Friday, March 30, 2012

Chicken Quesadillas

These chicken quesadillas have been a family favorite for years.
They are easy to put together and very tasty!

Chicken Quesadillas
by Polish The Stars

1 Chicken Breast Half, boiled and shredded
3-4 Tablespoons Salsa
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced
1 White Onion, sliced
8oz (2 cups) Monterrey Jack Cheese (or Pepperjack), shredded
1 Pkg. Flour Tortillas
Cooking Spray
Sour Cream (optional)

In a small bowl, mix chicken and salsa until combined.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add bell peppers and onion; saute until crisp-tender. Remove from heat.

Heat a large skillet* over medium-high heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. One at a time, place a tortilla in the skillet and fill one half with some of the chicken, onion-pepper mixture and cheese. Fold the other half over on top of the filling. Cook until tortilla is lightly browned then flip and lightly brown the other side.  Remove from skillet and keep warm. Repeat.

Cut each quesadilla in half (or into quarters) and serve with sour cream, if desired.

Makes: 8-10 Quesadillas

*Sometimes I use my electric griddle so I can cook four or more at once!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Link Party 59

Time to get this party back on track!  First up, some of my favorites from two weeks ago:

These Ice Cream Cupcakes from A Pumpkin And A Princess sound delicious and I just love the beautiful presentation.

Sew And The City's Glitter Eggs are a beautiful way to add some glamour to your Easter festivities. 

If you need a good laugh, check out the How To Be A Better Blogger Vlog from House TalkN.  LOVE the princess dress! Plus, she is from Chambana - my hometown that I recently fled to moved back to.  :) 

I love this Faux Wallpaper from Meeha Meeha. Great idea for renters!

How yummy does this Gourmet Cinnabon Popcorn from Remodelaholic look? I can almost smell the cinnamon-y goodness.

Thank you all for linking up!  If your project was featured feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.

  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc. NO advertising or Etsy shops.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.
This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

Polish The Stars

Sunday, March 25, 2012

You're So Gangsta, I'm So Thug

Sorry, about using Train lyrics in the title. I just couldn't help myself. We finally got some answers about the shootings.  Of course, this is just word on the street and has not been confirmed by the police but... Apparently we have been caught in the middle of a turf war between two rival gangs. Naturally upon learning this I went on Pinterest and found some funny photos about gangsters.  :)

We lived there for two and a half years and never had any problems with gang violence. Then a rival gang moved in just down the block from us and the gang whose turf they are on put out an order that they be shot on sight. So I guess that is pretty good confirmation that our decision to move out was a good one because this war is just getting started.

Rumor has it that the first shooting that hit our house happened because they tried to take one of them out while he was waiting at the bus stop in front of our house (we can only assume that the second shooting happened for the same reason). When this first started no one knew what was going on yet so the police thought that it was just some kid wanting to shoot a gun at something. It happened just minutes after I had walked my son home from school - right past that bus stop - and after that I had anxiety attacks on the days that I had to walk him home. Everyone thought that I was crazy or over-reacting since it was supposedly a "random" incident and unlikely to ever happen again but it turns out that I was right to be afraid. Everyone in our neighborhood takes the bus and bus stops are a common spot for selling drugs (trust me, people at that bus stop have offered to sell us drugs on more than one occasion). Supposedly that is one of the big reasons gangs fight when they are in each other's neighborhoods - they don't want to loose drug sales to their rivals - so there is a very good chance that this will happen again in that exact same spot. 

I still can't believe that this all really happened. Did I really have to pack up in the middle of the night and move to another state because of a turf war between two gangs and bullets coming through the walls?  It sounds like something that I would see on TV not something that would actually happen to me personally. Up until now, this had been my Thug Story:

What's really crazy is that it was never THAT bad of a neighborhood. Sure it was a little run down and the other kids referred to my son as "the white boy" since he was the only one but there wasn't any violence and people were starting to buy some of the houses that had formerly been rentals and fix them up.  Just a few blocks down the road there are million dollar mansions for Pete's sake!  Shootings like this can happen anywhere in the city though even in areas where the gang members don't actually live themselves. It's just more likely to happen when you are living in the middle of the war zone.

