Brockport’s Top Ten

Now that we’ve finally moved into our new home, it’s time to pay tribute to our temporary home and say goodbye to Brockport.  For me, this was my first Brockport goodbye; for Mr. Bunches, his second (his first being when he left for college).   So to do it right, we thought a Top Ten list was in order, although it was hard to limit what we’ll miss most about Brockport to only ten items, but whoever heard of a Top Fifty-Four list, right?  Right.  So let’s get to it . . .

#10 FOYOFOYO is the Fountain of Youth Organics store in downtown Brockport that Mr. B and I were totally pumped to discover.  Who knew Brockport was so progressive?  We didn’t.  But luckily we stumbled into FOYO one day and found a great spot to buy local eggs, meat, flour, and every possible natural supplement you could imagine.  They even had CLO (that’s Cod Liver Oil for all you folks still not in the know)!  And the owner was so fantastic and friendly; each time we shopped there it felt good to know we were supporting a local business.

Image from here.

#9 Our Borrowed Home – Thanks again to my M-I-L for letting us borrow her house!  It was such a relief to know that we had a place to call home even while we were in between houses of our own.  And even though most of our stuff was stored away in Moose’s warehouse . . .

. . . luckily the Mr.’s mom left us all the essentials (which, sadly for us, meant a bed, couch, treadmill, and TV–not sure what that says about us–totally lazy?  couch potatoes?  well, at least one out of four involved something active, right?!).  The house was such a treat for us–moving from a 900 square foot condo (1,200 square feet if you count the basement, which they do in Boston . . . ya’ know, so that everything seems bigger) to a 3 bedroom home with a garage!  We barely knew what to do with all that room!  So thank you, thank you, thank you–we had so much fun in Brockport, and much of that was due to having such a great home base (nothing quite like my M-I-L’s new home, but that house is in a league of its own!).

#8 The Strand and Cinemark Movies 10 So this isn’t exactly cheating since it’s really one category and just two specific locations within the same category (see how I just worked that?  good).  Yep–The Strand is the local Brockport movie theater located right on Main Street and it’s totally got that whole vintage vibe thing happening (and as long as you don’t live in a cave, then you know that vintage is all the rage at the moment) . . .

And since The Strand movies cost only $7.50, it’s quite the bargain considering you’re getting to not only see an of-the-moment film, but you’re also getting to do it while feeling all hip and vintage-y at the same time.

Of course, if you’re more concerned with the bargain than with the hip vintage piece, well then, Cinemark Movies 10 is for you.  And, er, it’s basically for me (when have I ever been that concerned with being cool?  I mean, one look in my closet will pretty much sum that up for ya’: never).  At Cinemark the most you’ll pay to see a movie is $2.50!  Yes–$2.50!  And that’s for Friday and Saturday nights.  Matinees and weeknights can cost as little as ONE DOLLAR!  You can find that much money in your seat cushions!  Basically, Cinemark Movies 10 had me at hello.  Of course, Cinemark doesn’t show the recent releases, but rather it has movies that have just left the big screen and are en route to On Demand, but who cares?!  You know the Mr. and I don’t!  Oh, and I thought the theater was going to be all skeevy and sketcherific (look it up), but it totally wasn’t.  It was just like a regular theater.  Only cheaper.  Okay, ‘nough said.  Although–quick disclaimer: Cinemark Movies 10 is actually located in Rochester, but since it’ll be too far for us to drive to from Buffalo, we’re lumping it into Brockport.  You may or may not see that happening in other categories as well.  On to #7 . . .

#7 Springdale Farm Yes, I do mean this Springdale Farm of We Got a Goat fame.  Who knew that so many of you would be so upset enraged that we did not, in fact, get a goat?

Although, I still totally wish we did . . . but we have gone back to visit this little guy.  How could we not with that face?!

#6 Jimmy Z’s Now, I’m going to have to tread lightly here as I know many Rochesterites out there probably have a strong opinion on the topic of Garbage Plates.  But first, let me bring everyone up to speed; if you’re not from Western NY, you’re probably wondering, ‘Mrs. Bunches, what is a Garbage Plate?!  Surely it can’t be something you eat.  Not with a name like Garbage Plate?!’  And there, my friends, is where you would be wrong.  For a Garbage Plate is in fact a plate of food.  Or, more precisely, a large styrofoam container of assorted food stuffs.  Kind of like this:

Looks a little like cat vomit, doesn’t it?  Or at least, that’s my opinion.  Of course, the Mr. (and Idiot Nation) might disagree, but why don’t you be the judge . . . here’s a breakdown of what’s in a Jimmy Z’s Garbage Plate (while the basics of a garbage plate are all pretty much the same, each restaurant has some unique options, so these are what’s available at Jimmy Z’s) . . .

