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Saturday, July 31, 2010

In Our Spare Time...We'll pick berries

Mr. Radar doesn't have a lot of spare time. So when he does, I always want to do something super special. Special to us does not usually involve exciting, trendy, or crazy activities. When Mr. Radar is home, we spend nearly all of our time together. We devote a lot of our free time to relatively mundane activities, like reading together, walking together, and watching our favorite TV shows on DVD (Gilmore Girls, Mad Men, Pushing Daisies). Another favorite past time is discussing the relative cuteness of our dog, Buddy. He is really cute...but don't get me started!

We decided to take the day off from packing, cleaning, painting, and other house related activities. Mr. Radar, in a rare twist, will be home for almost an entire month straight! A miracle to me, so I wanted to commemorate with a day trip. We decided to go blueberry picking at BerryHill Farm in Xenia. We rounded up Mama Bee (after we had breakfast, of course), and headed to the country. It was a pleasant drive on a cool(ish), cloudy day.

We came home with nearly 10 pounds of blueberries!!! and three pints of raspberries. We enjoyed the farm so much, we will be going back next week for more raspberries. I'll be making a Lavender scented blueberry jam tomorrow, with Mama Bee and Grandma Bee. Thank you Caroline, for the recipe & inspiration.

I'm also committed to making a homemade meal every single day this week. I'm hoping this makes up for all of the bad restaurant food we ate while moving. Tomorrow, expect a very jammy Sunday Supper. As well as a delicious chicken salad recipe, grilled pizza, boozy basil peaches from theRunawaySpoon, quinoa experiments, and the much prolonged pickle recipe.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Moving Progress

Well, we have managed to move nearly all of our belongings from the bungalow to the Big House. The Big House is very spacious and cool. The brick really keeps the heat out- we haven't used the air conditioning much. That's saying a lot, since it was over 100 degrees Friday and Saturday while we were moving.

Today, I'll be cleaning the bungalow and packing up the very last items. It's so bittersweet. I've loved my bungalow so very much. Mr. Radar likes the big house. He has an office and a man cave. He has been very cheerful. I'm sad to lose my kitchen. It truly is the most beautiful kitchen. Big house does have a big kitchen, but it's hardly functional at all. It has a terrible lay out and a few unusable drawers. It does have a gas oven and cooktop, which is a plus for me. To ease my pain, Mr. Radar got me a new Shark steam cleaning floor mop. It is so cool. It does my OCD heart good.

We did get a new washer and dryer from the bargain center at HHGreg. They have a whole section of appliances that are floor models, or returned, or slightly dinged. We got slightly dinged Frigidaire Affinity front loading washer and dryer. They are very nice and they were quite a steal. Just as nice as our LG Washer and Dryer at the Bungalow.

Mama Bee (Mr. Radar's mom) and I also managed to paint the master bedroom. Our renter, (who shall be known as the Librarian) helped out too. We still have so many rooms to go, so I'm hoping to shore up some more help. One of our friends suggested throwing a Pizza & Paint house warming party. Invite all our friends, tell them to bring paint brushes & rollers, feed them and give them alcohol. Oh, and of course, ask them to paint. It could work, right? What do you think?

Images from here and here

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Proposed Color Schema

Yesterday I spent a fair amount of time picking out colors for the Big House. I visited two Home Depots, my neighborhood Sherwin Williams, and the Benjamin Moore/California Paints.

I find picking out colors extremely challenging. Any little help I can get makes me excited. I ended up going with Martha Stewart Living paints because they are a) mix and match and b) cheaper than my usual choice at Sherwin Williams. Martha's paints look so elegant, understated and have really cute names! Each paint chip has a helpful list of coordinating colors. Mr. Radar took Martha's advice to heart, I think. When I suggested a color that wasn't on Martha's list, he became mutinous. He said "Martha knows, Hilary." Indeed she does, Mr. R.

First Floor
Downstairs was a bit of a challenge. The house has a moody feel thanks to the Oak staircase and twin Mahogany mantles. The original fired Victorian tile are in place in both mantles.
The living room has beautiful cream tile. I chose a butter colored paint. It's very subtle, nearly neutral with a bit of cheerfulness.