I have pretty much gotten past crying over the whole situation.  Now I'm just really pissed off.  I'm angry that my FIVE-YEAR-OLD had to go through this! I'm angry that we were run out of our home that we put so much work into. I'm angry that I have to live apart from my husband. I'm angry when I have to hear about the amazing things that are happening in other people's lives while it feels like mine is falling apart. I'm angry that all of this happened over something so stupid. 

All I can say is that there has got to be a way to BREAK THE CYCLE:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Letter From The Husband :)

As Megan's husband I have wanted to guest post on here for awhile. I do crafty things as well, however, most of mine revolve around music gear. I was going to do my first one on that, but decided this was more appropriate. To say these last few years since was started have been turbulent would be putting it mildly. Four years ago I was barely getting by and was offered the job that I have now. It required us all to pack up and move away from our friends and family all the way to St Paul, MN. A year after that we bought our home and Megan began her blogging from the little closet in the kitchen, since then her craft area has grown and moved several times, just like her blog. Early into this project we were talking about the blog and she was looking at some of the larger ones and saying that no one would want to read hers and it was going nowhere. I assured her that she had some great ideas and that people would want to hear them, she just needed to be patient and keep going. Sure enough three years later she has a good following and readership. The blog is even beginning to make a little bit of money! I have a job I love, she loves what she is doing, we have a great son in Kindergarten, a nice house, what could go wrong? Right?!.!

BOOM, BOOM,BOOM!!!!! Three gunshots ring out in the middle of the day, one of them shatters my front door and sticks into my living room wall while my son is on the other side. I felt completely helpless because I was on my way back from a work trip to Chicago. The best I could do was call my good friend and have him come over to be with them. Eight weeks later to the day, I am in the yard walking my new puppy and .......BOOM BOOM.......BOOMBOOMBOOMBOOMBOOM!!! I turn around and see a man running through the intersection less than a block away shooting at someone else. This was it, I packed up my family and moved them back to Illinois while I finish up my work in Minnesota. I will not be able to join them permanently until this Summer.

My wife and son are safe! I still have my job! I am officially being transferred back to Illinois! These are the things I know. Other than this, I have no idea what is going to happen. I know the blog will likely take on a different feel for a bit, we did not have the time to pack up all of Megan's craft supplies as we fled in the night. Nor did we have the room, you guys have created a monster! LOL We will also be dealing with living apart for the first time. I want to thank my wonderful wife for being the amazing person that she is! She is everything in the world to me! Without her life would be meaningless, she keeps us going every day! I also want to thank all of you for taking the time to get to know her here and give her the awesome support that you have given her through all she has done and been through! Please be patient with her and the blog as we get settled in this new stage in life and begin to get things figured out. You are all very important to her.

Thank You

Monday, March 19, 2012

It Happened Again....

Yep. There was another shooting. It wasn't directed at our house this time but it was half a block away and my husband was outside when it happened and saw the entire thing. Seven bullets flying down the street. If the guy had turned around and decided to take out the witness standing there in a bright white shirt illuminated by the streetlight...things could have been even worse.

Once again if things had happened just a little differently I could have lost one of my guys.

After the first shooting, Shelby made this comic using an app called Halftone as a way to lighten the mood and try to calm our family's nerves. There was no calming anyone down this time though.

I heard the popping noise and instantly thought that it sounded like gunshots but I was really hoping that I was just being paranoid and it was actually fireworks. Seconds later though Shelby rushed inside and told me to go to the basement. Right then I knew that once again the nightmare had become a reality.

He ran upstairs, grabbed Jeremy out of bed, snagged the pistol and they headed to the basement as well. Jeremy was a little more shook up this time. I'm not sure if it was because he was snatched out of bed while he was fast asleep or if he realized that once is an "accident" and twice is a problem. Whatever the reason, he was calm enough to get in the basement but the tears came shortly after. He was scared and he was upset because he didn't have his beloved stuffed animal to hold on to. It was sitting on the dining table and he was worried that it may have been shot. He calmed down a bit once he realized that none of the bullets came into our house this time.

