Friday, October 29, 2010

I've accomplished something!

I accomplished two things yesterday that are kind of a big deal to me.

1. I finished the intended housewarming gift for my blog friend, Ashley.

It took me forever. I have no concept of time. I exchanged addresses with her two months ago. Fear not my dearest Ashley, your gift is on it's way TODAY! I hope you like it. Lots of time (ha!) and thought went in to it.


I did. I'm serious. I worked out for the first time in... Oh, I can't even count how many months. Two motivating factors.  My husband started working out again last week and I found all of the cupcakes and gummy bears I've been hoovering down over the last couple of months planted firmly around my middle and reflecting a larger number on the scale. Bummer. I started Insanity which is strongly suggested by  my husband. It was HARD.

All in all, good week for me! Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Doing it the right way: The kitchen cabinet edition.

Let me tell you a long drawn out story before I get to the heart of this post. I know, you're just thrilled.

I moved in to my beloved home in January of 2008. The love of my life asked if I would like to live with him, it helped us both financially, and I was much closer to work. I gave it thought over a couple of months and in the month of January moved in my things from my apartment 30 minutes away and was officially a resident.

My dearest boyfriend at the time had owned our house for 9 years. In those 9 years he'd done nothing to the place to change the atmosphere. There was nothing wrong with the house, it was just outdated. He was more than up for a change and I helped him make that happen.

The cabinets were painted the very faintest green, with a sage trim. Sure, maybe great for when I was 12, but not so much now. I repainted them antique white with black trim. Suited my taste at the time (and I was hardly that handy when it came to design). Just over 6 months later after I had gotten my debt paid off, we were living debt free (house and cars excluded) and ready to invest in remodeling the house. This is where my first blog I ever followed came in. She painted her kitchen cabinets black. I LOVED black. So I went for it. Painted them black, and threw the doors back on with stainless hardware.

Great for the first bit, not great six months later. I've sat on them until now. I hated the paint job, the finish, the color. Everything. They literally sucked.

WOW. I told you it would be long winded. Last month I realized I have ten thousand and one projects started but none of them completed. I had to choose something I could do on my own (almost) start to finish. Kitchen cabinets it was.

I was blog surfing and came across a link that led me to Sunset for a tutuorial on making window valances of some sort. I poked around on the site and came across How to give your cabinets a makeover. SOLD!

If you want to repaint your cabinets, read this and soak it up. When they say your kitchen will NOT be of use to your daily life, they're serious. No cooking. I lived off cupcakes and coffee for three days. It was bliss. They say to set aside 4 days. This literally took me 4 days. No joke.

So here's what I did:

1. Empty every cupboard and drawer. Make a huge mess of the rest of your house by placing the contents throughout every available room. When I ate cereal, I fetched the bowl from the dining room table and the silverware from the couch. Empty it, seriously. The first time we "did it right", we didn't empty them. Then I had to wash They were covered in dust and paint flecks.

2. Sanded any and all imperfections I could find. There were drips from the previous 3 paint jobs. Sand away baby. Keep the vacuum handy. It's so much easier to vacuum up in stages rather than going back to after it all.

3. Clean the cabinets with TSP Solution. It comes in a spray bottle for $5. I found it in the paint section at Home Depot. It was down the same aisle as the wood glue and other random crap, like GIANT buckets of Zinsser Primer and so on. This takes all grime off the cabinets and also helps dull any sort of glossy finish. It helps avoid all over sanding and ensures your cabinets are perfectly clean for primer and paint. This stuff stinks. I'd reccommed wearing a mask when spraying it, keeping the room well ventalated and pets away. It makes you cough like no other. Wear gloves. It makes your hands dry and itchy. It's a no-wash solution, so there is no need to soap down the cabinets afterward.

