Friday, October 30, 2009

It’s a Done Deal



It’s officially a done deal.
We now own a horse farm.
We signed the papers on the Hooterville house this afternoon.
I’m still somewhat shell-shocked because it all happened so fast.  Approximately 6 weeks from start to finish!
After the closing, we spent more than three hours in Lowe’s loading up two carts with our first round of supplies…paint, tools,  a chain saw, new door locks, etc.



I don’t know why this makes me laugh so much…  Hubby has his first “farm tough” toy!

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Tomorrow we’re off to WalMart to purchase a load of cleaning supplies.
Then the hard work begins.
I will be  updating you as often as possible on the progress.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You Never Know Who You Will Meet Via Craigslist

Recently, I saw this dining table and chairs advertised for sale on my local Craigslist.  I thought it might work for the breakfast room at the house in Hooterville so I contacted the seller and asked to come see it.


Interestingly, the seller lives only minutes from me.  And even more interesting…she is a real estate stager/interior designer.   She gave me a tour of her home and it is cottage cute!  Just my style.
As it turned out, her table was much  too big for my breakfast room but in the course of our conversation, I told her how overwhelmed I have been with all the decorating decisions I need to make at the house in Hooterville and  I asked her if she would be willing to  help me with some decisions.  She said she would be glad to and she even offered to give me a very affordable discounted hourly rate. 
She wanted me to email her some photos of my current house, the new house, inspiration photos of rooms or furniture, and a list of things I liked and didn’t like with regard to decorating.  Once she saw the pictures of my current decorating style, she said she was really excited to work on this project with me because our tastes are so similar.
Today, she and her business partner drove all the way over to the new house and we spent three hours walking through each room,  talking about flooring options, the furniture I’m bringing with me from my current house, furniture pieces I need to buy, placement of furniture,  etc.     Overall, their ideas for the house are almost identical to what I had envisioned. 
They did suggest  some interesting paint colors that I would not have selected on my own.   However, they pointed out the new house does not get a lot of natural light so my choices in paint need to be different than what I would use in my current home, which is flooded with natural light, especially in the afternoons.
I think I’m going to step outside my comfort zone and try these colors  anyway because, after all, it’s just paint. 
Having her as a resource has really taken some of the stress of decision-making off of me.  What would be the chances that  I would answer an ad on Craigslist and end up meeting a decorator who shares my love of cottage style?  I think she was heaven sent.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Creamy Crock Pot Chicken with Pasta

Now that the weather is turning cooler, this very easy  recipe will be on the menu a little more often at my house.  Although it is certainly not low calorie or low fat, it is “stick-to-your-ribs” comfort food at its  best!  My family loves it, especially my daughter.   I always invite her over for  dinner when I know I’m going to be making this recipe.
The ingredients and preparation are really simple…
boneless chicken breasts or strips, cream of chicken soup, chicken broth, cream cheese, Good Seasons Italian seasoning, parsley, and your favorite pasta or rice (which I forgot to photograph).

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Arrange cubed chicken breasts (or strips…my preference) in the bottom of the crock pot.


Sprinkle with the Good Seasonings Italian seasoning.


Spoon Cream of Chicken soup over the chicken.


Pour 1  10 ounce can of chicken broth over that.


Cut 8 ounces of cream cheese into small chunks and layer over chicken mixture.  The original recipe called for the cream cheese to be added during the last hour of cooking but I found adding it at the end did not allow enough time for it to cook down and blend well with the sauce.  It always remained lumpy.  Now I add it at the beginning and I am happier with the end result. 


Sprinkle with parsley.


Cover and cook on low in the crock pot for 4 to 6 hours.  Whisk “gravy” to thoroughly blend before serving over your favorite style of pasta or rice.  Don’t forget the “dippin’ bread” to sop up all that delicious gravy! 

