Monday, September 3, 2012

My most recent project

Not completed but definitely ready for a reveal…
He took 9+ months but I have to say he is one of my top three projects ever!
My sporadic-at-best posting will probably be nonexistent for a while as we get used to being a family of 5 and I get used to running around after 3 kiddos. 
I have heard that going from two children to three is easier than going from one to two…I hope that is right!  So far so good!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meal prep nesting

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I must be nesting big-time because in the last few days I have had a burst of energy and got a lot done.  And none too soon!!  I have been a little freaked out because I have absolutely NOTHING done in preparation for the new baby to come in August.  No tiny onsies washed, no car seat ready, nada. 
That needed to change!  And being that this is baby #3, there will be two other little people for me to take care of when I’m adjusting to a new little one in the household, so I was hoping to get some meals in the freezer ahead of time for those postpartum weeks of chaos.  Our local Rainbow Foods was having a good sale on chicken last week so I picked some up along with a book called Don’t Panic, Dinner’s in the Freezer from the library.  
Today, I spent about one and a half hours making 4 different recipes out of the book and I am so super excited to have 6 meals all ready to pull out of the freezer when I need them.  I have never made anything out of the books before so I hope the recipes are good (they seemed like they would be), but they were super easy so my time was well spent. 
It just makes me a little giddy to see all these meals ready for the day I will need them!
I plan to copy down the recipes that I have used so that if they are great I will have them for future cooking.  I did write very brief cooking instructions on the bags although that is probably mostly unnecessary.  One never knows though, I may be in such a sleep-deprived haze I may need them!!
I have some pork in the fridge I plan to do the same thing with.  Yay!
This nesting urge is definitely taking over my life!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Our little getaway to Le Chateau

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A couple weeks ago my husband and I took a little weekend vacation sans children (well, except for the latest little bean which we just couldn’t leave behind!).  It was lovely.  We try to get away for a couple nights by ourselves every year which can be tricky, but this year in spite of our almost 2 year old getting sick the day before we left, it worked out. 
We went to a larger town a few hours away which was the perfect distance.  It didn’t require hours and hours of driving and it was in many ways very different from where we live. 
The first night we dined at a most interesting restaurant.  It is called Le Chateau and this is what you see when you pull up:
Isn’t it gorgeous?
This French restaurant is housed in a historic mansion and is run by two chefs, who are actually husband and wife.  The wife has a most exquisite French accent and is a most gracious hostess.  Her pronunciation of my husband’s name on the voicemail confirming our reservations is something worthy of imitation.  He agrees.  : ) 
The food is wonderful.  The menu is rather small, but what they do, they do well.  We started off our meal with an amuse-bouche of chilled asparagus veloute.  It was delicious;  I liked it better than my husband who is a bit skeptical of cold soup however.  Although I had heard of the term before, I thought our server told us that this was “Amish brew” when she brought it out to us and I had her repeat it.  I was wondering what on earth Amish brew was!!!
Then we got a platter of bread, whipped butter, and olive oil for dipping.  The bread was amazing!  There was the traditional French baguette and then a more flavorful foccaccia-type bread that was delicious dipped in olive oil. 
I ordered a salad as I was very very hungry.  It again was wonderful.  The flavors were not too intense yet were definitely not your average variety.  I love balsamic vinaigrette and it was perfect on this asparagus, tomato confit, snow pea, and spring green mix. 
(My husband is trying to decide what he should order!)
I ordered a pasta dish with scallops and was not disappointed.  Yum!!!!  The scallops were so succulent, and they went well with the fettucine and roasted red peppers.
So, so delicious and full of flavor.
My husband got the little neck clams with a wine sauce and angel hair pasta.  It was also delicious but being a scallop lover I, of course, preferred mine. 
His main dish came with a bowl of lemon water for finger cleansing:
I almost forgot!!!  Our surroundings!!  We had requested the Peacock Room and it did not disappoint.  What was especially lovely was that we had this room all to ourselves for most of our meal!!
IMG_4537 (Look at that floor!)
Behold the peacock:

Every touch was perfection.  This house was restored with great care.
I wish I had taken a picture of the ladies’ restroom!  It also was beautiful.
For our final course I chose a Pear Champagne sorbet.  I devoured it before I even took a picture.  It was so refreshing and delicate, just what I wanted after the meal.  My husband ordered a pear tart and it was also good, but just didn’t hit the spot like the sorbet did. 
We had excellent French pressed coffee with our dessert and my husband got all fancy and tried the brown sugar lumps. 
I enjoyed the meal!
We had a wonderful weekend, and this meal was one of the main highlights for me.  What fun!  I hope to go again. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

And then there was light!

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Lightness on the walls and ceiling, that is.  Oh, and we are allllmmooosst ready to put up the pendants, yay!
Our kitchen is looking different!
(Pardon my photography which makes this look completely crooked!)
(And the lack of cupboard doors which makes it look completely messy!)  :-)
The ceiling is painted, the walls are ready for painting (after 2.5 big tubs of drywall compound…I think I may have overdone it…and my husband who had to sand it due to my pregnant condition is sure I did!!).  All drawers are in, and I am in the process of finishing the doors too. 
We’re getting to the fun part!! 
But not quite yet.  (SAD face.)
We still have a little ways to go before the makeup can go on. 
But I can still look at the drawers and get a little fix of what is to come!
(Love these drawer pulls, and we got them for a great deal!!)

Aren’t they pretty??
I’m patiently perusing Craigslist, waiting for the perfect bar stools to come along.  They have to be a certain height, not swivel, and have backs (I don’t want the little ones falling off!).  I have all sorts of storage ideas too that are percolating in my brain.  We plan to put a built-in pantry on the far wall which will probably take forever to get built so until then I need to really consolidate my kitchen stuff.
It doesn’t help that I got a food processor (brand new!) and a food strainer while I was garage saling this weekend!! 
Now back to painting the doors…

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A shower

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Over the weekend another girl and I threw a shower for my close friend Ashley. 
It went well I think, although in my current 7-month pregnant state it was a bit overwhelming and not every candle got lit before the guests arrived. 
And I may have had the guests get ready for a game when it was actually time to eat.  (still embarrassed, though they were all good sports)
Whew!  I’m glad that is done, although I was happy to do it for my dear friend. 
Here are some pictures of the desserts I made:
IMG_4507 Raspberry Mousse Torte
I found chalkboard contact paper on Amazon and made the food signs up the day before.  The great thing is that I can re-use them again and again for various functions!
Flourless Chocolate cake
IMG_4500 The other hostess made the paninis, they were delish!
I wish I had taken the time to take more pictures of the decorations and the other food.  We were so busy though getting it all together I barely had time to pull out my camera. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

When all is quiet on the blog…you know life is super busy!

We’ve been working like crazy on the kitchen!  I will try to take  a picture later today to show you just how much has been done.  Since we’re mostly DIY-ing this, it is going vveerrryyy slowly.  It is painful at times, especially when all my kitchen stuff is in the dining room (and also spilled into the living room) and I can’t find anything when I need it! 
However, I think you will agree when you see the pictures that progress has been made since my last pictures of our kitchen. 
And since my last post was about our lighting decisions, I will reveal which of the contestants made it to Miss Kitchen Light!!
(pregnant pause)
NONE of them!!!
We decided rather spur of the moment to go with something else.  I had just joined a site called Joss and Main and literally that same night I saw this lighting, for a fraction of the retail cost.

