wiper broken? just get a new car.

My father likes himself some vehicles. And he likes himself some change. So throughout the years when I lived under his roof, myself and my siblings were able to benefit from such a like. I wonder if he would be able to list all the vehicles he has bought and sold in his lifetime.... too many? Dad? My friends would always tease me that something as minor as needing new windshield wipers or an oil change would merit a new vehicle acquisition.... not too far from the truth I'm afraid.

I'll set the stage and take it back. Way back. Back into time. No Diggity and all that. A song that was on repeat on my freshly installed CD player in this first vehicle....

Jeep Wrangler. He got me this in August of 1999. In the photo below I was just driving around with a tiny slip of paper in my wallet that said it was okay to do so as long as their was an adult present. I need to point out the back seat and my Grandma with her arms I'm sure tightly wrapped around a ten year old Beth.... the things grandmothers do for their grandchildren. They had emptied their pockets of all change into this little beauty moments before this was taken, for good luck you know. I loved this Jeep and had always wanted one of my own. This one though would suddenly stop working at a red light.... I would lose power steering and what not. And it leaked when it rained. But it was always my first. And therefore special.

Eagle Talon. I simply tired of people asking me if my Jeep "let me set." Which for those of you not from Central Pennsylvania means the car would not start wherever I happened to be at the time. So I convinced my father I was due for an upgrade. I had the Talon from the Spring of 2000 until September of 2001. I have no photos of her but she was a lovely metallicy green color and had quite the nice CD player, as that did not come standard in those days. Oh the horror.

Ford Zx2. Once I decided to commute to and from college I simply "needed" a more reliable vehicle. I think my parents would have bought me the moon for staying home with them. But I chose this. Why? I have no idea. It was blue. And more importantly I wanted to drive a manual transmission. I stalled daily for quite some time and then magically no more! I don't know why I decided I had had it with the Zx2... but I had it. Probably something to do with inclement weather.

Ford Explorer - The White. This poor unfortunate soul. I have so many fond memories of you. And then in 2002 I wrapped you around a tree in an unfortunate incident on a wet leaf-covered road. It is that aforementioned incident that introduced me to the Pennsylvania judicial system and jurors and lawyers and all kinds of fascinating and yet terrifying things (no I did not do anything illegal, another vehicle was involved and that woman was suing my insurance company. And therefore me. This was very upsetting to all involved and was finally resolved in 2007.)

Ford Explorer - The Blue. This car stepped up right away courtesy of my father and a swift claims processor and was mine until my mother decided to stop driving around her Jeep. Which I then took over driving. It's like musical cars sometimes in the Trovato House.

Jeep Grand Cherokee. This was a fancy car. She was quite spiffy and had all sorts of bells and whistles. She just ate a lot of gas and I was driving 45 minutes to and from an unpaid internship every day and I wanted something a bit more green. And maybe a bit less flashy so I could fit in with my not-for-profit coworkers.

VW Jetta. This car was a manual. She was red. She was in my name. She was with me the longest. And I loathed to see her go. I loved her so much I even learned how to change her taillights as she was constantly needing a new one. I took her on many a road trip. I did all my wedding planning and moving into an apartment and then into our first home with her.... I drove her everywhere. And yet in 2009 Matt got a job with a company car and he also got a dog who could use a fence soo... ipso facto...bye bye Jetta.

Jeep Cherokee. This was Matt's thing. It was a big black hole. I never liked it because it tried to take the place of my Jetta Bug. And it was a piece. Piece of you know what. We finally sold it this past summer and got....

Town & Country! We all know how much I love this vehicle.
The end. Minus the time I seriously contemplated getting one of these to tool around on but Bermuda Central Pennsylvania is not. Plus. Dangerous.

Vroom vroom.

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we stayed at the beach another day

The second day brought with it clouds and a bit of morning rain. David was up before seven as is his MO and I swiftly sent Matt back to bed because let's be honest, men need their sleep. Except David. He never needs it. We watched train and dump truck videos and the birds around the bay for a few hours and I deemed it good. 

After breakfast we packed up the monstrosities one needs for the beach again and once more headed eastward towards the sand. 

