We Moved!

It happened. We moved!! I know this post is SO overdue, but I can’t begin to tell you how busy it has been over here finishing up the house, Christmas, moving, and now trying to unpack and put things away. There were many a blog post in my head over the past few weeks, but it just wasn’t happening! As I sit here typing and looking around, it still seems like there is so much to do, but then I remember all the stuff that has been accomplished in the last few weeks and know we will get there, it will just take some time!

Here are some highlights:

-First off, over the past few months, we have had family come and visit and with every visit we-of course-roped them into helping us! So HUGE thank you to them! From watching the kids, helping lay down carpet protector, packing boxes, lifting very heavy cement blocks for the retaining wall, to now helping put up bathroom mirrors…and this isn’t even the half of it…Thank you!!

-We started the move the Thursday before Christmas (if you live in Asheville, remember that really rainy day before Christmas? That was the day!!) We got the bulk of our stuff and furniture in that day. However there was the issue of power. We had heard from a few neighbors that there was a gap of a few days from when they moved to a new build to when the power came on. The power was scheduled to come on the day after we move….and….it didn’t. And because of the holidays, the next appointment was the day after Christmas. Luckily we could stay in the house we were in, so we did. We would come over some and attempt to unpack, but could only do so much with two littles, without much heat and getting dark…actually it was mainly the two littles that slowed us down! We were over unpacking that day after Christmas and a little down because of the power situation (actually the kids weren’t down, they were still jazzed from all the cool stuff they got for Christmas!). It was mid-day and the power guy hasn’t showed up. We went out to lunch and came back, still bumming and within minutes he was there! Very exciting when he showed up. But then…AC, electrical, and plumbing all had to come back–and they did later that day–and it was like Christmas all over! At least for us!

-Now…it’s unpacking battle…we lived out of boxes for a good two weeks straight. You know where you unpack part of a box, it sits, you get whatever you need out of it, and it still sits… it’s been hard because 1-we have two young children who can’t seem to go more than a few minutes without needing something, and they were out of school when we were moving, 2-we have so much stuff! We forgot all of the stuff we had in storage and frankly didn’t use it for two years, so we are trying to take a little extra time To go through it as we put it away. And 3-our painter was still finishing up touchups as we were moving (and that could be a whole two part blog series…) so it was difficult to get things up or put away because we would just have to move it again. Despite all these things, we have slowly been getting things out of boxes. It seems like every week we just buckle down, throw on some Lion King/Nella/Daniel Tiger and get through some things.

Here are a few preliminary pictures and will post more once things are starting to look a little more put away and up! These I took before the movers loaded the house with all our stuff!!

So long for now!


The Secrets to Navigating Lowes and Home Depot with Two Young Children

Guys…there have been A LOT of trips to Lowes and Home Depot over these past few months and let’s just say after a lot of trial and error, I think I have “nailed down” (did you like that pun?) how to navigate Lowes and Home Depot with two small children. Here’s what I learned:

1. It’s always going to take longer than you think it will, so just keep that in mind and prepare. Sure, you can tell yourself you are going to “just look” at carpet and be out in thirty, but that’s not happening. Inevitably you will have questions, no one will be there immediately to help you so you have to wait and then you look some more and have more questions but now they are helping someone else, etc. Just plan on an hour minimum. Period. So  take that into consideration if you are going to cut into lunch or nap times….

2. The customer service desk at Home Depot can be a shit show. Okay, so not to say this is every HD, but the Home Depot that was closest to us (God bless them) was pretty terrible. I think the main problem was they were understaffed.  Always a line and then would take forever to get what your ordered or to return what I needed to. I went to pick up a bunch of tile we had ordered on-line…I was in the store for nearly an hour….first waiting to be helped, then had to pull one more thing. Then had to wait for 20-25 mins while they kept paging this person to come help load. Finally this lovely woman who was running stock noticed I had been waiting forever, took pity on me (or realized my loud sighing and frequent looking at my watch) and took control of the situation. She figured out a different solution that didn’t involve this guy they kept paging and made it happen! Thank you Glynnis! And it wasn’t just this one time either….I don’t even want to get into the story of when we ordered said tile…let’s just say it took an hour an a half, when we were supposed to be putting the kids to bed, I was hungry (and it was pizza night!) super slow computers, no one to help us in flooring…and the kicker…in the end…there was a misunderstanding about something and we could have just ordered it all on-line from the comfort of our own home eating our pizza!!! ugh! so lots of time spent at that customer service desk….if you think you are just going to “quick” pick up the small batch of tile you ordered last week…wrong…