I snagged two for $40 each, which ended up way cheaper than this one from Home Depot that was a frontrunner (at $70 bucks apiece):

We have not installed them yet but I really like how they look.  When I first got them I googled to see how much I had saved, and at that time I could not find any that were under about $120.  Just now when I looked I found some that were on clearance for $88.  I still feel pretty good about the deal! 
I’m excited to see how they look when we put them up!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Lighting decisions

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Now that the kitchen is heading a little faster toward finishing (though we have a loooonng way to go!), I have been trying to decide on more of the details like lighting and backsplashes and countertop. 
I was at Home Depot (again) today and I looked at these lights (again):

I really like this look and it is way cheaper than others of this style I have seen on the internet.  I also really like that it is clear and doesn’t take up the visual space of some other types of lighting…which is pretty important in our small narrow kitchen.  We will need two of these…one for over the mini peninsula and one for over the sink. 
What I don’t like about these is that the one I saw at Home Depot on display doesn’t hang straight!!  I asked an employee about it and he said that sometimes you can straighten them by turning the little bulb-holder inside the bell shade, but sometimes they can’t be straightened as it is seed glass and not always completely balanced in weight.  So!  I haven’t bought them yet.  I also prefer a solid rod that suspends the light rather than the cord look that comes with this one. 
This one will probably win, unless I can’t get them balanced looking.  The crookedness would drive me nuts.  I do like it a lot and it is $70 so much more affordable than some.
I have pinned a few others that are of interest. 

This one from lighting direct.

This one from Ikea.  (Again the cord thing though…not liking that look)

Lighting direct again.
I keep coming back to this one too, from Overstock (I like the schoolhouse look but I think it would look too big in the kitchen):

I think in the end I’ll probably go with a schoolhouse one or the first bell pendant.  I don’t want to spend a lot of money on them as we’re not planning to live here forever, but I do want it to fit in with the style of our home and look updated. 
I have decided on cabinet hardware!  Yay!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Positive progress!

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Finally!  A little positive progress on the kitchen remodel instead of negative (or destructive) progress.
After some help from my dad and brother, we now have the ceiling and most of one wall sheetrocked.  It definitely makes the whole room look brighter…I was starting to worry that we had not put in enough can lights as it seemed like a cave. 
But that is just one side of the room. 
Here is the other side (excuse the mess on the countertop…we still have to live here!!):
Looks like fun right???
My husband now has almost all the plaster/lath removed from the walls.  What a job!  I can’t help but think of all the work that was put into this home years ago when they first plastered the walls.  All the pounds and pounds of plaster that were smoothed onto our walls (we know, we had to take it off and dispose of it!), all the skills that were needed to know how to do that work, all the planning of those first owners. 
We have uncovered a number of different things which really do remind us of the home’s checkered past.  We found the framing to a hole which we found out (from our neighbor who knew the former owner) was the hole that they put ice through into the icebox before they had refrigeration.  We uncovered another old doorway and realized that the whole back corner where the fridge and stove are now was a separate room, and we deduced from the paint pattern on the old plaster that it must have been used as a pantry with floor to ceiling shelving.  We have talked about making a time capsule and putting it in a wall somewhere for future owners to find when they tear out the sheetrock we are putting up now.  Maybe they’ll be curious too about the house’s past!
I’m just excited to see white walls instead of messy brown studs/insulation/wiring/plumbing!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Progress on our kitchen project

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Our construction…or perhaps you could call it deconstruction…is slowly moving along in the kitchen. 
Exhibit A:
(That’s my husband above, getting a bowl for ice cream after the exhausting demolition he just accomplished.)
And even more recently, this is what the largest non-cupboard wall looks like at the the moment:
Kind of rustic, don’t you think?  It makes me feel all Laura Ingalls Wilder in a way. 
At least we have electricity!!!!
(Just to refresh your memory, this was that same corner of the kitchen a few short weeks ago):

Moving on!!
(This one makes it look like our kitchen is crooked…but that would just be me taking the picture.  I guess that could make for a better “after” picture!  People could wonder how we got the room all leveled out.)

