Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve, and the house is decked, the cookies are frosted, and the gifts are wrapped. Our wrapping paper this year is a little bit Whovile, but I am kind of living it. And yes, approximately a third of the gifts under our tree are for my niece Clara. 
This year, I also managed a few crafts that I’ve been wanting to get to for quite awhile. One was painting this green tree candle holder to better match my holiday decor. It used to be a rusty brown color. I love the way it looks in green. Another was to finally fill some holiday frames with photos. They’ve been sitting around empty for far too long. I love how Clara’s face looked framed by a snowflake. 

Lastly, we’ve received so many great cards this year from family and friends. I’ve been having fun collaging them on to the back of our front closet door.
Greg and I are looking forward to waking up in our new home for our first of many Christmas mornings here. I hope everyone is having a very Merry Christmas Eve!

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Looks ready for Sanata. I love it.
Friday, December 24, 2010 - 08:27 PM

Pretty Jen, I love the tree and gifts!!!  The tree candle holder looks lovely too!!!  Merry Christmas!
Friday, December 24, 2010 - 09:23 PM


Outdoor Decor

Since we finally own a house, we decided it was time to invest in some lights for outside. We decided on several sets of cool white LED nets to cover the many bushes we have in front. They do tend to look a bit blue, but I like the coolness of the white. And, LED are the lights of the future, so it seemed to make sense. Greg used an older string of traditional colored lights to bridge the porch. Everything turns on from a switch inside the house, thanks to a cool outlet that screws into the porch light socket. 
Although my christmas decor tastes tend toward the non-traditional I bought a bunch of greens with red holly berries to match our bright red front door. 

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It looks so festive! I just knew you would make it look beautiful by Christmas!!!!!
Monday, December 20, 2010 - 05:09 PM


Deck the Halls

It’s been a busy few weeks around here since we arrived back from Thanksgiving with our hand-me-down couches. We’ve put most of our energy into preparing and decorating the house for our holiday housewarming party, which we hosted last night. More to come on the party, and a few other things we’ve been up to, but for now, here’s a few fun shots of our holiday decor. 

I like to buy ornaments as souvenirs when we travel. I got this one a year ago on the vineyard because it reminded me of the table marker we assigned to our head table at our wedding. Greg placed in a a featured spot, front and center on the tree. 

In addition to a real tree, we bought a very large wreath to hang on the wall above the fire place...where the TV will live some day, but for now, without the wreath, it was a very large, blank space to fill. 

And of course, my Christmas decor would not be complete without lots, and lots of sugar cookies. 

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I love it all! It looks great! And the cookies?! YUM!!!
Monday, December 13, 2010 - 09:18 AM

Once again, thanks for sharing the photos of your decor. Looks very festive and the cookies do not disappoint.
Monday, December 13, 2010 - 06:35 PM

Jen, your tree looks awesome!  What a beauty!  It is such a good shape too. - April
Sunday, December 19, 2010 - 10:25 PM


Couch Cargo

Today, we headed back to Boston after a lovely Thanksgiving with my mom. She’s giving us her old couches for our basement family room. We decided to transport them in the back of Greg’s truck instead of dealing with the hassle of a rental trailer. We lucked out with beautiful weather for the trip. 

As always, Greg did an amazing job packing the truck. As we speak, he and Jeff have just finished moving the couches successfully into the basement (pictures soon), door back on the hinges and all! Whew!

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Amazing packing job!
Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:06 PM


Like every new home owner should, we finally changed the locks. Greg installed brand new door knobs the other day. I like that I can now leave and pull the door closed and locked behind me, instead of having to lock the dead bolt with two hands. 

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The blue masking tape is gone! Congrats! Doorknob looks good.
Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:08 PM


Waltham has this cool service where they come around with a huge vacuum truck and suck up all the leaves if you rake them out to the curb. A few weeks ago, while I was lying on the couch with a terrible cold, Greg raked all the leaves, in the rain, in preparation to be sucked up. It’s much better than filling up all those yard waste bags!

We both like the look of pine needles, and want to have less grass, so Greg tried to leave some of the needles behind where there weren’t leaves. 

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Your lovely wooded area shouldn't have to be mowed. It is beautiful au naturel.
Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:11 PM

Happy Birthday Louis

It’s amazing how time flies. I guess that’s what happens when a cold gets me down and I have a deadline at work. In any case, there has still been a lot of progress around here in the last few weeks. In addition to progress, there was a very big celebration. Greg’s grandfather turned 90 in the middle of the month, and we had a little party to celebrate. 
I baked a cake which we served on the crystal cake platter we received as a wedding gift from my Aunt Chery. 
Greg’s brother, Jeff, mom Gina, and Louis’s girlfriend Betty, completed the party. 

