Various events and every day happenings of our quiet life in Port Orange, FL.
Includes community events, travel, home projects, food, gardening and a lot of our pup Rufus.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Party Donations

Rufus' 5th birthday is just around the corner. I still can't believe it.
Anyone that knows Rufus, knows he has everything he could ever need or want and we would like to take the opportunity for this year's party to give to those in need.

There are many local rescue shelters which we donate to often, however, for Rufus' birthday we would like to spotlight one that is close to our family, even though it's over 400 miles from our home.

Carolina Poodle Rescue
Although poodle is in their name, up at their Dreamweaver Farms rescue they have all sorts of different dogs and even horses. We first came to know of this wonderful place through my mother in law who is an active volunteer with them (yes 400+ miles away!).
2006 was - the start of Dreamweaver Farms and Rufus was born. They both turn 5 this year!

I don't think it's a coincidence that their initials CPR are also the acronym for a life saving action. CPR rescues animals that have been abused, abandoned or neglected. Some from breeders that don't see the value in their breeding poodle any longer. Some that have spent their entire life in a crate just to be let out to breed. Some that have just been found wandering the street. They all find a home at Dreamweaver Farms. Then comes the adoption process.

When we decided to get a poodle from Rufus' breeder, we thought it was us doing the prospecting. Even more, his breeder Tes interviewed us and made sure that our potential puppy would be going to a safe, caring home. CPR also has a thorough homing process. They check the people, homes and in most cases, the people are encouraged to come to the farm to meet the poodle face to face. Sometimes after picking a dog online, you meet them in person and it's not the right fit, but there's another dog there that you meet while you're there and it's just a fit.

To check out some great stories of adoptions, check out their site

As with most rescue organizations, monetary donations go the furthest. Some items that are currently in need are:

Paper, pens, and dual pocket folders
Bleach, paper towels and toilet paper
Snap together adjustable collars for very tiny size (need mostly tiny) up to large
Sturdy dog tennis balls (No stuffed or squeaky toys)

If you would like to give a general donations and specify what the donation is for, you can do that. If you don't specify, the farm will get whatever the greatest need is at the time.
You can donate easily at

Let's all get together and help these dogs. We think we're rescuing these dogs, but really, they're rescuing our hearts.

We are blessed to be able to get together, celebrate Rufus' birthday and bless CPR all at the same time. Thank you for your help and hope to see you at Rufus' party 07/30/11!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Doggy day care

Zeke is over for a few more days. He and Rufus are such best buds. Eat together, both sleep with their paws in the air and even spy on the neighbors together. This is just after the storm Saturday night. Our power was out for just over 3 hours.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Much awaited guest bath reveal

By popular demand, the reveal of our guest bath. Ready for this - the whole thing, new ceiling, floor, we kept track down to the nail (well, screw) and caulk - less than $2500! There are still a couple open items: window covering, seal liner between tile wall and tub top, some accessory items (towel hook is purchased, needs to be hung, and need to get matching tub handle). I'm not 100% sold on the shower curtain either, but the price was right and it was in stock. Let me know what you think! We're very happy with the way it all turned out. We did most all of the work, and had our friend who is a plumber help with the water lines, tub install and tips and tools for a lot of the other projects. Our master bath is next on the reno list.

Shower curtain is actually from Walmart. We tried this one from BBB but it was too heavy and dry clean only! Ugh! I had wanted this one from BBB, but they were out of stock for several months. Now it's back in stock, but has chrome hooks which won't match our finishes. I found this light weight one at Walmart for $20. I love the see through fabric on top, bonus white hooks, double bonus, machine washable! Yes, I need to steam it to get the wrinkles out.

Tilt your head for this pic. After aches and pains with drilling the water holes in the tile, we decided on a tension shower rod rather than the curved rods that are drilled into the tile for now. This one works nicely, enough elbow room in there.

I'm really happy with the tile choice. It was DH's. I hated it in the store, but under our lights, love it! The wall color is a grey/tan Woodlawn Colonial Grey from Valspar color matched at Home Depot because I just love Behr paint. Toilet's American Standard Cadet 3. The little cabinet on the left is the one from BBB noted in a previous blog.