4. Prime your cabinets. Be sure to use a good quality primer. If you have stains, be sure to get something that blocks stains. They will bleed through everything. Primer and paint. I chose not to get the stain blocking primer and have one spot that continues to bleed through. Thankfully it's inside a low cabinet and my baking sheets sit of top of it. I used a Zinsser Primer that cost about $18 for the gallon. Zinsser is the favorite primer of Shannon at The House Creative. She does great work and speaks highly of the brand, so I went with it. Day 1 I primed all of the cabinets. Inside and out and allowed to dry over night. Day 2, I primed in the morning a second coat. The better coat of primer you have, the less paint you have to use, meaning less expensive project.

5. Start painting! Use good quality paint in a semi gloss finish. I used my good old Ralph Lauren in Sisal. Home Depot doesn't carry Ralph Lauren paint any longer (booooo!), but still have their color codes in the computer and can mix them with Martha Stewart (recommended by me) or Behr (not recommended by me for interior). I started painting the evening of Day 2.  I finished half of the outside of the cabinets and called it a day after 13 hours of work. Day 3 was a long one. I had to paint the inside and outside of all the cabinets, including cutting in all of the edges. This was the biggest pain in the ass. I painted the inside of all of the cabinets because they desperately needed it. I did two coats on the upper cabinets as some of them will be left as open concept shelving. Two coats on the inside certainly isn't required if you're only looking to "clean them up". Day 4 was my third 13-14 hour day. My body was sore like I'd just run 8 miles up hill. Man, what a workout. I put the second coat on the everything that needed it, and a third in places along the trim I felt looked a little funny. It's so important to give your paint 24 hours dry time between coats! This allows adequate drying and avoids any sort of soft layers, prevents dust from collecting and keeps any finger prints away that may want to leave their mark.

6. Put everything back! I gave two days dry time before I put all of my stuff away. I was able to do this because Husband was out of town for the week training. Otherwise I would have felt a little more rushed. He's not one to like sitting in chaos and clutter. I however don't mind that much when I know I'm in the middle of something.

Steps I haven't covered are the doors and drawers. I don't have either of those done yet. The link provided up top will give you instructions on those. Follow them to the letter friends! I promis it will be worth it. We have 6 drawers total that need painting, and we plan to build new doors for the cabinets to give them a face lift. They would have been done at this point, but with the basement flooding, it put a that plan on hold.

If you're still here, thank for sticking through this hugely word heavy post! This was a great experience, even with the long hours I put it. I absolutely love how my cabinets turned out and I get to admire my dedication and handy work every day.

To my blog friend, Mrs. D over at The Pink Lemonade Blog; I'm so sorry your recent cabinet update is failing you. I sure hope this helps! If I could fly to Virginia to help you with the project again, I would! But know your cabinets are the post that helped me find my way over to your little corner of the world and I still think they're fabulous.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Starting my wish list early.

This is the second time since 2006 that I will have Christmas off, since starting my job at the dispatch center. I worked '06, '08, and '09 (thinking back to 2006 seems like an eternity). I'm super excited!

We will get to take part in our morning childhood ritual at my parents house of letting Mom wake us up early, because she doesn't know what sleeping in is. We'll open our stockings while Mom makes coffee and Dad gets the camera ready. Dad will pop the cinnamon rolls in the oven and we'll dive in to our presents. When we're done, we'll enjoy coffee, cinnamon rolls and usually omelettes. This year I'm sure there will be football, naps and then an afternoon dinner.

Can you tell I'm totally looking forward to this?

The family has serious problems with gift giving. We often tend to go overboard. Collecting over the couple months before Christmas, not remember you've already gotten a little something, then have far too much to wrap. Makes you feel like a kid again, but not always a friend to the pocket book. This year we've decided on a price limit of about $25. Mom wasn't sure this would work, but listen, I've already found some really good ideas! Let's take a look, shall we?

(yes I know, more than the limit, but not by much!)

{all gift ideas found via Anthropologie}

We're all so hard to shop for, it's nice to have a good list of inexpensive ideas.
So dear family members who read my blog, get to making your wish list! I've got some shopping to do!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

a bouncing baby boy!

I don't think I've mentioned on here before that my husband and I will be an uncle and aunt for the very first time ever in January. Husband's older brother and his wife are expecting their first child together, a bouncing baby boy, and we couldn't be more thrilled!