3. Always get the car cart if available. A few insider tips–our Home Depot has a ton of car cars available, but Lowes would only have like two…and one of those two only had one working steering wheel….My son is six and we still put him in it because let’s face it: you are tying to concentrate on important home building decisions and don’t need to be chasing a kid around the store or constantly telling him to put something down. You need to remove as many distractions as possible. Also the car cart at Lowes has a bigger space. I basically turn ours into a mini play pen. I lay a blanket down on the bottom of the cart (yes, I really do bring a blanket in!) and let them sit there. Then they have two options-the cart basket or the driving area.  (Note: Home Depot’s cart has two smaller baskets so they can’t really sit and play, they have to sit in the driver area.) I also lay the blanket down because if my next strategy……

4. Let them pick out and bring a few toys, books, coloring, I pad, your phone etc. whatever you can do to keep them busy: no judgement! The real reason I lay this blanket down is so that their crayons/toys/junk they hoard and bring doesn’t fall through the cart basket holes and I am not picking up crap (including a million cheerios once) constantly. Minimize distractions people!


5. Snacks! Snacks! Snacks! And water. I always bring snacks…big hits for my kids: cliff bars/z bars/honest bars, cheese, pretzels, crackers, dry cereal, smoothies, applesauce pouches, chocolate raisins.  This is because we are usually going in between meals and when someone is hungry, it’s not a fun situation for anyone.

6. Drive the cart a little crazy once in awhile! You know…go a little fast or swerve around. They love it and get a kick out of it!  Just…you know….don’t hit anyone or any merch.


Be a little silly!

7. My last and final tip…tell them at the beginning, if they don’t fight with each other you will take them through the Halloween section.  Okay so this one will only work at Halloween, but my kids LOVED to go through this blow up Halloween pirate thing in the Halloween section. This actually worked one time and they colored and played nicely and no fighting–no kidding for a ninety minutes straight–because they wanted to go through the pirate. One time I made the mistake of going through the pirate first and they were not as well behaved. But it could be any section or some special treat they like. My kids also love the paint samples and picking out a few colors….unfortunately it was mid-October when they took down the majority of the Halloween stuff, including the Halloween pirate, to make room for the Christmas stuff! Ugh!


8. Call before you go! Make sure someone will be there in the department you need to see. You don’t want to go through all the packing of the snacks, toys/activities, water, blanket 😉 and kids to get there and no one is there to help you.  Now of a course a manager would step in, but you get a lot of good tips from the people who actually work the department.  I also try to go when it’s not busier just in case of meltdowns….


There you have it folks! You can thank me later!



99 Problems….

Well, we knew there were going to be problems, but when you never do something before it’s hard to anticipate what the problems will be. I mean you hear maybe subs not showing up when they say or taking a long time to complete the tiny last part of their job (which actually yes, has happened a couple of times). Or maybe there is a delay in shipping something. This past week we’ve had some issues crop up that luckily got resolved, but man things got a little stressful! This past Monday morning our garage doors were getting installed….yay!! We can now lock up the house!!  Anyway, I get a call from our garage door installers saying our garage doors weren’t framed…wha?!! Heart sinking and imagining the worst…. our cabinets were going to be delivered on Friday and I wanted to make sure they got locked up. Could we really get our framer back out here to fix and and garage door install completed before Friday? After a few phone calls we realized what likely happened was the dry wallers took it off when they were doing the garage and didn’t put it back up. Luckily, the garage door installer said he could get it up. Thank you Tyler!!! Crisis averted. Later on in the week, in the middle of a day where I am just running from one thing to the next, I get an email from the plumbing fixture company…it says…”Kris…call me. I have some bad news and I want to cry.” I immediately think the worst…it’s the kitchen sink. That is the most important thing we need because the countertop company needs the sink installed in the cabinet to make the form and if that gets delayed then we start delaying when counter tops are installed and plumbing fixtures are finished, etc. One small snowball gets bigger as it rolls down the hill. I call her back and after some phone tag, yes…it’s the kitchen sink. It arrived to their warehouse damaged. We go through some different options and she even offers me a FREE sink but it’s made with a different material and….I ask her if it fits the same specs as the original sink and it doesn’t. In fact, she can’t find another single basin apron front sink that does. She can get another color to make the counter top form, but the color we want (it’s just white for gosh sakes!!) is four weeks out and that would majorly hold us up….we definitely wouldn’t meet our timeline. Panic. At night we search the internet high and low for this sink and more of the same…every single website was at least four, sometimes fourteen weeks out. We track one day off eBay in Richmond, VA area that was pick-up only, but who is going to drive twelve hours round trip? I also managed to find one off a plumbing supply company website in Chicago area….I was going to call the next day to see if it was available, but got an idea…they also make this same exact sink in a double basin…this would majorly crush my dreams of a single basin farmhouse style sink, but was willing to see if they had the same specs and….they do! And it can get to us in time we needed it to. As Sutton would say “er-ray!” We went for it. I guess a single basin just isn’t in the cards. I am just bracing myself for what other problems we will encounter in these (hopefully) last five weeks….hoping we are able to get them resolved quickly and they don’t impact our timeline or build…say some prayers guys!! We are going to need them!