Once the cops were on the scene we put Jer back to bed and we all prayed for God to keep us safe, hoping that it would make him feel okay enough to go to sleep. As soon as we came downstairs I burst into tears and told Shelby "I can't do this again." After sobbing for a few minutes I half-jokingly said, "This weekend sounds like a good time to move, right?" to which he seriously replied, "How about we move tonight?" Apparently right after it happened he started thinking about moving and was trying to figure out how he could convince me to move during the middle of the school year.

We discussed it for about a minute and decided to do it. We considered leaving in the morning but knew that none of us would be able to sleep in that house ever again. So we considered getting a hotel somewhere in the city for the night. Finally we decided that we were wired and may as well just start driving and get a hotel whenever we started getting sleepy. We quickly threw some clothes into bags, loaded up the car and left town before the cops pulled away and any retaliation shots could be fired. We stopped at a place half-way and stayed there for about four hours. Just long enough to grab a couple hours of sleep, take showers and hit the road again so he could make it to the main office with enough time to do some work that had to be finished that day.

So far everyone has understood completely but I can imagine that some people think we are crazy for skipping town in the middle of the night. We really felt like it was the only option though. During the drive we were listening to Three Days Grace and heard the line, "If you want to get out alive - go run for your life." That's pretty much how we felt about the whole situation. We barely made it through the first shooting. I couldn't open the curtains for two weeks because I felt too exposed and like I would be giving the shooter a better target. We were finally able to return to "normal" somewhat but it was still miserable and we didn't feel safe. We had a plan though and we were putting in our time until we could move and do things the "right way".

However, another shooting exactly eight weeks after the last one (what is it about Thursdays in that neighborhood anyway?)...and we had to get out. We were worried about retaliations and the block errupting in a war with us stuck in the middle of the gun fire. So we left with no real plan other than staying with my parents for awhile. Jer came out of his room while we were packing and we explained to him that we were going to live with Nana and Papa for awhile so we could be safe and that he would never have to come back to this house again. We stopped for gas before leaving town and he thanked Shelby repeatedly for taking us away so that we could be safe. After jabbering for the first twenty minutes of the trip, he finally felt safe enough to fall asleep again.

We still aren't exactly sure what happened that night. We don't know who the shooter was, who he was shooting at, why, or whether either one of them were found. We also don't know if any more shots were fired later that night. All we know is that the police found the shell casings and that they had some guy in handcuffs and they were patting him down. We may never know what actually happened that night. Just like we will never know what happened the first time. All we know is that we are going to get out of there and never look back.

It has been four days now and we still aren't really sure what is going to happen. Shelby's boss is trying to get the rental house ready for us and until then Jeremy and I are staying with my parents. Shelby will have to spend time back in Minnesota tying up loose ends at work and packing up the rest of our stuff but I believe the plan is to bounce around between friends' houses and only go back to our house when absolutely necessary. And never on Thursdays. ;)

These first few days haven't exactly been pleasant and I have been in tears at least once a day. Between the trauma of being a part of another shooting so soon after the last one, facing the possibility of loosing our house to foreclosure, not knowing how long I will have to be apart from my husband, and having recurring nightmares about being gunned down in my own home...things are pretty rough right now. Once again, every time I hear a loud noise outside my heart starts racing and I panic thinking that it was another gunshot. Moving back in with my parents has also been rough because I just want to be able to go on like normal and pretend that everything is okay but I can't. I don't have hardly any of my belongings, I don't have my routine, and Oh! that's right, my husband picked up a new dog as an (unwelcome) surprise the day before everything happened so I also have to deal with training a new pup while in someone else's house when I am already just about as stressed out as possible.

So...yeah. Life is pretty shitty right now. The worst part is that I have no idea when things will get better. It would help just a little bit if I had an exact date to look forward to and know that my family will be together again in our own place but I don't have that. All I can see right now are lots and lots of dark days of suckiness. But! We are all physically okay and that is what really matters. Everything else may suck for awhile but we will make it through and we will still have each other which is our whole reason for moving in the first place.

