Monday, December 17, 2012

Short and Spectacular!

The one and only Sweetledeets lounging in her new space :)
 I have to begin this post by sending out a huge thank you to the in-laws. Without their generous gift, this post would not be happening. In the 10 plus years Joe and I have been together, Mark and Sharon have welcomed me into their home, let me live in sin with their son while we were at college, and just support every single decision Joe and I have made together. They ask very little in return, and I know that for the remainder of our years, Joe and I will never be able to repay the debt we owe these two beautiful people.

We also need to thank Joe's Aunt Cindy and her partner, Tami. Cindy and Tami gave up three days to make the trek down to Maryland to install the floors. They worked non-stop and without complaint. They are another pair that we will be doing all we can to repay their efforts for us.

It is truly great to have such support and free help :)

Oh, and a big thank you to my model, Sweetums! She really knows how to liven up a pic :)

OK, enough with the gushing :) This will be a short post because I was not part of this DIY project. Due to previous plans, and some extenuating circumstances, I was unable to be there to help. All I really know about this project is that it was not as easy as it seemed, there was the slight under estimate for the amount of floor needed, and that "just click and go" is some sick joke floor companies play on you to lure you into buying their product.

I do have to say the end results are phenomenal. I can't stop staring at these beautiful laminate floors. They are the perfect color, they have a great texture to them, and they really make our first floor look double in size. They also make me want to put on my dancing shoes and dance the night away!! I also know that now I am disappointed in the appearance of the kitchen cabinets, and the lack of finishing touches in this space. One thing at a time, I know, but these floors are pushing me to blow our monthly budget to make our living space look great :). Here are some pics for your enjoyment! Stop on by and come enjoy these fantastic floors anytime!!


The beginning. How this little house looked when we bought it  :)

Beginning Cont.- I do not miss that stove at all. Check out that cheesy vinyl on the floors....

Middle- New paint job - old carpet

Middle- new paint job - old carpet

Old kitchen floor with updated appliances :)



Making progress :)

A bit more progress
Sweetums really loves the new floors! She has a whole section of the house just for her to cool off on :)
She had a really hard day of laying around and getting in the way :)
Please ignore the cardboard. There are some final touches still needed :)
Seriously, Sweets really loves them :)
My tootsies enjoying the "wood"


I apologize for the dark pictures, and all the Sweetums shots. It is near impossible to have a pic with her not in it, and the iPhone doesn't allow for professional pics :)

Saturday, November 24, 2012


There are two things you see when you walk into our house, a table with four chairs, and a big grey empty wall. It's not cozy and it's not very welcoming. If anything it is stark and cold. We have lived at Small House Love for almost a year and a half. Since we moved in, I have had several ideas for this space, and all of them have failed for one reason or another. I know that we could use some extra seating down here, and I know that some art work is probably in order. Maybe some shelving?? I don't know what to do. I would like some input from those of you who take the time to read this little blog. What should we do with this space?? Please keep in mind that on the joining wall behind the table will be a beautiful b&w photograph of  The Grand Tetons. Help!


Big grey empty wall. Sad and lonely looking for some inspiration.

Photo to be placed on joining wall behind the table. Gorgeous right?? If i could live in that house till my end days I would be one happy girl. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Not so dirty laundy

Hello, my name is Sarah, and I have Bipolar II disorder.

A little more than a year ago, I was diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. After my diagnosis, I was in complete denial. I was embarrassed, I felt ashamed, and I didn't know how I was supposed to act. For a while it sent me into a deeper depression than I was already in. The really hard part was figuring out how to accept this diagnosis.