Other updates:
-drywall up a few weeks ago
-floor tile completed last week
-garage doors in, but still need to be painted
-gutters done today
-shower tile-almost done
-stucco started yesterday, hopefully done by next week
-trim currently working on
-cabinet installation starting on Monday
-closets are ordered, install scheduled
-carpet ordered, install scheduled
-hardwoods to start late next week
-painting to start this week or next
-and I feel like there’s more….

So lots happening right now over here…..

The last major decision we have to make is to figure out all the paint colors. I know, you are very jealous right now because everyone LOVES picking out paint colors, right?  We have a color scheme of general colors and pretty much which rooms are what general color, but now we have to nail down the specific colors.

In other family news, Hudson turned six! We celebrated with a Star Wars themed birthday party for him and his friends. Sutton gave up her paci. We had been talking about it for weeks, read books about it, but had family in town for literally three weeks straight. We pulled it after they left just in case and so far so good. She asks for it from time to time, but no major meltdowns about it and she is going to sleep and sleeping through the night okay….although we haven’t been sleeping too much because the huge chunks of time we have to talk about the house is after the kids go to bed….


Updates! Updates!

Hello Friends! Here is the latest on our housebuilding adventure…..

So…where to start…..so much has been done since the last time I checked in!

The siding and roofing are done…..well….siding is almost done…our siding contractor seems to be dragging his heels and he is so close to being done!!  If you have ever done a reno or built a house, there is always one…hoping he’s the only one….but drumroll….exterior is painted:


I really like the color!  I think we had the neighbors a little worried that we were going with some crazy two-tone as there was a lapse of time between painting the top and the main level 😉     Anyway…..I was very stressed about this decision because we know people who painted their house and it turned out way different that what was intended (not in a good way) as it can be so hard to pick a paint color out from a small swatch.  But, I had some help…..Pinterest actually came through my friends.  I was on Pinterest and I found this picture:


Loved the whole look….but I couldn’t tell what the color was.  I got on that website Houzz (basically Pinterest, but for all things house related) and actually found the picture and whoever posted it shared what the exterior color was.  Yay!  When we looked at our picture even further, we discovered their windows were not black, but a navy blue, which was a color option for our windows, so we went with it.  Going to paint our door navy to match the windows.  The only thing that is left is to stain the deck, but that comes later.


Lots going on with this…we’ve finalized our cabinet order, which was huge…….and another biggie…maybe even more than the cabinets is the flooring.  We picked out our hardwoods pretty easily and they came and measured today….those won’t go in for awhile, but we are pretty set when they do…just a couple final decisions on what to do on the down stairs, the guest room (sorry guests, you might be getting carpet…) and going up stairs…..but pretty basic decisions….On the other hand, the tile order has taken months to figure out!  And let me just tell any future guests that come and stay with us….just tell us that the guest bathroom turned out great….even if you don’t think so….there has been SOOO much thought put into this guest bath is it unbelievable!  But I do really hope you like it….and that you squeegee the shower after use…. 😉 We ended up ordering from three different places for all of the tile and in the end I didn’t realize that labor prices can differ based on the size and shape of your tile, so we had to make some last minute adjustments because, hey there is a budget to think about! Side note…we haven’t even touched grout colors….eek….Right now we are making a final decision on a tile contractor and will be starting the tile maybe late next week…or early the following week….Carpet is another animal….we don’t have carpet in a lot of places, so we went into Lowes last week thinking we could knock this out in a half-hour and be back in time for the kids’ lunch time…wrong….so much to think about and consider….first off is just the type of carpet-a thicker one? multi-color (which i personally like because it doesn’t show stains as much…) or a lower-profile-berber type…we are leaning toward the berber type just because we think it might last longer…but really…does any carpet last long? if you know one, let me know! and then the carpet color…which is hard to do considering we are going for gray and navy in Hudson’s room and creams, khakis, and pinks in Sutton’s room….I think we found a brown that might work in both…stay tuned!




