Thursday, July 28, 2011


We're home.
And have been for over a month now! Summer life has been anything but lazy. Our house (we still can't believe it's our house!!) was on the market for over two years and the sellers were forced to do a short sale. Ultimately that means a lot of delayed maintenance. Landscaping, gutters, trees, cleaning... it's a lot. There's an infinitely long to-do list as we continue to settle in. On top of cleaning up the house and yard, we still have unpacking and decorating to do. There's a shrinking mountain of boxes and furniture in the garage, homey details are popping up, and regular maintenance eats up hours each weekend. On top of the move and adjusting to home-ownership
I'm nannying nearly full time for a 10-year-old girl and planning for my second year of full-time teaching. I'm moving from 6th grade math to 5th grade social studies and language arts, and school starts again in 3 weeks!! The summer has been exhausting, but we love this house.
Matilda is also in love. She has a HUGE yard to patrol, a BBQ and picnic tables to summit, one orange tabby cat to torment, dozens of neighborhood dogs to greet as they walk past, and hundreds of squirrels, bugs, rabbits, and birds to watch.
We had our first real gathering on Saturday to celebrate Dylan's birthday. More on that later, but it forced us to get a few things in order. We finally found fabric we loved (Dwell Studio "Botany Floral") for curtains and cut panels for the four windows in our living room. We also bought and hung curtain rods, and moved some boxes and clutter to the basement and garage. It was wonderful to have the space to comfortably entertain a dozen friends.

I have the day off and there's tons to do-- I'm hosting a small teacher gathering Sunday and want to hang some curtains and pictures in the dining room! More updates and photos soon!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Right now I'm trying to find the motivation to keep packing. We start moving tomorrow! The biggest stuff is done. What's left is the unorganized, random clutter I promised not to bring into our new house. Stacks of old health insurance notifications and bills, dead batteries, travel-sized shampoo bottles, old cellphones+chargers, buttons, tiny stones from vacations, hoodie drawstrings... I struggle with this stuff. We don't need most of it. But I hate being wasteful. I don't want to fill the landfill with it. I want to file and hold onto important papers, I want to organize each and every button and put every paperclip with the other paperclips. I want to use up that tiny bit of shampoo. But we're moving in 30 hours and I want to start cleaning! So I'm stuck.
I got online to check email, then found myself looking at other houses for sale in the neighborhood, and stopped myself mid-click. Why on earth am I looking at listings when we just bought a house and move tomorrow???

The plan was to clean today. In my mind, our bedroom would be empty except for a suitcase and mattress on the floor, the second bedroom would be sparkling clean, the bathroom would only have the bare essentials in a travel bag, we'd be eating out of the only two bowls we hadn't packed...
In reality, our bedroom still has a lot of stuff minus two suitcases of clothes and our dressers. The second bedroom is in better shape--no furniture but it's littered with the random junk I wish would just disappear. Our living and dining rooms are a maze of boxes and furniture.... kitchen hasn't been touched, etc. We have a lot of stuff. I'll be looking for ideas to manage our "stuff" as we settle in!

We're just so ready to be out of here and into our home. Updates and pictures as I make progress. Let's go, Laura!

Friday, June 10, 2011


Meet Garden:(thanks google street view)
Garden is our soon-to-be new home. We move Thursday and have big dreams for this house. Dylan's brainstorming blog names today
. Our plan is to start a new site where we'll document some of those dreams. Unfortunately "meisterhaus" is taken at wordpress (Sorry blogger, Dylan just loves wordpress) so we're still thinking. Until then, I'll update here. First, a little background on our search.

Since Dylan and I met, we've dreamt of omelets Saturday mornings, woodworking in the garage, a huge garden, cold nights snuggled in front of a fire, and room for a puppy to play. We've always wanted a real home together. A house.

In the middle of my long-term teaching assignment last year, we finally had a steady income, and with the $8k tax credit we thought we might finally be able to buy a house. I started searching online on
this site. Constantly. I knew every home for sale in Columbus and the surrounding 30 mile radius that met our initial criteria: 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms, a fireplace, and a 0.25 acre lot.
Then this September I found the perfect house. "Schoolcraft".
It met our generic criteria, plus it had a privacy fence and a gorgeous, huge covered front porch. We signed up for more information, and a realtor, Erik Hiss, got in touch with us. When we went to look at it in person, I expected fireworks. But we just weren't that excited. We just kind of looked at each other like "is this what it should feel like?" I could imagine us living there. It had everything we were looking for, and the front of the house was beautiful, but we didn't know if it felt like home. So we kept looking.
Erik was great. He looked at dozens of houses with us and listened as we arranged and rearranged our list of priorities (location, yard, fireplace, school district, square footage, price) and helped us determine what we were truly looking for. In the middle of all this we found a really unique, beautiful house and decided to make an offer. "Glen" was a split-level with a wide open floor plan--think open kitchen/dining/living rooms with continuous, gorgeous hardwood floors. The back of the house was mostly glass and doors and overlooked a fenced, wooded lot. I deleted all our pictures of Glen when things didn't work out. As gorgeous as it was, we would have needed to spend a good amount to update the house. Already at the top of our price range, when the seller wouldn't budge much on the price, we let it go and kept looking.
We spent fall and winter going to open houses and continued to develop our priorities. We limited our search to Clintonville and Beechwold, neighboring communities in the heart of Columbus. And then in January I found Garden. And Garden is the one. More on Garden this afternoon. I have packing to do!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Experimental Banana Bread