Anway, sorry about missing the link party today. We are still trying to get settled in at my parents' house and I honestly didn't feel like dealing with it right now. I will try to get it back up and running next week though. Since I don't have my craft supplies, my kitchen or my camera, the posts around here will probably be pretty sparse for awhile. On the plus side, once I feel up to socializing again I will have more of a chance to interact with everyone! I have been so busy getting ready for the move that I scheduled some posts to keep things going here but it has been way too long since I have actually had a chance to respond to comments and emails left for my site, much less leave comments on anyone else's. It looks like I won't have much else to do for awhile though so once I get my emotions in check and am feeling more social, I should have plently of time to visit you all. :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Beer Cheese Fondue

The thing we are going to miss the most about the Twin Cities (besides all of the friends we have made, of course) is all of the amazing food. There are plenty of good places to eat where we are moving but there are certain foods at a few one-of-a-kind restaurants that we will really miss.

One those is the beer cheese fondue from the Chatterbox Pub. So after our last trip there I decided to come up with my own recipe! It may not be identical to theirs but it is absolutely delicious and will definitely satisfy the cravings when we can't make the 8-hour drive back to the Cities.

Beer Cheese Fondue

1 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Extra Sharp White Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 cup White American Cheese, shredded
1/3 cup Killian's Irish Red Beer

In a large bowl, combine the spices and flour. Add the cheeses and toss until coated with the flour mixture.

In a small saucepan, heat the beer over medium heat until bubbling. Reduce the heat to very low. Add the cheese mixture and stir continually until the cheese is melted and smooth. Do not overheat.

Serve hot with tortilla chips, green bell pepper slices, or other dippers of your choosing.

Makes about 2 cups.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Organizing User Manuals

I found this little organizing tip on Pinterest and had to share it with you guys.  It comes from Desiring Virtue and it is so simple I don't know why I didn't think of it myself.  

If you are looking for a way to keep track of all of the user manuals that you get for appliances, electronics, etc. the answer is as simple as a three-ring binder and some plastic sheet protectors!  Just slip each manual in a pocket and you can easily flip through to find the one you need.

I'm sure we will find a bunch more tucked here and there so I will probably end up with a different binder for each type.  Maybe I will fully indulge my OCD and alphabetize them too.  For now though they are just tucked in a binder with a label.  :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Link Party 58

My computer is having issues today so I will keep this short and sweet. Check out my favorites from last week's party:
Steampunk Your Nerf Guns by Klucking Bear
Super Simple Apple Pockets by That's What Che Said...
Amazing Bathroom Makeover by Paint Speckled Pawprints
Easter Countdown by Kristina Grapes
Thank you all for linking up!  If your project was featured feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.
  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc. NO advertising or Etsy shops.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.
This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!
Polish The Stars

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Snickerdoodles are my husband's favorite so these never last long.  They are perfectly buttery and chewy...and highly addictive.  : )

Snickerdoodle Cookies
adapted from Itsy Bitsy Foodies

1 cup Unsalted Butter*, softened
1 1/2 cups Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar

Cinnamon Sugar Mix:
4 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
2 teaspoons Ground Saigon Cinnamon

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs and beat until just combined. 

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cream of tartar.  Add to the creamed mixture and mix until well combined.

In a small bowl, mix sugar and cinnamon.  Use a cookie scoop to make 1-inch balls and roll in the cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Place sugar coated balls on a greased baking sheet.  Bake at 325F for 10 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned.  Let cool for 2 minutes and remove to a sheet of foil to continue cooling.

Makes about 3 Dozen.

Nutrition Facts: 1 cookie has 105 Calories and 4.8g Fat

*Softened Unsalted Butter is a very important part of this recipe.  If you use a butter spread or if you let the butter melt instead of just being softened - your dough will be too sticky to roll into balls.  If your dough does become too sticky though it can help to drop the dough into the sugar mixture, coat, and then use your hands to roll it into a ball.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Buffet Makeover

I finally got around to giving the kitchen buffet a makeover!  This is what it looked like before:

When I first showed it to you in the kitchen makeover post, it was pretty boring before and blended in with the flooring.