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Beautifully decorated cake. Handsome men! ......Can't believe he's 90!
Sunday, November 28, 2010 - 06:14 PM



It sort of looks like something a hazmat team would set up, right? It’s actually the insulation contractors here to finally make our house warmer. Before they started, they wanted to test the airflow through the house to see how tight it was, in order to prove that there was an improvement after they left. There is a large fan at the bottom of the door sucking air out of the house. 


Alien Invasion

Oh no, wait. That’s just Greg preparing to go into the eaves of our bedroom and pull out the very wimpy layer of old insulation in preparation for the contractors who will be coming in just a few days. I was sick with a miserable cold, so my job was to lie on the bed and yell at the cats if they dared to go near the closet door. And, to listen for Greg to make sure he didn’t pass out in the awful confined space he was working in. 10 bags of old insulation later, he safely emerged from the eaves. Just another example of the amazing lengths my wonderful husband goes to to take care of our house. 


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An improvement that takes so much work but is so worth it!
Saturday, November 13, 2010 - 06:28 PM


Trick or Treak

I had fun carving pumpkins today for our first Halloween on Kingston Road. I will admit, I was a little disappointed in the turn out though. We only got about 5 kids. I think our neighborhood is still occupied by a lot of original owners...so I suppose there are not too many kids around. Oh well, I still think my pumpkins looked good. 

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It's amazing what you can do with a pumpkin. I'm sure the old neighbors are impressed with the new ones.
Saturday, November 13, 2010 - 06:30 PM



The Thursday after my Mom’s visit was the annual IIDA fashion show which I participate in every year. I went right from an unpacking/organizing marathon, into a sewing marathon, complete with sewing one of the models into her dress right before the show. This is one of the reasons why I have been slow at posting the progress we’ve been making (and a reason I am slow at making progress!) around the house. But, it’s one of my favorite events of the year. I can’t keep myself away. 

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Your best entry yet!
Saturday, November 13, 2010 - 06:24 PM



Our extremely productive weekend continued on Sunday with a little help from Uncle George. George and Greg managed to install shut-off valves in the laundry room. This means that for future plumbing projects upstairs, we will still have use of the toilet in the laundry room. A key luxury. 

After the shut-off was installed, they moved on to the shower project, installing a brand new temptrol control, and saving us hundreds of dollars by doing it themselves. I am enjoying the new control very much. Next, we have to learn how to retile the wall!


The Task Master

My mom came to town for the weekend to help jump start the settling in process, which has been slow starting after completing my exam...mostly due to my annual fall adventure into the fashion show. But, with my mom on the task, we were able to make a TON of progress around the house. The main floor, while not decorated yet, now feels like a place people live, instead of a place where people stash boxes of stuff! Don’t get me wrong, there is still a lot of work to be done, but now we feel like we’re enjoying the house while we work on other rooms. 

Here’s a peak at what these spaces actually looked like while the task master was working her magic...

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It's Mom P! :-) I can only imagine how productive you two were together!!! (Can't wait to see it in person!)
Friday, October 29, 2010 - 07:19 PM


Kitchen Organization

Kitchen design has come a long way since cabinets were built in place in 1959. The storage in our kitchen was extremely inefficient. Another one of those long term dreams we have would be to completely redo the kitchen. But again, that’s a few years off at least. So, we needed to take some action in the interim to fit more into those pesky cabinets. Part one of the solution, add pull out drawers. Greg installed most of them (4 total, and we think we may add two more) on Friday night in preparation for Saturday’s organization marathon with my mom.

Part two of the solution is to add a cabinet and countertop on the half wall between the kitchen and dining room. The cabinet, from IK*A is in place already. It has three drawers. Pictures will come at some point, probably once the counter is installed. 


