Sunday, May 21, 2017

Old House Tour


Touring old houses is something we enjoy... and we are house hunting, so we have toured a few old houses. One of the houses we toured had some interesting features and since I know other people enjoy looking at old houses, I am sharing many pictures from one house we toured....

The house had an "old world" look to much of the furnishings inside. The 3 car garage looked great on the outside and had a breezeway connected to it that led to the house and it was beautiful.

The inside of the garage was... a mess! The upstairs was also a mess and there was a huge pile of evidence that a raccoon had been living in there and it was also a mess with old furniture and stuff in the top of the garage... there were also some nice furniture pieces that we could sell to fund the house project.

There was an in-ground swimming pool behind the breezeway. I'm not showing pictures of everything because I am already showing lots of pictures!!!  :)

We went to see the house because it was listed in our price range... and the pictures on line looked interesting. The front of the house didn't thrill us and we knew it needed work, but we aren't afraid of some hard work, so we took our family to look at this house as a possible new home for us.

We were quite excited as we toured ... it was like a step back into history and we started to dream of what we could do there. The view across the road was AMAZING...  as the next picture shows. We were quite interested! This was a big house with lots of room... and in our price range! Wow!! Also there were several acres of land that went with the property and we really want to get more land and hopefully move to the country, so it all looked possible.

The Great Room was very large.. and had a brick floor and lots of windows.

 The fireplace looked quite "Old World" and I figured we could sell the outside of it to offset some repairs on the house.  It was beautiful, but not our style at all.   We could also sell the bar area and some other things.

This light fixture was in the back entry which was where we entered the house.

The laundry room was in the hall near this.. and right beside the kitchen, but I'm not sharing the picture.... it was a mess and I am already using a lot of pics here. :)

I don't remember where this light fixture was, but it was in one of the rooms.

 The house didn't have any electricity turned on, so we took some flashlights with us, although we could have used more of them.

The kitchen had a hood over the stove area, a pot rack, a pot filler faucet and much more.

There were windows, some nice cabinets, tile backsplash and countertop.  I didn't like the tile countertops... there were deep grooves for the grout and I could just imagine food getting stuck in those... they would be hard to clean!

There were also many containers of food in the cupboards. The house had been empty for a couple of years and the story we heard was that one of the couple had died and the other lived for a few more years and also died.. and the house was empty since that time.

It was interesting.... and sad.

 The dining room had a wall of mirrors and lots of windows... and a wood floor.

 This is the dining room on the right and the living room on the left. Same flooring... and a bay window.

 The entry way had mirrors all over the ceiling. It looked quite gaudy, but I imagined all of the interesting pictures I could take in there because of the mirrors. :)

 This was the bathroom near the kitchen and great room. It was quite overwhelming with the busy pattern. It was interesting to see though.

 In this bathroom, there were very ornate fixtures as you can see in the next picture!

 The curtains were ornate... so were the light fixtures.. and there was an old alarm system.

These french doors (I love French doors!) led to a garden room off of the 2nd living room.

 This is the garden room those French doors led to. There were water leak problems in the room.

 The door handles on the French doors were beautiful.

 The room that led to the garden room was a second living room and I loved the beautiful wood mantle in it.

We couldn't believe all of the rooms in this house... 2 living rooms AND a Great Room? Wow.

 This is one side of the 2nd living room and the stairs led up to a large bedroom and bathroom and a large walk in attic that still had lots of stuff in it.

 The room was quite a mess from a bad leak in the roof over this room... the evidence of this leak was in the kitchen below also although it wasn't horrible there. We were thinking it was a lot of work, but we were talking about how we could turn this place into a home for us. The work list was getting bigger and bigger.

 I think this was the bathroom up there, but anyway, it was a bathroom SOMEwhere in this big house!

 There were 4 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms... and the square footage was about 4,000 sq feet! HUGE... and it had a full basement underneath.

 Back down in the 2nd living room, this was the view out to the patio.

 You can see some of the outside doors here... The house had 9 outside doors! I didn't like that! Can you imagine checking and locking 9 doors every night???? 

 This was in the huge master bedroom, which had 2 levels... this level and then one a step lower where the fireplace was.

This was the fireplace in the master "suite"... it was a huge room.

 This was in the very large walk-THROUGH closet.

 There was even a special door that pulled out and had a scale on it, so it could be used and hidden in the wall when not in use. :)

This was on one side of the master closet....

We all laughed over the tub in the master bathroom... My husband is tall and always complains that tubs are too shallow and he likes how deep these old claw foot tubs are, but we have never had one...  :)  

 The bathroom fixtures in the master bath. Actually, there was another bathroom in the master suite also... this one and another one out in the room with the fireplace.

