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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ho, ho, home for the holidays!

Ho, ho, home for the holidays.

Okay so I'm totally cheesy, I know...but this year I am thankful that we are all settled in to our new (really, really old) home! I'm also thankful for all those who made it possible for us to continue having the comfort of a home while we were under construction and those who helped us with sooo much of their time and effort getting this place livable.

We've been here a few months now.  A couple weeks ago, while skyping with my sis, I realized that she, and a lot of you, haven't gotten a tour yet. Please excuse the unfinished jobs, but don't hold your breath on seeing them done any time soon. We are pretty comfortable; while the to-do list is long, it's not the highest priority!

We shall start in the kitchen since that's our main entrance. Mud room will be great once it's insulated and finished (and I can store outerwear in there), but until that point my kitchen catches a lot of muddy boots, soaked mitts, and dropped coats.  Still need some counter top (we are adding butcher block, as some of the granite we got with the kitchen was missing or beyond repair).

I like the looks of my stainless appliances and the turquoise wall, although the jury is still out on whether I'd choose stainless or not myself (our appliances came with the kitchen we bought used off kijiji). The fingerprints and drips down them are kind of annoying. Best secret is using dusting polish as cleaner! Thanks mom!
I'll share a few of my favourite cupboards with you:

Love my pull out garbage bin!

Also love this pull out rack where I keep my baking stuff. I'd really like to add a pop up shelf on it for my bread machine, but that would just make the to- do list longer so I'm also good with the current setup.

Really, really love that my toaster and Kitchen Aid are hidden away but still readily usable (even inside this cupboard) as we wired an outlet into the back! Thanks dad for being convinced we could make this work!

This organizer above the oven and microwave is awesome for my cookie pans and shallow dishes!

On to the study/dining area. Still need trim and a few organizing issues that will be solved when we get some other things crossed off our to-do list. The second desk (I'll keep the one you can see in the study area) that will be installed in the kitchen is currently in the dining area, and once gone it will leave room for a cute chair that will double as extra seating space when we need it at the computer. And my closet will be better organized once the mud room is finished.

Bathroom/ laundry is still a little rough. I haven't bothered to finish painting because we don't have the drywall completed yet. Also need the rest of the counter top (sitting in the mudroom right now) to be installed across the second cabinet and washer/dryer. Thankful to have a working tub and toilet downstairs tho...having to shower the kids got a little old!

Living room is pretty well set. Still have a few minor issues to work on. Wiring up a light for outside and replacing/ installing the rest of the pot lights is pretty much it. The ones we already have installed seem to have an issue with bulbs and we have been replacing the burnt ones from a few extra boxes of lights we didn't use, rather than go buy new ones.  (You can't just replace the bulb, you have to replace the whole glass/ plastic/ bulb, as it is all one piece.)

     The stairs need an obvious refinishing of some sort. Think I might just "temporarily" paint them. Only afraid temporary will turn into permanent!

  Kids room is looking good with their new bunk beds. Still have some work to do creating a bench in the closet, but we got the shelf that I refinished hung this weekend and I was able to take a few things out of the closet.  Emma was very excited to have the fancy doll out on display.  (Both the dolly and shelf were mine as a kid!)

  Love having our third bedroom be a guest bedroom (last house the kids had their own bedrooms so when guests came one or both had to be moved). Of course if we need both bedrooms, they still have to move, but it's nice for everyday. Momma isn't cleaning up two toy strewn bedrooms everyday...she's the one making a mess of the second one by throwing all the hide away junk that has nowhere else to go in that room! Still need a light installed here, and again some closet work, but no rush...we have no plans for guests in the near future! Unless someone wants to invite themselves over...I'd put a rush on it for you!
I found this cute wall stick-on (above) at Joann's for 99 cents and couldn't resist.  Ended up designing the rest of the room (paint schema that also translated into some other rooms) around it.

Our room is also close. Trim and a piece of drywall over the door will about cover it. I have mirror doors to go on the closet and we need a mirror above the sink, but I'm still searching for the perfect one.

Of course we still need trim throughout the house, and the outside has some cosmetics that will really appear when spring arrives again, but for now it looks so pretty with the fresh snow. Okay if I could just get hubby to install that ugly piece of drywall hanging out on the porch.

We are home for the holidays! Stop in for a visit!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pinterest Favorites!