This will be the first grandchild for either side of our families. I should mention that we do in fact have a nephew in the family and he's one of the coolest kids you'll ever meet. Q (we really do call him this) is my sister-in-law's son. I'm sure to him we're just us, not really an aunt and uncle, but if he wanted to call us his aunt and uncle, we'd sure take it! No matter how he looks at us, we still love him to death. I mean, he taught me how to play Guitar Hero. And then on the way home from their house, we stopped by the closest Walmart to pick it up for ourselves! That's how cool of a kid he is.

We're excited about the newest addition to the family, and I hope Q is excited to be a big brother! Today is my sister-in-law's baby shower in Portland, and this is in fact where I am at this very moment. My mom and I left yesterday for the 5 hour drive two spend two nights away in Oregon. I couldn't share my gifts for her and the baby until now, because I know she reads my blog, so I waited until today.

The first two sleepers I just absolutely adore. The owls and the stripes just kill me. I'd really just like to keep them for myself so I can stare at their miniature cuteness when I need a pick-me-up. Impractical? Probably. So I'll give them to baby S.

The second two outfits I bought in a larger size. We found out he was a boy during the summer, so I did the math on my fingers and bought these in the size he'd be during the summer of 2011. Can't wait to see little chubby legs sticking out of his jean shorts!

I think onesies are one of the best inventions in the world. I also happen to love stripes. So I picked up all the boy onesies I could find locally in a striped fashion. Love them!

And last but not least is this darling, silky little thing. This is a blanket made with love by Auntie Cassie for baby S. Yes, you heard that right. I made this! I was absolutely thrilled with how it came out. It's really beatiful yarn and so plush and soft.

I really hope my sister-in-law loves it.

I hope my mom-in-law loves it to! I told her I had made a blanket for the baby, and I know she's been waiting to see the finished product.

I'll post pictures of the shower later this week if sis-in-law is ok with me sharing :) Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, October 22, 2010


I've been crocheting in my spare time. While watching tv, in my down time at work, while I'm winding down before bed. It's been enjoyable and I'm making great progress.

A friend and I will be creating as much stuff as we can over the next month for a craft fair in town. I've been creating baby blankets and she's been creating the cutest scarves. Hopefully we have enough finished for a reasonable sized booth!

While searching Etsy for some insight on how granny squares are joined together, while still looking good, I've come across a ton of inspiration.

Can I just say, WOW! This is absolutely stunning. I wish I was talented enough to create something this detailed. I hope my talent continues to develop and one day I may just try my hand at something like this!

Visit Hookaholic's Etsy Shop for more beautiful blankets and baby goodies! You'll be inspired.

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

34. One Bowl Brownies

My neighbor started on brownies. She had been making cupcakes like crazy until she found out I was banned from them. No sugary treats were allowed to be delivered from her house for two weeks. Her husband has a good memory. I swear exactly two weeks later, he arrived at the door with brownies she had mad.

They tasted like a chocolate cream brownie, but not quite as dense and moist as we like. We've discussed making brownies for the last week, but I just haven't bothered. I've really done nothing more than crochet, cook a few soups and watch endless amounts of Dexter via Netflix.

I was hungry. Well, I'm always hungry. So I immediately got on to Tasty Kitchen and looked for an enticing brown recipe. I found exactly what I was looking for and promptly made it.

Add eggs, sugar, oil, flour, cocoa, salt, vanilla and baking powder. Mix until just combined.

Scrape the edges of the bowl and give it a brief mix again.

Pour in to a greased 9x9 baking pan, or in my case a muffin pan. I threw out my 9x9, so this was the best I could do. I also filled them a little too much and only ended up with 10. But then you have brownies almost the size of cupcakes, and we all know I love cupcakes!

In a separate bowl if you so please (I do), combine powdered sugar, chocolate chips and chopped nuts of your choice.

Top your batter and pop in to an oven heated to 350 degrees. If using a 9x9 pan, bake 30-35 minutes. If using a muffin pan, listen to your husband when he says they smell done. So perhaps cook 20-25 minutes. Check with a toothpick and they're done when the stick comes out clean. The less you cook them, the more moist they are. I've learned this. Sometimes I hate telling him he's right.