Here you can see a little of the heavy shower curtain we took back. For window coverings, I'm probably going to order woven wood bamboo shades from They've done all of our other window coverings in this house. Great prices, fast shipping, great customer service.

The toilet paper holder is great. No extra reaching across for the paper. Before, it was mounted on the vanity, but since we shortened it from 48 to 36", that would be an extra reach too. Do you know how expensive bath trash cans are? $30+! We got this one from BBB as a 'just for now' can, but it's growing on me. The price grew on DH - $10 and then $5 coupon, so $5! I like how it's dark on the inside and brushed metal on the outside.

I would still like to put something between the can and the 'can' there for height. Maybe a 3 ft vase with bamboo or reeds in it. I've been checking out Ross, and will check out Home Good when they open at the Pavilion March 10!

The hardware is Moen Sage. We weren't going to replace the mirror, but after seeing the size relation to the new shortened vanity, we had to. Got a good deal at Lowe's on this one. Towels and bathmats are Laura Ashley Lifestyles Microcotton Bath Towels in Twine (always wait for a sale at Kohls!)

We were able to refinish the vanity. Took off (1) 12" pc, stained the front wood doors (very time consuming, clean, scuff, stain, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat!). The sides are laminate, so they didn't take the stain well. Ended up using a good spray paint in espresso. Looks great! New hardware for $10, new granite top, new faucet (with single handle and soap dispenser) and we saved a lot vs. purchasing a new vanity (which I tried to do, but couldn't find any I liked anyway!)

Thanks for following our adventure in our first big reno. Let me know if you have any questions on any reno money saving ideas, project how to's or product info.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Guest bathroom recap

Yes, I've been a total blog slacker. For a couple months our weekends were full of bathroom renos, then who knows what, Flu, Thanksgiving, then a few weekends in Orlando for mini-vacations and then Christmas and New Years and here we are.

Our guest bath was finished just before Thanksgiving which was at our house again this year. There are still a few open items like window covering (which I'm waiting to find exactly what I want since the glass is frosted and opens to the patio so privacy isn't an issue), tissue holder, trash can and a couple extra towel knobs. We were successful in our first tiling project. We called in the professionals when we started on the shower walls, but that was just our neighbor for a consult. He drew some lines and we were good to go. Cutting the holes for the water lines was a pain in the butt. So worth the $20 diamond crusted drill bit. Grouting - easy. Sealing - easy. Drywall and backer board - easy. Knockdown spray texture was terrible for me. It didn't affect DH's eyes at all, but mine were watering so much I couldn't see straight. I ended up putting on a mask and my snorkel goggles and that helped. DH did the electrical and our plumber friend did the moving of the pipes, install of the tub and final hookups. We are VERY happy with how it turned out.
Here are the reno highlights. I'll do a final reveal on the next blog. Along with a before and after.

Installed by DH - new from Lowe's Harbor Breeze Brushed Nickel fan with light (and bonus night light feature!)
Tub in. We went with the Kohler Archer tub with brushed nickel hardware. Drywall and Hardibacker board up.
Rufus the site supervisor. This was during the terrible texture spraying. We did a light coat on 1 wall and let it set. Rufus wasn't allowed in until the smell/eye watering chemical went away. Yes, he's always that jolly.
And the hole that finally cut nicely. We went through about 5 tiles before I went back to Home Depot to get the diamond drill bit.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Guest bathroom reno - the big items

After seeing the bathroom completely bare, it's nice to do some screen shopping and pick out what's going to go into that nice, spa-like bathroom.

The biggest piece that's on order is the tub.
I wanted a deep soaking tub that would fit in the 5 ft. space without breaking open any extra walls. There were a couple less expensive options, but they had poor reviews, mostly about cracking within a year of install. Some were probably not properly installed with the required support, but still, I wanted a good, quality tub. Kohler has always been a trusted name, and although we didn't go with a Kohler toilet, we knew they produced great quality products at affordable prices. Plus they've got great customer service. After pages and pages of tubs, I decided on this one, the Kohler Archer K-1123-LA-0. It's a 19 inch deep tub and with the low stepover height and the unique overflo drain, you can get a full 19 inch soak with minimal water drainage. Not to mention the armrests and lumbar support. The tub will be delivered by Home Depot next week! The drain was a separate purchase. Little on the pricey side for hardware, but hopefully worth it! I went with the brushed chrome finish. Most of our home is brushed nickel, but Kohler's brushed nickel looked more brown-yellow than what I like. Brushed chrome is more like stainless steel. I'm looking forward to soaking in this one!