In other interior news….the drywall should be done this week! Below: the kids checking out their bedrooms….




Framing-nearly finished. Tile-nearly picked out.

Yay! It has been exciting to watch the framing happen over these last several weeks. Our house site is finally starting to look like a house and not just a mound of dirt! It is happening. We have been at the site nearly every day checking things out and watching it go up.  The windows and French doors are in, roof has been framed and now there are just a few things left for the framers to do before they are officially done. Next up: plumbing, electrical and the roof!

We are also finalizing our interior choices. One big decision–believe it or not–is actually one small thing: do we put a panel on the side of our coffee/smoothie bar in our kitchen. Seriously. This is a major debate in our house and I want your opinion! See the pictures below. My main question: would it look bad either way?

Otherwise for the last few weeks, we are trying to finalize our interior choices. This impacts our cabinet order, which is going to happen in the next couple of weeks. My main concern is all of the tile in the house!  So much to choose from….and places to buy from….and price points…. So trying to find what I like in the cheapest price because man can prices vary! After lots of Pinterest and store research, I think the plan is pretty well set with what we are buying and from where. And let me tell you the big learning in all of this is Pinterest can be a big lie! The bathrooms always look so clean in those pictures. And who can keep white tile with white grout clean? I am sure they take these pictures immediately upon finish. I would like to see the five year pictures. Or if they could even include how they plan to keep it clean. One of life’s mysteries for sure. Maybe you could include in the comments how you keep your white or light colored tile with light grout clean because I am mystified!  There is one tile I am in love with-my dream tile-for our guest bathroom. But….it’s natural stone, which requires more upkeep and resealing every year and I honestly don’t see myself doing that.  I have a hard enough time just getting the dishes and laundry done!   It is somehow in our price range, but again it’s the upkeep. Our guest bathroom tile is really the only one left to select. We already have money down on the kids’ bathrooms and the guest bathroom counter tops. We found remnants at a stone yard for those rooms and wanted to jump on it. And we have counter top selections narrowed down for the master bath and kitchen. There is a slight chance we can find a remnant for the master bath. We have it narrowed down to three choices, so if one of those comes up on a remnant, that would be awesome! Things are definitely coming together, but definitely still a lot left to decide!



Framing? It’s Happening!

So I am happy to report that the framers have started! Exciting!  After little delays here and there, they are finally getting down to business.  We are now having to quickly finalize a few details (i.e. maybe some built-in ideas?)  that we had talked about over the last few months as well as some ideas (extend a wall here, move a pantry door slightly) from our kitchen designer with our framer.   Which reminded me, our kitchen designer, who we recently selected (yeah! decision made!), needed our appliance selection.  So last night I got on good old Consumer Reports online (Thanks Dennis & Sherri!)  and let me tell you it is a bit of a puzzle…so any input would be appreciated!!

Initially, we were going to go with all Kitchen Aid appliances.  We both do like matching appliances, but I am running into a bit of the issue with the double ovens.  I started looking at the Kitchen Aid one, but it was getting bad reviews (not from Consumer Reports, but from actual people)…it did get a lot of good reviews, but those reviews appeared to be a part of some sort of promotion, so I wasn’t really giving them a lot of stock.  Then the more I looked, it seemed like no brand of double oven (that is reviewed by CR) is getting good user reviews?! How is this possible?  And all of the ovens are now convection, which I know is the new thing, but they are so loud when they are heating up.  Ugh. Anyway, I have a dishwasher and cook top picked out, but now am stuck.  If anyone out there has had good recommendation for a double oven that isn’t too loud, cooks evenly, and doesn’t have a steam error, let me know!  We are open to mixing it up some with the brands.  I haven’t even tackled the fridge yet…hoping to get to that tomorrow.  I am excited about the prospect of the double ovens.  I have never had them and do actually find myself frequently needing two spaces at different temps at the same time.  I can be even more efficient with my food prep!

