the many faces of Paul

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This is from our trip to Savannah. 80% of the pictures I got were of Paul climbing something or on top of something. I keep telling him he’s going to have to watch himself when we have little boys that do just like Dad does! Oh, and I promise, Paul did change clothes every day… And I washed that sweatshirt as soon as we got home! ;-)

(Since the next few posts will probably be heavy picture posts, I’m going to make them click-through to speed up the load time of my site.)
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our new apartment

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I took some pictures, but the lighting was weird and they didn’t turn out the best. But you can still get the idea. :-) And if you didn’t see it before, here is a floorplan of our apartment.

Living room, taken from the foyer
This is the sight you see when you first walk into the apartment. There’s a small foyer, then you see the living room and the porch is beyond that.

To the right, in the foyer, is a bookcase. I didn’t really want to put it in the foyer but that literally was the only place! I am enjoying having the bookcase on hardwood floor and not carpet – when bookcases are on carpet they lean precariously away from walls!

Laundry room
Still standing at the front door, and turning to your left, there is the laundry room. Right now it is stuffed with junk that we just don’t have room for. Oh and there’s room to actually walk and do laundry too. ;-)

Living room
A better picture of the living room. To the right is the door to the porch. To the left is the dining room and kitchen, as well as the office area.

Living room
We have a nice big window that the cats absolutely adore. Oh, and we got a new TV! I don’t think I ever mentioned that. Isn’t it purty? (The other TV completely died so we had to buy a new one. I feel like I have to say that so people don’t think we went out and bought a fancy flatscreen just because.)

Our porch
I heart the porch! It’s nice and big. Again, there’s junk on there that I don’t know what to do with. :-(

View from the porch
We have a pretty view from the porch, overlooking a nice landscaped area and the pool. The picture doesn’t do it justice. (The view from the porch was a huge selling point for us for this apartment!)

Living room
Back inside… here is the kitchen and the dining room. Oh, and do you see that lump just on the other side of the loveseat? That is my new SEWING MACHINE!! :-) More about that later. Maybe when I actually sew something.

Dining room
The dining room. I took this picture before I finished decorating for the party.

Paul in the kitchen
Paul in the kitchen. It’s a nice big kitchen, and the breakfast bar really helps open it up. I actually like it better than my other kitchen, though I miss being able to have a table and the microwave cart inside the kitchen.

Looking to the hallway
Moving on… I’m standing with the living room on my right and the dining room on my left looking towards the “hallway”. We have a nice little nook that’s perfect for the second dresser we have! And yes, it’s completely filled with craft, art, and sewing supplies. To the right of the dresser is the door to the bedroom and to the left is the bathroom. I heart having a bathroom that is separate from the bedroom!

Our bedroom (hi, Lewis!). To the left is the door to the closet. It’s not a huge closet, but big enough for our clothes and camping supplies.

Another view of the bedroom.

Moving on… the bathroom! It’s really huge! It’s so big that I think the space is wasted – I wish the bathroom was smaller and the closet was bigger, but oh well. I am loving the no carpet, though.

Sitting on the tub… See the perfect under-sink spot we have for our litter box? behind the door is a linen closet which we are using for more storage. It’s really small so it doesn’t hold much, but every little bit counts, doesn’t it?

This apartment is a good size, and I think if we had moved here from a smaller place it wouldn’t have been so bad. But it’s been sooo hard to downsize. I really like the apartment though! I just wish they had storage closets like every single other apartment I’ve lived in. I never realized how nice those were. Case in point: we had to get rid of almost every single box we used to move, even though we’re going to need them when we move again in a year. :-( But I am loving how much light this apartment gets! Definitely a positive over the last one.

Another thing that has surprised me that I don’t like is that we’re not close to things anymore. We live right off a highway, and we always have to go up one exit or down one exit. There is a grocery store near us, but anything else it’s hopping on the highway. It’s a little ridiculous! Post office, library, Blockbuster, doctor, pet food store, etc. Pretty much any shopping is not close. I guess in our area is just a lot of apartment complexes, and some office complexes. I’m just not used to hitting the highway to go anywhere. I’m definitely going to miss a library that is so far away!!! I was spoiled in the last town we lived where things like that were all pretty close.