We've got a small nook in the guest bath due to the linen closet and the guest bedroom closet. It's a space that's 11 inches deep and about 30 inches wide. We found this great piece that fits perfectly! Lancaster Floor Cabinet - Espresso, BBB. Since we're changing the vanity size from 42 inches to 46 inches and adding this across from it, we won't be losing any valuable storage space. I love the glass door too. It's a surprisingly sturdy piece for the price. DH said it was pretty easy to put together.

We looked all around for a new vanity, but couldn't find one we liked for a reasonable price. We had already found out our vanity was 2 pieces and made of solid wood, so we decided to try a DIY craft project - staining. So far, we've done 3 coats of Minwax Polyshades One Step Stain & Polyurethane in Bombay Mahogany. It's just brush it on, wait to dry, lightly sand and repeat. Pretty simple, time consuming, but since we're saving the vanity, we'll have some extra wiggle room in the budget. I've still got to make the final decision on the tile, but I'm pretty sure we're going with this granite vanity top for our freshly stained vanity, Home Depot's Pegasus 37 In. Beige Granite Vanity Top With White Bowl. We're also looking at Lowe's Style Selections 37"W x 22"D Desert Gold Granite Vanity Top and will make the final decision after the tile is chosen. They're both pretty much the same - it'll probably come down to price and which one is in stock. Please don't look at the Lowe's choice, that pic on their website is terrible.

Planning on putting the vanity together Sunday. Look for some before and after pics soon.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Guest bathroom reno - demo!

I'm sure you've been wondering what we've been up to as far as home DIY projects. Well, DH had off from work on Friday and this is what I came home to.
DH had a lot of demo time that day. Saturday morning, we finished the demo. Yes, even the ceiling came out. DH was cutting the tape around the edge and since we were going to scrape the popcorn ceiling off, move the light and add a vent, we just decided to tear it down and start the whole thing from scratch.
In case you didn't catch our before, here it is in it's dated glory.

The only things that are staying are the toilet which is new anyway and hopefully part of the vanity which I've been trying to stain to match an espresso piece that's going in there. The mirror will go in our master bath for now.

Next blog I'll show you the new soaking tub that's on order along with some of the new pieces and colors! Untill then, here's why you should wear eye and nose/mouth protection while doing demo - DUST everywhere!

Monday, August 31, 2009

New layout

August is just about gone and it's time for a fall-inspired layout. Bring on the cooler weather!

I'll get around to changing out the title bar pics from Hawaii and the Bahamas this weekend hopefully. Enjoy Rufus' end of summer haircut. Excuse the quality, that's what you get with camera phones!
Before - big baby bear

And after - Afro!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Grandmom's birthday!

Today was my Grandma's 84th birthday. She is so sweet. We went over after work and had pizza from Pizza Hut and my mom made her fresh pineapple upside down cake. With the Alzheimer's, my grandma could have celebrated her birthday any day, but any day she's excited when people come over and visit her. We got her flowers and a card and she kept reading the card over and over again, enjoying it every time. Have you seen that Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day? I've found out that with beginning Alzheimer's, it's not so much the person affected that suffers, it's the people around them that worry about it. She's just as happy as can be every day, every thing is new and special. And she can't remember the struggles or pains. We also brought her a recent photo of me, DH and Rufus - she kept going over it naming each person. Rufus of course was with us at the celebration. She just loves him! She asks what his name is often and I tell her to think about it, she knows him. After a short pause, with her hands in fists beside her like she's about to ski down a slope, she says with energy, "RUFUS". Like she's won the prize. I just love her!

We had already lit the candles on the whole cake and sang Happy Birthday. If you know my grandma, you know she wanted a second piece! We lit the candle again and sang again. I think we sang Happy Birthday about 8 times that night. There's a few more photos from the night over at flickr.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Weekend recap - dinner and movies

Friday we watched Gran Torino. This movie had great reviews and acclaim from critics, which from my experience, when critics like a movie and it gets a lot of awards, I usually don't like it. I'm usually watching a movie for entertainment, not life lessons or learning. Gran Torino did have life lessons and while I thought it was ok for the most part, we didn't like the ending.