On the family front, this allergy season has been rough for us!  All of us.  I get seasonal allergies and I forget every year that I get them! Usually it goes like this: it takes me at least two weeks to realize what is going on, then I usually think about taking medicine but put it off for another 2 – 3 weeks….mostly because I don’t like to take any medicine if I don’t have to….then by that time I think, “it’s probably almost over, I will just tough it out” but then it goes on for another 3 – 4 weeks….and I keep thinking it’s almost over the whole time.  And it’s not…..so I am usually miserable for at least two months total.  This year, I got smart and off my “I am just going to tough it out” horse.   I remembered how miserable I was last year, how long it lasted, and I finally broke down and got some OTC medicine.  It is finally kicking in after almost a week of taking it but I feel much better.  And even Hudson and Sutton are effected too–itchy eyes, runny nose so now they are taking some medicine and we are doing the honey trick.  At least with Hudson.  Sutton will turn her nose up and make a big mess.  That girl can make a mess out of anything, so honey is definitely out of the question!  As can most two year olds.  I keep pushing the kids to go outside everyday in the afternoon, but these last two days we have stayed inside.  They seemed to be a little bit better so hopefully that gave their little immune system a time to calm down and let the medicine kick in.

And finally…last Friday was Star Wars Day–May the 4th (aka May the Force)!  We definitely celebrated in the Kaufman household as best as we could!  The kids and I attended a Star Wars party at an area library which included a hunt for the villains, coloring, having a light saber fight with another boy, and playing a thumb-war light saber game.  And then back home for a Star Wars movie picnic with Dad while Hudson ran around and acted out scenes in between bites.  The force is strong with that one–it’s hard to keep him still.


Basement Walls…Check!

So…the basement walls went up last Wednesday!  Which was pretty exciting! I was all prepared to have some sort of weather delay since it was very cold and there was snow in the forecast, but the cold temps didn’t stop them and it barely flurried, so up they went! A few things to get done–cement pads and some plumbing rough-in for the basement–and then on to framing.  Hoping to start that in 3 -4 weeks, but I hesitate to even give a time goal on that…it can be so weather dependent and we have had our share of unpredictable weather this winter/spring….


Lately some of my friends and I have been talking recipes so I thought I would share a few….my kids are in this extremely picky stage…one day they will eat strawberries and then the next day “strawberries are the worst and I can’t believe you put that on my plate today!”  Face palm.  There are only a few options from each food group they will eat, so we are pretty limited…well except for the grains…they love their carbs!  And then Sutton is in phase where she eats a few bites, announces she’s done and then tries to rid her area of the food that’s left…last week she dumped a nearly full bowl of spaghetti (sorry Dennis and Sherri…it did all clean up!) all over the kitchen floor because she was done and I wasn’t moving fast enough to get it off the table!  Needless to say, meal time can be very stressful…between her antics and Hudson getting up and running around multiple times (“Hudson, sit down and finish your dinner!”) is why I  usually light a nice smelling candle and pour a glass of wine (Mom Hack #1)…because when the spaghetti hits the floor, it’s really not that bad when you have a glass of wine down….



For breakfast I make myself and the kids smoothies…there are so many recipes out there, but here’s what we do:

Fruit Smoothie
1 banana
1 cup of frozen fruit (I usually do strawberries, peaches, or mangos for the kids)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup Greek yogurt. My kids like a vanilla flavor, but I would recommend if you are starting them out to just use plain because it’s less sugar. Don’t let them get used to the sweet!

Mix all up! I pour a little bit each morning into their cups and then leave the rest in the fridge for after school. Super easy, fast and healthy snack. I could also write another whole paragraph (or maybe even blog post…)on the “picking out of the cups routine”, but I will spare you. Let me just say, it’s is a big deal to both of them and sometimes one (the little one) ends up in tears because of course they both want the same ones…sigh.

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes
Another breakfast item we do is pancakes. I make them in a big batch (sometimes I even double it), freeze them and then defrost in the mornings.  I definitely don’t get up early enough to make pancakes from scratch (unlike my own mother did for us–shout out to Mom for that!)

Heat up your griddle or pan to medium high.  I usually put my griddle at 350.

-2 cups of white whole wheat flour
-2 tsp baking soda
-1.5 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
Mix all the above dry ingredients together.

In another bowl….
-1 tsp honey
-2 large eggs, slightly beaten
-1.75 cups of milk
-2 tsp of butter, melted
Mix all the above wet ingredients together.  Make a well in your dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in the well.  Okay, this well thing always gets me.  I feel like my well always collaspes and it ends up all over the bowl so do whatever.  It usually turns out okay.

-2 ripe bananas
-1/2 – 3/4 cup of chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
Mash up the bananas in a bowl, mix in the nuts and then fold into your mix.

Spray cooking spray or lightly butter the pan/griddle.  Use 1/4 cup or even just a spoon to drop batter on to the griddle/pan.  When lightly brown on the bottom, flip.  I make a big batch, let cool and put in a ziplock bag into the freezer.

To reheat I put in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and then the toaster on a light setting.