Things we have learned to be true:
My children don't pose nicely with their great aunt and uncle. 
Letty does not fear sand crabs. 
David loves jumping over waves. 
Neither child will play nicely right in front of you. 
Walks are all fun and games on the way south. North becomes tricky.
Chafing is a thing and can happen to men old and young alike. 
I still don't know how people deal with bathrooms issues and preschoolers at the beach.
David thinks vanilla wafers need to be soaked in salt water for several minutes prior to ingestion. 
Letty doesn't mind sand in unmentionable places. 
Baby powder works.  
No need to bring a chair as we did not use them. 

Aren't after beach showers the best of the showers? Second to the first shower after delivery of a baby those showers. Once freshly washed of sand and a nap for the men in my life we once again had a delicious meal and a wee bit of a walk by the bay. We decided that a beach day on Monday would put us over the edge and so opted to leave Sunday night for home. We did get a lovely view of lightening and quite the threatening down pour but other than that it was a successful journey home. 

Thank you to Aunt Sue and Uncle Glenn for once again having us in your wonderful home. We had such a lovely time despite my sarcastic beach related remarks. 

Last year's beach weekend here. And here.

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we once drove to the beach...

... and on the way down had to pull over along the side of a four lane road and hold an almost-four year old over the macadam so she could go number one because no mom, she could not wait for the McDonald's five minutes away. Just in case you thought this post was going to be any sort of dream journey. But besides that back-breaking event the ride when smoothly enough. No traffic. No inclement weather. And generally non-demanding children. Perhaps it was the loads of snacks Matt kept feeding them?

But drive we did and we eventually got to Matt's Aunt and Uncle's house in Ocean City, Maryland. They are generous enough to host our little family of four every summer for a nice weekend and we are most appreciative of this hosting. 

But back to the beach! Once upon a time we were beach dwellers Matt and I. From first thing every morning until practically dinner time we were on the beach. We baked. We drank in that sun and the sand. Matt napped and I read. Those days are no more. Now in our lives the beach with my two looks something like this:

Throw the sand. Eat the sand. Throw sand at strangers. Use shovel to throw sand. Run straight into the water with no fear. Don't touch the water. Run screaming from water. Want to be held in the water. Walk up the beach. Walk down the beach. Walk to the chairs. Walk towards the water. Walk towards the frisbee. Want the neighboring dump truck. Scream when you don't get the dump truck. Wait two minutes and try again for dump truck. Build sand castle. Ruin sister's sand castle. Beg for ice cream. Wave to every passing plane. Bye plane! Throw more sand. Dip vanilla wafers into salt water and then eat them. Throw peanut butter crackers into the sand and eat those as well. Then throw all the food in little  pieces all around as to attract maximum amount of seagulls. Put sand down your pants. Ask to go home 93 times. Run back into the waves the moment your hand is free. Don't ever sit down. Don't ever stay in one place.

And that is the beach! 

But then you see the excitement in these little faces and you think mayyyyyybe it is all worth it? Next time I'm bringing a stiff drink.

After David's nap time and had come and it had gone we decided to bring the brood back to the house with about 52 pounds of sand. Most of which ended up on Aunt Sue's bathroom floor. David napped and even Letty napped on me for a spell. And then we ate. The meal meant for decks along the bay. Corn on the cob. Steaks. Mac and Cheese. And lots of crabs. Two dozen crabs. Slathered in Old Bay.

Besides visiting with Matt's family one of my favorite things about this place is the view come sunset time. And see the view we did. With Letty yelling at the veiwfinder on my camera that WE ARE AT THE BEACH and David perfecting the side tongue. And speaking of David? This kid's hair was just meant to be beach hair. He's going to be a heart breaker that one.

And then we slept.

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decorate like pottery barn on a tiny budget

I got a bee in my bonnet if you will. The bee goes by the name of Pottery Barn. And once a bee gets in there I don't stop until whatever is making it buzz is done. It's in my very nature. Call it a reaction to the decluttering that happened before the move or call it nesting. I don't care. Obsessed I am. The only problem though is that I have a Pottery Barn taste but I am on a "Walmart" (or lower) budget. Meaning free or cheap this bee must be. I narrowed my focus down to three rooms. My family room. My dining room (although not much happened here because it's not possible for me to have a fully set table all the time). And the master bedroom. At first I started research. I scanned gads of images on google. I looked through the catalog again and again. And then again. I scoured Pinterest for suggestions. How does one start? I found (in my opinion) through my extensive research that a lot of PB "rooms" had the following "look".