First, you pick two of the following:

  • Home Fries
  • French Fries
  • Baked Beans
  • Mac Salad

Then, you choose one of the following to go on top (or mix and match as you like):

  • 2 hamburgers
  • 2 cheeseburgers
  • 2 white hots (translation for non-Western NYers: two white hot dogs)
  • 2 red hots (yep–that means two red hot dogs)
  • 2 chicken fingers
  • 3 fried eggs
  • 2 mozzarella sticks
  • 2 pizza logs

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the plate is topped off with a “special” meat sauce (that’s the stuff that looks like cat puke), onions, and mustard.  As an example, the one pictured above was home fries, french fries, two white hots, meat sauce, mustard, and onions.  And this guy thought it was the bee’s knees . . . just check out that look of longing as he waited for it:

Even Pauly was so excited for it to arrive that he could barely contain himself . . .

In short, Mr. Bunches thinks Jimmy Z’s has the BEST Garbage Plates in Rochester . . .

Even beating out the apparent inventor of the Garbage Plate, Nick Tahou’s . . .

I can’t really compare as I’ve only eaten one Garbage Plate.  It was at Nick Tahou’s and let’s just say it didn’t go so well for me.  Or for the Garbage Plate.  But, with such an extensive menu at Jimmy Z’s, I was sure to find something I liked . . . or at least something not fried?

But to finally end #6 . . . my fave was the Pulled Pork Sub.  Sub–not sandwich.  It’s delish.

#5 Abbotts Custard and Esther’s Country Market Well, while we’re talking food, we might as well talk dessert.  And if you know the Mr. and I, then you know we love us some ice cream/frozen yogurt/custard (in case you missed it, the Mr. debuted his first dessert masterpiece right here).  Luckily for us (and unluckily for our waistlines), there was an Abbotts located just down the street from our borrowed home in Brockport.  Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup with chocolate sprinkles in a cone?  Um, yes please!

Of course, it was only after a few months of being in Brockport that the Mr. remembered Martin Farms’ ice cream stand, Esther’s Olde Tyme Country Market, which not only sold some of the best custard around, but also some healthy stuff too . . .

Nothing like buying some tomatoes to offset eating ice cream, huh?  Their ice cream was killer, though.  Especially the soft-serve!  It even rivaled the stuff we had in the Adirondacks (sorry D, but it’s true).

#4 Wide Open Spaces It was such a nice change of pace to be surrounded by so much space (stop rhyming–I mean it!  Anybody want a peanut?  Ten points to anyone who can name that film).  From riding bikes along the Erie Canal . . .

. . . to hitting balls at any one of MANY local driving ranges . . .

. . . the Mr. and I couldn’t get over just how much space Brockport had to offer.  And with the SUNY Brockport campus right in town, we took full advantage (mostly by pretending we were in college again when we went for runs around campus, but whatever).  It’s amazing how much being surrounded by space can really lower your blood pressure.  Sigh.

#3 Goodwill Finds There’s something about being in small-town America that just makes Goodwill hunting so much better.  From finding steals in the neighbor’s yard sale . . .

. . . to little gems at the local Volunteers of America . . .

. . . and even to the one that got away from Carriage Place Antiques (I’m still kicking myself about this one) . . .

Rocking chair

Brockport was such a great place to find those hidden gems.  Hmm . . . maybe with all the brownie points I’ve earned from hosting Idiot Nation, maybe the Mr. will be up for a quick trip to some of those Brockport hot spots?  Waddya’ say Mr. B?

#2 Carnival Nation Living in Brockport over the summer meant that we got to experience our fair share of carnival craziness–it seemed like there was a carnival every weekend!  From our first Fourth of July . . .

. . . with its introduction to one of the more interesting local characters . . .

Scariest Ice Cream Man EVER

I’m still having nightmares about that one.

Next was the Monroe County Fair, where we got to learn a little about some chickens . . .

. . . and have some fun playing carnie games (one of the Mr.’s favoritest pastimes mind you).

But possibly one of the best carnivals was the Hilton Carnival–you know, the one with a different sort of zoo . . .

And some serious fried goodness (anyone else noticing that a lot of our top 10 seems to involve food?).

And while we didn’t necessarily go on any rides (we don’t have a death wish–I mean, seriously, have you seen the people that operate those things?), they were still fun to photograph.

So yeah–we partook in our fair share of carnivals, but next year maybe we’ll challenge ourselves to go to one every weekend!  Can we do it?  YES WE CAN!