Pull them out of the oven and run a knife along the outside edge to loosen them up. I plopped one on a plate and drizzled it with the Starbucks Caramel Sauce my mom gave to me in my fall care package.

Cute and delicious!

One Bowl Brownies
adapted from Tasty Kitchen

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup flour
4 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup nuts
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Combine the first 8 ingredients in a bowl. Mix until just combined. Scrape sides of the bowl and mix again briefly. Pour into greased 9x9 baking pan (or muffin pan).

Mix together last 3 ingredients and sprinkle on top of the brownie batter, covering evenly. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (20-25 for muffin pan). Test centers with a toothpick, done when it comes out clean.

Serve hot from the oven or after cooling. Either way, they're delish! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

33. Smoked Salmon Chowder

I was sent this recipe by a friend. She makes this for her husband and he has nothing but good things to say about it. When my mom handed over the Mimic Creme for me to try, this recipe was the first one I thought of for what was left after the corn chowder.

I couldn't tell you where she got the recipe from. She scanned a cook book of some sort and emailed me the scan. I got off work at 1:00am, didn't have to be in until the next day at 3:00pm and got busy cooking while winding down from the day.

Poor lighting, so I only took two pictures. The mix of veggies in the pot sure were pretty and smelled pretty tasty. This was a super quick and easy recipe that anyone can make successfully.

When it was finished at 2:00am, I quickly ate two huge bowls worth. I was stuffed and happy. Then went promptly to sleep snuggling my two cute pups.

Smoked Salmon Chowder
adapted from my friend B

6 tbsp margerine (or butter)
2 tbsp oil
2 carrots - finely diced
2 stalks celery - finely diced
2 potatoes - cut in to small cubes
1 onion - finely diced
6 tbsp flour
1 - 32oz carton of fish or seafood stock (or clam juice)
3 cups mimic creme (or milk)
1 cup water
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves - minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp pepper
2 shakes of nutmeg
8 oz smoked salmon - flaked

In a large pot over high heat, combine margerine and oil. When melted, add vegetables and cook until vegetables are softened. About 7-8 minutes.

Pour in stock, milk and water. Increase to medium-high and stir while bringing to a boil. Add garlic and seasonings, then reduce to low to simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Add smoked salmon, stir and simmer for an additional 15 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Serve and enjoy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

32. Corn Chowder with Chilies

The next two recipes I'm going to share are both chowders. I personally love chowder of any kind, but they don't really like me. With my milk allergy, it puts a big lame damper on enjoying anything involving creamy goodness.

Until now that is.

It had been a good long while since I had made a Pioneer Woman recipe or even stepped foot in the kitchen to cook. While at my parent's house last weekend for my dad's birthday, my mom made a delicious chicken bacon stroganoff. We share the same milk allergy and she's not afraid to use non-dairy substitues for things like sour cream and cream. I am.

We didn't end up needing cream for the stroganoff recipe, only the sour cream. She was nice enough to send me home with something called Mimic Creme. Dairy free, soy free, made from almonds & cashews. Looks like cream, has the consistency of cream, but tastes like almond milk. That is, until you add it to your dish. I'm not joking.

I used fresh ears of corn, slicing the kernels right off the cob in to the pan. I had a hard time not snacking on the corn as I went. It was so sweet and tasty. For a little spice add two kinds of chiles. It gave it a nice smoky, spicy flavor without being too hot.

Bacon, onions and corn. I could have just added the mimic creme and pasta and been happy! But I finished the recipe. I was really impressed with the chowder, non-dairy and all.

Served with a fresh loaf of garlic bread and a few episodes of Dexter. And when I say garlic bread, I mean bread with roasted cloves of garlic baked right in. No, I didn't make it. I have issues with bread. But the store that did, well thank you. I truly enjoyed it.