 I don't remember where these fixtures were.

 The house had many more things not shown in the pictures... one of the bedrooms had lots of ladies' hats left behind. There were also many clothes in the attic and bedrooms.

The basement was BAD and my husband said I shouldn't go down and I didn't... it was really damp, musty and moldy. Yuck! But there were lots of rooms down there... furnished and with lots of stuff left behind.

There was a 6 foot very old and very heavy safe down there and it had many many jewelry boxes in it, but the ones checked were empty. We had so much fun dreaming in this house... so many historical things... so many glimpses into an earlier time.

 This house was REALLY exciting to us since I have written a Christian Fiction book and an old house is prominent in it... the book is now in manuscript form and out for review to a few people. The things in this house we toured reminded us a little bit of the house in the book I had written, so it was fun for more than one reason.  We are moving toward publication, but it is a long process. I would love to have your prayers about this if you are so inclined.  :) 

 So much potential in this house. "SO MANY REPAIRS NEEDED!" is what my husband kept saying. :)  We did seriously consider this place, but it wasn't meant for us. We did go back to see it another time and took our oldest son who doesn't live at home and who is great with carpentry work. He loved it too... and we all discussed how feasible such a project would be. All of the rest of the family toured the house twice.  :)

It was fun to dream about living here and enjoying the almost 5 acres that went with it. The reality though, was that the house needed at least $100,000 worth of work.... and that was without even seeing the electricity or plumbing on... that would put it way out of our price range. Also, we couldn't move in for quite a while, so it just wasn't meant for us.

The front door was beautiful... and though we would have changed much of the house and removed many of the fixtures (and sold them to help pay for repairs!)... it just was too big of a project. Looking back on these pictures was fun... and my kids will enjoy looking at them again. I am glad that we did not buy this house... it needed a ton of work!  My husband was right... this house would have been a money pit for us.

It will be a treasured memory for all of us though. :)  We are still praying that God will provide a house and some acres for us... in a country setting... though we are not praying for a grand house like this... just a house that will work for our family. We are praying... and waiting on Him. 

Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope you enjoyed the Old House Tour. :)  Have a good week.

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Hearty Meatloaf Burgers!

As you know if you have read my blog for very long, I have a big family and I have 4 young men... and they eat... a lot. The girls eat too, but not like those guys do. One son lives on his own, but when he comes to visit, he eats a lot still. :)

Anyway, I try to stretch the budget and yet still make tasty filling meals that are nutritious.

 I bought some 93% lean ground hamburger for $2 off a package and I bought 2 packages. It was still a bit more than I wanted to pay, but time has been so short, that I bought it while already in one store.

 I decided to stretch that more expensive meat. I also needed to get a meal on quickly as we had been busy and supper was late. I was so glad I had found that meat on sale and had it to use for supper!

The nice thing about stretching the hamburger is that I can make more meatloaf burgers with the same amount of meat and they still taste good.

Another thing about me is that I tend to experiment.... a lot.  Usually, that turns out to be a good thing. There are a couple of things we remember with laughter, but usually they turn out great.  :)

I put many of the usual meatloaf ingredients... like eggs, onions,peppers, oatmeal, etc, but since this was 93% lean (I never buy this! It's too expensive!), I wanted to put some oils in it... some fats. I thought about olive oil, but decided to go with something else.  Hmmm... what could I use?

What I came up with was Italian Dressing... it had oils and also lots of great flavor, so I thought I'd try it. I wouldn't tell the family what was in it until I knew if they liked it or not.  :)

I cooked them with some seasoned salt on top and ground herbs and ground pepper. After the first side was done, I flipped them and put barbeque sauce on top and kept cooking them a bit slowly with the lid on. They sure smelled good.

 The family came to eat with comments of "What are you making? It smells good!" That was a good sign.

They started eating their burgers, but didn't comment. Uh oh, I wondered if I had gone too far in my experimenting. I do use Italian dressing as a marinade for chicken, so I thought it would be ok here too, but maybe not. You can read about the marinades here if you like:

Strange Marinades For Chicken!

The guys finished their burgers and started asking for seconds.... and then they started saying, "These are so good!" After everyone expressed approval, I told them of my "secret ingredient".  Some weren't too excited (especially the son who does not like Italian dressing!), but all agreed these were really good... and they wanted me to remember how to make them so I could do it again.  (Sometimes that part is a bit of a problem as I put this and that in. :)

These were a terrific hit at my house. Everyone liked them. We had a few left over since I had been able to stretch it so far, so I put each one in a bun and wrapped them individually for lunches. However, the guys wanted them for a snack the next day... and ate them cold out of the refrigerator and still loved them!

