A House, A Home

The Chef Family has arrived at their new home in California. The paperwork was finalized and everything was recorded ... and the keys became ours.

Our belongings arrive on Sunday and we are beginning to make our house a home, one step at a time. We are excited for this new adventure. As always, stay tuned for pictures, stories, and fun.


Saying Goodbye to Portland

It definitely wouldn't be a goodbye without a few last rain showers and romping around in our raincoats last week and this weekend. Ms. A and I definitely saw our fair share of showers last week. I guess this is just one way to make us even more excited for California and the warmer, rain free weather we are about to join in on.

We also had great use out of our rain boots this week as well. Yes, the rain. Rainy season has officially begun in Oregon and Washington and I'm glad that we are leaving at this time.

Will the Chef Family miss the Pacific Northwest? Absolutely. But are we excited for our new adventure? Yes.

The packers arrive tomorrow and the movers the following day. Goodbye Portland & Vancouver. Farewell.


Joe's Farm

Yes, Ms. A deserved not one, but two trips to the pumpkin patch this year. She has been such a trooper during our move process that she was due for some extra special attention. This weekend turned our rather beautiful and was a nice break from the rainy and cold weather Portland has been getting the last week.

So the Chef Family hopped in the car and headed to Joe's Farm in Vancouver, WA. This farm is about 3 miles down the road from us and was a perfect way to not only escape out of our house and get some fresh air but also give Ms. A some time to run free.

We ventured to the corn field to find the "mini" pumpkins. These pumpkins were seriously the perfect size for a toddler's hands. A enjoyed walking around picking up pumpkins and carrying them around the farm.


Short Crop Again

Do do or not to do? I came across this photo from a few years ago and realized, "Oh, how I love short hair." And, a little bit of bang in front. I'm loving it. I completely forgot I even had this hairstyle. Should I go for it? My husband will probably kill me, but what do you think?


Laundry Room Re-do

The laundry room re-do. Yes, finally here. This project has been finished for several months, I just never got around to posting the finished product. I finished this project just in time to put our house in the market and to move out of our house. Go figure.

My "new" laundry room in California will be decorated quite differently and will serve as a multi-purpose room since it will function as both our mudroom and our laundry room. However, I think I can deal with that issue because I managed to get a sink with tile counters and built in cherry cabinets to hide my laundry accessories. I definitely will not need to hide as much in my new laundry headquarters.

This simple laundry room re-do was merely accomplished by gathering items I already had in my house, purchasing a few cans of spray paint and one Goodwill bargain basket as well. I fell in love with Espresso spray paint this summer. My fingers literally felt like they were going to fall off after I sprayed paint literally everything in my laundry room.

My old laundry room was boring. Yes, boring. Nothing too exciting. Lots of hodge podgey stuff and none of my baskets matched.

My solution to solve this problem was Espresso Spray Paint from Home Depot. Each can was about $3 and I used 2 of them. Since I do not have cabinets in my laundry room, I thought trying to be matchy-matchy with my baskets would be the best to try and blend the look together.

I took everything out of my baskets and lined them in the garage (which was open of course) and sprayed the heck out of every nook and cranny. The result.

I then neatly stored everything back in the original baskets and rearranged a few of them as well.

I snagged a half-off basket at Goodwill (and spray painted this as well) to store all my little everyday laundry essentials. I also found 2 glass jars w/ stainless tops to store my laundry detergent and dryer sheets. The jars were used in the pantry for snacks, but I thought they would look better in here. I dusted off a lamp from our storage closet as well. The Iron Chef thought the lamp was a bit much, but I think it adds warmth and cheer to the laundry room.

If you did not already know, I love labeling items. I figured that labeling a few boxes in the laundry room would add to an organized look as well. I created the labels on my computer and used packaging tape to secure them to the boxes. The clear sterilite bins were from my collection of Big Lots sterilite bins in my house (you can score major savings by purchasing these shoe bins from Big Lots for .99 a piece) and I found two black shoe boxes and taped a few labels on there as well. The shoe boxes were a stretch, I know. And, you can see the sharpie marked out letters if you get close. But, I was in a pinch and trying to quickly get organized so it worked just fine.

One of my baskets displayed a "LAUNDRY" label tag. I got a little creative with this one and took the tag off, glued it to one of my existing plaques and voila! I also did a simple google search and found a few random laundry photos in black and white. I printed these off and put them in frames I had sitting in the closet collecting dust. A simple and free way to REdecorating using what I already had in my own home.

