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  1. Friday, March 21

    Friday Show and Tell

    My cousin is visiting with her family and we celebrated their daughter Emma’s birthday on our back porch last night. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for that porch. We’ve only been in our home for 9 months and already have so many wonderful memories on that patio. I’m feeling very grateful this morning.

    family birthday party on the patio from @janemaynard

    Here are this weeks “Babbles”:

    And a few fun things on Cosmo:

    Show and tell is for the whole class, so share whatever you like! Happy Friday!


  2. Monday, December 9

    Why I Am Head-Over-Heels In Love with My Carpet Cleaning Machines {Giveaway!}

    This giveaway is now closed, but keep reading to learn about some really great carpet cleaning tools and to find out the winner!

    holiday gifts & giveaways on thisweekfordinner.com

    Happy Monday! Time for more Gifts & Giveaways!

    Let’s talk carpet Remember my non-camo carpets? This is the them if you would like a refresher:

    white carpet | thisweekfordinner.com

    This lovely almost white carpet is in our ENTIRE HOUSE. The bathrooms are tile as well as the kitchen part of the kitchen (you know, where you cook), but the rest of the house is blanketed in snow, including the dining area where our everyday kitchen table resides.

    If I had no kids and lived alone, I think I might actually love this carpet. But, alas, this is not the case. I was pretty terrified of this carpet when we bought the house and told Nate that the very first thing we had to do before moving in was put hardwood floors in the dining area. But, then, uh, yeah. We spent all of our money on the house, so here we are. White carpet in the dining room! Woo-hoo!

    BISSELL DeepClean Premiere Carpet Cleaner Review & Giveaway | thisweekfordinner.com

    When we moved into our house, I had a BISSELL SpotBot that I received at one of my SocialLuxe Lounge parties. When I first received the SpotBot, we lived in a house with tile, so I never used it. But I can’t tell you how glad I am that I hung onto it anyway. When we moved into this house, I was really happy I had that little machine, but little did I know just how handy it would become. I use it all the time. For example, one of my kids splattered chocolate all over the floor under the kitchen table. I grabbed the SpotBot and it was NO BIG DEAL. I’m telling you, it’s a dream.

    But as much as I love my SpotBot for quick clean-ups, we have large areas of carpet that need to be cleaned fairly regularly, especially the hallway and dining room. I got in touch with BISSELL to see if they had a machine they would recommend and they kindly sent me the DeepClean Premier upright carpet cleaner.

    I don’t think I can express how delighted I was when my new carpet cleaner arrived. And it has worked GREAT. I personally love owning  my own carpet cleaner rather than needing to call and schedule cleaning with a professional carpet cleaning service. Like I mentioned, some areas of the carpet need cleaning very regularly, but other parts of the carpet do not. I love that I can do the hallway and dining room several times a year as needed. The flexibility is great and I don’t have to constantly pay for carpet cleanings.

    And that is why I am head-over-heels in love with my carpet cleaning machines.

    If you’re looking for a big ticket gift item for a clean freak, someone with white carpet and kids, someone with pets and carpet, or someone who just really likes clean carpet, I can recommend both the DeepClean Premier and the SpotBot, depending on your needs. I love them both!

    UPDATE 3/16/16: I LOVE my upright Bissell carpet cleaner and use it regularly. It does a great job cleaning the floors and I seriously love having it, especially with my light carpets. I’ve been seeing these at Costco lately. In fact, our piano teacher bought one and is equally as in love as I am. I highly recommend it! Side note: I ended up getting rid of the small spot bot because I found it to be a bit redundant. I also did a poor job cleaning out the hose the first time I used it and it got SUPER gross, so make sure you rinse the hoses with clean water after every use! If you don’t want a huge carpet cleaner, though, that Spot Bot is super handy and works great.

    Giveaway time! One of you lucky people will win a BISSELL DeepClean Premier upright carpet cleaner (retail value $199.99)!

    BISSELL DeepClean Premiere Upright Carpet Cleaner Review & Giveaway | thisweekfordinner.com

    Here is how to enter the giveaway (comments must be posted by Midnight PT on Sunday, 12/15/13. Prize must be shipped to a U.S. address):

    In addition to my giveaway, starting today BISSELL is doing 12 Days of Messes on their Facebook page, where they are highlighting 12 “classic” holiday messes, solutions for cleaning those messes, and, of course, more giveaways! Just visit their Facebook page to find out more.

    Good luck! Happy Cleaning!

    The winner of this giveaway was comment #254 Vic Herreria, who said, “My dog Diego would love this!” More power to Vic if he can get Diego to learn how to use the machine! 😉 Congrats, Vic!

     BISSELL provided me with product to review for this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.


  3. Friday, July 12

    House Stuff: Meet My Camo Counters and My Non-Camo Carpets

    We bought our house from an elderly woman who lived here for years and years. We are really lucky because she loved her home and spared no expense when making updates. There are a few things we could do if we really cared, but, honestly, the house is completely move-in ready and comfortable the way it is.

    The first thing we did, though, was take out the acoustic (a.k.a. popcorn) ceilings. Our new house is actually 45 years old, so, you know, it’s got some 45-year-old features. We had the ceilings done before we moved in since it’s pretty messy. For the most part it was an easy process and not too expensive, although we have to keep calling the ceiling guy back to fix bubbling spots he missed. I pray I never have to do any real construction because, holy smokes, there is always something with those guys! We hardly did any work and still…I can’t even imagine doing a big project!