Yes, I will be making them again, but won't use 93% lean... unless it is cheaper than the regular hamburger.  :) 

                        Hearty Meatloaf Burgers!

 2 pounds hamburger 
 4 eggs
 1 cup frozen onions and peppers
 1/4 cup mustard
 1/2 cup ketchup
 1/2 cup Italian dressing
 3/4 cup quick cook oatmeal

     Mix well. Grease frying pan and spoon burger mix into pan, forming burgers with the spoon. Sprinkle with seasoned salt (any kind) and pepper. Cook medium heat till one side of the burger is done.  Flip each burger. Pour BBQ sauce on each burger and spread it with spoon. Continue to cook with lid on, watching that they don't burn.  Serve plain or on a bun. 

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  If you try these, I hope you like them as much as we did.  Have a great week.  :)

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Garage Sale Series-What About Safety???

 I have been writing a  Garage Sale Series and if you have missed any of the posts, you can find the links to them at the end of this post.

The subject today is safety during the garage sale - safety for you and for your customers. That might not seem like a big deal, but there are many areas of safety that need to be addressed when you have "invited" strangers to your home and property.

I go to garage sales and have been shocked and alarmed at how careless people can be about this subject. I have learned many things on my own through trial and error, other things are just common sense and some things are because of crimes I have heard of... and etc.

God is the One who protects and takes care of us... and He also gives us wisdom to be aware and avoid some problems....  We are not to trust in our own understanding and I am not saying that these tips are foolproof, only that they can help... I will give some tips on staying safe at your garage sale...  the order is not important... I am just listing them as I think of them.

~ highlight any uneven floor surfaces. Our garage has 2 small steps that go up to the garage... you can see in the picture that we run colored duct tape along the whole length of those.. sometimes yellow, sometimes red... just something that will be seen, so people will notice and not trip.

~ Put your checkout table at a spot where you can see most of your sale
  and customers. Our table in the picture is where we can see the inside of the garage, and the driveway and the door to the house.

~We park our vehicles down the street so that the places right in front of our house are available for our customers to park. This helps protect customers and it also helps some people to stop who wouldn't stop if they had to park farther away.

~Have at least 2 people manning the garage sale all of the time. Things can get busy and being alone is a good way to have trouble. Sometimes people will come in a group so that you can't watch everyone at once... or help everyone. Theft happens easily at such a time.

~Some people will work in tandem when coming to a garage sale - one will ask the garage sale seller about a product or just chat, while their partner is stealing things. Sometimes parents have taught their children to steal and this is utterly sad to me, but we have seen it.

~Anchor tall things that might blow over on a windy day. This is especially important for racks of clothes... we anchor them with bricks or sandbags that are directly under the rack, not sticking out.

~Put glass items on a sturdy table... a card table is not a sturdy table for glass items that can fall if the table is banged as someone walks by it. Also put glass items back away from the edge of whatever table you put them on... and taller things go behind shorter things so that people reaching for things won't knock something down as easily.

~Remove trip hazards...  stuff sticking out from under tables or in the way. Most people will be shopping and looking at what you are selling, not watching carefully where they are going.

 ~Don't put big solid items in the middle of the garage... it obstructs your view.... keep things open as much as possible. This picture shows a bookcase on the table, but it is not a solid back one... so we were able to see through it to the other side.

~WATCH YOUR KIDS VERY CAREFULLY!!!!!!! Things can happen so quickly. Kids should be up close to the garage or house... or where they can be watched. There are people who look for an opportunity to snatch a child. Don't let it happen to yours... please!  For example, I stopped at a garage sale and there were 3 little kids manning the sale... they told us they weren't open quite yet... these kids were about  5-10 years old. No sign of an adult. When we left, we saw a woman a couple of blocks away putting up a sign for the house we had just been to... and we had seen 2 other of the same signs several blocks in another direction. We had to assume that may have been the mother and the kids appeared to be alone.The kids also came right up to our van to talk with us. I shuddered at what could have happened to those kids if someone with evil motives had stopped. Please WATCH your kids carefully!!

~If you have an inside door to the house from the garage, it is a good idea to block it off from customer access - a folding screen or bookcase can help with that...  or even lock the door if you don't have enough people to help watch.

~Cover or put away things in the garage that are not for sale...  that will also help to avoid continuous questions all day about if they are for sale.  :)

~Lock the front door if you are not able to see it while you man the sale...

~Now, what about money?  What is the safest way to keep your money safe when doing a garage sale?  A money bag? Purse? Pocket? Box? Cigar box? A covered kitchen container?  All can be used and are used often.