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Creamy Crock Pot Chicken with Pasta
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts, cubed (or boneless chicken strips)
  • 1 can (10 ounces) cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can (10 ounces) chicken broth
  • 1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Dressing seasoning
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • Parsley flakes
  • Pasta or rice
Put chicken in the bottom of crock pot.  Sprinkle chicken with seasoning mix, add Cream of Chicken soup, chicken broth, cream cheese cut into small chunks, and parsley.  Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.  Serve over pasta or rice.


I’m linking up with the
Recipe Exchange Party at Southern Hospitality

Southern Hospitality Recipe Party

Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I’m Late!

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I hate to be late.
For anything.
I pride myself in trying hard to be timely in everything I do so I’m so sorry I’m late announcing the winner of my giveaway.  
I have a really good excuse though.  Monday the Hooterville house deal almost went off in the ditch…permanently.  The reason completely blindsided us and  threw us for a loop.   My husband and I did a lot of talking, crying, praying, and more talking.  It was intense and stressful.  We kept wishing we had a crystal ball.
But we’re back on track now and we’re  ready to move forward…just hoping and praying  we made the right decision.
The response to this giveaway was great!    Thank you all so much for your wonderful enthusiasm over  the book, Blogging For Bliss. 
The winner, as selected by the Random Number Generator “thingy”  was…..

#11…...  Marty @ A Stroll Thru Life

Congratulations Marty!  Even though you are a very seasoned blogger with many followers, I’m sure  you will enjoy adding this book to your library.  I will be in touch with you to get your address.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Needed: A Pied Piper of Snakes

I don’t like snakes. 
All snakes terrify me.  Even if they are small and harmless, I am beyond phobic. 
I cannot even stand to look at them on television or in a book.  I absolutely must  look away or close my eyes.   If you don’t like snakes either, I can assure you,  you will NOT be seeing any pictures of snakes here on my blog.
Now that you know about my intense fear of snakes,  do you want to guess who  had the first snake encounter at the  Hooterville house?
Yep.   I saw it  slither right up and peer  in the bay window of the family room. 
I swear I heard it hiss, “Welcome to life in the country, city girl!”
As soon as I saw it  I screamed.
Then I ran to another room and cried, shook like a leaf and had heart palpitations.
My husband ran outside and pulled the “harmless black snake” off the window.  I’m sure he  must have been thinking to himself, “Damn!  Damn! Damn!  I’ll never get her to move here now!” 
Everybody says, “Oh, once you get everything mowed and the overgrowth cleared out, you won’t have  snakes anymore.
Can I get that in writing?
So put your snake-proof boots on because we’re going outside.   This might be your only chance to see the Hooterville property….since I don’t plan to spend  much time outdoors after my snake encounter.
The house in Hooterville sits on  a little over 30 acres.  The tax appraiser’s records indicate there are just over 28.5 acres and an additional 2 acres of “low lands.” 
This aerial photograph shows the property boundaries within the heavy black lines.Hooterville property (3)
There are a few neighbors to the north but the properties to the east, west and south are either wooded or used for agriculture.Hooterville property (E) 2
Here’s a zoomed in view that shows the house, barns and there’s even a pond.Hooterville property (E)
As I mentioned before, this is a foreclosure property and it has been vacant for almost a year.  As you can see in the above photo, only a little over  half  the property has been cleared but after being unattended for so long, it is all quite overgrown now.
Let’s jump in the truck and drive around the property.
This is the realtor’s photo of the main barn before the vegetation got so out of control.T2377535_201_77
It has a nice wide concrete center aisle and 8 stalls.T2377535_301_77 
This is how it is looking now.  The grass is so long, it is laying over on it’s side.  But this looks manicured compared to what you will see toward the end of this post!IMG_0618
There are 2 other small primitive barns that need sprucing up  before they will be usable.IMG_0606


