Thursday, October 18, 2012

Home Sweet Home

It has been about a month and a half since we have been back in Spring Hill and in so many ways it feels like we never left!! The hardest thing so far?  Getting Charlotte to stop saying "my old... such and such" and just call it her library or park or grocery store.  haha The only "old" thing she has in SH is her old house she spent her first 2.5 years in. We talk about that house and drive by it often :)

One thing I was worried about is that life for many friends in SH would have moved on and we would feel left behind - I'm very thankful that that isn't the case!  Yes, kids are grown up a little more and life has changed, but thanks to social media and the fact that we visited SH and The Bridge so often while in AL, it really helped to bridge that 11 month gap.

Something I was really looking forward to getting back into when we moved home, was doing 'life' with friends and family on a daily and weekly basis.  Boy have we!  When we moved to Huntsville, I was done unpacking and decorating in about 3 weeks (I had no reason to leave the house!) Now with this house, I'm not even finished and we have been here over 6 weeks!  Charlotte and I have had play dates, park visits, library story time, gymnastics, bible study, House Group, visits with Nan and G - and we have LOVED every minute of it!!  We also love having Jeff working from home again :) On his slower days, we have enjoyed lunches out, trips to the park, shopping, and just hanging out as a family.  It's great to be home.

Even though the house is not 100% done (and probably won't be for months or years with all the things we want to change!) I am finally at a point where I'm happy to share pictures with the world wide web.  I know many of my friends across the country, and across the world, have been wanting to see our new digs!  I'll post some here, but most will be over on Facebook, so visit the album there too :)

Some details on the house: it's a 5 year old, 2 story house with a  french country style exterior. We have 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, a bonus room, and loft. Charlotte is very excited to have her own playset outback too!  We have enjoyed our neighborhood so far -all the homes are unique, it's a great location (just about a mile from our old SH place) and a lot of  young families live here.  All the room colors remained the same except for Jeff's office. I may want to change some at some point, but for the most part, I'm glad we only had to do some touch ups - even that took a full weekend.

We are currently in a bit of a unexpected battle over the remainder of the neighborhood with the developer - there are only 30 homes built and another 70+ lots left to go - and he wants to build rental town homes/aka apartments!  That's a whole long story but there ya go!  Totally not excited about this coming about a month into our home ownership, but it's been a great way to meet the neighbors :)

Anyway, on to what you want: pictures!! I'll walk you though the house

First up - the front of the house

Walk through the front door into the Living Room, I love the 2 story ceiling with loft! We still need window treatments, want to change out the furniture, and will eventually hang a tv down there, but I'm happy with it now! You can see the dining room behind... the empty dining room! Need furniture for that one too :)  (everything looks very yellow in the picture, it's a tan paint)

The next room is the kitchen. I like that it is open enough to the living and dining room but my dirty dishes aren't "in your face" when you walk in the door!  We love bay window and our new kitchen table and chairs and the new fridge! And yes, still need window treatments (you'll see a theme soon...) Pardon the crock pot and paper products, our House Group was at our house the night I took the pictures.  (and yes, this room is a yellow/golden color)

Down the hall from the kitchen is the half bath and garage.


Then further down the hall is our Master bedroom.  This room needs a total re-do!! I love the new bedding that we got (it's chocolate in color, has a "ruched" effect) and the tray ceiling with rope lighting.  We need furniture, window treatments, artwork, and maybe new paint.  Total project room.  I do like the master bath, it is a chocolate paint color with subtle glossy stripes.  I have drapes to hang and need to add a few more decorative touches.


Heading upstairs!! Love the view from the top.  It also is great for sound - I was a little worried about the 2 story thing, I really loved how connected we all felt with our 1 story in AL, but it is so open I still feel connected whenever we are upstairs or down.  And speaking of sound - one of Jeff's favorite features?  In home audio! I love having speakers throughout the house so we can enjoy it room to room.


At the top of the stairs, on the other side of the half wall, is Charlotte's playroom. Another reason I love this floorplan - all the toys are upstairs and out of the way but I can hear her and talk to her when I'm in the kitchen and such.