Corn Chowder with Chilies
adapted from The Pioneer Woman

4 slices of bacon - cut in to small pieces
2 tbsp margerine (or butter)
1 1/2 yellow onions - diced
4 ears of corn - shucked
2 whole chipotle peppers in adobo sauce - diced
1 - 4oz can diced green chilies
1 - 32oz carton low sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 cups mimic creme (or heavy whipping cream)
1/2 tsp salt (more to taste)
3 tbsp masa flour
1/4 cup water

Slice bacon in to 1/2 inch pieces and add to a pot over medium heat. Cook until fat starts to render. Dice onions, add to pot and stir, cooking for 5 minutes. Add butter and allow to melt. Cook together while dicing chipotles chilies. Add chipotle and diced green chilies to pot and stir.
Add chicken broth, cream and salt. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low.

Mix masa and water, stirring to combine. Pour in to the chowder stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cover chowder and cook for 20 minutes over low heat. Should your chowder not be thick enough, add 1 tbsp more of masa combined with water until you reach your desired consistency (I used about 2 more tbsp of masa), allowing to cook for another 10 minutes.

Dish up and enjoy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It wasn't the first time.

When the basement flooded, it put the last of the kitchen & dining room project on hold. The dealings with our insurance company has been a back and forth issue, but thankfully I've managed to keep my head in it all.

The downstairs is now dry. Many of the walls have the bottom two feet removed and insulation pulled out. The contractor has been to the house and given the estimate for repairing the walls. We've chosen to do half the work ourselves which will give us a check from the insurance company for what we choose to not use the contractor for. Insurance has chosen not to have the flooring in the laundry and bathroom replaced, so the money we will receive will cover the cost of flooring for both of those rooms and replacement of the vanity, toilet and mirror. If we're thrifty enough with our choices, possibly the deductable too.

As we get the basement finished up, I just can't wait to share the progress I've made in the kitchen. It wasn't the first time I've painted the cabinets since moving in here three years ago. It's the third time to be exact. This is the first time I really educated myself and made sure to do it right.

I had seen a great kitchen on my first blog I ever followed a few years back. She had repainted her cabinets in her tiny condo black and added stainless hardware. I was in love. Black is my favorite color and I thought I'd totally love my cabinets. After painting them in 2008, they lost their charm rather quickly. I finally found the motivation to tackle the kitchen and dining room project on my own and don't miss the black cabinets one bit.

I'll give one sneak peek before the entire project is finished. Please don't mind the huge mess on the counters.

I think it looks so much better already. Can't wait to share the finished project soon!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

31. Bacon Tomato Capellini

I really like keeping up with Tasty Kitchen and the new recipes they feature. I'm being perfectly honest when I say it's half for the photos. I love food photography. I often wish I had better than a point and shoot so my food photos would be spectacular rather than just photos of food.

I used to HATE bacon. Sometime this year I didn't mind it so much anymore. I'm pretty particular about how it's cooked, but over all, I'd much rather have in in something. I like spaghetti. I like bacon. Combine them and you've got magic!

This recipe literally contains all things love of mine. Tons of fresh basil, tomatoes, green onions, garlic. Oh, yum.

I made the entire package of bacon. I only needed two thirds of it (it was a 3lb package!). That's because we have a serious problem with eating it as it comes out of the pan. I've always hated cooking bacon. It's hot and messy, but my husband is an absolute pro when it comes to cooking bacon. It's taken a few times to get it right, but I've got it down now.

This is a rather time consuming recipe. The biggest challenge is cooking up all of the bacon. Once you get it finished and start combining the rest of the ingredients it's so easy.

Once adding the tomatoes and basil in with the rest of the ingredients, I boiled up my noodles and let the sauce simmer and meld. It smelled amazing.

The noodles to sauce ratio is absolutely perfect. There was bacon and basil in every bite. My mouth waters just thinking about it, and I've definitely had PLENTY to eat tonight.

I garnished husband's bowl with shaved parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. He then inhaled 3 bowls. I love my husband for a ton of reasons, but eating my cooking is near the top of the list.

