe the dust away (you can probably see that its more grey than black right now) and so that the top will be nice and shiny. And drink ring resistant. Need that for sure. But its easy fix, and I’ll do it one day…probably the same day that I put the right size screws in the hardware…haha. :)

Thank you Summer for saving this baby for us!! :) It loves it’s new home!!