Pink Tile

Who would have thought that Greg and I might learn how to tile so we could put of MORE of this lovely pepto bismol pink tile. But that looks to be exactly what we are planning to do. It’s going to be a long while before we’re ready to take on redoing this entire bathroom (like well after that master bathroom I’m dreaming of). And do to what looked to be a minor plumbing repair, Greg ended up opening up a fairly significant hole in the wall. 
So, what was the plumbing repair? The bathtub faucet had been dripping quite a bit. It wasn’t really bothering us at first, until a pink slime started to appear in the tub. We discovered that this pink slime is a bacteria that often shows up in bathrooms, and other damp areas, especially after a recent renovation...hmmm, like having all the wood floors sanded, maybe? 
Last weekend I decided to tackle the slime with a scrub brush and bleach. We put a bucket under the drip to catch the water, and allow the tub to dry out. The bucket filled up completely after only a few hours, and we realized just how much water was actually being wasted. Greg decided to take action. As soon as one of the covers around the fauccet was loose, it became clear that many of the tiles were loose because the wall behind them was very wet. They were basically being held in place by tension. At least we got them off without breaking any, so we will be able to put them back up. 
Greg managed to add a washer to the hot water valve which stopped the immediate leaking. A new part arrived during the week, which he installed last night. So, now, there is no more leaking. We just have to deal with the big gapping hole in the wall! We’re now debating updating the shower control all together to a modern temptrol instead of separate hot and cold valves. This story is definitely to be continued...

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It looks like the time to upgrade to a modern temptrol. Think of all the remodel stuff we are learning! OXOXXOXOXOXO
Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 04:29 PM

That is definitely not something I would have ever expected you to say! Maybe pink tile will be in next year though, who knows?! ;-)
Monday, October 18, 2010 - 09:55 AM

Attic Progress

The insulation team is scheduled for mid-November. Greg is making great progress on prepping the attic. Last weekend, with the help of his brother Jeff, the framing for the platform was largely put in place. Click here for the before shot. In addition to the attic space, the eaves off our bedroom will be insulated. Greg has been pulling out all the existing whimpy layers of insulation, and in addition, ripped down the partition that used to divide the eaves into two separate spaces. You can see, we are already making good use of this space. Although, I hope some day (many years from now!) it will be a master bath and a walk-in closet. 

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Fantastic progress on a very worthwhile project. I like that you are planning long term!!!
Saturday, October 16, 2010 - 04:25 PM

Monday, October 18, 2010 - 09:56 AM


The Attic

I’m back from my torturous study hiatus! And now it’s time to get down to some unpacking and home improvement business. One of the big projects Greg has in the works is preparing the attic for fresh, new insulation. Above is a shot of our attic space above the two bedrooms which can be access though what will be Greg’s closet in our bedroom. The insulation that will be blown in will be 12” thick, so before it can go in, Greg is adding the framing for a plywood subfloor so we will be able to use this vast expanse as storage. I’m hoping this will take the storage pressure off of the basement, so we will really be able to use it as a family room. Pictured below are the remnants of the broken attic fan and enormous television antennae that used to live in the attic

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I can't think of an appropriate comment. I was expecting to see something freshly vacuumed.
Monday, October 4, 2010 - 10:57 PM

Kudos for entering The Attic. Can't say I've ever been up in mine. Supposedly lots of storage space up there, but creeps me out a bit.  Silly question but even with insulation (which does more for the living space below than the attic itself, right?), do you have to be careful what you store up there due to temp extremes? I.e. no candles...

BTW what a TV antennae...a relic.
Friday, October 8, 2010 - 03:52 PM


First Official Dinner Guests

Doug and Lis came over for dinner tonight. We enjoyed the patio while Greg grilled. They had offered to bring subs and help with some unpacking last weekend, but we were far too busy and exhausted to take them up on it. It was nice to do a little entertaining, even if the house isn’t yet “just so.” It’s been an incredibly exhausting and busy week and a half since we moved in. I wish I had more photos to share, but I truly have been spending every spare minute studying or unpacking. Instead, a quick verbal summary. Moved in, met energy guy, went to study class for two and a half days, studied some more, Greg fixed the dryer which had a snapped belt from a few days before the move, worked from home while oil guy came to look at boiler because we only had hot water when the heat was on (by the way, it was over 90 degrees outside that week!), did laundry because hot water was fixed, found out the washer was leaking, heard an annoying beep from one of 10 new smoke/carbon monoxide detectors (a split level requires a lot), studied some more, shopped for additional kitchen cabinets, Greg installed two kitty doors, put up temporary post-it note window treatments, studied some more, finally unpacked my jeans so I can wash the one pair I’ve been wearing for a week, sat down to catch up on the blog. I do intend to have a lot more stories and photos to share, but the truth is, until October 2nd, studying is really going to be kicking my butt, so you will all just have to wait patiently, and consider anything before then to be a bonus!
OK, one quick bonus for now, because it will be a continuing story. The troublesome washer and drier don’t even fit width wise into the laundry room just yet. We were aware that this was an issue when we bought the house. And we can operate this way for awhile while Greg (and Doug) strategize the best way to steal some space from the plumbing chase!