Of course we do our share of Mickey Eggo waffles, but I am trying to phase those out slowly…although I did just see a Mickey Mouse waffle iron on Amazon!  Maybe I will make those in bulk and freeze!

Chicken Tortilla Soup in the slow cooker
Guys…secret recipe is about to be spilled….this is my go-to for when we are going to have a busy night and I can’t make a meal, guests come into town (because it can be ready whenever they arrive), or I know Adam will be working late/out of town…basically we have this at least once a month.  I am actually quite proud of this recipe because I altered an original recipe a little bit, which is huge for me since I am not a skilled cook!  Also, both kids will actually eat this one which it’s nice to check off a protein and vegetable in the same food!

In a 4.5 quart slow cooker:

-Put 3 (big) – 4 (small) boneless chicken breasts on the bottom of the slow cooker.
-In a separate bowl mix:
-1/2 cup of chicken broth
-2 cans (15 oz ea) of diced tomatoes, undrained
-1 can of black beans (15 oz); I try to drain as best I can
-1/2 to a full can (4 oz) of chopped mild green chiles, drained
-1/2 yellow onion
-2 Tbsp of minced garlic
-2 Tsp of ground cumin

Then add:
-Add 1/2 -3/4 cup of frozen corn
-Add a full can (16 oz) of refried beans

Cook on low for 7 – 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.  I stir a few times if I can during the day just to mix the refried beans up, but it will still taste good if you don’t get to this until the end!

Before you are ready to eat (or at some point during the cooking), take each of the chicken breasts out and shred the chicken with two forks.  Put back in and mix up.  Add more 1/4 – 1/2 cup broth if you want.

Makes 4 – 6 servings.

Some additional toppings we like to put on: shredded cheese, avocado, tortilla chips, or cilantro.


Vegetable Fritatta
Another quick and easy recipe…who am I kidding…all of my recipes are quick…I just don’t have time to spend in the kitchen cooking a long meal with two littles.  When we do a family dinner, I end up prepping all the sides during nap time.  It just gets too hectic….

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet….heat up on medium 1 – 2 Tbsp of olive oil with some salt and pepper.  Next up: sautee some vegetables! I basically fill the entire skillet –maybe like 1.5 layers–with vegetables.  I throw in some frozen peppers and once they are pretty cooked I add some spinach and tomatoes.  While the veggies are cooking, beat 8 eggs in a bowl and add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of shredded cheese.  My favorite to put in is parmesan reggiano, but I have also used finely shredded cheddar or the cheddar/jack mix.  Once the veggies are cooked, add in the eggs/cheese mix to the vegetables and let cook for ~10 minutes.  Then I put it in the oven for a good 5 minutes, until the eggs on the top are cooked.  Recently I got a really good deal on goat cheese from Costco, so when I take out of the oven, I have been adding a little extra goat cheese to the top too!  You could always eliminate the shredded cheese out of the egg mix and just do the goat cheese on top.

There you have it folks!  Enjoy!




Winter is Flying By!


What a busy winter it has been!  In between the kids getting sick (note: I think we are finally starting to turn a corner, knock on wood…), starting to kick off the build, trying to figure out the interior finishes for the house, volunteering, and just living life, it has been busy.  It sometimes feels like I am running from one thing to the next….anyways…here is the latest:

So, we are close to our basement walls going in!  They were actually supposed to be going in this week, but we got word that they were (surprise!) delayed and wouldn’t be ready until the end of the month.  We narrowed down our choices between two different types of walls: poured walls or pre-cast walls and decided to go with the pre-cast option.  They basically make your walls off-site and then it takes a less than a day to put them up.  Plus they come ready for electrical wiring and some insulation.  And then our framing contractor will (hopefully) be able to start shortly after that!  I say hopefully because our framing contractor gave us a time frame of when he could start, but I never know when these construction guys are talking timelines, if they build in weather (or other) delays (which always happens, right!) or not.  It will definitely be exciting to see the framing going up.  Right now it is just a HUGE hole in the ground.  We also got a curveball thrown at us…we will need to have a few steel beams.  These were not anticipated nor researched ahead of time.  So good news we don’t think it will impact our budget too much nor our timeline…but I need to probably just go ahead and mentally prepare that it will impact our timeline so I am not stressed out and disappointed….and be ready for another 6 – 8 week delay…because it seems like anytime there is going to be something unexpected or someone new is brought into the fold, it’s 6 – 8 weeks.  In the mean time I have been really trying to nail down all these design decisions.  I have met with a few tile places and now have a better idea of what type of tile we want in the different rooms.  I got another plumbing fixture quote and am working on a cabinet comparison quote.  So a lot of running around, meeting people, getting ideas and researching on-line all in an effort to nail down these decisions and save money…and prevent any delays because of my methodical decision-making skills!  And believe it or not, but Adam is super involved in nearly EVERY interior design decision.  I have heard so many stories of husbands that leave the design all to the wife or aren’t very involved…but not him.  Very involved.  I should have known because he was also really involved in the planning of our wedding….I find myself saying a lot at these meetings things like, “well my husband strongly objects to that” or “he really has his heart set on X” and then I am thinking…hmmm…what about what I like….anyways, this can also be challenging because two people also might have different ideas (subway tile! gray and white!) and one person might be doing a lot of the work and it can be frustrating after hours of research for someone to object, have questions or doesn’t like it….but we had a little pow-wow and all is good….it’s definitely getting us to communicate more!!  Hopefully next blog will be about some of our ideas/selections!


