Boys and cords

What is it about boys and their fascination with cords (not the pants, the wires)? I’m not talking about the cords for the computer and TV. I understand those. They are plugged into something. They have a purpose. What I don’t understand are the extra cords. Lots and lots of extra cords. Where do they come from? And more importantly, why can’t we get rid of them?

I know I don’t have a lot of room to talk. I’m the girl who has every issue of Country Home every published, along with 100s of other magazines stashed in crates, under the coffee table and around the house. But at least the magazines have pretty pictures in them. I’m waiting for the day that drawer of random cords come in handy, but Adam promises me they all have a purpose.


Our first appliance purchase

This fall has been one of big purchases in the Cooley household. First, a roof (hopefully the most expensive thing we’ll ever buy) and then a dryer. The joys of owning a home, right?

There’s never a convenient time to find out a major appliance is broken. I realized the dryer was broken when it had been running for over two hours and the towels were still damp. Meanwhile, there was another load of wet laundry waiting in the washing machine and the temperatures were freezing outside so I couldn’t exactly hang them out to dry. Instead I hung them in the basement, and they got dry, but they were stiff.

We called the Sears repairman to come look at the dryer and it would have been more expensive to fix it than to buy a new one. Too bad we had to pay someone to come tell us that. The dryer came with the house, and was probably 10-15 years old, but we hadn’t really planned on getting a new one so soon.

So we headed to Sears on a Sunday afternoon. I’m the one who does the laundry in our house, and I told Adam I didn’t want anything fancy. I just wanted something to dry the clothes. Adam, who has maybe done five loads of laundry since we’ve been married, thought the steam dryers sounded pretty great. Of course they are more than twice as much as a regular dryer. I quickly convinced him that wouldn’t be necessary.

I hate working with sales people. I kind of wish you didn’t have to deal with them at all. I knew what dryer I wanted (a Whirlpool Duet) and didn’t want to be convinced that I needed a more expensive model. I just wanted to get in, get out and get on with my Sunday afternoon.

This is where it pays to have a husband. Adam is great with salespeople. It must be from the years he spent working in customer service. I wish I could say he got us a great deal on the dryer, but he handled all the paperwork and I held back, avoiding eye contact and making it clear we didn’t want to be sold anything else.

And I have to admit, the new dryer looks much better than the old one (below). Even though it’s in the basement where no one sees it. Almost makes me wish we needed a new washing machine too, so they matched.

The votes are in!

A little over a week ago I posted that I had won a $20 shopping spree at CSNStores.com. I begged and pleaded with you to save me from my indecisive nature and vote for which lovely item ended up in our home.

It has been a funny week as I’ve asked those around me, “did you vote?” Honestly most people gave me an “ahhhhhh, I was going to do that.” But the best response of course came from my husband. When I asked him what he voted for he said “Oh the Leaf Table Runner of course, it’s vinyl so I don’t have to worry about spilling on it.”  See, you just gotta love him.

Now dear friends it is time for the winner that you chose.

(with this much anticipation I could host American Idol or at least Saginaw Idol)

The Fiesta Hostess Serving Bowl

Now all I have to do is wait for it to show up on my door step so I can fill it with all sorts of wonderful winter candy fruit. Thanks for voting!

The other morning this was the scene in our household.

Cody: “Have you been using my towel?”

I was still waking up and murmured no over my first cup of coffee.

Cody: “Are you sure? It’s really starting to stink.”

Sleepy Laura: “No… I mean yes, I’m sure that I did not use your towel. Do you really think I stink that bad?”

As it turns out, when you put your towel on the back of the door to dry, yet keep the door open (and towel against the wall) all day you may or may not end up with an extra stinky towel. Which upon asking may lead to an extra stinky wife.

Never fear. Cody has found a new place for his towel and a nicer way to say good morning.

Link Love: Gift Guides

Image Courtesy of Purl Bee

As Andrea and I discussed doing a gift guide for those newly married we kept coming across so many great guides featuring perfect present for in laws, husbands and of course ourselves. The emails flew back and forth, ‘did you see this’, ‘oh my this is so pretty’… so let us point the way to you to some of the best gift guides out there.

For us wives: Design Sponge, under $25

For our husbands:  My Life Scope

For the Inlaws: The Nest

For the Techie: Think Geek

For the new homeowner to the sports aficionado:  Our Poverty with a View

For the traveler: ReadyMade

For the kiddos: Cup of Jo

For Handmade gifts: Fresh Home or Etsy

For everyone else on your list: Real Simple

Christmas cira 1979

The first holiday season as a couple can be tricky.  Yet through the years we find our way through tangled lights and broken ornaments to establish what the holiday season is to us.

My good friend Amanda was generous enough to share with us her experience of finding their way to celebrate the season.

Last Christmas was my first as a married woman, and I learned a few lessons, both on marriage and on style. As a new homeowner, I had done little else but pour over pages of of Better Homes and Gardens, Real Simple and Pottery Barn as I dreamed of all the redecorating plans I had for my new house. Though my husband, Nate, in his characteristically cheerful and optimistic way, thought our new house was pretty great just the way it was, he agreed I should have “carte blanche” when it came to the decorating. Good deal, right?

We got along fine like this for several months. Our seemingly daily trips to Menard’s and Lowe’s changed however in early November when visions of sugar plums began dancing in Nate’s head as we passed the Christmas decoration displays. “I can’t wait for Christmas!” he said, as he pointed out gold Mylar garlands, multi-colored Santa displays and lights that flashed in coordination with music.

Was he serious? This stuff was unbelievably tacky! My face must have said it all, because he quickly said, “I think you should let ME be in charge of Christmas cheer. I know about what looks festive.” I was dubious to say the least, but Christmas decorating was pretty low on my priority list right then.

Image Courtesy of Zellaby on Flickr

We went back and forth like this for a few weeks, but when Nate eagerly pulled out his Christmas decorations I was horrified! He had a story about memories of the origins of each childhood ornament. He even had the lights – large, multicolored, screw-in bulbs and those old plastic bubble-lights with the liquid inside that actually bubbles!
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Front door: The Eagles

Kelly and I worked together at Country Home before either of us owned houses and spent plenty of time dreaming about the day we would have front doors to call our own. To see more of her and Ryan’s home and their adorable baby girl Georgia, check out her blog: babyeaglet.blogspot.com. Here’s the story of her front door (in my opinion it’s the best looking new-construction house I’ve seen!)

After living downtown in two different cities – Des Moines and Atlanta – suburbia was not a place I envisioned myself settling down. Then we moved back to Iowa and started house hunting in the older neighborhoods of Des Moines.

The house we were going to buy needed to have our top 3: a basement we could spend a lot of time in (and my 6’ 3’ ’ husband could stand up in), a big kitchen and more than 1 bathroom. Sounds simple right? Not so much.

After months of searching, we decided to build. We wanted to build a house with timeless finishes yet modern; classic, with a Southern twist. Living in the South made a huge impact on both my husband and I, so it was no surprise when we chose a 2-story floor plan with double front porches. This style is welcoming, unique and completely Southern. Pulling up to the house every night makes me smile and I’ ve loved decorating our front door and porches, especially Christmas.

I feel lucky to have a house that I love coming home to that is not typical new construction. Now I’ m anxiously awaiting decorating my porches in the spring!