Some are more convenient than others... and we all get comfortable with one thing or another. I have seen many of these things used at many garage sales... and it worked for the people. I have also seen each of these things sitting unattended, at one time or another-not at every sale of course, while the seller helps a customer or straightens a table. Each of these items, except for the pocket, will need to be carried... or set down at some point. That will require much attention to it. I, personally, have had the OPPORTUNITY to take such things MANY times, but of course, I would not do that.... others may be tempted by such an opportunity.

The thing we have found that works the best for us, is a fanny pack. (Why do they call it that anyway???  :)   )   We each wear one and keep the pouch at the front so that we can easily access it to make change. We keep minimal change in each one and are careful not to be obvious about how much is in the pack. The fanny pack allows us to keep the money with us, freeing our hands to work and freeing our attention from having to watch the money, so that we can do other things.

~Take big bills into the house for safety rather than keeping them with you.

~Just a note that a calculator is helpful in adding up a person's purchases.  When things are busy, it is easier to use a calculator even if you are capable of adding it in your head.

By the way, this post contains lots of warnings and it may seem like too much. I hope nothing bad ever happens at your sale... or mine... but we know things can and do happen. Being careful and aware of the possible danger and being wise is a good idea. My husband and I have worked with the Citizen's Police Academy in our area and have had an interest in such for a long time...  bad stuff happens and many times, it can be avoided by just a few changes. I would rather go to the trouble to make changes than to have a problem happen that could possibly be avoided.

I hope this series is helpful to you....  Do you have other ideas about safety when having a garage sale? If so, please share them in the comments. Thank you for visiting. I hope you have a good week.  :)


Garage Sale Series-Selling Jewelry

Garage Sale Series-Price Tags

Garage Sale Series-Displays

Garage Sale Series-Signs

Garage Sale Series-Hints and Tips

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Sunday, April 30, 2017

Improving Curb Appeal-Mailbox

It is nice to increase the curb appeal of your home..... especially if you want to sell. Our mailbox post was a metal one and rusted at ground level and needed to be replaced. One of our sons used some wood and made a post. Another son had a mailbox leftover from a job and gave it to us. What a blessing!

I hadn't planned on a red mailbox and wasn't sure about it at first, but didn't want to take time to paint it, so we just used it....   and I liked it after all.

The red mailbox was good, but I felt it needed... something. After hunting out by the shed, I found an old trellis that wasn't being used.

   I asked the guys what they thought about using it. I found NO encouragement from the guys..... NONE.  The girls and I liked it, but the guys did not. I liked how it would add just a bit of interest out by the road and in the flower bed, but wasn't "too much".

After standing it there and taking pictures that day then putting the trellis away, I kept thinking about it, but the guys just didn't like it. When I showed the pictures to my husband, he wasn't enthusiastic but he was willing for us to add it, so......... we did.

Our son had added a top to the mailbox post and the black on it worked well with the black trellis.

Another plus is that we usually have autumn clematis and passion flowers growing by the mailbox, so this gives them a trellis to hold them up.... and add some contrast.

 I really liked the diamond design in the middle of this trellis... and the delicate trim on the sides, so it adds interest whether covered with flowers or empty. The wrought iron looks nice all by itself there also.

It did add something to the front of our house...  and the post was painted the same color as our front deck, so those blend well.

 By the way, we stood the trellis where it looked the best and attached it with a couple of zip ties. The zip ties are covered by the flowers much of the year, but they aren't a problem the rest of the year either.

I really liked the improvement and so did my husband and daughters. The guys were a bit slower to approve, but even they agreed it was "all right".  :) 

The island garden bed in the background here has one of my semi-permanent trellises in it and it is amazingly beautiful in late summer as it is covered with the small clematis flowers. Very showy.
That bed needs work in other ways, though... weeding and sprucing up... but that is a project for another day! 

It wasn't a large addition... or an expensive one... but it was an improvement and it has been a good one.

Many people no longer have mail boxes, but some focal point can still be helpful... a trellis, flower bed, etc. Curb appeal is important. The first thing someone sees of your house is the outside front of it.

By the way, I like to use trellises for many purposes.... not a large amount of them, but a few here and there are so helpful as long as it doesn't look too busy.

Some of my trellises are placed semi permanently- they could be moved, but they just stay in one place all year round. Others are stored and used when needed... for the peas, cucumbers, morning glories, squash, etc.

By the way, I was really pleased with the mailbox post that our son made... he worked hard on it and did a great job.

Thank you for visiting my blog today....  Are you doing some project to increase the curb appeal of your house and yard? I'd love to read about it in the comments. Have a great week!

#mailbox #CurbAppeal #trellis

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