Huge hole!


I know…you love the family updates….here’s something that has been going on recently….
So, it usually takes Hudson a good amount of time to fall asleep. I read in some rando blog about a Dad who tried a meditation app with his two sons in hopes it would calm them down during the day. They were calm for the ten minutes they did the meditation, but after they went back to running wild.  However, the Dad did report they went to sleep faster at bedtime. Wha? Sign us up! So I decided to give it a try a few weeks ago.  I downloaded a meditation app (Calm) and man it really does work! I picked a ten minute sleep session and the first night I fell asleep 2-3 times during the ten minutes! I woke up about 15 minutes after it was over and he was sleeping. Win. The next night he asked to do it and this time, while I only fell asleep once, I didn’t wake up for 45 minutes, but again he was out.  It was hard for me to get up and finish the nightly chores though.  Third night I managed to stay awake for the whole ten minutes! And he was asleep shortly after. Overall, I don’t have any hard data numbers to support this, but he is asleep faster and not tossing and turning for so long. But he catches on…by the third night he told me he wanted to keep his eyes open! Ha!  We didn’t do the app as much last week and now their schedules are little out of whack because of the time change….time for some more bedtime meditation.  That Calm app also has some bedtime stories too.  Actually, only 1 or 2 are free and then you have to start paying. And…as a Johnson, I of course have only done the free ones!

And then there’s Sutton…our little sweet Sutton….is really flexing her two year old toddler muscles!! Lots of running around, not eating, “No!”….and she wants to dress herself…head to toe in pink if she could.  Everything is pink!  I don’t know where she gets that from because I have none to very little pink in my wardrobe and I haven’t bought her much either.  She would wear the same pink shirts everyday if she could.  Luckily I have a friend with a daughter who had a lot of pink and scored a bunch of clothes.  At this two year old stage, I didn’t buy her a lot of  “nicer” clothes–just a bunch of play shirts and leggings.  I learned my lesson with Hudson. I had all of these cute button down shirts and nicer pants and all he wanted to wear were fuzzy pants or pajamas!  I thought I had it all figured out with Sutton–just buy her comfy play clothes and little did I know she was going to turn the tables and just want pink comfy play clothes…or pajamas.  Now, not saying that she isn’t wearing the other clothes I/others have bought her…just saying the morning goes a lot more smooth when pink is a choice in there!

And one more update….the other weekend Hudson, Adam and I had a Ticket to Ride tournament.  For those who don’t know Ticket to Ride is a board game in which players have to connect different train routes across the USA for points.  I love a good board game and this one is really fun.  It actually can be a little complicated when you first start, but we have been playing for awhile and Hudson is getting good.  So good in fact that HUDSON WON our tournament.  Like legit won. I was even trying to block Hudson.  Adam and I both got beat by a five year old!  We both spaced and didn’t get one of our routes and that did us in.   I was so proud of him.  We got the idea for the family tournament from this board game cafe in Asheville called Well Played.  They were having a tournament on Saturday so Hudson and I went and played.  We actually won our first game!  We ended up sixth overall, but it was a very close tournament.


TTR Family tournament..complete with snacks!


The Results! Hudson Wins!


Sutton NOT wearing pink!


Huds and Me at the TTR Tournament at Well-Played


Until next time…



Holding it together…until you’re not.

