Sunday, November 30, 2008

Making Progress

The desk is not finished yet, but it is coming along. This weekend we sanded, primed, and began painting. Maybe it'll be finished by the end of this week.

So much to be thankful for...

It is the end of our Thanksgiving break, and I am just overwhelmed with all of the blessings God has given us and our families. One of the greatest blessings is our nephew who makes all of us smile. We are so thankful for our home, our friends, our family, and all of the gifts God gives us. We hope all of you were reminded of God's faithfulness and greatness this past week.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Tea Time!

This year, the Feely women decided to begin a new tradition. We chose a theme, which was "nature" this year, exchanged names, and then met together for tea and a gift exchange. Debbie prepared an absolute gorgeous tea time for the four of us.

The incredible menu: apricot puff pastries, chocolate friendship bread, scones with lemon curd and cranberry sauce, parmesan/herb crackers, baby quiches, spiced pears, and, of course, tea! Yum!

A (tea) toast to family, friends, and delicious food! What a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

Thanksgiving Continues

Perhaps providentially, Kelly's parents live in Bakersfield, which is only an hour from Visalia. Robby and I were able to drive to Bako yesterday morning to spend the day with J and K. It was so nice seeing them and spending a Thanksgiving with them. Here are a few pictures from the end of our day where we had a tasty dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Thankful For...

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving with both sides of our families and had a wonderful time reveling and recalling God's blessings.
Although you can't tell it based off of these pictures, we actually had 50 plus people at my parents' house for Thanksgiving. Aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third cousins, and more - it looked like a family reunion!

Of course Thanksgiving at that level means lots of preparation. We were all busy helping our mom get the home ready.

After Thanksgiving at our house, it was off to the Feely's where we had another delicious Thanksgiving dinner and more special time with family. One of the highlights was giving Nathan (and Deb) their Christmas gifts early. Grandma and Grandpa gave Nathan a Mater car toy. Nathan was very entertained even though he can't quite figure out everything about it. That's good - it should last him awhile.

Deb got more practical things from all of us. Here, she poses in her new purple sweater. Looking good, Deb!

All in all, we had a wonderful day with our families and are so thankful for all that God has given us.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Truth Behind DIYs

I have a confession. I spend hours every week watching HGTV. (For those of you unfamiliar with this channel, it stands for Home and Garden Television.) HGTV is full of hints, projects, tips, and fantastic before-and-afters, so it is quite easy for a soon-to-be home owner to become addicted. There is a downside, however. Because each show takes only a half hour, one might (incorrectly) assume that attempting a similar project would also take a very short amount of time. Not a half hour, of course, but certainly not days! One would be wrong. After the success of our bench DIY, Robby and I decided to refinish an old desk we have. We enlisted a pro (my mother in law) to help us and began the ordeal yesterday. It is now Sunday night, a day later and hours into the project, and our desk looks like this:
It does not take being Ty Pennington to see that the above desk is not finished. In fact, it is in pieces with hints of the awful blue paint still holding on for dear life. Lest you think we did not work as hard as we could have, let me give you a quick recap of what we did.

Before: A white desk that needs some new life.
Robby getting ready to strip. (Haha...the paint, of course.)
After coating the desk and drawers with this paint stripper, we used a spatula to scrape what we could off. The top white layer came off like a charm, but underneath was another story. This blue turned into something more like finger paint. We are all still unsure what this substance is, but it made the project extremely difficult. After scraping, we wiped the surface down with mineral spirits, scrubbed, and dried as best as we could.
Next steps: Sand and paint.
More pictures to come later in the week!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Greenery

Today we were shocked and thrilled to drive by our home and see green! They rolled out the lawn today and added a few trees. (To be quite honest, the trees and "plants" are a bit sad looking, but we know they'll spruce up soon -- either on their own or with our help.) I think our home is getting quite ready for the holidays. All our little tree needs is a star on top!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Trimmings

The house is so close to being finished. They've recently added the trim on the outside, which pretty much finishes up the outdoor work (besides the yard). Inside, the last major thing to be added is the carpet. It seems most everything else is in! We're hoping for an extra early Christmas gift, meaning the home would be done earlier than anticipated. But so far, no one is saying that, so we're still blocking out December 23rd to be move-in day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