I polished the look off by switching around a few hangers in our house, adding a neutral colored rug, and adding a little boxwood greenery.

The final look I was very proud of. The cost? Merely nothing. 2 bottles of spray paint totaling $6, a $1 goodwill bargain basket, a few printed photos from the internet, a little bit of sweat, spray painted fingers, and my hard earned time.

Ahhhhhhhh, yes. Much better. Much, much, much better.

Just a simple change. Nothing too fancy, but well worth it in my eyes. And, a bargain might I add.

Now wait until you all see the DIY project I am going to do with the wooden office desk chair (swivel, w/ arms) I snagged up at Goodwill in California for $1.99. Chairs like this are retailing for $399 at Pottery Barn and I scored my beauty for less than what you can pay for a gallon of milk.


Mini-Kitchen Humor

During our hotel stay in California, Ms. A managed to learn to do one thing very well. Open and close the refrigerator door to our "kitchen." She would do this all day, every day if it was her pleasure. When she felt the need to get a drink, she'd open up the fridge, grab her sippy cup, take a drink and then put it back on the shelf. Quiet comical, I might add. Or, if we needed to grab something from the fridge we would simply ask A to help us out.

The Iron Chef and I may have to continue this "fetching" because it may come in handy when we need something at our new house. It would be a win-win situation. She feels like she's helping and we, as parents, can take pride in knowing that our children can help us out as well. Kind of like the whole chore thing that our parents passed along to us when we were younger. I guess Ms. A is just starting to get a feel for the whole "helping" around the house. Or in this case, the hotel room.

I seriously should have taken pictures of our hotel room. Jam packed full of things for our apartment (which we thought we'd be living in for more than 2 weeks), all of our belongings, a make shift baby room shoved in the corner with a pack 'n play and a blanket attached to a picture frame, etc, etc. You get the picture.

Without further hesitation, here are a few pictures from some classic "Ms. A" getting things from the fridge moments.

Heading to the refrigerator

Opening fridge. Perfect size.

Realizing her green sippy cup is not in the fridge where it is supposed to be.

Fetch, retrieve.

Mission accomplished.

And, although you'd never guess it from these pictures, we did have a great time in California. The weather was beautiful, warm and we're excited to be relocating to sunny CA. But, from the faces of Ms. A ... our mini trip to CA was anything but a vacation.


Move it, Move it

We like to move it, move it. We like to MOVE IT!

With this being our 4 location in just over 5 years, people ask how we stay sane. Actually, I've had many of my friends laugh at the fact that I have moved so many times because I tend to overreact, get stressed and like to have things planned exactly. With a move, you can't exactly plan things to go the way you would like them to go. Many obstacles occur and changes happen all the time. Needless to say, I do not do well when I have many things on my plate. Thus is the same with moving.

Many people have asked how this process works. The biggest thing I can tell you, is that a relocation company tries to make the move as stress free as possible. Is that possible, I don't think so, but they sure like to try.

People have also been asking if I've been packing and organizing and getting started on my boxes. The answer, "No." That is the one benefit of moving through our company. They pack all of her belongings and will unpack them for you if you wish. I always opt for both. I can leave all of my belongings and items just as is in my house and they pack everything for me. The only exceptions - pictures, clocks, etc - must be taken down from the wall. The movers will not take anything down. Pretty easy, huh? I'd say so.

However, it is actually one of the most awkward things I have ever done. To sit and watch someone work, and for me to literally twirl my hair. I am not allowed to pack up items because items packed by owner are not insured. I always feel so helpless when I direct them how to pack and tell them how to move items.

Also throughout all of our moves, I have learned more "movers and packers" lingo and facts that I ever thought I would need to know. Such as ... PBO = Packed by owner
and Dishpacks = boxes specifically designed for kitchen items and breakables. I won't bore you with the details, but it's more than I need to know as well.

This week has been full of inspections, which have gone well thus far. Our stucco inspection came back great and the inspection on the house we are selling went well, too. Now, time for the inspection on the house we are purchasing. I think I'm more excited to take extra measurements and try and layout our furniture, etc. What a fun week!


Sneak Peak

Yes, I'm excited. Actually, we are excited. Excited about our new house. We finish all of the inspections this week and we're crossing our fingers that everything goes well so we can actually go on to home ownership of this house. But, for those of you that haven't seen pictures yet, here are two sneak peaks.