Scads of books. On top of furniture. Under furniture. In baskets. In trays. Under photos. Under lamps. Under glassware. The list goes on for days. Suffice it to say books are everywhere in their rooms. So. To my bookshelf I went first. Grabbing any large hardcover books I had in a general color scheme I wanted. But I didn't stop there. I used cookbooks that were just sitting in a kitchen cabinet. Those old year books? Perfect! They are all the same size! If the color doesn't look quite right just remove the slip cover. Or cover with brown paper bags. I started to run out of books until I realized I can turn the book so the pages face forward and then color is not an issue (it's the little things really).  This would pain me greatly but you could tear off the cover and binding if you saw fit. And when all books you own are exhausted use magazines. Put them everywhere. In things and under things. The more the better. I'm not done here. I don't think you can ever have too many books. I plan on checking yard sales and consignment shops in the future for a steal...

Lots of those layers. Fabric upon fabric. Fold down your comforter and add a blanket at the foot of your bed to add a richer look. Add throw blankets of different styles and colors and textures onto chairs and couches. Add more throw pillows. And then add more. Place an arrangement on top of a large book or basket or box. A frame on a table all by itself? Never!

Things look and feel different in their rooms. Or I can imagine they would should I ever enter one. Mix leather and baskets with glass and a book. Add linen pillows with a cable knit blanket. If it doesn't "match" that seems to be best. 

Throw them everywhere. That's all I have to say about that. Candles are generally expensive so I really didn't go here yet. I had a few in a box I brought out. This is something that I'll slowly add to if I stumble upon a good sale.

Everywhere! I lived under the mistaken assumption that baskets equalled country. I guess I was wrong. And my mother is finally in her glory that I'm adding baskets everywhere. Under end tables. In corners. On top of tables. Stacked. I filled them with blankets or scarves or you guessed it, books! This doubles as storage too but the idea is to look pretty and to stick with storing things that match the room. 

Shop in your own home. 
This is basically all I did. I had a collection of a few old candles and tons of old books and unused blankets. I also shopped in my mom's home and took all her old baskets and soooo much more. I looked through all the things I had put in storage when I decluttered to prep for the sale of our old house. I stole Matt's glass jugs that he uses for wine making (as seen above). I carried things around the house for days to figure it all out, placing an item in a location for a bit and then trying a new place for a bit, etc. 

So what did I actually buy?
Two throw pillows. 1 and 2.
Two throw blankets. 1 and 2.
One old pocket knife factory drawer from a local decor warehouse for $7.99.
My total for the three above rooms? $73.96.

And. That. Is. It. 

For now of course. Because my work is never done. I have a few other ideas for things that Matt will be helping me with at some point. So. To be continued...

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two noms and some questions

I was recently (ish) "nominated" for the Liebster award by Sweet Turtle Soup and The Sunshine Award by Pardon My French. To which I say thank you, thank you very much in my very best Elvis voice. I might have bowed in dramatic fashion. So here I am answering all the questions (finally) in one post. Laziness at its finest yes? Besides, we all love a little Q&A.

Courtney's Questions:
1. How did you come up with your blog name? I wanted something Italian and I'm constantly on the go... So andiamo just fit the bill I guess.
2. What is your favourite colour this spring? This spring and any time it's teal. As in the Caribbean. 
3. How many kids did you picture having before you actually had any? Did that number change post baby? I can't remember!!! I think I always wanted four. Because I am from a family a four. This didn't change once I had kids. Matt just isn't sold yet. Let's work on him shall we?
4. What is your favourite cereal? Cornflakes. Nothing boring about an original. But I really am loving them with an inordinate amount of raspberries and strawberries. Like. All the time.
5. What is your favourite part about blogging? Reading past posts. That sounds very self-absorbed I'm sure but I just love looking back and remembering what we were up to last year at this time or more importantly what my kids were up to. They change so quickly and my brain has lost most of it's retention power. Second to this is the people I've "met" through blogging. Ya'll are a pretty great bunch.
6. Are you a sweets or salty snacker? Salty. And now that I've gone and said that I want salt & malt chips in my mouth like yesterday.
7. What is the first blog you started following? Life of Charmings. Everyone says you remember your first time right? Wink wink. I was scouring Pinterest when I was very pregnant with David and saw a photo of a pregnant girl in a fedora and she was just so stinking adorable I had to know more. That lead to her blog and I prettttty much read the entire thing from start to finish. I texted Kerri and was like hey! this blogging thing is awesome and Brittany is awesome and I kinda really love her. From there I just kept finding more and more blogs until I finally made my own almost a year later (Matt made me do it).
8. What are you looking forward to the most this summer? Most of all I am looking forward to spending more time with my best friend/neighbor love. She's a teacher so the summers are our happy time!
9. Finish this sentence: I can't help but smile when... I hear Letty playing by herself. Acting out scenes and having it all planned out. She's a little person in there under all that sass.
10. If you could do anything with your hair right now, what would you do? I love my hair. I wouldn't mind it being a little longer.... maybe a bit more drastic ombre? Rhonda? What say you?
11. What is your guilty pleasure? Wine. But is that really guilty? Because I never feel guilt. 