#1 Ralph & Rosie’s If you’ve hung in this long–congratulations.  1,700 words (so far) is probably a bit too long for a top ten post, but, well, we clearly had a lot of love for Brockport, so you’ve got to forgive us.  Alright, but now onto #1 . . . and, of course, we’re back to food.  Remember back when we first got to Brockport and we did a pizza and wings review?  Well, if you do, then you’ll remember that our winner at the time was Mozzeroni’s.

But you better believe that we didn’t just stop there.  Oh haaeeyyll no!  We tried Mozzeroni’s again (okay, maybe multiple times), and each time the wings were horrible, although the pizza remained a strong contender.  So we had to try others.  Starting with a Western NY chain, Mark’s Pizzeria, with the absolute worst jingle ever “Mark’s Pizzeria, we’ll treat you like family . . . Mark’s Pizzeria!”  Trust me, it gets stuck in your head and you can’t stop singing it, and you just want to scream!

And their pizza was just okay.  Same with the wings.  Nothing to write home about.

Oh well, we tried; but turned out their food was on par with their jingle.

Up next?  Krony’s Pizza in Hamlin.  Despite being located in the middle of nowhere, this place was packed.

And for good reason!

Particularly the wings.  Check out that meatiness:

So yeah, it was good, but not exactly super convenient.  So, in search of convenience, where do you go?  Well, to a convenience store, of course . . .

Doesn’t really look like the type of place that you would choose to eat, right?  More like the type of place you’d go to grab a bag of ice.  But, upon some sage advice from Moose, the Mr. and I decided to try the pizza at Ralph & Rosie’s in Bergen (I had a bit of trepidation at first, but if there’s one thing Moose knows, besides carpet that is, it’s good pizza).

Ralph & Rosie Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Of course, there’s no menu inside, so you just have to make a guess and order.  Oh, and I’m not sure what the whole ‘Mexican Food‘ thing is all about, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have any; my guess is maybe they just don’t want to change the sign?

The only trick to ordering pizza is what sauce you want: regular or sweet.  Both are tomato-based, and both are excellent.  However, the sweet sauce is by far their best-seller.

And they cut their pizzas into squares.  Not sure why we like that so much, but we do.  Maybe because you don’t feel like you’re eating as much, so there’s less guilt involved?  Regardless, their pizza is BY FAR our hands-down favorite.

And the wings?  Oh yes.  Yes please.

And they sell them by the pound!  Gotta love that, right?  Overall, I’m still a little in shock at how much pizza and wings we ate . . . I think it’s best if we just don’t mention it anymore.  So let’s keep it our little secret, okay?  Okay.

So there you have it–our Brockport Top Ten, and a little trip down memory lane to remember our ~6 months in Mr. Bunches’ hometown.  Aww . . . how sweet it was!  Did I miss anything?

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Circling the Wagons

That’s right folks . . .

The Buffalo Bills circled the wagons on Sunday, yessiree.

Which meant that it wasn’t such a good day for these boys.  Not a good day at all.

And yeah–that’s the view from our seats.  Nothing like being able to actually hear the players, but I digress.  While it was a sad day for Patriots Nation, it was, indeed, a fantastic day for Idiot Nation (thanks Mr. Rockstar for giving me a name for y’all).

Yes–I’m not dressed in Bills or Patriots gear, but that was on purpose.  I was trying to stay in fully neutral territory; mission accomplished.  But my sister and b-i-l weren’t so neutral . . .

No sir–they fully embraced their surroundings (I think the stories about crazy Bills fans had them convinced that the prudent and safe thing to do was to root for the home team).   But Ralph Wilson Stadium did them no harm.

Of course, they didn’t go all out like this gentleman did, but that’s okay.  Maybe next game?

While the game started off slowly with some questionable players on the field . . .

. . . it soon turned into a nail-biter.

My poor Mr. lost his voice singing his heart out . . . HEEAAEEAAY . . . HEEAAEEAAY . . . LET’S GO BUFFALO! . . . LET’S GO BUFFALO!  And then he found himself looking at this.  And memories of Wide Right came flooding back.  Could this time be different?  Could the Bills really end a 15-game losing streak?!

Oh yes they could!!!!  And there’s Fred Jackson’s victory lap to prove it . . .

It was truly a moment.  Truly.  We stayed a while to soak it in.  My Mr. had been waiting a looooooong time for that, and I was happy to oblige.

Of course, my Mr. wasn’t the only one celebrating . . .

Nope.  Pauly D got in on the action too . . .

As did Deenie the Magic Maker . . . go ahead and try to wipe that smile off his face!

Overall, great times.  Even for those in our crew that were routing for the Brady Bunch.

So there you have it.  The Bills are #1 in the AFC East.  Alone at the top.  Any bets on how long it will last?  Should Mr. Bunches buy his tickets now to the Superbowl?

This post brought to you by the Buffalo Bills, Wilson, and Doritos.