The other day I picked up Sutton from preschool.  She was outside with all of her friends riding around on their cute little red tricycles.  The teacher lets her know I am here and as soon as she sees me, she bursts into tears.  Huge tears, lots of crying.  I go over to her and give her a prolonged hug and just hold her in my arms.  She is still a little weepy as we say good-bye to her friends and walk away, but after a few minutes she is better. I relayed the story to Adam and we were discussing what happened.  First off, we talked about how we–two emotionally controlled people–could have such an “extra sensitive” daughter.  She is definitely sensitive, which from what I am reading, means she feels things more deeply than the average person.  At school, her teachers tell me of how when one of her friends is crying or not feeling well, she will pat their back or give them a hug.  She feels their pain with them.  I can remember one time when Adam asked if she was feeling okay after multiple episodes of crying all day over (in our mind) very small things…..I said, “this is her all-day, everyday.”  Anyways….back to the story….she just starts crying when I pick her up.  The teacher assures me she has been fine all day.  Adam and I were later talking about it.  I think the reason why she gets like that is because she has been holding it together all day and not crying when she is upset.  And there is probably a lot that she gets upset about, but doesn’t cry.  Then she sees me and feels like she is comfortable to let it out and she does. She holds it all together until she is in safe spot to let it all out.

Picking up Lainie’s ashes really hit me.  I got a call a few days before and just put it on my list of errands…in between dropping off the kids and making a return at marshalls…..But after I had the bag in my hands, I couldn’t believe what was left of her, was in the little box.   Hurt all over again and the tears started coming down as I was walking out.  I thought I had gotten it all out, but I guess not.  I am lucky that I have space to grieve in my life.  I can take a few minutes out of my day and just think about the good times, pray, and cry.  And then get it back together and go on about my day.  I know I am lucky and not many people have this time or maybe they do but it’s too hard….don’t want all the feels to hit them. But for me at least it’s important….

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

Huge milestone with the house: we are done with digging out the basement!  It is one huge hole! Next up is pouring the footings…whatever that means….and then the basement walls.  We are leaning towards going with  pre-cast walls versus poured walls, but it is a little dependent on timing and how fast each could be ready to go.  I am feeling a little overwhelmed and some pressure to make sure things are moving along.  Adam and I are going to try to touch base weekly for lunch to make sure things are on-track and that we are communicating with what the next steps are….Hopefully we will find a groove!



Let the digging begin!

Quick Updates!

-Me and the kids have been sick all week with colds…just some coughing, runny noses, and stuffiness.  We all are doing better today, but all week I kept hearing about this flu and was glad that it was just colds for us.  Man, the flu this year is nothing to joke about!  I know we aren’t out of the woods yet in the flu season, so still crossing my fingers we don’t get it!

-Snow days!  A little unexpected snow came our way early Wednesday morning so we were out of school from Wednesday through Friday….which was probably good considering we were all a little under the weather….it was cold too, which kept us inside and not doing any errands or at the gym spreading our sickness around.  Our backyard is pretty shaded in the afternoons so we held on to the snow a little longer and then the ground got really mucky.  So hopefully we can get outside this week…Hudson has been getting the energy out running around the house and playing pirates!

-Huge accomplishment: I assembled the kids’ play kitchen!!  By myself!!   Well…it was 85% me, Adam had to do a few pieces I couldn’t get and do a final tighten.  You guys don’t understand the huge struggle it was for me….this kitchen arrived a few weeks before Christmas in nearly thirty pieces and tons of screws.  It is not intuitive for me to do this sort of thing.  I have always relied on Adam to do it because he’s good at it and can do it faster.  But I wanted to prove to myself I could do it and I wanted the kids to see me doing it.  And Adam had been working REALLY late nights and it was not getting done.  Well, what a project!  Of course I am trying to do this when the kids are home and every five minutes I am stopped for something…a diaper change…a snack…water…or someone trying to sit on my lap!  Well, I get about two hours in and discover a few pieces are broken or not right so I have to call the company to send those pieces.  This takes nearly three weeks! ugh! We finally get the replacement pieces last Tuesday and I go back to work assembling….and after two days it is done!  I later discover I had been using the wrong type of screwdriver…..I told you I am not good at these things! Ha! But the best part was when it was all assembled and Hudson takes a bunch of the food out of the playroom and places it on the ottoman in the living room and is playing with it.  WHA?!  I just spent countless hours putting this kitchen together for you guys!! Go bake some cookies in the oven or mix up a cake!

-And drum roll….we started digging!!  Hurray!  I feel like every little step needs a celebration!  Ha!  They officially started on Monday, but then were sidelined Wednesday and Thursday because of the weather.  But progress is being made.  It is definitely exciting to see something tangible!  Hopefully the weather will cooperate and can get it finished and on to the next step!

Picture Time!