But that’s why we moved here, right? To know if this is an area where we’d want to buy a house? I will see how I feel about it in a year. :-) It’s a good experiment!

the party that wasn't

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Thanks for all your great ideas! I ended up making:
* Caramel Apple Bars (recipe at the end of this post)
* Pumpkin Pie (recipe here)
* Cheese and Crackers
* Mixed Nuts
* Hot Apple Cider

It turned out great, and so fall-ish! I also found a bunch of fall decorations, and bought a pot of mums, and used those to decorate the table and was very pleased with the result. I picked up a couple reed diffusers from Target which really scented the room with fall-ish scents. Our apartment looked very festive and seasonal!

Here are some pictures I took when I was done cleaning. (I took pictures of the entire apartment as well which will come in a separate post!) As always, click the pictures to make them bigger.

The spread
The table. I used my gold tablecloth, and decorated it with fake fall-colored leaves, some mums, and fall-themed plates and napkins I found at party city. Last year I picked up some placecard holders from a clearance rack and they were so perfect that I was dying to use them. I decided to write on index cards what each dish was. I thought it was a nice little touch. :-)

Caramel Apple bars
Caramel apple bars (recipe below). Paul made them, and I thought they were sooo tasty!!

Pumpkin Pie
Paul’s famous homemade pumpkin pie.

Crackers and cheese tray
The cracker and cheese platter. In addition to the placecard holders, I also bought some maple leaf-shaped cookie cutters from the clearance rack last winter. I used them to cut the cheese into leaf shapes which I think turned out wicked awesome (ha! look, I’m from New England! or at least married to one… Paul’s going to shake his head sadly at me, hehe).

In the kitchen I had a crock pot with hot apple cider steeping with cinnamon sticks, orange and lemon peels, and miscellaneous spices. I am glad we have mugs that are red and gold colored, because they fit in with the whole theme. In the living room, I put a bowl of nuts and a glass pumpkin filled with candy corn. I thought it looked really awesome!

I’m trying to focus on the positive part of the night because… Well, what happened was almost everyone cancelled on me last minute. I did have one person show up for a little while which was awesome! I enjoyed hanging out with her. But when she left and I looked around the apartment, realizing I had spent the entire day cleaning and cooking, I just couldn’t help but cry from exhaustion, frustration, and disappointment. So I call this the party that wasn’t.

(I’m still upset, if you can’t tell. I’m no good at letting things roll off my back.)

Recipe for Caramel Apple Bars:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1-3/4 cups flour
1-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4-1/2 cups coarsely chopped peeled tart apples (about 3 medium)
3 tablespoons flour
1 bag (14 ounces) caramels

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Mix brown sugar, butter and shortening in large bowl. Stir in 1 3/4 cups flour, the oats, salt and baking soda. Reserve 2 cups oat mixture; press remaining oat mixture in ungreased rectangular pan, 13×9 inches.
2. Toss apples and 3 tablespoons flour; spread over mixture in pan. Heat caramels over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted; pour evenly over apples. Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture; press lightly.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown and apples are tender. For 36 bars, cut into 6 rows by 6 rows while warm. Store covered in refrigerator.

fall celebrations

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We’re back from Savannah! And had a great trip. I will write about it later.

But first, I need suggestions. Tomorrow I am having several friends from my old job over as a little housewarming party. I want to do fall-themed, and so far we have Paul making a pumpkin pie. I also bought some candy corn and put it in a glass pumpkin jar. I have a few fake fall leaves I can spread around the table, and a gold tablecloth I want to use.

Now I need some ideas (and soon, since this party’s tomorrow! ;-)). What else should I cook for desserts (we’re not doing entrees) that are fall themed? Any ideas for drinks? Any other decorative ideas without going overboard? (I’m still working on getting the apartment unpacked and put away, so that will take most of my time.)