  Like many of you I'm a little...okay love with Pinterest!  Soooo useful (and NOT just as the ultimate time waster.)  I saw a post on Facebook recently that sums up my husbands view of it:  "Pinterest...lets you check out all the cool things you could be doing if you weren't stuck on Pinterest!"  Okay so maybe I spend more, no let's say, as much time pinning as I do creating, but I can think of far worse things to have an addiction to!
  One of my peeves about Pinterest tho, is that while I have a dozen boards and 20 or so pins on each board, not all my pins turn out to be good links (like when you are loving the picture but don't actually check to see if it is what it says it is) or it is a good link but the recipe wasn't really worth pinning, much less making and I just did both.  Plus I keep seeing everyone else pinning it and I want to scream STOP! NO GOOD!  So I thought I might start a little tradition of sharing my favorite pins from the month, be it a recipe, craft, or word of wisdom.  And without further ado, here's what I was up to in November.

Let's start off with some recipes.  We had a lot of company this month, so cooking something out of the ordinary round was a high priority around here.  Here are the ones that were delicious, easy, and perfect for spreading holiday cheer!

Chess Squares Recipe with PhotosTexas Gold or Chess Squares which are all very similar to Crack Pie, I got from here.  Simple ingredient list, quick prep, and sooo SWEET!  Perfect for a potluck or family gathering that pops up at the last minute.

I served this to top off lasagna soup from Farm Girl's Dabbles and mini-garlic-monkey-breads from Eat Cake for Dinner.  Monkey bread was so quick and Emma had a blast helping me cut up the Pillsbury rolls and mixing them with the spices.  My hubby raved about the lasagna soup, and so of course I'll make it again, but next time use rotini noodles instead of broken up (regular size) lasagna noodles.  Wish I could find the mini ones she talked about in the recipe.

  For our coffee hour with the girls I made a pumpkin crisp that was seriously....DIVINE!  You can try that recipe here from Rachel Shultz.  Again super easy, no crust, a can of pumpkin, a yellow cake mix, butter, pecans, and evaporated milk are pretty much it.  This one is also great for a gathering because the recipe filled a 10 inch pie pan and an 8x8.  One to keep, one to share!  I'm sure we will be having this again during the holidays! 

For the other pumpkin lovers out there we also made these Soft Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cookies for a quick treat on Thursday night.  They were made, cooked, and frosted all within an hour, plus we squeezed bath time in there too!  I'm a fan of cream cheese frosting and the cinnamon and vanilla in this recipe makes it extra special.

  We haven't been real crafty around here lately.  Maybe it is knowing there are still boxes to unpack in the basement that is slowing me down, but I've been blaming it on the fact the dollar store doesn't have the couple of things I still need to finish getting the kid's pictures up on the wall.  Hopefully they will soon!  The craftiest thing I did lately was dress up my chicken chalkboard in the kitchen for the holidays...yes that lovely artwork behind the Soft Frosted Pumpkin Spice Cookies is it.  Not quite as good as these chalkboard artists, but it does the trick for our home!
  So I'm pretty much a one hairstyle girl...well two.  One for everyday and one for Sunday.  I actually....wait for it....have  couple of new styles I added to my repertoire.  So that makes FOUR hairstyles that are quick and easy enough for everyday and Sunday too, for that matter!  First I tried this  quick and simple updo from the Pretty Diaries.  Problem 1:  With hair as long as mine, not quite so quick.  And I have really thin hair too, so it wasn't quite as cute as in the picture, but as I look at the instructions again I also realized I left out the step of braiding a braid each section.  Next, I ran across a picture, maybe this one and found it easier and cuter.  French braid on the side that you can stop at the hairline or braid all the way to the end.  Then it is a messy bun at the end or do a traditional bun with the longer braid.  Either way...I like!  (sorry about the picture quality...I pretty much am terrible at taking pictures of my own don't even want to know how many tries this took!)

December will be busy, but hopefully I will be able to squeeze in a few crafts that I've been eyeing up.  I know I will continue to use Pinterest for recipes!  And there are some great gift ideas for the holidays, too.  Not to mention fun games for our two family get-togethers.  I also spotted a photo challenge that encourages thankfulness that I plan on trying in December...ooh ya, today!  Now if only Pinterst could potty train my son, we might really be on to something.

P.S.  I've also added a Pinterest button of my own, if you want to keep these links around to try out at a later date!!  It should be seen below this post!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Misadventure's!

