February in a Nutshell

I may go backwards a little bit and share some stories from this summer/fall, however right now, we are going full steam ahead!

To be completely honest, February was pretty low key for us.  I am completely in love with my current job and adore all my residents; from the sweet old ladies, to the cranky old Irish man.  At the beginning of this month my employer FINALLY hired a new bus driver. Two days after I started my new job, in November, as the Exercise Specialist and Activities (in the Activities Department of the retirement home) the bus driver resigned.  So, since I was 1) the newest employee and 2) the bus driver falls under the programs department– I was the impromptu bus driver.  Yes. I. Drove. The. Retirement. Bus.  I was a good sport about it, but after two and a half  months of driving a bus and not being able to do what I was hired for, I was THRILLED when they hired a new bus driver at the beginning of February.  I was finally able to start teaching my Chair Fitness Classes and doing my normal activities.  I adore my chair fitness classes and everybody in them.  The class is up to 24-28 people!!  I can say that I have finally found my calling–hanging out with people 65 and older, with almost all of them 85 and older!  I have one lady who is determined to do a plank for 2 minutes on her 90th birthday party this summer.  A  plank is an exercise where  your elbows and toes are the only thing on the ground, major core exercise.  I am proud to say that she is up to a minute and a half, and she is doing it in proper form–no bottoms up in the air!

I work Saturdays, and normally we just watch a movie and I wander from room to room talking, watching TV (football, skiing, and tennis are very popular), or playing some sort of game.  Since Valentines Day was on a Saturday this year, I was in charge of deciding what to do.  I decided to get carnations and put them in a vase with a red ribbon tied around each. Yes, I tied 200 ribbons around flowers.  I asked the kitchen to make truffles and they lovingly obliged, and I made two giant cards and had all 90+ employees sign them.  On Valentines Day I displayed it and each resident could take a flower and truffles.

Here is the card.
Yes, I did use black in a Valentines Card, but it seemed to me that it should be a
classy card for a classy age group.  Right?

I should mention that there are two wings of the retirement home, an independent living and assisted living section.  I do all my exercise-related things down in the independent living and all my activities in the assisted living.  So I actually made two identical cards for Valentines Day (double the flowers and truffles as well).

I also had some activities this month. The activity that was the most popular was making Heart Wreaths. I love Pintrest! I may have had to bribe a few residents with wine, but they enjoyed it once they were making the wreaths.  No, I am not above bribing people into coming to my activities and they follow the wine.  The most popular type of wine among both men and women is the White Zinfandel.

Heart Wreath

I cut the heart shape out and cut the tissue paper into 1×1 inch(ish) squares.  Then the residents took a pencil, wrapped the tissue paper around it, dipped it in glue, and put it onto the heart.  They turned out very cute I would say!  I (most of the time) pick activities that work on manual dexterity or multi-tasking or creative planning/thinking.  We have to keep those minds sharp and active right?

Like I said, I work Saturdays.  This month Valentines Day was on a Saturday. That meant I was not home for part of the day.  Not a big deal because those of you who know James and I well know that we are probably the least romantic couple on earth.  **Pause for a moment, here comes a major wife bragging moment.**

Picture this: Walk through the door and the dogs don’t rush me whining wanting their food because they had already been fed; smells clean and looks organized because James cleaned the ENTIRE house; the pantry was organized; there was steak for him and salmon for me (he was going to smoke dinner); and on the table–FLOWERS and wine!  The last one was very exciting because James refuses to buy wine and he does buy flowers because he does not see the point in buying something that is dead.  He has never bought me cut flowers, normally it is a plant, which is ok because of my obsession with plants. But he bought me cut flowers!!

Ahhh, perfect.
Totally my style too, it looks natural/slightly messy and not full of roses.
The vase is a mason jar and I adore that as well!

The end of February has been fun. James cousin is in town visiting the college for a prospective PhD program, starting this fall.  I would be thrilled if she came to Southwest Montana to go to school.  She seems to be very pleased with it, however she does have another offer from a different school, and it is stiff competition.  I know she will make the right decision for her and I am very excited for the opportunity she has; but being slightly selfish biased, I would like her to pick the school in Montana.