Three loaves of banana bread baking in the oven... I'm nervous and excited. I think it might be really amazing. Or sort-of-okay or just plain gross. Sometimes I crave a dense, chewy loaf, but this morning I want something light and sweet. We had TONS of organic bananas that went from green-to-spotty in 2 days and buttermilk to use up from scones last Sunday. I based this batch on the Better Homes and Garden recipe, but made a few substitutions. I'm still trying to wrap my head around which substitutions really work and which change the flavor and texture too much. Here's what I did:
- unbleached multigrain flour instead of all-purpose white
-1 c oat bran for 1 of 4 cups of flour
-1 c splenda + 1 c sugar instead of 2 c sugar
-1/2 buttermilk + 1/2 oil instead of 1 cup oil

And here's the doubled recipe (which made 3 loaves):
3 c flour
1 c oat bran
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

12!! bananas (we had so many!)/ 3 cups when smashed
4 eggs
1 c Splenda
1 c sugar
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c buttermilk

Photos and samples for everyone if it's delicious!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mother's Day

I had the privilege of hosting mother's day brunch last weekend for my mom and dad, mother and father-in-law, Dylan's brother and sister-in-law, and a good friend, Jen. It is incredible to have such a gracious, loving family (thanks to amazing moms). It makes being together and entertaining such a joy. Not many people can say the perfect Sunday morning is spent with parents and in-laws.

Sunday morning was a blur of cleaning, cooking, and baking. Dylan and Jen were the best side-kicks and prepped and cleaned as I made a mess. I'd never cooked bacon before, and my mom stepped in to save the day sure it crisped <3

Here's the menu (thanks, Martha Stewart) and recipes for things that are worth making again:
  • salad with salmon, goat cheese, heirloom tomatoes, & champagne vinaigrette
  • asparagus and leek/spinach and feta quiche (substituted a 1/2 cup 1% milk to lighten the quiche a little. I could not tell a difference.)
  • fresh raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries
  • brown sugar-glazed apple-smoked bacon
  • raspberry scones (added a tsp of lemon zest and a lemon glaze)
  • white sangria, iced tea, OJ, coffee
Overall, it was a wonderful morning. Just before my parents headed back to Cincinnati, we walked along the Walhalla ravine, which is a beautiful, wooded oasis in the middle of Clintonville. It's Matilda's favorite walk with lots of squirrels, a creek, and gorgeous houses. Fingers crossed my parents might someday make Columbus home-base :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ice Day 2

Okay. Another day off school because of ice and buildings without power. Yesterday I got the shelves dusted, books and other stuff thinned and reorganized. Today I took pictures. I still don't feel like it's as balanced or beautiful as I want, but an improvement. Any ideas? (JessPress??)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ice Day!

First "snow" day of the year! So far: I slept in 'til 8, had two cups of coffee, browsed facebook updates, and played fetch out back with Matilda. Still to do?
Organize these messy bookshelves:

Right now they're holding books, camera stuff, board games, office supplies, a manatee I made in 6th grade, diabetes stuff and more... 5 more minutes of browsing apartment therapy for inspiration then I'm getting to work.

Also to do: grade quizzes, photos of icy branches at the park, sweep, ironing, maybe clean a closet or two!

I'll post a photo this afternoon of newly, more beautifully organized bookshelves!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Quick Update

A dozen blog drafts never completed-- documenting Thanksgiving, Christmas, redecorating, and more. I'm still working through rarely finishing what I begin; a habit that's plagued me since second grade. Working on that.

So, a quick update. The biggest news? Dylan and I have been house hunting for a few months. It's been quite the journey figuring out what we need and want right now. We thought this was our dream house, made an offer in October, but it wasn't accepted. And it's a blessing. After exploring huge farmhouses near Marysville, 2 bedroom cape cods in Clintonville, and cheap fix-me-ups in shadier parts, we fell in love with a house on Garden Road in Beechwold a few weeks ago. Our offer was accepted by the seller, but it's short sale which basically means the bank is taking a loss to avoid foreclosure, so not only does the seller have to accept our offer, but the bank and any other parties who might be entitled to money ALSO have to accept it. It could be months before we know anything. In the mean time we're dreaming about a fenced 0.29 acre yard, two car attached garage, 1.5 bathrooms, and wood-burning fireplace. Also having too much fun playing with Ikea's Kitchen Planner website and daydreaming an Ikea kitchen remodel:

More to come!