These are the strawberry fields on the west side of the property.IMG_0610
Now we are heading south to the wooded area of the property.  My husband was able to track down the former owner and he said that in addition to the pond,  there is  a  little stream back in the woods.  He also told my husband  there is/was a road that had been cut through there too.  If it can be found and cleared again, it might make a nice trail for our borders to ride their horses.IMG_0612
As we got further south, the photo below is  what we had to drive through!  This  was taken sitting high up in the truck.  (You don’t really think this sissy city girl  would get out in this to take a picture, do you?) 
The vegetation was as tall as the truck and was kind of scary!  Quite honestly,  I have some serious concerns about my husband’s safety when he starts clearing out this mess.  Heaven only knows that dangers lurk in all of this overgrowth!  To me, this is far more scary than any of the dangers he might have come face to face with  in all  the  years he has worked  in law enforcement.  Thank goodness he knows how to use a gun.IMG_0616


This is the pond.  It looks like it is pretty big but again, until all the overgrowth is cleared, it’s hard to tell.   Rumor has it there are alligators in it. 


Now we are heading back toward the house and this is the orange grove on the east side of the property.  IMG_0617
This is the view out one of the back bedroom windows.  Can you see the grape arbor on the right side of the photo?  (Some of these photos might enlarge if you click on them.)IMG_0485
Well, that’s all of  the Hooterville House Tour for now.
The closing has been moved up to October 30th.   Yikes! That’s just two weeks away!   Shortly thereafter, all the hard work will begin so I hope you will check back periodically to see our progress.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

“Blogging For Bliss” Book Giveaway

I’m interrupting the Hooterville House Tour to have a giveaway!
Some of you may know blogger, Tara Frey.  And some of you may know that she has written a book called, Blogging for Bliss.
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It has been a while since I’ve had a giveaway so I’d like to join the monthly giveaway party at My Romantic Home and gift one of my readers with a copy of Tara’s book.

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From cover to cover, the book contains  lots of good information about blogging, like the very basics of how to set up a blog, to how to make your blog and photos more visually appealing, and ways to increase traffic to your blog.

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I particularly liked the section on blog etiquette. 
Also, one of the things Tara mentions in the book…and I whole-heartedly agree:  blog readers want to connect with you so you should consider putting your photo somewhere near the top of your sidebar where it is easy to spot.  I know when I visit a new blog, I always look for the blog author’s photo and profile info FIRST, before I even read the post.   It does make me feel more connected with the blogger.
Personally, I also like it when the profile gives some indication where the blogger lives.   When a blogger doesn’t say where they live, I’m always wondering if they live five minutes from me…or halfway around the world.   I can understand not wanting to be too specific by naming the exact city or town,  but  a state or area of a state or country is better than nothing.  I think it’s just another way to enhance and foster a kinship and following  with readers who may live in your area.
In the book, Tara has also profiled some of the best bloggers in Blogland.

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So, whether you are a seasoned blogger who has been blogging for years, or whether you are  contemplating starting a blog, or  perhaps  you are just an avid blog reader,  I think you will enjoy this book.


Since I don’t like a lot of rules connected with giveaways, I am going to make this real simple.  If you would like an opportunity to win this book, all you have to do is leave me a comment on this post by midnight (Eastern time) Sunday, October 18, 2009.
Easy enough, right?
You do not have to have a blog to enter this giveaway.  However, if you don’t have a blog, just be sure you leave your email address in your comment so I have a way to  notify you if you win.  If you don’t want your email address to appear in your comment, feel free to email it to me at:
I will announce the winner on Monday, October 19, 2009.
Oh, and don’t forget to go over and sign up for Cindy’s giveaway.
Then visit all the other bloggers who are participating in this month’s giveaway.  Be sure to check the comment section on Cindy’s October 12 post too because some bloggers left the links to their giveaways there before Cindy got MckLinky up.