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Okay, I'll consider this as a wonderful  bonus and thank you for it. Did you say you were on a crazy train? You are doing an amazing job just keeping up with life's requirements. Keep up the good work. I'm proud of you for holding it together. I am glad you are preserving this process in your blog. It is hard  to believe...You deserve to do some CELEBRATING on October 3. I wish I could help you more. Love you!!!! XOXOXOXOXOXOXO
Saturday, September 11, 2010 - 12:14 PM


Getting Settled

Two days after the move, I took the day off from work to attend a study workshop in the afternoon, and was finally able to spend a few minutes getting to know our new home, and more importantly, locating my clothes so I would be able to get dressed in the morning. Here’s a few shots of how the house is shaping up with our furniture in place - almost! (a week and two days later, as I write, we are much more settled in, but have yet to have a minute to take more photos)

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Such a perfect house for youir style and your furniture! It looks welcoming already. Thank you for sharing this process. I know it takes a lot of your time...time you don't have right now riding your crazy train. Your mommy loves you lots.
Saturday, September 11, 2010 - 12:18 PM


Moving Day

Moving Day went off without a hitch on Wednesday, August 25th (it’s a week and a half later that I write this). The biggest issue was the rain that had been falling for about 4 straight days by this point. But, all in all, we made it here, and were very happy with the movers. 
The next morning, we had a visit from an energy auditor. We are looking into making a bunch of improvements, and he came to tell us about various loan programs and rebates that are available. The best part was he gave us new efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs, a new low flow shower head, and two programmable thermostats. All of which he installed...for free. Pretty cool. 


Project Two - Windows

One of the big projects we plan to take on soon is improving the energy efficiency of our house. We are looking into getting a state sponsored energy loan which will hopefully help with the replacement of all the windows, converting the oil boiler to gas, and possibly adding some insulation to the roof. It will take some time to go through that process, so we elected to replace three windows before we officially move in...the basement (old windows shown above), the kitchen and the laundry room. These windows avoided any need for contractors to walk on our newly re-finished floors, and we won’t have to move the washer and drier out of the way later on. Most importantly, we we finally get around to the rest of the windows, we know we have one room where we can safely confine the cats while there will be big gaping holes in our walls...like this one in the basement below.

Here’s a before shot of the kitchen window. We are replacing it with a casement for a larger uninterrupted view of the back yard, and we think it will be easier to crank the window open instead of leaning over the sink to close a double-hung. I left the house today before the windows were finished, so stay tuned for the final results. 

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New windows make an amazing difference in life! I like the approach of some now, some later as well... smarty pants!
Monday, August 23, 2010 - 12:59 PM

Pre-move Weekend

Pre-move weekend began on Thursday with the arrival of my mom to assist with packing. By the time I got home from work, she already had the dining room well under way. Friday, she was joined by Gina where the packing in the dining room and kitchen continued. Bright and early on Saturday morning, Greg’s merry band of movers started to arrive. Above, Eric, Jeff, George and Greg are taking a breather while waiting for our pizza lunch to arrive. The yellow van in the background belongs to our next-door neighbor, but below is a look at the six vehicle involved in the moving caravan. Steve and Doug were also involved. 
Back at Beechwood, it looked a little like this:
It’s been an incredible long weekend. And even though I keep freaking out, I am incredibly grateful for all the help we have had from friends and family, especially since my mind and time has been occupied by my upcoming exam. 

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Definitely be grateful... I'm so all set with packing and I haven't even started!
Monday, August 23, 2010 - 01:00 PM


He's a Moving Maching

Greg made four trips to the house yesterday...after driving two hours back from out vacation. I helped unload one. He did one by himself, and two with the help of our friend Steve. He is indeed a moving machine. This is what the bulk of those loads look like in the temporary storage area we’ve set up in the corner of the basement. And below, is tonight’s load waiting to be taken out of the truck. 

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Go Greg! Go Greg! Go, Go, Go Greg!!!
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 12:38 PM

Such organization. Such a fantastic garage.  Take care of that moving machine.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010 - 02:33 PM