Now you can hardly even recognize it!  All it took was a couple coats of Beluga paint on the buffet with some Moon Rise paint on the hardware and in some of the carvings.  I really think the white accents make it pop and I love how it shows off the curves on the bottom.

It even goes pretty well with the vintage feel of the rest of the room.  Another item checked off of the never-ending to do list!  :)

What do you think? Does it look better in black and white or did you like the original?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vegetable Chili

This hearty chili is full of flavor and low in calories! It is also a great recipe to have on hand in case some vegetarian friends drop by.  

 Vegetable Chili
adapted from Taste of Home

1 1/2 cup White Onion, chopped
3/4 cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
3/4 cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1 can (14.5oz) Vegetable Broth
2 cans (10oz each) Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilies
1/2 cup Mild Salsa
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
3/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 can (15oz) Pinto Beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Corn
Shredded Cheddar Cheese (optional)

In a 3-quart saucepan, bring onions, peppers and broth to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, salsa, and seasonings; return to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.  Add beans and corn; simmer 5 minutes longer or until heated through, stirring occasionally.  Top with shredded cheese, if desired.

Makes 8 Servings

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Colorful Living Room Makeover

You know that feeling you get after you put in your two weeks notice at work?  When you still have to go to work every day but you have a really hard time finding the motivation to actually accomplish anything because you know you won't be there much longer.  All you can think about is how much you want to go to your exciting, new job instead.

That's kind of where I am at with the house right now.  Since we will be moving soon there are a lot of things that need to be finished around here so that we can sell the place.  It's really difficult to find motivation though because we aren't going to be around to enjoy it.  Not only that but everything is getting finished just to stage it instead of the way I would do it if we were staying.

I finished the living room before we decided to move so I'm pretty happy with it.  When it comes time to stage we are just going to remove a few pieces of furniture like the coffee table and bookcase.  For now, I am enjoying our fun and colorful living room:

Here is what it looked like a year ago:

This was when we were still going for a dark, Victorian look.  As much as I love that style, we just didn't have the money to do it properly so it never looked quite right.  It was a bit depressing as well and didn't fit our personalities as much as the colorful and funky style does.

If we had known just a couple of months sooner that we would be moving we probably wouldn't have bought the new couches.  Luckily they were on a ridiculous sale so we didn't pay much for them and I guess they look nicer for staging. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for a shopping list and the list of tutorials used in this room.)

For the shelf above the tv I kept things simple and impersonal.  I saw the line "This is our happily ever after" in a cute family photo on pinterest. I can't find the link now though.  I thought it would be a nice jedi mind trick to get people thinking that they would be happy in this home. :) To make it, I just took a white canvas I had laying around, cut a stencil out of contact paper using my Silhouette (the font is called leftovers), stuck it to the canvas and painted over the stencil.

To add some color and texture, I put some green fabric leftover from the dining chairs in a couple of frames.

Our record clock hangs over the bookcase that holds all of Jeremy's books and a few blankets to curl up under. That light switch kind of drives me crazy and if the bookcase were staying I would probably come up with something to put in front of it.   

Now for the info on this room.

My Tutorials:

Shopping List:
Sofa and Loveseat - Menards
Table Lamps - IKEA
Side Tables - Meijer about 6 years ago
Rug - Target
Coffee Table - from a friend, painted in Mermaid Treasure
Pillowcase Fabric - Apples and Pears
Framed Fabric - JoAnn's

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Link Party 57

I don't know about you but I have got a serious case of the Mondays.  A comment from one of my husband's friends pretty much sums things up, "Monday you really are a punctual bastard aren't you? Your brother Friday takes forever to get here." Lol! 

Alright, while I continue trying to wake up why don't you check out my favorites from last week's link party:

The pleats on this Window Treatment by Decorate With A Little Bit look great but I must say, I think the fun pom pom trim is my favorite part. :)

I love this Pantry Organization from Controlling Craziness.  It's like shopping at your own personal grocery store.

This Planter Bed Crown from Days of Chalk and Chocolate is adorable.  Perfect for your little princess.  Or you could just change the colors a little bit and you have an elegant and romantic addition for your master bedroom!