My Romantic Home Giveaway

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Hooterville House Tour-Part 2

Wow.  I am just so encouraged by all of the wonderful comments ya’ll have been leaving for me.     Your reassurance that the house in Hooterville  has good bones and a lot of potential has made me feel better.   Even though I know I have months, if not years, of work ahead of me to make this house into a home,  I’m feeling a little less overwhelmed.
Even in its less than lovely condition, my husband is extremely anxious to move into the new house as soon as possible after the closing.  Understandably, this city girl is  not as anxious as he is.   But  since we don’t plan on selling our current home,  there is really no rush to make the move immediately.  I plan to stay put  as long as possible…until at least the painting is done and new floors and carpet is installed.
In addition, this move cannot possibly take place in one weekend.  Probably not even in one month.  We have been in our current home 34 years.  We have a lot of stuff.  Too much needless stuff.  I want to take this opportunity to go through everything and purge things we no longer need or want anymore.  It’s the perfect time to pare down and simplify.  Then, once we have totally made the transition to the new house in Hooterville, we will rent our house out.
In this post, I  thought I’d show you the bedroom end of the Hooterville house.  
Right off the family room is the hallway to the bedrooms.  Is this scary, or what?!    This is the hallway to hell.  I really don’t like this end of the house.


Really and truly, I am stressing most  over how I’m going to  work with the dimensions and layouts of the four bedrooms and 1 of the bathrooms.  
Sadly, the architect who designed this house  put all the square footage in the living areas of the house and really skimped on the bedrooms. 
The dimensions of  two of the bedrooms are marginally adequate but there is not a lot of good usable wall space so furniture placement is going to be very difficult.  The other two bedrooms are so small they don’t appear big enough to even accommodate a queen size bed, much less anything else to make for a comfortable guest room.
The first bedroom on the left of the hall  is really small. And really bright!  New carpet and paint is a must.  Not only in here, but throughout the whole house.


I don’t even have a decent photo of this bedroom, which is across the hall but, trust me, it’s small too.


Because of this bumped out closet, the room is not even 10 feet wide.   But look!  The only wallpaper I have to remove in here is a border!  Yippeeee!
By the way, THANK YOU, Anita for the tip about the reasonably priced wallpaper steamer that Lowe’s carries.    I had considered renting one but I never thought about actually looking into buying one.   I guess I just assumed they were really expensive.  I definitely will get one and I know it will  be money well spent!


This bathroom has 2 doors.  One opens to the hallway (where this photo was taken from) and the other door opens into one of the bedrooms.  You can see the second door is partially open to the bedroom on the right side of the photo.  
This bathroom has a lot of potential but I’m definitely not feeling the 2 different floors here.  In fact, this whole house has a mish-mash of different types of flooring in almost every room.


As you can see, it is actually a nice size  so I am completely baffled why they installed a pedestal sink and wasted the other 4 feet  to the left of the sink.  Based on the weird placement of the lighting fixture, I’m wondering if there might have been  a cabinet style sink in here at one time.  Odd.  Just odd. 


Here you can see how the bathroom and bedroom are connected.  I realized I don’t really have a good photo of this bedroom either.  Small rooms are almost impossible to photograph.


You can sort of get the idea of what it’s like from the reflection in the closet doors…although the mirrors make it seem bigger than it really is.  The room size is only 14 x 11.5.
Neither this room, or the master bedroom is big enough to accommodate our bed and all the pieces of our bedroom furniture so we are going to use 2 bedrooms for the time being.  We will put our king-sized bed and night stands in this bedroom.
We’ll put the rest of the bedroom furniture in the “master” bedroom (below) and use it as a dressing room.  At some point, we plan to consult with an architect about knocking out the wall between the two bedrooms and opening them up into one big master suite.



I’ve saved the very best part (NOT) of the house tour for last.  The bathroom in the master bedroom.
We won’t even have to leave the house to feel like we are on vacation and staying in a cheap motel! 
Good grief!  What am I going to do to make this better?
Take a  sledgehammer to it is the first thing that comes to my mind.



Next time I’ll show you the barns and the 28 + acres of jungle my husband has to tame.