Kelsey's Questions:
1. What is your favorite fast food place? McDonald's. There is something about that Big Mac that just no other burger can beat. It's the grease I realize, but it's soooo tasty. And that sauce. Yum.
2. What is your dream vacation spot? Is it bad I want to say Disney? I just keep thinking about where I would want to go where I would be the most relaxed and happy. And although I would almost kill to go to Greece I can't say I would be chomping at the bit to go there now with the kids. I'm losing my hair just thinking about it.
3. What is your favorite household chore? Disinfecting the counters. Love it.
4. What is one skill you wish you had? Patience. Is that a skill? I lack it in spades.
5. Are you a fruit or veggie person? Fruit. I am a very bad person and a bad role model because I hate the majority of vegetables.
6. What is your favorite beauty product? Chapstick. Forever and ever.
7. How long is too long to not wash your hair? I can't get past two days. I work out every day so I'm thinking no one else would want me to go longer than that either.
8. Would you ever want to re-new your vows? No no no. No. I am not a romantic person, much to Matt's chagrin. This may be something great for so many people but not for me. I did it once. That is enough. Aren't I just the sweetest?
9. How tall are you? 5'6.
10. What is the best piece of advice anyone ever gave you? "Leave the gun. Take the canoli." Otherwise known as I am terrible at listening to advice.
11. You just won a million dollars, what do you do first? Pay off my mortgage. And my parent's too because they have done so much for us. Then I would go on a cruise around Europe for about a month straight and drink all the wine on deck. I'm so fiscally responsible.

The end! Thanks girls for saving me from having to come up with a post topic all on my onesie.

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easy diy bar, a matt sponsored post

In our basement there lies a problem. The problem is that of end tables. And of drink slash popcorn bowl placement. What is to be done? The simple solution would be to just have a Handy Matty. Since I'm not really willing to rent him out too easily I (with his help of course) threw together this little diy for you. He schlepped together this bar in I don't even know how long. A matter of hours if you count the distraction of having a three-almost-four year old helper. This is where Handy Matty takes over.

What one needs is:
1 sheet of 4x8 plywood
4 2x4's
Whatever you want to put on top - We went with the vinyl 12x12" tiles that look like ceramic tile.  If you go the ceramic tile route remember to use backer board. 
3' long 3/4" black steel pipes and floor flanges for the top (connect to the bar) and bottom (to secure to the floor. 

And what one does is:
Cut the plywood out into the shape you want the bar.  I only wanted a place to have drinks and a bowl (of popcorn) if needed.  So our bar is 12' wide and 7' long with a 2'x2' offset for the popcorn machine.  After you have cut out the plywood, cut down the 2x4" to make a perimeter for under the plywood.  This will make it strong and you will have something to screw the floor flanges into.  Next install whatever top you chose to the plywood top.  For our purposes I installed the 12"x12" vinyl tiles with Liquid Nails.  After that screw the legs into place and then I screwed the legs to the floor.  

And now we have this super sturdy and easy to clean bar that is just perfect for all kinds of beverage drinking and popcorn eating and movie watching. 

And! Mikey (Letty) likes it!

Oh. And the barstools were purchased at Ikea. One just cannot beat the price. Unless one weighs more than 220 pounds in which case just chose the couch.

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