    Anyway, back to the woman who owned our house. She remodeled the kitchen about 10 years ago and, while I may have picked different colors, she did a really nice job and everything is very neutral and high quality. The kitchen is great and I have been reeeeeeallllly happy using it! We have some appliance updating to do (more on that in future blog posts!), but other than that, I am loving the kitchen.

    I do need to take a moment, however, to introduce you to my granite countertops.

    camouflage granite countertops | thisweekfordinner.com

    My new counters have a very special talent: camouflage. I’m not exaggerating when I say you absolutely cannot see ANYTHING on the counter surface. No matter what color the debris or crumbs, light or dark, it all just blends in. Even when you look closely. It’s almost magical.

    The jury is still out on whether or not camo counters are a good thing. On the plus-side, they always look clean no matter what is going on. Big bonus! On the minus-side, they always look clean no matter what is going on. I mean, I could live in absolute squalor and never know it. (Well, unless I touched them!) Does anyone else have camo counters? Should I be grateful for them or curse their existence? I can’t decide!

    Regardless of the camouflage abilities, I am just so happy the counters are not tile. Tile counters NEVER look clean and the last 6 months with tile was just one constant battle with crumbs. I will never voluntarily get tile counters. EVER.

    My mother-in-law is getting Wilsonart HD counters installed at her home very soon. I’ll definitely report back on how those turn out and how we all like them! They are definitely more affordable than something like granite, and they have a lot of great features.

    white carpet | thisweekfordinner.com

    Now I need to introduce you to my carpets. While my counters may camouflage everything on their surface, our carpets most decidedly do not have this ability. The previous owner obviously spent a lot of money on the carpet because it’s really high quality. But it is also white. SO EXCITED. White carpets are going to be AWESOME with three kids! Especially in the area where the kitchen table goes. WOOHOO! {Insert sarcastic emoticon.}

    Eventually we want to put some hardwood floors in the living room, dining area and hallway. If anyone has advice or products they liked for putting in hard floors, please share!

    Last year for SocialLuxe Lounge, Bissell was one of our platinum sponsors, sharing the Spot Bot deep cleaner with the bloggers at the party. I received a Spot Bot for free, which I was super excited about. But then we didn’t really live in places where I could use it. Until now! Hello, white carpets! Meet the Spot Bot!

    For real, I love this thing. It’s super easy to use and it does a great job getting the spots and stains out of the carpet. Once I got started, I became a stain-fighting fanatic. I had to stop myself from doing the whole house so I could get other tasks done!

    I need to go get cooking in my new kitchen! We are doing a small housewarming-and-happy-birthday-Nate party tonight – our first party in the new house! Wish me luck!


  4. Sunday, June 23

    Week 335 Menu

    Hey everybody! Okay, so my menu this week is gonna kinda be lame. The house is a disaster, with boxes and piles everywhere you turn. And we are doing the actually moving on Saturday, so we’ll definitely be eating out for a few days!

    removing kitchen cabinets | thisweekfordinner.com

    cabinets before

    We spent a little time at the new house this weekend and took out some overhead cabinets in the kitchen that divided the dining and kitchen areas. I can’t believe the difference taking those cabinets out made! The room feels bigger, the countertop feels bigger, there’s more light…it’s just BETTER. We lost some shelving but it was worth it. Along the wall to the right of the window above the sink, we’ll either put a cabinet on the wall, hang pots and pans from the ceiling or do a spice rack of some kind. Suggestions welcome!

    Here’s my semi lame-o menu.

    MONDAY:
    Grammy’s Orange Chicken

    TUESDAY:
    Waffles

    WEDNESDAY:
    Turkey Boursin Baguettes

    THURSDAY – SUNDAY:
    – Eat out, sandwiches, cereal, whatever!

    I am not providing a lot of inspiration this week, so please post your menus to inspire one another! Can’t wait to see your plans!


  5. Friday, June 21

    A New Home

    Well, it is finally official and I can tell you what has been occupying half my time for the last month. We bought a house! After years of hard work and saving, we finally bit the bullet and took the plunge. (Can I come up with any more cliched phrases to use in a row? Probably…)

    So, here it is! Isn’t she cute?

    new house web

    We even have a peek of the ocean from the front yard. CRAZY.

    And here’s my new kitchen!

    new kitchen 2 web

    This weekend I will spend time scrubbing down the kitchen and bathrooms, and Nate will be removing the cabinets you see there above the peninsula. There is a bonus room built off the kitchen, which makes it a little dark. Removing that cabinet is going to really open things up and add a bit of light. I’m also looking into some lighting options (perhaps something like Solatube) to add some natural light to the space without needing to make any significant changes (or spend a lot of money!).

    new kitchen 1 web

    I also can’t wait to get my brand new Bosch dishwasher installed in this kitchen. This dishwasher is quiet, beautiful and smarter than me and it can’t wait to get settled into its new home. Neither can I!

    So, now begins the task of moving…again…within 6 months. But we can do it, and I promise not to disappear. Menu planning and eating will still be happening!