I can't urge two things enough when it comes to this recipe. DON'T use bacon bits. Fresh cooked bacon is the only way to go. DO make this as soon as possible. You'll absolutely love me for it.

Bacon Tomato Capellini

2 - 16oz packages of bacon
1/2 cup reserved bacon grease
2 - 28oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch chopped green onions
2 tsp salt
1 - 16oz box of capellini or angel hair pasta

Open both cans of tomatoes and pour them in to a bowl. Mix 1/2 cup of torn basil leaves in to the tomatoes and allow the flavors to meld.

Fry bacon in a large frying pan, cooking through - avoid bacon that is too crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels and set aside to cool. Reserve 1/2 cup bacon grease.

Dice the garlic and green onions, add them to the frying pan with the reserved bacon grease. Cook over medium heat and brown. Crumble bacon and add to the pan. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Add tomato & basil mixture to the pan, stir and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add up to 2 teaspoons of salt if desired.

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain noodles and add to the sauce mixture. Combine well and serve immediately topped with shaved parmesan cheese and torn basil leaves.

It's delicious and makes fabulous left overs! Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

feeling like a kid again.

We celebrated my dad's birthday on Sunday with dinner, a trip to the pumpkin patch, chocolate cream pie with coffee and a batch of chocolate pumpkin muffins. It was a great day feeling like a kid again.

The older I get, the more thankful I am for my parents and siblings. Each time we get together, it reminds me of how absolutely self absorbed I can be most of the time. I'm not say I intentionally ignore my family, but we live busy lives. We have a busy work schedule, spend almost a whole 24 hours each weekend recovering, then have our own to-do list. Whether it be house work, cooking or crafts, or even dinner with friends. It seems I lose the importance of time with my family.

After my mom treated us to an amazing chicken bacon stroganoff for an early dinner, we hit the pumpkin patch for some quality parent-kid time.

We made a quick trip in the last hour open to Schuh Farms located on Memorial Highway in Mount Vernon. They've got the great barn seen behind the sunflowers and across the street. It has already picked pumpkins, a coffee stand, cider and other goodies for sale.

My mom's favorite color is yellow, so naturally she loved the sunflowers. She also loves taking pictures. Weird I haven't seen any of them yet. Hint, hint, Mother!

My husband had never been to a pumpkin patch before. I wasn't sure if he was really having fun. In all honesty, as immature and childish the two of us are together, we're really adults. The joys of marriage, right?

The good man that he is,  he picked out a pumpkin and even hauled back every last one the whole family had picked. There was still a little joy in this photo. That was until we got to the scale, he realized I had 3 large pumpkins and near 72 little ones weighing in at a healthy 84lbs. Come on! It's part of the fall spirit! We plan to carve a couple and we'll try our hand at homemade pumpkin pie straight from the source.

It was such an awesome day. I love my dad to the moon and back. I'm one of the luckiest girls alive having him to call my dad. My mom couldn't have picked a better man to care for us.

Hope everyone is enjoying what fall has to offer. Happy Friday and enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I should be sleeping.

By the sounds observed through the floor, you'd perhaps believe the person installing the water heater has no idea what they're doing.

I'm locked upstairs in the bedroom with two small dogs who are less than pleased to be spending time with me. I am probably 100% correct when I say the man installing the water heater might not want anything to do with our dogs.

We should both be sleeping for work, but I guess this is the sacrifice you make when you've gone without running water for two days. But really, I've thought it was rather cool that my husband fills the back of our toilet via bucket. Thanks neighbors for sharing the water from your hose!

I don't think there will be hot water ready for me today. Good thing I showered before bed last night and I look halfway decent when I woke up. I'll probably just wash my face and brush my teeth at work and look forward to a 3:00am shower.

But it's all coming along! Once we have the water back on, the rest will be really easy. As of now, we don't use the downstairs except for laundry anyway and since that's all clean (thank you, Jeremy) it will be easy to be patient until the rest is done. Wonder when the demo crew will be here to tear out the drywall and insulation? Good question.