Oh, and for those of you wondering–yes, our house survived Idiot Nation.  Just barely.  Of course, I’m not sure Buffalo did, but that’s a story for another time and place . . . :)

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.  Guess what’s happening this weekend?!  An all-out idiot convention at our home . . . That’s right–the Mr.’s idiots (that’s just my loving term for them–they really are great guys) will be descending upon our house for some merriment prior to the main Buffalo attraction on Sunday . . .

Yessiree–the undefeated Bills versus the undefeated Patriots.  Who will be the last team standing?  Last year, we watched the game in Gillette Stadium and managed to find some devoted Bills fans, e.g. Superfan Ken Johnson.

For some reason, I also decided to sport a gangsta look for the game.  Not entirely sure where I was going with this, but at least I was buckled up for safety, right?

All in all, it was a good time had by all . . .

. . . although despite cheers from arguably one of the Bills’ biggest fans . . .

Somehow the Bills still lost (which meant my Patriots won–hooray!  Sorry Mr. Bunches).

But who knows what will happen this Sunday.  And with so many idiots in town, anything’s possible.  We’ll have Olsen . . .

Along with an assortment of the other idiots . . . Mr. Rockstar and Mr. Holoholo of Aloha Party fame . . .

. . . Deenie the Magic Maker . . .

. . . and others as yet to be determined (RSVPs would be nice boys . . . ).

Oh, and don’t worry–I don’t plan on being totally outnumbered.  My sis and her hubby will also be flying in for the festivities . . . thank goodness.  At least I won’t be the only one holding down the estrogen fort.

So who’s it going to be . . . Bills or Patriots?  Will the idiots prove themselves victorious?  Or will I be the last woman Patriot fan standing?  Take our poll to tell us what you think (all you have to do is click a button–it’s simple, so don’t be scared.  Just click.  I know you can do it.  C’mon.  Try it.  You might like it.)

All Fenced In

It’s been no secret that our home required some vision . . . some serious vision.  Because there was a lot to see past.  A lot.  Like a jungle of weeds . . .

and a pine forest . . .

Oh, and some bushes on steroids . . .

But I knew that the potential was there (and the Mr. . . . ?  Well, not so much initially, but boy has he come around–he loves this place now), and is still there (lord knows this home will be a work in progress for some time, but we’re okay with it.  Nothing great happens overnight, right?).  And now, we can see glimpses of that potential . . . just check out our new view of the side yard (aka the former residence of the steroidal bushes):

Not too shabby, eh?  That’s taken from almost the same spot.  And how about that same side yard from the front of the house . . .

Total transformation, isn’t it?  All that luscious green grass . . . it’s basically exactly what the Mr. wanted (and I sure as heck ain’t complaining; especially since the Mr. has assured me that I will never have to mow it).  Oh, and did you see our new fence?!  Yep–that’s our 6-foot-tall-pressure-treated-pine privacy fence that we had put in along the back of our property.  It replaced a pretty nasty (and dangerous-looking) chain link fence.

Turns out that there are a lot of fencing options out there, but we went with the pressure-treated pine because it was, well, quite frankly, the cheapest.  Although, technically those pre-built spruce fence sections at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot are the cheapest, but they also don’t last very long.  We wanted something that was long-lasting, but wouldn’t break the bank.  And Iroquois Fence (our installers) assured us that we would get 25-30 years from this beauty.  We put it only along the back property line and not the side because, well, just look (obviously this was taken during the patio demo phase, but you get the idea):

We could practically reach our hands over the fence and stick them in our neighbors’ above-ground pool.  No thank you.  Our neighbors are great and all, but it almost felt like we were sitting in their backyard (minus the actual benefits of sitting in their pool or hot tub).  And now that we had demolished the trees and shrubbery bonanza that was happening back there, well, there was nothing on their side of the fence to block the view.  But now, we have privacy, and, well, so do they.

Why didn’t we replace the other chain-link fence you’re wondering?  We thought about it, but the expense would have been almost double (and $2,000 is a lot to start with for just the 82 feet of fence that we did, so $4,000 was a bit too much for us at this point), and there are a lot of plantings and yard space between us and them.  So we opted not to.  At least for now.  And I’m planning to add some type of plantings along the chain link (in addition to the lilac bush already there) that will hopefully provide more cover in the future.  Any suggestions Mom?

Mom–did you notice that we left the hostas?  Don’t they look awesome?

So not only did we have sod lain and a fence installed, but Steve (our contractor) finally finished the stone wall portion of the patio.  Finally.  Only one month late.  So basically, in contractor-speak, he was right on time.

