Leap of Faith

We may have taken a seriously wrong turn but I don’t think we have! We have been searching for a small beach house in the Charleston area for several years. We just couldn’t find the perfect one for us. Then last year, we found one on the market that was in our price range and we thought had great potential. To say that it looked sad & tired is an understatement! It looked nothing like a beach house even though the ocean was only a block and a half down the street.

The house was a short sale and we had no idea about the long grueling process. But, we decided to go for it! It took six long….make that very long months from the time we made the offer to the time we closed! I won’t sugarcoat it as it was a painful process. It was also pretty painful for our friends that had to listen to us whine!

But good things come to those that wait, right?! So the house is ours but now we needed an extreme home & yard makeover. On the HGTV website, we found out about a new show and they were looking for people who had just purchased a beach house (check) and wanted to update it (check)! We applied and actually made it through the initial screen but then we were DENIED! Oh well, I love HGTV anyway.

So we will dive in and get the job done ourselves. I hope you follow along to see our progress.  Before we begin, here is the start of our vision…”SeaRenity Now!” If you aren’t familiar with this Seinfeld episode, it is one of my favorites. We decided to name the beach house after it with a play on the spelling (get it?…SEA). If you missed this episode, check out the highlights here “Serenity Now, Insanity Later!”

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We’ve “Nested!”

Ever since I saw my first Nest, I have wanted one too.  So this past week, I finally bought and installed our new thermostat, the Nest.

The Nest is an impressive thermostat but the technology is what makes it outstanding.  The installation is very easy and they even include a screwdriver and the screws you need.  First you visit the Nest website:  https://nest.com/thermostat/life-with-nest-thermostat/ to check capatibility with your wiring.  If you pass that simple test, you are ready to install your Nest.  I could have completed the installation in about 15 minutes total but I had to do a little painting behind the old thermostat.  Don’t forget to turn off  your current thermostat before disconnecting and turn off the power to the part of your house where your thermostat is located.

After painting, I connected four wires into the Nest and then it was time for programming.  First you connect the Nest to your WiFi and then it will automatically check for software updates.  You then set the lowest minimum temp and the maximum temp for your home.  This means that your house will never be colder than your minimum or warmer than the maximum temp you set.  Next you turn the dial to the temperature you currently want in the house.

Now for the cool part!  Download the Nest app to your smartphone or tablet.  You can then control your thermostat from your phone or tablet.  That may sound silly but let me tell you a couple of things that are very convenient about this feature.  We turn the heat down low at night because we both sleep better when it is cooler.  When we wake up one of us has to go turn the heat up a few degrees to warm up the house but now we can just grab our phone or iPad off the nightstand and adjust the temp.  Easy!  Have you ever left on vacation or a long weekend away and forgotten to change the settings on your thermostat while you are away, well now you can do that from your phone.  Just go to the App and click on “Away.”

It takes a week for the Nest to get to know your habits and your temperature preferences.  After that, it will automatically adjust to your desired temperature several times during the day based on your past preferences.  Of course you can also make adjustments any time you want.  No more programming different programs for weekdays and weekends.  Just install and enjoy!

We have had our Nest installed for just a few days now so it is still learning our schedule.  But so far we love it!  Nest has a new product out that is a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm.  I may have to update our smoke detectors after the holidays!

Nest packaging

Nest Packaging

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Nest Screwdriver

Simple Nest Wiring
Simple Nest Wiring

Updating Software

Updating Software

Installation Complete!

Installation Complete!

One More Gift

There are so many reasons why I love this time of year.  I started a tradition a long time ago after I lost my father much too early to cancer.  He passed away in June and when it was time for Christmas, I decided to adopt an ”angel” off the Angel Tree at a local department store in his memory.