Hope everyone is enjoying their week. It's already half way over!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

an update of sorts

We still have fans and a dehumidifier going in the basement today. It was still wet and mold has started showing on some of the walls. Tomorrow the cleaning company will be back to take down the sheetrock and insulation from the wall between the bathroom and bedroom.

The water heater installation was pushed off from today to tomorrow morning first thing. The tech for our area called out sick today. We're lucky enough to have good friends in town that allow us to use their shower, washer and dryer. I'm hoping I'll have hot water by the time I have to be up for work tomorrow, but I think that's not going to happen.

The insurance company has agreed to cover our damages at this time. As long as they sign off on the summary from each of the companies we are working with everything will be replaced. This includes things we already had the intention of replacing. The flooring company will be replacing our carpet pad, the existing carpet is fine and will be placed back over the top. We'll have new flooring installed in the laundry room and bathroom and they've said as long as we purchase the new sink and toilet they'll install that for us as well. This is great news! If all goes well, we will only be responsible for paint and interior doors. This big mess may mean the entire downstairs remodel will be done at minimal cost to us and done professionally.

Because the sheet rock and insulation will be coming out of a few walls, we'll have a contractor coming in to replace them. I'm hoping this whole process takes no more than a month and by the time it's finished we'll be able to move in to our new bedroom! I tell you, staying positive in a situation like this is more likely to create a blessing in the end.

When this mess comes to a close, we'll finish up the kitchen. I'm so close to being done. Just doors and drawers and we'll be done! It's looked better than ever before.

I'll keep the updates coming!

Monday, October 4, 2010

a life of 8-15 years

Ah, and I was making such progress.

Here are a few of the things I've learned this weekend.

I'm a hoarder. I have A LOT of stuff. EVERYWHERE. I collect stuff but never quite do anything with it because the house isn't "finished" yet. I've come to realize I need to stop collecting stuff.

Water heaters have a life of 8-15 years.

Our water heater has gone to that big water heater heaven in the sky, but not before seeping it's contents all over our basement. I went down to do laundry last night and discovered a pond. It wasn't as pretty as some I've seen, and I think they look much  better in back yards. Just my honest opinion there.

We aren't sure how long it's been leaking or how much damage we're looking at, but the restoration service has arrived and they're starting to paint the picture for us. We have the new carpet and pad that's soaked. The water ran under the wall from the half bath in to the laundry room, and also under the wall in to the master bedroom. It's evident where we have no doors that water has inflitrated our drywall and studs. We haven't yet had the chance to take a look in the crawl space under the house to see if there is any standing water there.

I'm praying this will not be a financial burden bigger than we can handle right now. I don't feel anxious or stressed about it, and I hope the insurance company finds favor in our situation and helps us get this cleaned up with little expense on our end.

Until then, I'll sit in our bedroom upstairs and contain two naughty dogs that should absolutely be visited by Caesar Millan.

I'm suddenly happy that the plans for the master were haulted over the summer. I'd have about lost myself if all that work had beed flooded. Wish us luck!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

busy work.

I've kept my self busy, busy, busy, over the last couple of weeks. Work and home improvements have occupied most of my time. I needed something to quiet the mind after the loss of my best friend's 4 month old daughter. Busy work has done just that.

My mind has always moved much too quickly to get just one thing completed at a time. The master bedroom has been stalled for a long time, but I've made up for it in the kitchen and dining room. I used my spare time when my husband was gone for a week to refinish the kitchen cabinets. We are just mere few hours of work before the whole space will be completed and I'm so excited to share the final product here.

I've also began to crochet again. I was taught by my grandmother as a child, and my mother-in-law renewed my love for it over our Thanksgiving trip last year. I've been keeping my hands busy by making baby blankets. So many friends and coworkers have buns in the oven. No better gift that something made by hand, straight from the heart.

Today I'll be attending a women's conference at my church with ladies from my family and a close friend. I'm meeting my friend early just to present her with a very special gift for the baby she's expecting in March.

My first blanket finished! It's beautiful and soft. I found out while in the middle of it, this is the very color she ordered the new baby bedding in. I'm so excited it's going to match!

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!