First room down the hall is Jeff's office.  He chose a great blue/grey color for the walls.  It's very cozy :)  All he needs is some window treatments - and maybe a new high tech desk.


Next up is Charlotte's room!  It was already painted the lime green color, and it perfectly matched the bedding that we got for her 3rd birthday/big girl room.  How adorable!


We have a full bath upstairs, need to find another piece of artwork but otherwise I'm happy with it.


Across from the bath is our guest room.  I'm so glad to have an official guest room!  We have had a sofa bed in the loft, and a twin bed in the playroom in the last 2 houses.  I have drapes and side table/shelf thing to put in still, but for now all my pictures for the hallway are laid out on the bed until I hang them up! :)  The guest room will be better put together than our master!


Finally, our favorite room!  Our rec room/theatre/TV room/bonus room. Jeff wants to get a projector, we still have window treatments to get, and some new chairs. Oh, and our door! The entrance is a doorway that has a step down in the hallway, so it's an odd 8ft or so high.  Our solution is hopefully going to be a sliding "barn door" type thing. I'll def post pics once it's done!  But, I LOVE our couch and the bookcases we put behind it!!


That's it for the inside , the final pics are of the back (unless you visit my FB album!) - We inherited the swing set from the previous owner, Charlotte calls it her playground :)  I enjoy the fenced in backyard - I can send her out to swing and slide while I am cooking dinner with the windows open.  I know it seems silly, but I love our back patio - it is raised like a deck, but is poured aggregate with a vinyl railing so it is totally maintenance free (which is totally what we need!!)


So there it is! Love our new house, being back in Spring Hill - can't say it enough :)  :)  :)


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

We're Moving Back to Spring Hill!!

Hello blogging world - if you are still around!  I know it has been forever - I seem to be very hit or miss with House of Lyons!  I had to get back on today to share some fabulous news - We are moving back to Spring Hill, TN!

As you probably know, my little family moved to Huntsville AL from Spring Hill in Oct 2011.  Jeff had a great job offer and we couldn't turn it down.  We have enjoyed our time in Huntsville - it hasn't felt like almost a year at all.  Jeff enjoyed working for Baron, Charlotte and I joined a local MOPS group and got to know some fun places in Huntsville, and we enjoyed living in the home we are renting. But after about 6-8 months, we realized how much Spring Hill really had become our home, how much we missed it, and that we really wanted to find a way to get back.  Then an opportunity presented itself to Jeff and we just couldn't say no!!  Jeff will be resuming full time self employment with his company Light and Story and has some great contract work for a current client heading his way. Charlotte and I are very excited that Jeff will be working at home again!

If you are on twitter or facebook, you saw that we purchased a house yesterday!  We are moving to 1095 Achiever Cir - it is in Port Royal Estates.  We love the home inside and out and can't wait to move it.  Speaking of moving in - September 1st is our move in day! Just 10 days away!  It may seem like sudden news that we bought a house and are moving in just 10 days, but believe me, it has been quite the process!!  Because of the social media we all know and love, we just weren't ready to announce our plans until we were able to make proper notifications our landlord and Jeff's Huntsville employer.  And we couldn't do that until we knew where we were gonna be living and when his new client would be great to start working together.  Can you tell there were a lot of cogs in this little plan!?  Regardless, they are all settled now and ready to go!

We are ready to get back involved with The Bridge Church and it's small groups and bible studies, C and I will be joining a local MOPS group, we'll spend more time with our Spring Hill family, be closer to our KY family and friends, Charlotte is also hoping to start gymnastics soon, and of course we can't wait to reconnect with our friends in TN!  I know things have changed for us and everyone else over the past 11 months, but in so many ways I am ready to step back in to our life in Spring Hill.

I think that is probably about it for now - follow me on twitter or FB for updates.  Now that I can finally start talking about the move, you better bet I will be updating a lot!!  And I'll post pics of the new house with all our stuff in it once it gets pretty looking :)  For now, I'll post a couple photos from when it was listed for sell (with the sellers items in it) and you can check out this video as well.  Talk to you soon!