But of course, the saga doesn’t end there.  Oh heck no–this saga is going to be like the SAW films . . . with potentially no end in sight, and basically the same story told again and again with new characters.  Like our new character in this chapter–the pile of red bricks laid out on our patio.  Did you notice them?  Of course you did–how could you miss them?  Well, apparently that’s for the rest of the patio project that Steve still hasn’t finished.  I’m pretty sure at this point he just likes to move bricks around . . .

See that stretch of brick-less wood underneath our sliding glass doors?  Steve said he would come back every day until he finished it.  Well, that was last Tuesday.  As in 9 days ago.  Yeah–NINE.  As in niner.  And we haven’t seen him since.  To say that I’m getting angry would be a total lie.  I’m furious.  I’m about to get some mortar and just do it myself.  UGH.  Oh well, at least the Mr. was making a funny face for the camera to lighten the mood.

So there you have it, progress.  It’s kind of like that Disney ride, the Carousel of Progress, where slowly but surely things change.  Maybe I can even get the Mr. to start sporting a mustache and an ascot . . .

Oh, and for my biggest sister, as promised–here’s proof that we didn’t kill every tree surrounding our home.  There are still a lot of trees since the streets are all tree-lined . . . 

Feel better sis?

Cold Hard Steel

I chose this post title and then decided to Google it for some inspiration.  What did I find?  Romance novels and adult websites.  Oops.

I think it goes without saying, though, that this post isn’t going in that direction.  Sorry Olsen.  Nope, instead we have some big news.  Some big cold hard steel news . . . we got new appliances!  So say goodbye to this . . .

And hello to this . . .

It’s like Christmas came early!  I even got to unwrap it!

Awesome, huh?  Almost as good as the BRAND NEW CAR.  Except this time we didn’t have to travel to Cleveland.  Instead, they came directly to us (courtesy of Sears).  See, I was all inspired by my recent trip to my sister’s when we did a mini renovation of her kitchen, and so when I got back the Mr. and I headed to the mall to see if we could find any Labor Day appliance deals.  And sure enough, Sears was having a sale, so we went hog-wild.  We bought our fancy Kenmore Elite fridge complete with an in-door ice maker (for those who know the Mr., then surely you know his love for ice).

Oh yes sirree . . . free ice right in our door!  Maybe this means there will be fewer trips to Taco Bell?  I won’t hold my breath.

But not only did we get a new fridge, nope, we went hog wild and no one who’s hog wild only buys one appliance.  Please–that would be ridiculous.  We also got a brand new dishwasher!  So goodbye old almond-colored relic of the 80s.

Kitchen

And hello empty hole!

Oh wait, that doesn’t sound right.  I meant hello shiny new dishwasher!

Oh yes, the Sears salesperson sucked us in good.  And we bit.  We bit hard on yet another Kenmore beauty.

So there you have it–slow but steady progress.  We also got ourselves a new countertop microwave, but I neglected to grab any pics of it.  Oh, and we also have some more appliances coming in another couple weeks, but I’ll share more on those when they arrive.  Can you hardly wait?!  Well, wait.

Now we just need to get new flooring, paint the cabinets, replace the countertop, change the hardware, paint the walls, adjust the layout, get a real hood vent, and win the lottery.  Easy peasy.

Put a Cork in It

Even though our to-do list seems to be growing at breakneck speed around our new home, somehow I find myself getting preoccupied with small projects.  Maybe because I can feel accomplished that something gets finished?  Even though it’s entirely not necessary, critical, or even (the Mr. might argue) even beneficial in the tiniest way?  Hmm . . . maybe it’s just my way of procrastinating on the big projects.  Like those two brand new toilets that have been sitting in our garage for a few weeks waiting patiently to be installed.  Yeah, that’s probably it.

Nevertheless, here are some details on a random project that I undertook during the middle of unpacking the kitchen.  That’s right–I stopped unpacking the myriad of kitchen gadgets, dishes, food-stuffs, and all things useful so that I could get this pressing project completed.  So what was so pressing?  Or at least pressing in my procrastinating mind?  Well, it was lining drawers.  Specifically, these fancy kitchen drawers with built-in dividers:

Who knew that behind this dated facade there was some serious forward-thinking function?!

Kitchen

But I’ll divulge more of that later.  For now, let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised to find that the two drawers underneath the cooktop had built-in drawer dividers.

Awesome, right?  Yes and no.  Yes because I have a ton of gadgets and cook’s tools that need organization; and no because, upon closer inspection, they were a bit chewed up and nasty-looking.

While I’m all for getting more fiber in our diets, I’m not that keen on getting it in the form of fibrous wood splinters.  So of course I needed to do something immediately.  I was just NOT going to unpack anything into those drawers until the situation had been remedied.  Again, we’re talking some serious unpacking procrastination going on here . . . 