The entry has a very large, grand mantle with peridot green tile. I wanted a green that would coordinate, but not match or compete.


The dining room is currently painted Scorsese red. I really, really hate all over red paint. I wanted a bolder color, but something that looked cheerful and nature inspired.

Pear Cider

Second Floor

Master Bedroom has two colors. A beautiful pinky beige and a peony pink. The peony pink is actually an accent for the inside of the closet and the inside of the bookshelf.

Gypsy Moth


Mr. Radar's Office will be blue. Because that's what he has requested over and over and over.

Morning Fog

The Guest Bedroom is a nice neutral greige.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bye Bye Blue Bungalow

Several posts ago I told you about our difficult situation regarding our bungalow. We rented the bungalow in anticipation of moving to London. Our change of station was cancelled at the last moment and we had no idea what to do. Should we leave our renter homeless? Should we try to find another property to rent for ourselves? What to do?!!

It's been a stressful situation all around. At first, Mr. Radar and I tried to find a new property for our renter. There wasn't anything comparable and we felt guilty all around. When an opportunity to rent-to-own another property came along, we decided to take it. It wasn't an easy decision. In fact, I've cried nearly every day for the last three weeks. (I'm doing better now, for the most part). I love my bungalow, and it has been a lovely home. We hope our renter loves it as much as we do. We may even keep the bungalow in the long term as a rental property. We haven't decided that yet.

There are a lot of pluses to the new property. It's only two blocks away from the bungalow. It's a two story brick Federal style house. It's very large- nearly 2,500 square feet not including the full (but unfinished) basement. It has a garage as well. The house has tons of potential but needs a lot of work. It needs bathroom & kitchen upgrades, as well as new paint and flooring.
For right now, all we can do is paint.

Cue Martha:

Today, I'm heading over to the Big Orange to get some of Martha's swatches and look at some ceiling fans.

Image from here

Friday, July 16, 2010

Some good wine and a calf

The post you've been waiting for and it's dripping with vino! I'm so sorry it is a week delayed- but Mr. Radar and I are moving to a new residence on Saturday! Way to drop a bomb, right? Anyway, let's forget I said that and think only of the wineries. Mr. Radar and I went to many wineries- and I'm only going to review our favorites! To my alcohol free-readers, there is also great food, juice, and ice cream in this post.

I found it impossible to take pictures of glasses of wine- they all look the same! So, I'll entertain you with my prose and pictures of a really cute jersey calf. Who doesn't love a jersey calf?

Americana Winery and the Crystal Cafe
The wine is very good- but the homemade fudge and delicious food at the cafe is better! Mr. Radar devoured Asian inspired pork tacos with crispy wantons and kimchi. He looked like he died and went to heaven. I had a seared tuna nicoise sandwich on a soft ciabatta roll. This sandwich was a) huge b) packed with some of the most delicious condiments ( olive tapenade and a homemade caper mayo) and fresh veggies c) came with the most delicious sweet potato fries I've ever consumed.

Hosmer Winery
A small, farmy winery. Yes, those are the best adjectives I can conjure. BUT the wine is exceptional- especially the Cayuga white. Cayuga white is a signature wine of the region, and it is a native grape to central New York. I always try a winery's Cayuga, because it gives me an idea of how the winery compares to others in the region. Hosmer has truly the best Cayuga I have had- not too sweet, but still juicy and grapey. For the girly girls, they have a raspberry tinted Cayuga that is also wonderful.
I said it was farmy, right? The evidence.

Lucas Vineyards
Lucas has a nautical theme, because the owner used to be a NYC tugboat captain. Neat, right? Their wines are good all around. Anything you choose will be a good choice for a casual dinner party or to drink after work. The wines are not super fancy or super sweet. Just plain good.

Zugibe Vineyards
This is my favorite, located on a farm off of Seneca lake. Less than 1/2 a mile from my grandparents' lake house. The wines are understated, lovely. This is not a flashy vineyard. The view of the lake is spectacular, and Zugibe has an outdoor stage for concerts every Saturday. Acts range from pop to jazz, and a very diverse crowd. Zugibe serves well crafted whites and reds. They have an excellent reputation in the region; if you ask another vintner for a recommendation, they will assuredly send you to Zugibe.