Mental illness is still a taboo topic in our country. It is something that is not discussed frequently. There is lack of knowledge about mental illness by the public, and I feel, that there is a definite air of insecurity around the topic. I think that some people still believe that mental illness is not a real thing, and that it can be turned on and off. I found that some people don't know how to act around you. Many people that I told questioned my diagnosis immediately. I frequently got asked, "Are you sure?" "You should seek a second opinion." "Those doctors don't know what they are talking about." My favorite response was "You don't seem bipolar." The responses only reinforced my feelings of embarrassment. I struggled immensely in my therapy sessions working on coming to terms with this disorder. I frequently questioned the diagnosis looking for a loophole or way out.

Finally, I had a breakthrough. In one of my sessions, my therapist asked me if I had a different disease, like diabetes, would I be ashamed about it? I quietly answered no, and then something clicked. I asked myself  "Why should I be ashamed?" This is a disease. This is not something I am choosing. This is like diabetes. It is something that I have to learn to live with and treat. Bipolar disorder is nothing to be ashamed of.

As part of my acceptance, I am sharing with you all. I do not want special treatment from you. I want you to treat me as the same Sarah you knew before you read this because I am still her.

Living with Bipolar II is something I deal with on a daily basis. I know that there will be times when I will suffer from almost crippling depression. I know that there will be times where I might lose control of my situation. I know that this is a disease I can pass on to my children, and I know that their lives will be harder because of it. I also know that it does not define who I am. I refuse to let this disease take over my life. I refuse to let my life be any more affected than it is. I'm not going to say that I will conquer this disease, but I will say I am up to the challenge.

I have become pretty passionate about mental illness awareness. Anytime a conversation, which is not frequent, turns to mental illness, I try to advocate. We need to start bringing awareness to these disorders. They need to stop being pushed under the rug.

Please be aware of those around you, and make sure that you support them in all they are struggling with. You may not understand the disease they are suffering from, but you can help by accepting them as they are.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The root of all evil...

I find myself frequently getting bogged down about money. It's not something that I have a lot of, and to be perfectly honest, getting more isn't going to improve anytime soon. I have an insane amount of student loan debt. In fact, my student loan debt almost matches what Joe and I took out for our house! I have come to terms with the enormous monthly payments, but what I have not come to terms with is the fact that every time I think we are getting settled or ahead, those blood sucking bastards raise my bill!!

Recently my bill went up about an extra $70 a month. We don't really have an extra $70 lying around. Even as I am writing this, I am almost breaking out in hives from the stress of it! Deep breaths. In and out. There we go....

It's mostly frustrating because the reason I have this debt is so I could "get ahead" in life and yet it's holding me back. There are many days when I think "What the hell was I thinking! Be a teacher???  You damn fool!"

Then I walk into my classroom the next day and have one of my students who is practically a mute come up and start a conversation with me about how they had a mouse in their house and how exciting it was to try and catch it. Or another who is reading at a level so low there are no more than two words on a page, and they figure out an unknown word on their own. Seriously my heart soars on those days. In reality, I really am making a difference in their little lives. I don't mean like "hey you're a teacher you make a difference." I mean, I created a bond with that little boy who is too afraid or shy to talk, and I taught that little boy strategies to read that word. I know that I am not alone in this job, and there are endless people to thank, but on those days I know that no matter how little money I have in my pockets, I am doing something that really is truly amazing.

As my previous post stated, I am suffering from baby fever, and as it also stated, I am scared as hell we'll have no money to provide for the little life. As I look back on every month, I need to take into account that:
1. I am still here, and those few extra lbs are proof I am not starving.
2. We do have money that does get our bills paid and a teeny, tiny, little bit left over for some fun things.
3. Screw it, life always seems to work out how it is supposed to.