So what did I do?!  Well, I remembered that years ago I had bought some cork tiles . . . See, I had a grand idea of making some cool DIY corkboard wall . . . 

Image from here.

Needless to say, though, it didn’t happen.  Instead, I had five 12 x 12 cork tiles that remained unused in a plastic storage bin with a bunch of my other crafty/DIY project supplies.  But alas–now I had an idea!  And those cork tiles would finally be used!  Oh happy day.  And so, just this once, hoarding craft supplies paid off.  Take that Mr. Bunches!

Shockingly, I was able to lay my hands on the tiles pretty quickly, and then I just gathered some other tools–basically a pair of scissors and some junk mail.

I used the junk mail to make templates of each area I wanted to cover with cork . . .

And then just cut out cork pieces to match the templates.

Since the pieces were just the right size, and about a 1/4 inch thick, all I had to do was slide them into place and they stayed put–no glue or tape needed.

You can also see in those pictures that I used a plastic drawer liner to line the bottoms of each section.  I picked up the liner during our trip to Costco, and I just cut it to size and laid it down.

Easy-peasy fix to some seen-better-days drawer cubbies, huh?

So once I finished my 30-minute diversion project, I could finally put stuff in those drawers.  Hallelujah.

Now I can rest easy that I won’t end up with wood splinters in my next batch of brownies.  Oh, and no judgments on the number of measuring cups I have . . . I use them all–I swear!

Anyone else find yourself procrastinating on big to-do items so that you can accomplish seemingly trivial and unnecessary smaller tasks?  Or is it just me?

Okay–new posts soon on our finished hardwood floors and some other home updates . . . stay tuned!

A Christening (of sorts)

Yes, there’s a slight redundancy to my post titles this week, but that’s just where I’m at these days.  Again–deal.

As I mentioned yesterday, we’ve moved into our BRAND NEW HOME!  Okay, I promise that will be my last Bob Barker impersonation (this week).  And since our home was built in the 1960s, I guess it doesn’t actually qualify as brand new, but it’s brand new to us, so there.  Anyways, we moved in late last week so that we could get ready for our first ever houseguests: Mike and Carrie!  You may remember them from here, here, here, here, and here.  Phew.

They might seriously be one of the most attractive couples ever.  Like model attractive . . . like model for a big-time company attractive?  (Yep–Mike’s a model.  And we got to hang out with him.  No big deal.  That’s just how Mr. Bunches and I roll–ya’ know, with models.)

We took the happy couple to one of our favorite spots: Niagara Falls.  Unfortunately, we weren’t in time to catch the sunset, but I did manage to grab one shot on our drive at least.  The sky was phenomenal.

Once we made it across the border to Canada, it was all sightseeing from there.  And posing.  Lots and lots of posing (like I said–models).

Oh, and for those of you who haven’t been to Niagara Falls at night–they light up!  And change color!  And sometimes fireworks magically shoot out of them (generally on Friday and Saturday nights I think).  It’s pretty romantic . . .

We also managed to make it out (finally) to my M-I-L’s home on Lake Ontario.  Boy was that worth the wait!  We even saw some Amish on our way there . . .

Oh boy, right?  This was definitely a quiet area . . . and all roads led to blue.  Ontario blue.

More Amish.  Check out the stroller–widdled from a solid piece of wood.

Eventually we had to turn.  Clearly.

The house was really spectacular.  Especially with our BRAND NEW CAR parked in front.  Hee-hee.

But the best was yet to come.  Just around back . . .

Talk about a WOW moment.

It was amazing.  All that grass.  And all that lake!

I seriously needed to kick off my shoes and kick back.  The view was just calling for it.

Of course, the house was perfectly situated to drink in all that gorgeousness.  The great room in the back had light pouring through it.  Stunning.

We all had a wonderful time.  Carrie even made a new friend . . . a Chunk look-a-like!

And found one of the best seats EVER . . . what a great way to grown-up-ify an old swing set (I know it’s a made-up word, but get off my back!).

Not only did we drink in the gorgeous view, but we also took in another bit of wondrousness (yep–that’s two made up words so far) . . .

Image from here.

That’s right–the Bills did the unthinkable: they WON!  41 to 7 no less.  Saying that the Mr. was excited would be such an understatement that it’s actually not even worth saying.

Some others, though, couldn’t bother to let it interrupt their napping . . .

Thanks again Mike and Carrie for christening our new home!  And thanks to our M-I-L for such a fantabulous visit (yep–that’s three)!