As I lost additional family members through the years, I would adopt additional angels in their name.  I also asked my friends to support their local Angel Tree instead of giving a gift to me.  I started this tradition over 20 years ago and last year, my husband and I started a new tradition.  We now adopt a family and help them at Christmas.  As much as I love opening gifts with my family, I have to admit that when I deliver the gifts to our adopted family, sharing that joy with them is my favorite part of Christmas.

This year, we have a single mom and her 12 year-old daughter, whom I’ll call Jill.  Jill’s wish this year was to have her room painted pink and she also wanted a zebra comforter set with matching curtains.  Two weeks ago we delivered that comforter set and curtains along with a stocking full of girly things and some clothes for her.  We also picked out some things for her mom too.  We contacted our local painter, Bear Mountain, and told them about Jill’s wish.  Bear Mountain donated the labor and most of the paint and Sherwin Williams also contributed some of the paint.  Bear Mountain painted the entire room including the ceiling.  On Christmas morning Jill, will have her Christmas wish wrapped in her new comforter set in her pink room!  My sincere thanks go out to Bear Mountain Painters and Sherwin Williams for their generosity.

Giving just feels good especially this time of year.  There are so many ways you can give of yourself and giving doesn’t always mean money.  You can give of your time through a charity or mentoring.  Find a cause you believe in and make a difference.

One charity that I think is fun and a little different is Kiva.  On Kiva, you can make loans of all sizes to entrepreneurs all over the world.   Your loan is typically repaid a little at a time.  I wait until the loan is halfway re-paid and then I loan it out to another entrepreneur.

One of my New Year’s resolutions this year will be to give more of myself next year.  I lost a dear friend last week.  She was sick for only a few weeks and unfortunately I didn’t get to say goodbye.  She gave so much of herself to our church and to our outreach projects.  I will miss her so much.  She was someone I always admired and so I want to give more of myself next year, in her honor.

We can all make a difference in this world.  It doesn’t matter how small or big the gift.  It is just a matter of reaching out

“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.” ~ Mother Teresa

Yikes! The Holidays Are Just Around the Corner


How does it happen every year?  I think there is some sort of conspiracy that the days get shorter around October 1st and then the holidays just suddenly are upon us.  Consider this your warning….in a little over eight weeks we will be celebrating Christmas.  Don’t take me wrong, I love this time of year.  I just wish my new iPhone assistant Siri could take over and do the prep work for me!

On a recent beach trip with some college friends of my husband’s, one of the wives was in charge of breakfast the first day.  We always sleep in on vacation so Mr. 25th Hour Gal and I were the last two up that day.  We were told that the Beach Breakfast Mix was in the refrigerator.   I was really hoping it wasn’t something healthy.  Not that I have anything against healthy eating, I just wasn’t in the mood that Saturday morning for granola and fruit.

The Beach Breakfast Mix was a wonderful mix of eggs, bacon, cheese and spices.  You spread this on an English Muffin, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and broil it for about 5 minutes or until it is golden brown.  I loved it and it was just what I needed that morning.  The best part was that everyone had a hot breakfast whenever they woke up that day.  No cold leftovers for those late risers.

After returning home, it dawned on me that this would be perfect for the holidays when we have a lot of family in town and everyone seems to eat breakfast at different times.  Especially great for Thanksgiving morning when Mr. 25th Hour Gal is preparing the Turkey and I am making endless casseroles and desserts (I don’t want anyone to go hungry at my house).

So, here is the recipe.  Thanks to Mary E. for sharing.

Breakfast Mix
  • 12 Hard Boiled Eggs Chopped
  • 1 lb Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 6 oz. Bacon, Cooked & Crumbled (You can also use the “real” bacon bits as a short cut)
  • 3/4 cup Mayonnaise
  • 2 Tablespoons Spicy Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Small Onion finely diced (if desired)
  • Pepper to taste
Mix together and refrigerate.  When ready to serve, spread on a split English muffin.  Top with grated Parmesan and place under the broiler under golden brown.  Enjoy!
What is your favorite holiday recipe?  I would love to have a few new recipes this year ~ 25th Hour Gal.