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Monday, April 30, 2012

A Pinterest Post for Mom

I know I am totally behind on blogging about our family and Charlotte, I'll have to be a little more behind cause this post is for my mom!  She was very proud of her latest project and wanted to put it on Pinterest but didn't know how. I offered to put up a quick blog and pictures for her and "pin" it for her :) So here goes!

My parents are doing a bit of a Master Bedroom redecoration (largely IKEA based!) and my Mom came up with this great idea for some shelving.  My Mom has an old sewing machine that she displayed family photos on for as long as I could remember, but it didn't really match up with her new contemporary IKEA chairs.  So, it was time to find a new way to display the photos.

There is an unused little corner between two big windows that could house some shelves, but mom wanted to do something a little different than just one shelf  a few inches above the next shelf, etc.  This is her solution! (apologies, I don't have any "before" or "in process" photos)

She purchased different shelves of varying styles and depths, that would all be about the same width to fit in the space. She hung them alternating between the walls.  By doing this, it took up a lot more visual space, gave more space to house the photos, and was very visually appealing.

Overall, I think she had a great idea and executed it very well!  It is a wonderful centerpiece to this reading nook in my parents master bedroom.  We just wanted to share the photos, and maybe inspire you to hang your shelves in a little different way! Enjoy :)









Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trip #2

Less than a week after our Trip #1, C and I hit the road AGAIN!  This one took a lot of planning, especially in packing.  We/I traveled 4 states in 4 days!  All so I could see my sister Hannah and attend her concert at University of Cincinnati: College Conservatory of Music - and it was totally worth it!! :)

Wednesday night C and I had a quick dinner with Jeff and hit the road.  We got to my parents house  just in time to put Charlotte down for bedtime.  The next morning, we loaded up and got on I65 to Bowling Green KY.  We weren't gonna subject Charlotte to our Cincinnati whirlwind trip, and she was more than thrilled to stay with her Granna and Grandad for the night.  They went shopping, ate and played at Chick Fil A, had a sleepover with cousin Reese and caused all kinds of trouble, I'm sure!  She is still talking about her little trip. :)

Mom, Dad, and I kept driving north until we got to Cincinnati OH!  Thankfully, we were able to stay ahead of all the storms and tornados. It was a hard knowing that Jeff was in AL, Charlotte was in KY, we had family in both KY and TN, and we were in OH to visit Hannah.  All these states had tornados, hail, and rain traveling through. We all came out of it untouched other than a power outage.

Hannah had no clue that I was coming up with Mom and Dad, so it was great being able to knock on her door and see her face as she opened it!  I loved seeing where she is spending her 2 years of graduate school. Her apartment is super cute and the CU campus is beautiful!

Before her concert, we had time to go to dinner - PF Changs!!  One of my favorite places - spring rolls and chicken fried rice - double yum.  I missed Jeff and Charlotte, but it was great catching up as the Shoopman family of 4.

Our evening was capped off by a lovely Orchestra concert by CCM.  Hannah played principal oboe in the firs

t half of the concert - it's great being able to go to a concert and hear her great solos!!  Now, classical music isn't really my thing, but if Hannah is playing, I know it's gonna be a good one :)

The next day, we all had breakfast at our hotel and found something wonderful to do with the rest of our day - IKEA!! I've never been but always wanted to go.  Amazing place!!

I had looked online before and thought their stuff was well priced, but never knew how great the quality was as well.  It is just as good as most furniture stores we've looked at, but so much more affordable - not to mention, super cute. We were all in awe as we walked around - taking pictures of so much that we loved.

Mom is trying out a great recliner that does not look like a recliner! yay!

I started making plans on what to buy for our next house :)  I'm starting to pin things here to keep track of what I want. Like this:

Mom, Dad, and Hannah each found a chair to get - $69 bucks and totally comfortable.

I was amazed at the size of everything - here is the area you go to pick up the furniture that you want to buy:

Of course almost everything I got was for Charlotte - a great car rug for $14, finger puppets for $4, and an awesome paper roll for C's coloring for $11.