DIY: Recovering a Bench

Recently Robby and I found this adorable bench at an antique shop in Exeter. We really loved the look of it but not so much the blah cream cushion. We went to Joanne's and purchased this beautiful textured fabric. The picture doesn't do it justice: it's gold with dark brown, bronze, and bluish-silver dots. So pretty!
Robby began the project and took the lid off. (I would have helped, but someone had to take the pictures!)
All set up and ready to recover!
(About two hours later...)
Pefect!
How do you make anything look classic and finished? Simply toss on a few throw pillows. (But not too many! See Decorating Mistakes below.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Decorating Mistakes

Recently I watched a very funny show on HGTV that highlighted the 25 biggest decorating mistakes. These were some of my favorites:

#25 - Toilet Rugs (honestly...so gross!)
#24 - Too many photos (I have been guilty of this)
#22 - Out of placed themes (ie having a beach theme in Alaska)
#18 - Keeping something you hate
#10 - Floating Rugs
#7 - Frames hung too high (I once did this and then blamed it on Robby when someone mentioned it)
#2 - Too many pillows (guilty again)
#1 - Fake flowers

So beware of floaters, frames, and fakes, and your home will be free of the decorating faux paus.

Update on Mystery Birds

A local nature lover (aka my mother-in-law) went on a photo search for the mystery birds after seeing them herself and thinks that they may be cattle egrets. I'm still not completely sure, but it's probably a better guess than white parrots. Sigh. Wouldn't it have just been amazing to find that an enormous flock of white parrots has chosen to make Visalia its home?


I'll try to get my own picture of the birds, but this is a google image of a cattle egret, which, by the way, does live in the Central Valley during winter time. And just like their name implies, they are around cattle. They seem to like the bugs that (unfortunately) correlate with cattle.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Mystery Birds

Yesterday, as Robby and I were driving to school in the morning, we saw a huge flock of what looked like white parrots perched in two large (oak?) trees off of Lovers Lane. I have seen these birds once before driving North on the 99 from the 5 and have always wondered what they were. I unfortunately did not have my camera, so I am still unsure if they really are parrots. There must have been at least 100 of them looking like beautiful white ornaments. It was incredible, and I should have gone home to get my camera. It reminded us of the wild green parrots that were in the Biola area. They would come and sit in the trees at Whittier Christian, and occassionally I'd let my students take a look at them. They were stunning - and amazingly loud.

I've been browsing online trying to find any information on these mysterious white birds that are obviously not native to the CV, but I've come up with nothing. I did find an interesting site on birds and animals in the Central Valley where a woman has posted a number of pictures of such animals. Another site is all about Central Valley birds, but again, nothing of this type is posted.

Maybe I should change professions and become a full-time bird watcher. I'm a little disappointed that there is no great website on Central Valley Birding! Who else wants a change of work?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattybruno/sets/72157594392633611/
http://www.pbase.com/jekatz/valley_birds

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cold in Visalia

I have been reminded of the cold that occurs in Visalia. It is not yet 5:00, and it is just below 60 degrees. Now, I know 59 degrees is not that cold, but it is just a peek at what is to come. That is the valley for you - blazing in the summer, icey in the winter.

On another note, I had my first major evaluation today with my principal. He had good things to say, one being that I looked like a "seasoned teacher." I laughed to myself because I have never felt more green in my life. I don't think any teacher education program could have adequately prepared me for instructing middle school students. The real irony is I had just come from a teaching a class where I wrote up a student for calling me a b----. Isn't that just great? And he had good reason to do so: I wouldn't let him use the bathroom. (Yes, I am that teacher, the one who firmly believes a student can hold it.) I decided not to mention that little issue during my eval.

It's time to go because it's time to vote! Did you remember?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy November!

It is November 1st, and today finally feels a little "fall-ish" in Visalia. We had some rain last night, and although it's not very cold today, there at least were some clouds hanging around to block out the sun. The best part about this day, however, is knowing that tonight we all get an extra hour of sleep! Don't forget to set back your clocks...Fall back, Spring forward!