Speaking of electricity, we have about half of the wiring done, thanks to our new brother-in-law who is also an electrician.  The rest should be done this coming Saturday, yay!  Then we, or I should say my husband, can do more demolition and we can start dry walling the ceiling and a few walls.  There are of course a few problem areas that we need to address.  Old houses can be like that! 
IMG_4405edit This old door formerly connected to the foot of our stairs.  Don’t ask me why!  It was covered over with paneling.  The other side of the door looks much more civilized and actually quite nice, which is why we are not taking it out (ok let’s get right to the point…we don’t want to have to re-do the other side of the wall too!!!!).  We’re just going to cover it over with drywall.  Who needs a door from the middle of the kitchen to the bottom of the stairs?  Lazy people, that’s who.  Not us, obviously.  (Though we’d like the luxury of being lazy some mornings…not happening with a preschooler and a toddler in the house!!)
There are a couple of other things but I won’t bore you with the details.  Plus I didn’t take pictures.  :)
Anyway, progress is happening, whether it looks like it or not! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Look what goodies came in the mail today!

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Some of my favorites:
(Lilliput Fields Pomegranate Violet):
(Pop Garden Peonies Ivory):

(To Market to Market Mushrooms Forest):
And a cross-section of some of the goodies:
Most of it I have plans for, although I did buy a couple half yards of stuff because I knew I would have a use for it eventually, and it was just too beautiful to pass up!  (Especially with the great sale/coupon I had for
I’m excited to start sewing on some projects! 

Friday, May 4, 2012

My gardens…right now

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Since it has been such an early and warm spring (today was around 80 I think!), everything is way ahead in our yard. 
Behold the centaurea, already in bloom on May 3rd:

And the bleeding heart:
Variegated false Solomon’s Seal:
And all my little plants that I winter sowed this year:
It is an exciting time of year!  I ordered some bare-root plants and bulbs for the first time this year and I’m looking forward to those coming up and filling in the bare spots where they are planted.  Every year I plan (and plant) more and more, which of course adds up to more and more work to get the gardens prepared and maintained, but I think gradually I’m getting smarter about it too.  Our local compost site offers free wood chips, which I made use of liberally last year, and that reduced my weeding dramatically last year.  This spring I’ve noticed that they are breaking down beautifully in my beds so I’ve added and will continue to add another layer to those beds that need it.
I think one reason I love gardening is that I can be outside with the kids and be there for them, yet be doing something relaxing and beautifying at the same time.  That isn’t always the case.  :)
And that’s my garden right now. 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What’s that?

For those who dare to enter:
What are those dark shapes?  Could they be dangerous?
Oh, wait!  They’re cabinets
Yes, really.  And they’re in desperate need of some TLC.  And I have a feeling it’s me who’ll be giving them some, in the form of Simply White by Benjamin Moore paint and some brand new shiny hardware! 
When it warms up just a tinch (is that even a word?) and isn’t so damp, that’s exactly what I’ll be doing! 
Where did we get them from?  We got them for the grand total of $0 (as in FREE!) from my in-laws who are also in the process of remodeling their kitchen.  They may be their old cabinets, but for those of us who don’t want to shell out several thousand dollars and who have nightmares of plastic drawers in their dreams, they are a gold mine!  I mean, come on, solid wood drawers!!!  They have definitely seen some wear but are structurally sound and with a little tweaking and cosmetic work, they’ll be our ugly ducklings who turn into swans.  (Kind of hard to believe right now, I know!)
For those who may be interested (namely, me), I’m keeping a tab on our expenditures relating to the kitchen remodel.  So far, I have spent this much:
Zinsser primer and sealer gallon:          20.99
Benjamin Moore Impervo paint:            39.99
Floetrol additive for paint                       11.99
Total:                                                         81.97
I’m sure that will be only a drop in the bucket (pun intended) compared to our final total, but you can bet I’ll be keeping a close eye on the costs. 
I’m exhausted just looking at them!!!  :)

Edited to add...if you would like to see finished pictures of the cabinets, go here.