Remodelaholic shared a great tip for Containing Computer Cords.  

Last but not least, head over to Once A Mom Always A Cook for this yummy and Easy Beef Stroganoff.

Thank you all for linking up!  If your project was featured feel free to grab a button from my sidebar.

  • Please become a follower of Polish The Stars
  • Link up anything related to the domestic arts: crafts, recipes, photography, cleaning tips, money saving tips, decorating, etc. NO advertising or Etsy shops.
  • In the "Name" spot put the name of your project or recipe.
  • Link directly to your post - not your home page.
  • Add my button or a text link to your post to spread the word.
  • By linking up you give me permission to use content from your post for the purposes of featuring your project.
This party will be open until Friday at Midnight. My favorite projects will be featured at next week's party!

Polish The Stars

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Home Sweet Home?

I'm not conceited enough to think that anyone other than myself noticed but posts have been a bit sparse around here the last couple of weeks. That's because there have been some big changes going on in my life that I couldn't talk about yet. I hate when people talk about something big that *might* be happening but "I can't tell you yet" just shut up and let me know when you can talk about it, right? Anywho, things are official now so I can announce that:  we are moving back home!!!!

I kind of mentioned after the shooting that we had been wanting to move back for awhile and that bullet was the final straw but I honestly didn't think things would happen this soon. After talking about it a bunch we made the difficult decision to go to Shelby's bosses and request an early transfer back. They were already wanting us to move back but they expected it to be another year or two so this completely changed the plans that we all had. The company that he works for is awesome and they have been an incredibly supportive "family" since the very beginning. So we were reluctant to throw this at them and possibly make things more difficult for them.

However, we made it clear that we were willing to do whatever it takes to make this move beneficial to them too and we fully realize that the first year or two will be rough and it will mean more traveling. For us this will still be better than the stress of staying in a neighborhood where we don't feel safe and our closest family is 8 hours away. :( Once they realized that we were committed to making it work they were fully supportive and Shelby's boss even agreed to let us rent one of his houses!

So take a look at our new home sweet home:

Pretty isn't it? Yeah. So the previous renters completely trashed the place and it has been vacant for awhile mainly because he didn't have the time or desire to deal with it anymore. We have come up with a plan that is mutually beneficial though. He is going to make it "livable" by replacing the nasty carpets and making some repairs in the bathroom.

After we move in we will finish the remaining repairs and repaint in exchange for a break on the rent. We can rent for as long as we want and buy it at any time if we choose to do so. Or, if we end up buying something else he will still be left with a house that is ready to go on the market right away. So one way or another he will be able to sell it as soon as we are done renting. So it's a win-win! A lot of people would probably be scared off by this house but I'm sure all of you DIYers can see the potential. This place is going to have some pretty amazing before and afters!

The kitchen has really nice cabinets. I will be losing a lot of countertop and cabinet space but there is a pantry area that will make up for some of it. As you can see it still needs a few minor a sink...and maybe a refrigerator.  You know, little stuff. ;)

I'm pretty sure the previous tenants were sacrificing small animals in what is going to be my craft room....

...But the closet space makes up for it. That's TWO four foot wide closets side by side. This house is about half the size of where we are now but it has a ton of storage space which will help out a lot.

The plan for our house is to continue finishing our home improvement projects (major minor panic starts to set in when I realize that I only have about three months to finish this place) and then have it assessed this spring to see if selling it is an option or if we will have to start looking for renters. Honestly...renting terrifies me because I don't want our beautiful home to end up trashed or have several months go by without receiving a check from the renters. So I am really hoping that we will be able to sell and never have to think about this house again.

I was a little worried that Jer would be sad about losing all of the friends he has made at school but he is a resilient little guy and he is excited about making new friends. The distance from family has been really hard on him the last year or so and he is more than willing to make those sacrifices in order to be closer to them. After our last few trips to Illinois he has been in tears the first few days back because he misses all of our family so much. I really can't blame him. He has grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles, cousins and all kinds of other friends and family to play with. Not to mention that when he goes to my in-law's farm he gets to help drive the tractor and take care of the cows. What five-year-old boy wouldn't love that?!