Saturday, June 15, 2013

our first big DIWHP...

That was supposed to be DIY, but it turned into "Do It With Hired People" instead.

Anyway...our biggest project yet has been (mostly) completed--the front courtyard!

It was pretty bad when we bought the house:  counter-intuitive walkway that leads you several feet to the right of the front door, but abruptly zags over at the last minute to plop you at the doorstop; disgusting cat-poo filled landscaping rock making up the majority of the courtyard; several different additions of concrete making for a lot of seams and variation; and a wall encompassing the courtyard that was over 6 feet high, making the entire area feel very closed in.

The first thing we did was cut the wall down and add wall caps.  It was so nice to see the living room window and front door from the street.  I've never been the type to want a house that is hidden from view.  I'm way too social for that.

Next, we jack-hammered our the concrete. And by we, I mean Caleb.  It took him about 4 straight hours.  We lived with an obstacle course of broken concrete for several weeks before we were able to haul it away.

You can see the original walkway and where they later added to it.

The "counter-intuitive zag"

We then cleared out the landscaping rock, as well as the multitude of leaves and cat poo, and did our best to level everything out for the pavers.

And last of all, we had pavers put in.  Originally I wanted Caleb and I to do it to save money, but I have to agree with him that it would have taken us forever to get it all done and it would not have been done nearly as well.

And because I'm a nerd this way, I made some side-by-sides to really see the before and after:

Now all we lack are some touch-ups on the wall where it was cut down, new outdoor lights, and some fantastic patio furniture.  All in good time, though, right?  All I know is that I keep opening the front door just to look at it again and again.  I love it!

**a few notes**
-in most cases, the use of the word "we" really means "Caleb"

-Caleb and Cindy chose the pavers, and I am so glad they did because what I originally wanted wouldn't have turned our nearly as well

-cost breakdown:
wall caps:  $290
jack-hammer:  $50
dump concrete:  $30
pavers:  $557
sand: $90
labor:  $350   
total:  $1,367

Friday, June 14, 2013



I don't want to be rash in my judgement, but...well, actually, I do.

I recently received a letter from my credit card offering me a promotional deal where if I purchase something from Neiman Marcus, they will give me a statement credit for my purchase up to $30.  Anyone who knows me, knows I love taking advantage of these types of deals.  So, I jumped online to Neiman Marcus to see if I could find something worth buying (preferably less than $30 so it would be free), and was astonished at their prices.  I mean, seriously!  Do people really spend that kind of money? It is totally foreign to me.

Anyway, discouraged but not defeated, I quickly jumped to the clearance, and after a little navigating, found a cute little pair of glitter Tom's that were $27.

After adding them to my cart and starting the checkout procedure, they tacked on $9 for shipping.  However, I also noticed a spot for a promo code.  So, of course, I quickly googled "Neiman Marcus promo code" and was rewarded with a nice free shipping code.  The total ended up at just over $29, and I was so pleased with myself for getting a free pair of Tom's.

But back to my original intention:  judging people.

Now, don't get me wrong.  If you like to shop at Neiman Marcus, that is just fine.  But what I have concluded from my experience is that most people who shop there must not be very bright.  My evidence?  First offense--paying $465 for a frilly baby dress.  And second?  Well, please read the reviews for these pink glitter Toms and decide for yourselves:

Tiny Glitter Mary Jane
TOMS Tiny Glitter Mary Jane
5 / 5
January 9, 2013
These shoes are not only adorable, they are super cute!
5 / 5
December 9, 2012
bought these for my granddaughter for Christmas and she will LOVE them! as beautiful inside as outside. 
thrilled NM is carrying these shoes. I will buy more.

Really? Wow.  That is just about all I can say.  Wow.

Pashy turns one...

Little chunky boy turned one on May 18th.  We celebrated Arizona style with a swim party.

Trying not to overwhelm myself, I planned on only doing cupcakes.  However, I realized the day before the party that I'd set the time from 10 am - 1 pm.  Not wanting to anger the mob with hunger, I quickly came up with a fancy menu of hot dogs and chips to complement the cupcakes.  And forget about washing your patio floor before you let loose kids with greasy potato chips...I don't think the patio will ever be the same!

Just call me "Mrs. Fancy-Pants" with my super impressive set up.

We love our friends!

 The Super Fancy Cake (aka leftover cupcake batter baked in a small casserole dish)

It took him a long time...

...but he eventually got there.  Luckily, the slow process allowed me time to remember the crown.

Thanks for all the fun presents, everyone!

The birthday boy in all his glory!