Saturday we had dinner plans at Angell and Phelps Cafe. Most have heard about Angell and Phelps chocolate, which is divine, but not too many know about their restaurant. We had been there before for lunch and enjoyed it, but had a $25 gift cert to use so that's why we decided to try it out for dinner.Most of you that know me, know I usually don't comment on our dining experiences unless they're really good or really bad. We got there around 6pm. Got front row parking (there was only 1 other table of people in the place). Ok, it's early I thought. They sat us at a 2 seater table right next to the entrance. Neither of us like being stared at, which is usually what happens when someone walks in the door and there's a table right there, so we asked to move. The server was hesitant about it for a sec, but moved us anywhere we wanted. We just moved 1 table over, but it was a 4 seater. Maybe they wanted to be prepared for the big rush. Joking.

The menu on and restaurant's website were much different than at the actual restaurant menu. I asked if we had pages missing (as there were actually blank pages through the menu), the waitress said many people make that comment to her, but no, that was what they offered. She asked if there was something particular I had seen on their website and she said they should be able to make it if I wanted, but I couldn't remember exactly what was on that menu, so we stuck with what was on the menu in front of us. There were only 6 entrees on actual menu: filet, salmon, chicken picatta, catch of the day, greek stuffed chicken, crab cakes, plus 1 special and a few sandwich options. Website had 15 entrees plus sandwiches (yes, I counted). Soup or salad with the meal were $2-$3 additional. The websites said salad or soup were included with meal. Usually I don't mind paying extra if I want a salad, but it's the point that we chose to go here based on their menu and gift cert offering ad on and their website. We both thought the waitress did not seem to be interested in being there. I would have probably been a little cranky had I been working and it was that slow. Maybe she had things going on, I understand, no judgement there.

Looking past all the initial issues, maybe the food is soo good they just need a few items and maybe people eat later than 6pm. No, the food was just not good, mine tasted like frozen prepared food (I had greek chicken and DH had catch of the day, mahi mahi). The fish was overcooked, rice tasted like instant Uncle Ben's, and my mashed potatoes were pasty. (yes, maybe I've been watching too many cooking shows, I do pick up on pasty potatoes - means they were either over cooked or over worked).

I usually don't complain, but this was not even worth staying for. Definitely not worth the price. Music (recorded, playing on a speaker right above our head) was loud, even though there were only 2 other tables when we got there, and I usually don't mind the music at restaurants. I do not want to be one of those people that gets annoyed at the music level in a restaurant, maybe I just noticed it because everything else was so not good, I was trying to think of a positive. The only high point was the chocolate that came with the bill. It was delicious cream mint. I love Angell and Phelps chocolate, as overpriced as it may be. 1 or 2 pieces just work for me. While we're on positive notes, the bread before the meal was ok also. At the end, we had no problems using certificate, but we will not eat at Angell and Phelps again.

We've still got credit for, so we're going to try 2 other places. Hopefully that goes better.

On to better things - saw Julie and Julia with some friends Saturday night - Loved it! Didn't love paying $9.50 for 1 person for 1 movie (plus $4 something for a SMALL cherry coke), but oh well. Theatre movies cannot be fully enjoyed for me without a cherry coke. Brings me back to my childhood. Let me tell you that when we got to the movie, it was packed. We turned the corner to look at the statium seating for 4 seats and we saw a sea of gray. I really think we were the youngest people in there! I'm thinking most of those people watched Julia Child on tv, so were seeing the movie because of her. The girls I went with on the other hand, were not familiar with Julia Child at all. I guess the movie did a great job at bringing different ages together to enjoy a wonderful light-hearted movie. The previews were not light-hearted at all - they were about a serial killer (The Lovely Bones, which is also a novel), a crazy step dad (The Stepfather) and some other similarly creepy storyline. I probably won't be seeing those, but what I will be seeing again is Julie and Julia. But with the price of movie tickets, I'll likely wait for the rental. Until then, I've added the book to my list.