After our morning of shopping, we grabbed some mexican for lunch, and Greaters ice cream before we had to say our goodbyes.  It was so great seeing Hannah.  I'm excited that she is gonna be down for spring break in just a couple weeks!

We drove back to KY, picked up Charlotte, stopped in to visit Nana (who is still in the hospital), stopped at Zaxby's for dinner, and all collapsed into bed!  Sunday we had a little bit of a lazy morning and then headed back to AL.  Now we get a couple week break before hitting the pavement again :)  See you next time!

It was a beautiful day for a drive home Sunday morning!

Trip #1

I never seem to blog enough so then I have huge "round up" posts - guess you can settle in and catch up!!

The past 2 weeks, Charlotte and I have made 2 trips north!  We are looking forward to a couple weeks at home before Jeff travels to Brunei (on the island of Malasia) for a work trip for about 10 days.  When that happens, Charlotte and I are planning to take some long trips to KY and TN to keep company with friends and family :)  Anyway, back to our first trip.

Jeff had a long week at work, plus a lot of freelance video work to do the week of Feb 20th, so that Thursday - Saturday, Charlotte and I decided to visit Spring Hill.  It actually worked out perfectly, that Thursday morning, my grandmother fell in her home and had to be taken to the hospital.  My dad was in Seattle and my mom was stuck at work, so since I was actually heading up to visit her that morning, I took a detour to the hospital instead.  Since spending hours at the hospital wasn't great for a 3 year old, my dear friend Allison let me drop Charlotte off at her house to spend the day.  I was glad I was able to be with Nana in the ER., she was dehydrated, among other things, so she was pretty loopy and weak.  Though it was not the exact way I wanted to visit her, it was the best thing I could have done for her. After she was moved upstairs to her permanent room, I left so she could get some rest.

At that point, C had just laid down for her nap, so I went ahead to Encores Consignment sale to  stock up on clothes and toys for the upcoming season.  I do this twice a year, and was really glad I could schedule a TN trip during the sale. Before we left, Charlotte was very patient with me and let me try on all of her summer clothes that were 2T so I could make a list of things she'll need. :)

I aways take pictures of the clothes that still fit, so I can match the new stuff!

My mom got off work and picked C up at Allison's house so I had a little more free time to myself!!  After Encores, I went to get my haircut. I had it straightened with my new Wet to Dry straightener so wanted to get it dry cut so I'd know what it would look like straight.  During the haircut, I was told I have thin hair, seriously?? I always thought of my hair as think and wavy - it is as a whole, but apparently each hair is actually thin.  The hair dresser said I need to use a leave in conditioner to make it silkier and shinier. I always wanted that, but thought my dried out/somewhat frizzy hair was just how it is.  After she put on that conditioner, I was sold! My hair looked and felt so much better.  I never buy the products they suggest but I did this time.  How did I go 28 years and never know this!?  Yay for new hair! haha  Afterward, I headed back to my parents house to spend the night.  Mom and I were both worn out and watched Water for Elephants - it was a wonderful movie!

The next day, we meet Allison and her kiddos Hazen and Laney at Let It Shine Gymnastics.  On Fridays, they have open play for an hour, for $5 bucks the kids get to jump on trampolines, try out some of the gymnastics equipment and have a good time getting some energy out!!  Charlotte loved it all!  I am hoping the next trip to Spring Hill will be on a friday so we can go again!!

Falling in the foam blocks

Running down the super long trampoline

Rolling down the mats

Mom took Charlotte home afterwards and let me have even more "me" time!!  I wasn't as successful at the Encores sale as I had hoped, so I visited the consignment shop in town "Here We Grow Again" and found a few things there. My next stop was Goodwill - and I always find good stuff there!  Clothes for C, a shirt for jeff, and of course new toys.  I can't help but buy stuff for Charlotte. I never find anything for myself.  I guess that is part of being a mom!

We spent Saturday with my Dad and just had a little trip to the library (as Charlotte calls it, her "old" library) to play with the trains.

