Thursday, January 31, 2013

Can't Believe January is Already Finished!

Can you believe it?  We're already done with January and heading into February.  The holiday decorations have been packed up for almost a month and spring seems to be right around the corner.  I can't believe it.  Tonight I'm pulling down my New Year's decorations, but before I do, I thought I'd let you see them.

"Be always at war with your vices,
at peace with your neighbors,
and let each new year find you a better man"
--Benjamin Franklin
First, our inspirational quote...this quote replaced "'Twas the night before Christmas..."   (You can still see the North Star left from the Christmas quote.)  Now it is time for me to come up with a quote about love for Valentine's.

Nice photo, right?  (Not!)
These little Ikea tea lights are a perfect place to add seasonal sayings.  Different fonts, different sayings, different looks.

Loved how this project turned out!

Finally, this actually turned out to be my favorite "decoration".  I used 3M stickers to put a poster board with the heading "In 2013, I'd like to..." on the wall, put out a box of sharpies and left my family to do what they chose.  It was so fun to see what each of us wanted to do...

Sewing, computers, savings, rock climbing, and
deadlifts, butterfly pull-ups, reading is a varied list.

Everything from better performance at the gym and saving money...

Horses, gardens, vegetables, savings, a pull-up, a muscle up, single-unders.
Then, there are the specific ones: 6:30 mile, 350 deadlift (yeah, right!), etc.
To improving other skills and gaining new one...I loved "get even more cats"!  It was really great to see what everyone was interested in as the month progressed.  What will be even more interesting?  To see how much we have accomplished by the end of the year!


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Absence Did NOT Make the Heart Grow Fonder...

When Superman came home in November, he was so happy to be home and so grateful to be out of his CHU ("Containerized Housing Unit") that he found most of our home "perfect".  Most of our home.  That rosy view of things did NOT extend to our stairs. 

Ugly Carpet, Squeaky Stairs
Nope, every time he went up or down the stairs, he got more and more disgruntled with them.  He started researching "How to Replace Your Stairs" online.  He started watching a lot of YouTube videos.  He started looking at materials at Home Depot and Lowe's.  He started his campaign to convince me it could be done in one day.  (Hey!  It was an important point...all the bedrooms are upstairs!)

Not one of the treads was made with a single board.  No wonder
the darned things squeaked and felt wobbly!!
Finally, the disgusting (yes, disgusting) carpet was ripped up and we quickly discovered that a) there was a good reason the stairs never seemed firm and b) of course, it was going to be bigger job than Superman had anticipated.

Hey, let's just use leftover 2 x 4s!!

The treads weren't actually treads...they were made of scrap wood left over from the initial construction of our home.

Ooh, yeah, let's use leftover particle board siding for the risers, too!

The risers weren't right, either...they were actually made of leftover siding and just turned around.  Fabulous construction, isn't it?  We were appalled.

The view from the top of the stairs...stipped down to the stringer.  Three
stairs at a time, so the upstairs wasn't cut off for too long.

So, it was all the way down to the stringers and starting from scratch...poor Superman!  He enlisted some child labor, though, the job went quickly.

Ah, this is what treads and risers are supposed to look like!
Superman kept his promise and were replaced in a day.  The end of the first day saw first phase of the project completed...but not before "someone" let the crowbar fall back behind the stairs and slide all the way to the bottom step.

And off comes the riser to retrieve the crowbar...and a few screws that were
dropped along the way...
A little "de" construction was necessary to actually finish the job for the day.  (Still not sure which of the men bears responsibility for the crowbar is dependent upon which one of them you ask!)  Finally, to finish the job, the next day, Superman added stained bullnose treads and finished risers.

Aren't they gorgeous?  Best of all, they're so sturdy and quiet! 
Functional beauty...absolutely fabulous!
And, just like that, we went from disgusting stairs to beautiful stairs.  Well worth the inconvenience, wouldn't you say?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Valentine's Craftiness

I saw this post of The Peanut Paintshop on Pinterest.  She's selling these and if you don't have the time or the inclination to make your own, you should head over to her shop at and buy some.

Still, I'm always on the lookout for new crafts, so I decided I had to make my own. 

Five $0.79 hearts from Hobby Lobby and $1.50 in ribbon from Hancock Fabrics and I was ready to go for less than $6.00.  We had the paints at home and Buttercup and I enjoyed an afternoon of crafting and chick flicks.  What could be better? 

The names are painted on, instead of using vinyl letters.
Anyway, I used my Silhouette machine to cut vinyls of everyone's names and used the negative space to create stencils.  (I could have just used red vinyl, but I decided to practice the whole "painting with stencils" instead.)   So, the names are painted on the hearts.
I played around with the colors of conversation hearts,
just made them deeper.
A quick clear coat and they were ready...I sewed the ribbon to a D-ring I had in my stash, stapled the hearts to the ribbon and, viola!, a super cute (and super inexpensive) Valentine's decoration.

Oh, and they turned out so well, I made another set for my sister-in-law, paying special attention to the baby arriving this summer. 

Boy or girl?  We've got it covered!

The names on the little hearts?  If it is a boy, my nephew thinks it should be named "Lightning McQueen" and if it is a girl, "Sparkles".   Works for me!

Doesn't every home office have an xBox?
P.S.  In case you're wondering what Superman was doing during all my craftiness, I'd have to say he was embarrassing his son...yes, he's trying get up to speed on the latest xBox games.  Valiant says Superman is a "noob", poor guy!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Back to Blogging after a Four-Month Hiatus!

It has been four months plus since my last blog post.  You know how people always say things like, "Oh, I can't believe how much time has passed?"  Um, I am not going to say that!  I can completely believe it.  We've had a crazy busy past four months and I'm actually glad that things have finally calmed down enough that I have the time to blog again. 

Let me catch you up:

Superman is home for good!  Woot!  Yes, indeed!  After almost three years (!) of contracting overseas, Superman came home.  Best of all, we managed to "sneak" him home a month earlier than the kids expected!  We pulled off the last, best suprise of the journey.  The kids thought their dad was coming home on December 1, so imagine the surprise when the two younger kids registered the sound of my car pulling into the garage, registered the sound of the door opening, didn't even look up when someone walked up the stairs, and then caught sight of their dad!  It was amazing.  We kept the surprises going by inviting Charming to meet up with us for dinner and got to see the look on his face when he walked into the restaurant and saw his father!  Seriously, being able to surprise your adult and almost adult children is NOT easy and oh-so fun...

The spider knew my secret!

The next night we had dinner at the house and the boys decided to play around with Nagle family deadlifts.  (Seriously, Crossfit families are just weird!)

Boys will be boys...the hardest part?  Holding on to the bar!
Charming deadlifted Superman...

"I've got you, Dad!"
Then Valiant stepped up to deadlift Superman...

Valiant was up next...
Then Superman deadlifted little Buttercup.  With...

Buttercup had no problem holding on!
...and without the bar!

But she found it a little more difficult to be the bar!
Then life began to settle back into normal-for-us Nagle5 craziness.  Man, it is good to have Superman home!

I hope you'll enjoy the ride as I fast forward you through the holidays and the projects and the other good stuff that makes up a normal life...I'll give you a few hints of what is coming up:  Scrabble, stairs, bed, hearts, and frames!