Shalestone Vineyard
Definitively Mr. Radar's favorite. There is a disclaimer though: REDS ONLY! And dry ones! There are only six wines offered; all are excellent. Received rave reviews from the New York Times, Zagat Guide, and the New Yorker. Mr. Radar was gaga over this winery. Also, they have a really awesome selection of locally crafted art and furniture.

Don't forget the ice cream! Go to Cayuga Creamery! Unusual flavors like Sea Salt Caramel, Gianduia, and New York Maple.

Isn't he adorable? He hates it when I take pictures of him while he eats.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Finger Lakes

I'm back from my break. I went to visit my family in Upstate New York while Mr. Radar worked at one of the Air Force's test locations. The trip was bittersweet for me, as my grandparents are in frail health. It was nice to see them, and Mr. Radar and I got in some vacation time at many of the Finger Lakes' beautiful wineries.

Not familiar with the Finger Lakes? Well, let me tell you all about them! I love the Finger Lakes. My parents met in upstate New York- both were teachers- and my mom grew up in nearby Geneva. I had childhood visits to my grandparent's lake house on Seneca Lake. It always felt like a second home. Now that my parents no longer live in Michigan, I visit family in New York more often.

Some people say there are 7 finger lakes- other say 11. Like a lot of other lakes in North America, the Finger Lakes were created by glaciers. The water is pure, and the views are stunning. I think the weather is lovely, with four distinct seasons. The three lakes I am most familiar with are Seneca, Cayuga, and Skinneatles (pronounced Skinny-Atlas). Seneca and Cayuga are the largest- and they are two of the deepest lakes in America. If you are really interested, a trip over to Wikipedia will give you everything you'd ever want to know. Like this lovely map:

Anyway, in my next post, I will give details and reviews of our trip. Mr. Radar and I went to at least 9 wineries, and sampled the offerings. We tried lots of Rieslings, lots of reds, and even a few more unique offerings. Like a wine called Chocolate Lab, and yes, it was flavored chocolate. Visit the Finger Lakes' board of tourism if I have even convinced you a little bit that the Finger Lakes are interesting.

The Finger Lakes reminds me a lot of Michigan. Lots of trees, lots of lakes. Lots of farmers markets! We visited Ithaca's Farmers Market at the request of our friend, Tim. Thanks, Tim! It truly is an excellent farmers market, with lots of unique offerings. We also visited quite a few farms, including Cowlick Farm & Creamery. We purchased some lovely cheese which I will use later in the week. I also picked some delicious wild black raspberries, as well as some golden plums. More on those later.

Stay tuned for my later reviews of the wine, food, and fun in the Finger Lakes.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!!

Happy Independence Day everyone! I'll be taking a blogging break to enjoy the week with Mr. Radar and our dog, Buddy!
I hope everyone is having a happy holiday and spending time with loved ones. I'm having a lovely time- it even includes watching the atrocious yet hilarious movie, "Hot Tub Time Machine." I do love a John Cusack film.

Elissa over at 17 and Baking has mastered an amazing flag cake! The recipe is right over here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Blue Bungalow: Part I

Since the Big News came down the pipeline, Mr. Radar and I have had to make some hard decisions in very short time frame.

One decision was what to do about our blue bungalow.

We rented out our house in preparation to leave for London. Now that we are not going, we had to decide whether to leave our renter high and dry, or find another place for ourselves. We love our cottage; everything about it is perfect. I have the biggest kitchen, with new appliances and loads of counter space. I'm madly in love with it. I also have brand new front loading washer and dryer. I love them. BUT, Mr. Radar doesn't have space for his office and crazy science equipment. With him working more from home, we considered renting a larger property and our renter can move into the blue bungalow as expected. We know, though, that most other properties do not have the niceties of our cottage (the big kitchen, new appliances, etc.). But still, the need for more space is a priority.

We weren't sure about the idea of renting our own house and moving into another. I have separation anxiety regarding my precious cottage. I love it. I've landscaped the yard, loved the house, painted the walls. I felt scared, petrified even, about potentially leaving our little house. We had to make a decision, for better or for worse. We're announcing our plans soon- but since this is happening in real time- we are waiting until everything is signed, sealed, and delivered.