House Tour

I want all of our family and friends to see our house, even if you are not able to come see it in person.  We have a tri-level, 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath house with a teeny-tiny backyard in Southwest Montana.  James, with help from his gracious parents, bought the house in 2011(ish) new.  When the house was bought, it had an unfinished basement. James parents finished the basement and it looks marvelous if I do say so myself.

Since we moved in together, I have realized that James and I have completely opposite styles when it comes to decorating and house style.  James, maybe obviously, likes new builds, rustic/woodsy/dark wood/bold colors/leather furniture.  What does Jennifer like you ask?  Well, I like country/cottage/lighter colors/light or colored cloth furniture, and would LOVE to live in a 100 year old farm house to remodel as I (ahem…we) please.  So, I will show you how I have (barely) started to integrate country-cottage with rustic-woodsy.  In addition, I love antiques, I have a few from James’ family and some from my family, but sadly the things from my family are sitting in my sisters garage waiting to make the trek to Montana.  I have also come to find out that I LOVE to decorate for the holidays, so I will eventually show you pictures of our holiday decorations.

You may also see a (continuing) transformation of our small backyard.  That seems to be an ever-changing project.  Even with our new build house we seem to be doing the “old people” weekly weekend runs to Home Depot or Lowes.  (A side note: I always thought it was so funny that my parents always went to home improvement stores on the weekends, now I totally get it. Lowes/Home Depot is an exciting outing for us on the weekends!)

Well, without any further ado, I introduce you to our house:

Welcome to the woodsy-rustic house!!

I would like to introduce you to Phil. Honestly, I still have not grown to love Phil like James has. But I was told if I named him, maybe I would grow to love him.

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Living room: You may notice that there were football helmets above the TV, I finally switched that out with something a little more living room appropriate for a married household.

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Kitchen: You will once again, notice the football helmet above the cupboards. I am slowly replacing those with something…different. I love ceramic things!! And no, I do not have a fascination with birds, they just happen to be all over the place and I like the coloring/glazing on them.  I am also, maybe borderline, obsessed with plants.

I am not sure what Brinks is doing here.

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Upstairs hallway bathroom, master bedroom, upstairs guest bedroom, and office. Right now the only room with a curtain in it is the guest bedroom. I made one and it took me all weekend, so I really haven’t been into making anymore.

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Kitchen: A small view into the backyard. I LOVE antiques and would fill the entire house with them (if they weren’t so expensive). Right now I have the hutch behind the kitchen table from James Grandma.
Downstairs: Entering the newly done basement (back in 2012 or early 2013). Very nice bar table.  I see you can see our blue doggie pool for the dogs outside the window.

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A bar for downstairs.  Still, to this day, we do not have bar stools. I know which ones I want, but just have not taken the plunge to get them.  First door is the bathroom, second door is a spare bedroom and across from the spare bedroom is the big downstairs bedroom. Plenty of room for family and friends to visit (Hint, Hint!)

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Left: Smaller spare bedroom. Once again, I love the antique shaving stand from James’ family.
Right: Big spare bedroom.


Hello Family and Friends!

Welcome to my new blog. I know that this has been a LONG time coming for a lot of you, and I finally feel like I can keep up with a blog long term!  I would like to share our lives (James, Jennifer, and of course the dogs) with our friends and family so that everybody can feel like we are not 14-20 hours away from each other.

What will I share you ask?  Good Question!

Since getting married I have been cooking…A LOT. Therefore, when I find exceptional recipes I will share them with you.  Although I do generally cook light, healthy foods, everybody who knows me knows that I would much rather have sweets–so I can promise that I will post multiple amazingly decadent sweets!  I will share pictures, from adventures and our daily lives, so beware, that means a lot of dog, house, and food pictures.  I will inform you on different things, some serious, others not so much!  For example:  Kim Kardashian and siblings slid off of the road a few miles from my house this past Saturday–Oh the hardships of living in a vacation destination, right?   I will share pictures of our little house, not because I want to show it off, but because I know a lot of you may not be able to get to our house to see it in person.  And who knows, maybe I will start sharing completely random facts about our little family in different places throughout my blog.

So, if you so desire, please share my blog with family and friends so that we can all stay in touch (or at least you can stay in touch with our lives).