All in all, it was a busy but wonderful visit home!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentines Baking: Sweet and Bittersweet

Jeff and I have never been huge gotta-celebrate-Valentines-Day people (ironic since our first official date was on Valentines Day - you'd think we'd be ones to celebrate!) Oh, and today would have been Charlotte's birthday if she miraculously came on time, ha :)

This year, we had a MOPS (Mother's Of PreSchoolers group) Valentines party, and had to bring snacks inspired by the day of love ;) Since our meeting is 9-11am, I wanted to do something a little more breakfast friendly, so got a mix of Banana Bread Muffins.  I found this great idea on Pinterest (of course!) on how to make your muffins or cupcakes heart shaped and voila, Valentines Ready!  All you do is stick a marble beside the muffin paper in the tin, and when the muffins bake up, they turn into hearts!

They weren't perfect looking hearts, but they did the job.

(It isn't baking related, but at MOPS we decorated onsies for the local hospitals NICU!  Aren't they adorable!

We had a mix of iron-ons, stamps, and puff paint.  It was great fun and a good cause!)

We ended having so much food and so many leftovers, I had a ton of them to take home (the mix made 24)  And we won't eat that many muffins!  So I decided to send them to work with Jeff.  I was afraid they would dry out overnight, so I tried this Pinterest idea to put a slice of bread on top of your cake (I figured it would work with muffins) and the bread will dry out but your baked goods wouldn't.  It actually worked! So I sent Jeff off with the bowl of muffins this morning. :)

Our romantic plans tonight will include a spaghetti dinner with Charlotte, and then watching Breaking Dawn once she goes to bed. (you're jealous, I know)  But I did want to do something special for dessert.  We have a heart shaped cookie cutter that we use for Charlotte's play doh, so I cleaned it off and decided we could bake heart shaped sugar cookies.  I also wanted to make Jeff's favorite Peanut Butter Pie for our movie time.  So that was my plan this morning...

First up, Peanut Butter Pie.  Got the recipe out and realized I didn't have the cool whip needed.  Scratch that plan. I looked on Pinterest on my Yummy Board for something that I could cook using ingredients I already have, namely that  grahman cracker crust originally meant for the pie.  I found this great Chocolate Chip Cheesecake bar I figured I could put it into a pie shell instead of the 8x8 pan.  We got out all the ingredients, Charlotte helped my measure and dump stuff in.  I got through the first 5 ingredients and realized I had more than doubled the amount of brown sugar needed.  No way to salvage, so I dumped it out and started again.

This time I triple checked my measurements, but apparently was paying so much attention to that, I forgot to read the directions. I was supposed to stir it all together, THEN add the flour, THEN add the chocolate chips.  I had it all in the bowl together and tried to mix it.  Did not work well at all.

I gave up at this point. Charlotte even gave me a hug cause she knew I was frustrated.  I wasn't gonna attempted it AGAIN, I don't have enough butter to do this over and over!  I may attempt it again while Charlotte naps and I can fully concentrate. Blah.  Looks like we may only have sugar cookies for dinner... oh wait, those had their own FAIL!

I used Betty Crocker Cookie Mix for the sugar cookies (I swear by her dry mixes! They make great cookies and all you add is butter and egg!)  There is a version to make cut out cookies, so I added the needed flour to the mix with the butter and egg.  Turns out, I was supposed to put the flour in alone with the dry mix, combine those, then add the egg and butter.  I figured they would still work.  We laid out the dough and did our heart cut outs!

Sadly, they weren't solid or thick enough to pick up from the cutting board (yes, I dusted it with flour) and put on the pans. So, change of plans again, we rolled them up instead and baked them regular.

After they baked, we sprinkled sugar and pink sprinkles on them and called it done.  Still tasty, but not very cute :(


Well, it's time to go fix lunch. It may seem silly to have blogged about all this, but I was frustrated!  and my 140 character limit for Twitter just wasn't going to cut it.  Maybe I'll just give up on baking anything that does not come out of a box.