As my husband pointed out, after talking me off the ledge for the umpteenth time, "We'll go through this together and come out just fine =0)"


Sunday, October 28, 2012


Around June of this year, Joe and I decided to start making a life change. We, mostly I, said you're doing this, decided to start eating clean. I had put on 15 lbs of unwanted weight since October of last year, and I needed to do something about getting rid of it. I am totally unmotivated when it comes to working out. I hate it! I don't like thinking about it, I hate how I feel when I am working out, and usually when I am finished I think "What a waste of my time, I could have been lounging on the couch watching the telly." I know I am a lazy ass. The Eat Clean diet was brought to my attention by a Facebook friend. She had done a couple of posts about it, and I got curious so I started researching myself. I found that the "creator" -  Tosca Reno -  had some very motivating things to say. Since I am a lazy ass, this diet really appealed to me because all I had to do was shop and eat. I could totally do that :).

Let me give you a short description of the Eat Clean diet. It really draws your attention to what you are putting into your body. In this world of processed and lab created foods, Eat Clean gets you to start reading the label and cutting out all that junk. Recognizing that what you put into your body determines the shape and feel of you. Now, let me say that I am not a total stickler as I am sitting here eating a hand full of M&Ms, but I do work very hard to follow the diet. Tosca does allow treat days, which I allow almost every day, but with that said, even my treats have moved to becoming a more clean version. I look for sweets that have all natural ingredients, no added preservatives, or refined sugars. I am also finding that my taste for sweets and junk food has decreased tremendously since I started eating clean. I don't crave it as much, and when I do eat it, I only have a small amount because I just don't want it.

Since starting the diet I am down 12lbs! I want to make clear, that there has been almost no exercise at all to get these results, and I want to also make clear that not exercising is not part of the Eat Clean diet. In fact, Tasco Reno makes it very clear that exercising is a very important part of a healthy life, and by exercising you increase the foods ability to work better for your body. In fact, I know that if I did make an effort to work out I could shed those extra 3lbs I need to get back to where I was before the weight gain, and I could lose those 5lbs I would like to reach my goal weight. Since I am a lazy ass that's probably not going to happen, so they will just have to come off slowly ;).

I really just wanted to share this information because I have become a big supporter of knowing what you put into your body. Let me also say that I do not totally agree with the "organic" way of life and find that unless it says USDA or FDA approved on the label, you are being swindled. So please make sure to turn that can, jar, or bag of food around before you buy. If you can't read it, don't eat it!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's about time

So, for the past year or so I have been suffering from an almost crippling disease, baby fever. This disease has left me constantly thinking of having a baby, almost weeping at the sight of a baby, and even contemplating the stealing of babies. I know my good friend Kim agrees with me when I say, this is a serious disease, people! 

To remedy this problem, I have decided to blog about it to make those who suffer from this disorder aware that they are not alone. There is help and a cure. Have a kid! 

The hubs and I have been talking, and talking, and talking, and talking about this delicate issue. We've decided to go ahead and give it a go sooner rather than later :). Once this decision was made, my serious disease turned into a serious reality. I go from moments of knock me up right now, to keep that thing away from me!!! It's a freaking huge commitment! I mean seriously, we would be adding to the already over populated world, and not to mention we are practically dirt poor! Like how are we going to feed this little human?? I am a huge advocate of, if you can't feed it don't breed it! With that said, I am also a huge advocate of, screw it, life always works out in the end. 

I have spent countless hours, days, weeks, and months debating this issue in my head. Do we have the cash? We'll never have the cash. Am I ready for this? I'll never know the answer to that until it happens. How can we make this work? Our house barely fits us! What will happen when I go back to work? What if I lose my job? What if Joe loses his job?? I mean the list is endless, people. I wouldn't even say that is a fraction of what I am thinking. It's stressful, and I'm not even close to being knocked up. Just the other night I had a melt down, and swore off ever having children! 

Now, since this baby fever is a serious disease, these set backs are a normal part of the process to getting better. I can honestly say that while I am exited at the prospect of adding to our family, I am scared as hell. I mean, I can barely make it through the week remembering to put deodorant on every day! I'm serious, people. I apologize to all I have to stand next to. 

Here's to a new adventure! Cheers, folks :) 

P.S. Joe does not approve this blog post ;p

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Snow! In July!!

