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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Welcome to my home!

Welcome to Serendipity and Sunshine! 

ser·en·dip·i·ty

[ser-uhn-dip-i-tee] 
an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

There's always something going on at my house; good and bad, so stop in often to see what I'm up to. 

This is me. I just got my hair cut that day,
so I look better than usual.
Let's begin by having a somewhat formal introduction. I'm not a terribly formal person, in fact, I'm a regular smart-ass most of the time. Well, there's something. My name is Patricia Newport. I'm a wife, mother, animal lover, gardening fanatic, cooking and food enthusiast, lover of hand made, house remodeler, do-it-yourselfer, knitter, Pinterest addict, designer and probably several other things I can't think of to bore you with. 


For a while now I've been trying to figure out how to share my wide interests and, not to toot my own horn, but my talents, with other like-minded folks. Most people think they don't know how to do something, therefore they just don't do anything on their own. There is very little I wouldn't attempt to tackle in and around my home, so stick around and see what I'm screwing up making or doing!


Long story here, which I won't bore you with the details... mostly because my lawyer says I can't... I was out looking to rent a house (I can't say why), and I accidentally bought a house. This all happened in such a hurry, for reasons I can't mention of course, that we ended up with a house in need of a tremendous amount of TLC. Right. So, how bad can it be? Not too bad if you don't mind mold, subflooring as sturdy as a sheet of paper (not exaggerating here), or load-bearing walls gone A.W.O.L. Then there was endless amounts of leaky plumbing which also spewed forth oodles of sewage all over the basement floor. Only truly a problem in light of the fact someone got rid of all floor drains down there. An air conditioner that blew hot air, a refrigerator that ran like a river across the kitchen floor, hot electric wires laying around unattached inside of walls, roofs with holes, siding that was disintegrating before our very eyes, and the list goes on. 


What the heck did you buy that for?! That's what you are saying. I can hear you! Long story. No, we aren't stupid, mentally infirm or ill-informed. Yes, we got an inspector, he was blind, dumb, and asleep very competant. Like I said, it all happened so fast. Sort of a house buying aneurysm I guess you might say. I'm sticking with that.

Surprise! We won the beautification award!
So, we were forced (by the city in which we now own said lovely abode) to fix all of the above. Pronto. Only problem was there was no money left after accidentally buying the house (and other reasons I can't legally tell you about). So complicated. Short of moving my family out into the back yard to live in a tent, we called up the old attorney who invited the building inspector over for tea. The rest is thankfully history. We FINALLY got the house put back together and just this week passed our final inspection, and can now live safely in our home without fear of sitting on the toilet in a half-asleep 3am stupor and winding up on the basement floor floating in spewing sewage! Whew, that was a close one! 


Did I mention that my darling husband is very handy with a pry bar and jack hammer? Boy howdy, can he rip a house apart! And I'm a cracker-jack with tile and grout, and plumbing a toilet! So, stick around and learn. If you need to know how to tile your shower, or plumb in a "sharkbite" fitting, or install a toilet flange, just ask me!


This was my MasterChef entry.
Impressive, right?
Another skill of mine, cooking. For example- I was on MasterChef last season. Well, not actually ON the show. I didn't quite make it there. After 4 interview rounds I did meet Graham Elliot (celebrity judge) and he was very impressed with me. I could tell because he kept asking me for my recipe! Cheeky bugger. Don't suppose I'd get royalty payment for every bowl of my soup he sells if I gave it to him do you think? Doubtful. Anyway, I'll give you the whole story there some day- I might even give YOU the recipe! Great fun auditioning for a national TV show, something I'll never forget for sure. I may just try again and next time I'll win- mark my words! 


So, I like to cook. I am quite competent at it if I do say so myself. I'll be sharing recipes and such with you. When it comes to cooking I have two very different approaches. One is the part where I love to pull out all the stops and plan an elaborate dinner party, I will prep for a week, and then cook for two days straight! So fun. That sort of cooking doesn't happen a lot around Chez Newport! Who has time for that?! Thanksgiving is a truly "holy" day to me. I take it very seriously and prefer to do it all myself. I know. I'm nuts... That's what you are saying, I can hear you! 


Most days I like to pull together one solid home cooked meal that my kids don't bitch about too much and is more or less healthy. We often eat vegetarian, but not always. I try to keep things pretty low-fat too. I don't do much with pre-made convenience foods. They are expensive and usually taste terrible. I AM a huge fan of Trader Joe's, so I will mention them a lot. They will need to pay me royalties for sure! A decent meal should be easily attainable in less than one hour and be satisfactory to at least 3 out of 4 members of my family. Usually the 11 yr old complains and won't eat, but then he never does- so I just don't worry about it. His loss!


Then there's the gardening thing. Boy do I love that! I suck at house plants. Don't get me wrong here, I love the IDEA of them. I just get too bored with their needy little reality. I pamper them for a little while and then they all up and die because I got too busy plumbing in a new toilet. Ingrates! So, I really focus on the outdoor plant life. It's short and intense in Michigan most years, so I can pay extreme attention to it until it all dies. Kind of like me and house plants except the outdoor stuff is supposed to die at the end of the summer. I do the whole gamut here, we're talking annuals, perennials, fruits, veggies. The vegetable garden is my big passion and I have been known to write about that on my other blog (http://thegardenanticipated.blogspot.com/ ). I will try to be better about that, but may just talk about the garden here too. 
One day's harvest last summer. Who's gonna eat all that!? We did!


I also love knitting, crocheting, sewing, making, drawing, designing, etc. I recently broke my arm (another long story) so much of that is just off the radar- plus it's garden season for crying out loud! What do you want from me?! I do take on an odd craft project from time to time during the summer, but most of that lingers until rainy days or winter. Sit tight if you are looking for a lot of craft projects, or just follow me on Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/pchyphenn/). If you aren't invited to Pinterest you must be a loser. KIDDING! Give me a shout and I'll send you an invite silly!


I also have a couple of ongoing projects I like to call my "children". One is almost complete and will be going to college in a few months (please let her graduate). The other one is a long way from civilized and will take many more fretful, stressful days of training before I can unleash him on the world. You will hear much about these two "projects". :0)


Moose and Clover
There are critters. One on purpose- "Clover". She is my darling sweet little doggy. We also have "Moose" who is an orange tiger cat who decided that we would let him in and feed him. Now he won't leave. I'm not a cat person. Truly not. That being said, Moose is amusing to me. I don't understand him, nor does he understand us... but he's funny. We also have a horse named Suede. No, he doesn't live in our house! He lives in a barn a few miles down the road where we board him. 


So, that's pretty much what I'm about. I look forward to getting to know you! 

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