A Homecoming (of sorts)

As most of you saw yesterday, we got a BRAND NEW CAR.  Nope, the novelty of it hasn’t worn off yet, so I’m still doing Bob Barker announcements each time I get in it.  I’m starting to think the Mr. might be getting annoyed, but when has that ever stopped me?  And so you also know that we bought it in Cleveland.  And since we were in Ohio, I thought it worthwhile to see if I could get a quick fix.  You know–something to quell that craving that’s been nagging me ever since we moved to Western NY.  Of what?  Oh, just my favorite place in the whole wide world (second of course to our new home, but still–it’s up there) . . .

Oh Happy Day!!  I was so excited when our Garmin found not one, but three Costco’s just outside of Cleveland and one was oh-so-conveniently right on our way back to Buffalo.  Joy.  Rapture.  Best.  Day.  Ever.  I love Costco–yes, I said LOVE.  And I meant it.

So we did some shopping.  Some serious shopping.

You know, for the essentials.  Like Cheerios.  M&Ms.  Cheez-Its.  Water.  Just the four main food groups.  (I’m actually a little embarrassed by this cart picture because we really don’t eat that much junk.  The thing is that we’re having a bunch of house guests for a little football game in a couple of weeks, so the junk food is for that.  Uh, yeah, that’s it–it’s for the football party.  I mean, I don’t even like Cheez-Its.  Or M&Ms.)

And since we had to fuel up for the ride home, food was key.  And what better place to dine than Costco?

$1.50 for the world’s best hot dog AND a fountain drink?  Yes please!

Oh how I missed you.

I love Buffalo and I love that we moved from Boston to Western New York, but not having a nearby Costco has been tough.  Real tough.  At least now I should be good for another few months.  The tremors have at least stopped.  Sigh.

It’s a BRAND NEW CAR!

That’s right kids . . . we got a BRAND NEW CAR! (You have to say it in your head just like Bob Barker every single time.)

Of course, sadly, we didn’t actually win a BRAND NEW CAR on the Price is Right.  Sigh.  But, we did buy one.  Where you ask?  Where did we get our BRAND NEW CAR? (You’re still saying it like Bob Barker, right?  Good.)

Why Cleveland, duh!  I mean, it’s only 3.5 hours from Buffalo, so that’s nothing!  (I actually had no idea we lived that close to Cleveland . . . I’m not sure what significance that may have in the future, but still–it’s good to know that if we needed to get to Cleveland, we could.  And in only 3.5 hours.  Still not sure how that’s useful, but somehow it sort of feels like it is.)

I realized too late on our road trip that I should probably have taken one of these shots earlier as this is highly deceptive.

So yep–to Cleveland we drove.  And then we drove right through it.  So here’s a quick fly-by shot.

Cleveland.  Check.

Eventually we arrived at the dealership (they gave us the best price by far, so it was worth the trip) and picked up our BRAND NEW CAR.  We did the whole purchase via email and the phone, so thankfully we didn’t have to do any haggling.  And actually, by “we” I mean the Mr.  He took care of the whole thing while I was in Texas having a kitchen reno party with my sister.  Isn’t he just the best?

Okay, so are you just itching to find out what our BRAND NEW CAR is?  Are you on the edge of your seat?  Can you really believe that we bought a BRAND NEW CAR?  Can you tell that I just like saying BRAND NEW CAR (always in my best Bob Barker voice)?  Alright, well here it is:

TA-DA!  That’s right–our BRAND NEW CAR is a Subaru Outback.  Isn’t it purty?  We love it.  The Mr. especially.  He just can’t get enough.

We had to squeeze it into the garage the first night because the Mr. refused to let it sit in the driveway.

And yes–that might as well be an advertisement for Ganley Subaru, but we don’t mind–they were so great to deal with.  If you ever find yourself in Cleveland and want to buy a BRAND NEW CAR, we recommend Sarah from Ganley Subaru.

Oh, and for those of you who are observant out there, you may have noticed that there’s quite a bit of stuff in our garage.  Well, that’s because we’ve finally moved into our new home!  Yep–last week, on the same day we drove to Cleveland and back with our BRAND NEW CAR, we also rented a U-Haul and moved our stuff from Moose’s warehouse to our new place.  Yeah, we’re over-achievers like that.

And yes–that’s pretty much all of our stuff.  What can I say?  The Mr. is a minimalist and he’s been rubbing off.  But more on our new home soon.  There are lots of exciting things to share, so stay tuned.  But I didn’t want to distract any attention away from our BRAND NEW CAR, so that’s why this post is dedicated to only that.

Anyone else have a BRAND NEW CAR?  Do you also feel the need to do a Bob Barker impersonation every time you get in it?  Any thoughts on our choice?  I wanted a Prius, but I think the Subaru Outback, with AWD, will probably be a better choice for surviving the winters in Buffalo, and I have to say I’m super happy with it.  And I’m super happy that I now have a legitimate reason for doing Bob Barker impressions.