This post has absolutely nothing to do with home renovation or a DIY project. It has everything to do with my recent trip to West Yellowstone, MT, and Yellowstone National Park. As most of you know, who read this blog, I have waited 17 long years to get to Montana. If you saw my Facebook post about it then you know the story, if not, here it is. When I was 10, I saw the movie Legends of the Fall starring the gorgeous Brad Pitt. Looking back, I may have been a bit young for the film, but none-the-less I saw it because I was obsessed with Mr. Pitt. Little did I know this one film would change my life forever. I don't think I even payed attention to the actors, Mr. Pitt included. I was in awe of the beautiful setting of the film, some back country ranch in Montana. The moment the film started, I was hypnotized by the beautiful ranch and the huge mountains that made up the landscape. From that moment I wanted to go to that place and just stare. Well, my dad promised he would get me there one day, and he kept true to that promise this year. 
View from the airport

July 2, 2012, was the beginning of our adventure. We got up before the sun, dragged Joe out of bed to drive us to the airport and made our way to Bozeman airport in Montana. From there, we drove two hours south to West Yellowstone. Bozeman is the closest air port to the park. Yup, two hours is as close as you can get to Yellowstone National Park by flying :). As soon as we stepped off the plane, we were greeted by snow-capped mountains, 0% humidity, and an 80 degree sunny day. Can I just say 80 degrees and no humidity feels amazing! Seriously, when the wind blew there was a slight chill in the air. A chill in the air in July,!! As most of you know, I am hot-blooded and obsessed with cold weather and most of all snow. The more the better I say! It had been 5 minuets and already this was the best trip I had ever taken. I am pretty sure I was drooling over the landscape the whole two hour drive. I was pretty much speechless. There really are no words, or pictures, or paintings that can capture the beauty of this place. I will try my best, but I know I won't do it justice. 

First Sighting
Since our flight got in so early we headed to the lodge we were staying at, dropped our bags and headed straight to the park. West Yellowstone is one of the four main entrances to the park and our cabin was located about five minuets from the west entrance. Now something I found out about the park is if you see a group of cars pulled over there is sure to be some kind of awesome creature near by. We had driven about 3 miles in and we came across this herd of buffalo taking in the day. There were calves frolicking in in the sun, cows taking dirt baths, and bulls standing sentinel watching over their harem. Little did I know that the buffalo practically own the place and you see a herd of them about every 30 feet, but it was still an amazing sight to take in.  

One of many beautiful hot springs
After we saw the buffalo, we just meandered through the park and made our way to Old Faithful Village. Now I will admit that I really knew nothing of Yellowstone. I am famous for entering into things without knowing what I'm getting in to. I like the head first approach. It's always more fun and the mess, if there happens to be one, can always get cleaned up later, right? Anyways, I had no idea that Yellowstone had little villages where you can camp, or stay at a lodge, or shop, or even get gas! Well it does, and they are all about 40 miles apart! The park is huge I tell ya! Huge! On the way to Old Faithful, we stopped at several hot springs and geothermal grounds. That really was the most amazing part of the park. Again knowing nothing, I was shocked to find out that the whole park is on top of a volcano that is due to erupt any day know. It could be tomorrow or it could be 1,000 years from now. No one knows when the next eruption will be. Exciting, huh?? The ground is so fragile around the springs that you can't walk on it because you could fall though and get burned to death by the scalding water waiting underneath for ya. Super thrilling :). Please don't let this small detail scare you. The 2,000 pound buffalo frequently walk on the grounds to warm themselves near the springs and the ground holds.   