Our lovely front door and entrance. I love how it's tucked back a bit and has landscaping around. Love it. The photo shows our realtor and her daughter.

And, this might be one of my favorites. The kitchen. Cherry cabinetry and stainless. This was definitely on one of my wish lists, but I did not think we'd actually find a house where I would be able to cross this one off my list. And, I even managed to sneak in a little hardwood for the floors as well. Definitely more floors to mop and clean, but the look will be amazing.

I think the best part of this house, is the amount of time it took us to find it. We looked for a solid weekend, house after house. We probably saw close to 50 houses that fit our criteria and decided we liked enough houses to start making offers. And, making an offer sooner would mean that the Chef Family would be back together as a family much faster than our last move, which took about 5 months. Family time is too precious and we are ready to move in!


B - U - S - Y

You may not hear from the Chef Family as frequently for the next few weeks. We sold our house in Vancouver, WA and have purchased one in California. Yes, incredibly fast, we know. But we're excited. We found a house we loved and can't wait to move in. With that being said, the Chef Family will be going back and forth between states, prepping for the movers and getting reorganized in our new house. It's crazy!


What's Cookin' @ the Chef House

Lots of cookin' going on at the Chef house. Our house is up for sale. We have had tons of interest thus far (now we're just waiting for the offers to start pouring in). The weather is getting colder. And, fall is very well underway in Washington. In fact, I had to turn on the heat in our house this week. Just another reason to be excited for California. May I add that it has been in the 80's this week. Ahhhh. :)

Ms. A has been "helping" in the kitchen quick often these days, especially since we took off our cabinet locks for people looking at our house. "A" has been mixing up fake concoctions, feeding her baby dolls, and helping me cook things as well.

I mentioned feeding baby dolls, right? Well, Ms. A loves to feed her babies. She lined them all up (with my help of course) and fed them one by one. These were very hungry babies. Good thing we have 4 baby bottles to help them along.

This fall season has also brought out a few new favorites for A. She has a new pair of suede boots and a jean jacket (thank you grandmas) and she is accessorizing her outfits with these two beauties. She does love wearing her boots around and I've found several cute outfits to go with these.

I can also thank my Nashville friends and their love for cowgirl boots! While vacationing this summer, I had a taste of cowgirl boots and how many people wear them in Nashville. Ms. A would fit right in. The Iron Chef and I think she looks hilarious when you look at her from behind while she's walking in her boots. She's really funny. Probably because the boots are so high and she usually walks loudly while she wears them.

And, speaking of what's cookin' ... let's be honest. We are cookin' up a great deal on our house and I'm personally trying to do everything possible to sell our house as well. Who wouldn't want to buy our house when you walk into this?

Freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, warm, and straight out of the oven. The scent of baked goods lingering throughout the house creating aromas that even I couldn't resist. Plus, the classic music lightly playing in the background, the rooms nicely lit and the house freshly clean. Irresistible. Let's hope my "tactics" works and my cookin' pleases all.

If the amount of cookies eaten by realtors & prospective buyers is a signal to us selling our house, I think we'll be doing okay!


Costume Decisions

Last year for Halloween the Chef Family was mid-move. We were in transition between houses and living between Kennewick, WA and Vancouver, WA. Alas, we will be the same this year.

Fall, Halloween, Autumn, whatever you may call it are always so much fun. Visiting pumpkin patches, drinking hot cider and the fall colors are absolutely wonderful. Together as a family, the Chef family, always has so much fun celebrating this time of year. And, how could we forget about our favorite family sport - FOOTBALL! Yes, we definitely have a great time.

Ms. A had MANY costumes last year in case you didn't have a chance to see through my snapfish emails. She had fun dressing up, but was very scared of Halloween night. We walked around Fisher's Landing area (where our temporary housing was located) for Halloween evening and she had the biggest bug-eyed looked you've ever seen. And, she cried. Needless to say, it was a short walk outside.

Last year Ms A. was everything from a tiger to a ballerina to a pumpkin to a kitty cat. This year we'll probably tone it down a bit (thanks to the grandmas not being with us this time of year) and only go with one costume. What a thought - one costume for Halloween? This child doesn't even know what the word "one" is all about! And on that note, can you guess what she'll be for Halloween this year?

A few clues - black & white.