Kitchen Remodel Vacation

How does that sound to you?  Awesome, right?  You’d totally pay for the experience, wouldn’t you?  Like one of those vacations where you really just go and work for someone else–like on a farm or in a winery or what have you.  Who came up with that brilliant idea?  OH wait–maybe it was the farmers, winery owners, etc. looking for some free labor . . . duh.  Anyways, I was out of town last week for work and luckily I got to spend the long weekend at my sister’s house remodeling her kitchen (you had to see that coming, right?).

So I don’t want to steal her thunder since I’m sure she’ll do a more detailed post on her blog, but here’s just a little of what we accomplished for less than $200.  (And please forgive the minimal pics–again, not trying to usurp my big sis.)

Where we started (this is what the kitchen looked like over a year ago when they bought the house):

So I think my mom might be the only one to disagree, but aren’t those cabinets just hurting your eyes?  It’s hard to tell in those pictures, but trust me–they had some serious orange-shininess happening!  Straight from the 90s (or maybe just straight from Texas since apparently my sister said every house they saw had cabinets like that)?    Anyways, ever since I first visited, I have considered it my own personal mission to refinish those cabinets.  I’m not kidding–I had dreams nightmares about those things!  It was a good thing that my sister agreed that they were awful (although I was so determined that I’m not entirely sure her opinion would have really mattered).  So over Labor Day weekend we transformed them.

First step?  Sanding.  Ugh.  We thought we could avoid the whole sanding issue by using Rust-Oleum’s Cabinet Transformations, but after doing some research it was clear that Rust-Oleum’s kit was not going to give us the solid white/cream look we were going for.  Apparently, Rustoleum’s Cabinet Transformations are a stain-based product, so to get a solid finish (we didn’t want to use a glaze for that weathered look), it would have taken at least four coats and even then it was unlikely that the color would have been exactly right.  Good thing we did some research, huh?  

Here are the cabinet doors all sanded and awaiting a coat of primer:

There were a LOT of cabinet doors.  And this picture doesn’t even capture all the drawers!  I’m getting tired again just looking at this.

Oh, and I took care of doing all the sanding outside.  It’s basically a pretty messy process.  Which is probably an understatement.

Anyways, once everything was sanded, then we primed ‘em up.  I’m pretty much a pro at priming now (remember that room of paneling in our new house?  Well, let’s just say it was a priming disaster, but more on that later).

Oh, and I forgot to take pics of all the steps, but here’s the primer we used.  It’s Zinsser’s Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Base Primer.  The paint guy at Lowe’s said it was the best (are they paid to say stuff like that?).

Image from here.

Once we applied one thin and even coat of primer, then we started with the paint.

We originally went with Lowe’s Olympic No-VOC Semi-Gloss paint color-matched to Benjamin Moore’s Cloud White (the trim in my sister’s house isn’t pure white, but more of a cream, so we wanted to match it and Cloud White was the closest paint chip we could find).  So we painted the cabinet doors and the cabinets themselves.  Then we realized that the color was wrong.  It wasn’t color-matched perfectly, and so it was WAY TOO WHITE!  Ack.  So we stopped.  Breathed.  Had a snack.  And decided to pick a new color and send out my brother-in-law to Sherwin Williams.  New color?  Sherwin Williams’ Creamy.  Sounds perfect, doesn’t it?

Sorry about the small swatch, but that’s apparently as big as SW shows on their site.  Image from here.

And we just wanted the Harmony paint (Sherwin Williams’ no-VOC brand).  Image from here.

But since we weren’t the ones at the paint store, it ended up that Josh got up-sold.  To Sherwin Williams ProClassic in Semi Gloss–a paint specifically made for cabinets and trim.

Image from here.  It was actually a good decision–the paint levels to a really smooth finish, so it ended up looking great.  We didn’t have any brush strokes or anything!

So now that we had all the right paint, it was, well, back to painting.

And painting . . .

We were tired.  Very, very tired.

But don’t they look great?

My sister was totally pumped!  It was like she got a whole new kitchen.

Once we let everything dry for a while (probably not long enough, but I had a flight home to catch and I was getting impatient–I wanted to see what it all looked like put together), we put the cabinet doors back up.  And then we decided to add hardware to match the rest of my sister’s home (it’s all oil-rubbed bronze).  So off to Lowe’s again for the 825th time.  But the hardware really made a difference:

These pics were taken at night, so they read a little darker/creamier than in real life.

We weren’t able to get all the drawer pulls in before I left, so I don’t have any completed pics.  For that, you’ll just have to keep checking my sister’s blog for final reveal photos.

Overall, though, it was hard, but totally worth it!!!  We loved the result.  And who knows . . . maybe the Bunches’ kitchen will be next . . .

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