Two bull elk cooling off
We spent about five or six hours in the park on the first day, and I was nowhere near ready to leave when we did. We were up bright and early the next day, ate a quick breakfast and headed straight to the park. There were no plans for this trip. It was all day by day. So on day two we drove around the park again stopping for animal sightings or at makers on the road for the cool features that the park holds. It was truly awesome. I loved not having a plan. There really is no need for one at Yellowstone. I recommend to just drive through the park and stop where you feel the need. The big sighting on day two was two humongous bull elk cooling themselves in a river. The antlers were the biggest I have ever seen. I could not believe that they can keep their heads held high. They are such graceful creatures. I was just memorized watching them in the river. After the sighting we started our journey again stopping at Canyon Village for a look around and then off for some more driving through the park searching for moose :). I'm sad to say that the one and only moose I saw was a calf hiding in the tall grass waiting for mom. 
What a good baby :)

Day three had us taking a trip to Idaho. I mean we were only two hours from Idaho Falls, and 10 minutes from the border so why not?  Let me just say, two hours in Montana, Yellowstone, and most of Idaho is nothing out here. That's a daily commute for some people out west, and the time flies by looking at all the scenery that is your backdrop for the trip. Also the average speed limit is 70mph and that's on a two lane road. In Idaho Falls, we made the obligatory trip to the local fire house. Those of you who know my pops know that fire houses are a must stop at any new place. Those of you who don't, well, you know now :). They couldn't have been a nicer bunch of guys. We got the grand tour of the station and lots of details on how they run things out west. After our tour, we set out to the local celebration for the 4th. There is nothing like a small town Fourth of July festival :). With a town of approximately 50,000 people, Idaho Falls is Idaho's third largest city. We enjoyed roasted corn on the cob, on a stick. We took in the awesome falls, and then made our way back to West Yellowstone in time for the fireworks :). The falls generate 50% of the energy provided to the entire city. What a green city :). Sorry for the side note. I'm all about a greener tomorrow :). 

The Grand Tetons. On our way through Idaho
Idaho Falls

We didn't make it to the Grand Tetons, but we did get to take in their beauty on our drive through Idaho. Grand Teton National Park is about two hours south of West Yellowstone. We wanted to go, but just ran our of time. They will defintily be a stop on my next trip :).

Idaho Falls

View from atop Mt. Washburn
Day four saw us back at the park with an evening horseback ride and rodeo. The day started with 45 degree temps and rain. This did not stop us from hiking up to the top of Mount Washburn. Luckily the rain decided to taper off, and by the time we got to the top it stayed away for most of the day. All in total it was a 6.4 mile hike out and back. The geniuses that created the trails provided a few switchbacks to ease the incline and make the hike more enjoyable. Let me just say that even though the air is full of oxygen it is sooo thin. I was huffing and puffing within the first 30 yards! I felt so out of shape. Eventually, my body evened out and it was a very easy hike. Hiking up to the top you go up 1,500ft in elevation! I swear you feel the pull of gravity that high up. I felt very accomplished when we reached the top. Sure it was only 3.2 miles to the summit, but I was walking up hill and 1,500ft into the air :). Even though the skies were gray, the view the entire trip was spectacular. There were beautiful rock formations, wild flowers along the way, and the tallest trees I had ever seen. The view from 10,243ft was even more spectacular. You could see for miles even on the gray day we were having. We had a light lunch, marveled at the view and made our way back down. Climbing Mount Washburn had to honestly be the coolest thing I have done in my life. It was the experience of a lifetime. Once at the bottom we made tracks back toward the cabin to get ready for some horseback riding. 

We made it to the top!

Me and Miss Joy
I am no where near an experienced rider. I have ridden about 5 times in my whole life and I'm not afraid to admit that I do have a small fear of riding horses. With that said, horseback riding is something I really love! I so wish that was I was more experienced and that I had pestered my parents more when I was a child to let me take riding lessons. This had to be the best ride I had ever done. It was so great that I didn't even take more than a couple pictures. I was so enraptured in nature I forgot all about pictures. We took off from Diamond P Ranch. They were the nicest people I had ever met, and our guide, Dirk, was hilarious and comforting to all these novice riders. From the ranch we headed up to the mountains. The air was so fresh you could smell the pine. You know those first couple days when you get your fresh cut Christmas tree home? Well multiply that smell by 1,000 and you'll almost be close to the smell of the forest and mountain air. It was so relaxing. I just wanted to bottle the smell up and take it home. Now with all that beauty and relaxation there was bound to be a mishap somewhere. When we returned to the ranch we were all dismounting and true to the gracefulness that is me I fell completely on my ass. In my defense, my horse, Joy, was a bit taller than I gauged and my big hiking shoes got caught in the stirrup. It was definitely a good laugh for all, me included, the only thing I wish is that it was caught on camera so I could share that with everyone :). 

View during lunch in Silver Gate, MT
Day five was spent traveling east bound. To get from West Yellowstone to the east entrance was about 75 miles. Seriously the park is huge. On this journey we made a wrong turn and got to see some of the southern part of the park. I forgot to mention earlier that there was a massive forest fire in 1988 destroying 36% of the park. The brunt of the fire took over much of the western side of the park and the damage is still very much visible. On the eastern and southern sides there is less damage and the trees are still tall and strong. It's almost like driving though a different place. The west side is gorgeous don't get me wrong, but to see the parts that are untouched by fire is really breath taking. By the way the wrong turn took us 40 miles out of our way :). A fortunate mishap I say :). We finally made it to the east entrance. We drove though two very small Montana towns, Silver Gate and Cooke City. We stopped for lunch in Silver Gate at the Log Cabin Cafe. This was the quietest town I had ever been to. All you could hear was the breeze blowing through the trees. There were no honking horns, or people bustling by on cell phones. As a matter of fact there was no cell service in Silver Gate. The view was one in a million. Huge snow-capped mountains painted the backdrop. I am pretty sure I will move there one day. 

Log Cabin Cafe, Silver Gate, MT

Rainbow Trout spawning

On our way back through the park we stopped for an impromptu hike to Trout Lake. This was a 1.2 mile hike out and back. This sounded like a piece of cake compared to Mount Washburn. How wrong were we. The whole hike was a steep hill to the lake. I kid you not I almost quit this hike halfway through and it was only .6 miles! The outcome was well worth the journey. Once we got to Trout Lake the view was another breath taking one and we got to see some awesome critters. Trout Lake gets its name honestly, Cut-Throat and Rainbow Trout call this lake home. This time of year is their spawning season. It was so cool witnessing this feat in their lives. What a struggle it is for these fish to swim upstream against rapid running water. A bonus is that the water is crystal clear everywhere that you can make out every scale on their bodies. My dad and I spent a good 20 minutes just walking up the river watching the trout push their way up. It was fantastic. River Otter also call Trout Lake home. We were lucky enough to see a momma otter and her two pups playing on the shores. She was keen enough to stay tucked behind the tall grass as a barrier. Although pictures were hard to get, watching the three of them play and splash around was a very neat experience.
River Otter Mamma 

This was just a taste of all my dad and I did on our trip. We had the honor of seeing a Grizzly, we saw a herd of Pronghorn grazing, and even a Coyote running through a meadow. I've attached a few more pictures from the 540 I took. I should also add that the only camera I had on me was my iPhone 4s. Yup, I did not take a professional camera with me. Although I wish the pictures were better, the iPhone held its own throughout the trip :). I am already planning my next trip out there. This time Joe will be joining me and whoever would like to come is more than welcome.



Part of Artists' Paint Pots- boiling mud

Steady Geyser

Hanging out at part of the Yellowstone River

View from Artists' Paint Pots-Geothermal ground at its best

cute marmot

Soda Butte

Old Faithful

Steady Geyser at sunset

Moose Creek Cabins-Where we called home for 5 glorious days :)

Driving through the east part of the park

The sulfur from the hot springs, geysers, and steam vents destroys everything it touches

East Side of the park

Sapphire Pool
Standing on a snow mound on Mount Washburn