Ladders Make Great Tents!

Of course, second full day living in the house and I have a touch of the flu. Actually it's a bit reminiscent of how the week has gone. Not so much a grand adventure as several misadventures that usually resolve with far more ease than the panic they first induce.
We moved most of our things from the in-laws Saturday, but never quite finished with the mattress and the fridge because the hubby had to have some play time (hockey), too. With all the rain we didn't actually finish up until Tuesday night. I'm jumping ahead of myself tho...

Sunday night we came to do a few things and discovered a leak in the middle of the kitchen, new roof and all. The source seems to be the lack of flashing on the mud room roof, which is the only new exterior addition we added. Obviously I was freaking out over my brand new drywall, but by Tuesday it seems the leak had healed, at least until the next time we get a driving rain that blows at that perfect angle of havoc! Flashing that little section is a priority for the weekend!

It was pouring again Monday night so it wasn't until Tuesday night that we settled in, roasted alive from the heater going full blast, but a mostly good nights sleep anyways...Emma was only up 3 times coughing and using the bathroom...okay scratch that. We survived our first night with no ghostly visitors that I keep hearing about from people trying to get a rise out of me.

On to the next mishap; we have some water issues in our basement due to an underground spring/river in the vicinity. We have the solutions to this problem about half accomplished but not completely. I went down to the basement in the afternoon on Tuesday and found the hose for the sump pump had never got put back outside so it was just recirculating in the basement and there was an inch of water in the low spots of the basement. Yikes, considering I have a lot left to unpack from down there. We do have everything up on pallets, so I only had a few boxes that were wet due to various rummaging as I randomly looking for stuff.  (Let's just say, packing makes alot more sense when you are doing it rather than undoing.)  The worst was not knowing what to do about the rising water. I finally decided I had to try something, so I started pulling on the hose for the sump pump, realized the problem and managed to drag it halfway across the basement, up into the crawl space, crawl around a few pipes, and shove it out the one and only window.

Today was supposed to be a major laundry day, since yesterday I put my first load into the washer and then proceeded to leave the house for all bit 5 min of the load. Those five minutes were the ones I discovered the drain hose was not hooked into the drain but instead draining all over my bathroom floor. Sweet! And then laundry today kept getting sideswiped by the fact that my dryer blows the fuse halfway through each load.  Okay when you know the problem, but it takes awhile to figure out exactly what's going on, especially when one flips the breakers the wrong way and really gets panicked about there being no power whatsoever.

Now if I could just get this stomach to settle I might sit up long enough to get those two loads folded and be on to the next mis-adventure!
And that lived in mess, I mentioned in my last post...appeared pretty quickly!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Still the little things!

It's really the little things that matter in life. You've heard it before and you will hear it again. And so it is in remodelling...the little things are important. Not only do they slow you down (and I mean way down) but if you don't do them right the first time they lead to bigger problems later.
So we've had some setbacks with silly little things like plumbing a line here or figuring a wire out there, but overall we are getting alot closer to move in day!
Doors are in. Well to be truthful they were in, but now they are back out to get painted. Which was a fiasco since electric paint sprayers are terrible inventions!
Floors are in everywhere but the kitchen and bath where we want to put ceramic tile. Really makes those rooms look finished, that is until someone sprays sawdust everywhere! Which is a daily occurrence. Good thing tommy is such a great vacuumer!
Kitchen is getting closer. As of today I have a kitchen faucet that works, until it starts to leak out the line for the dishwasher, which is sitting in the living room. Stovetop is wired in and oven is set to get a wire run! There are a few outlets left to wire, microwave to install and a bit of countertop, plus a whole lot of scrubbing and unpacking!
Outside is looking good too! Porch is mostly finished! Needs a few more shingles in the mud room, some flashing, and that exterior house wall still needs a paint job.
Currently, blogging on the way back from Sudbury with another door and a whole lot of other stuff, so things should shape up by Friday! Or hopefully they will since my dad is headed back home then. I have a feeling it's going to go from construction mess to lived in mess fairly quickly.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Just keep telling yourself...

Just keep telling yourself...
I feel like these past few weeks that has been my mantra. With summer, whirlwind that it was, coming to a rather abrupt end and fall upon us we have a few big adjustments to make, the very least of which is no more sleeping in. Just keep telling yourself, fall is fun, especially when we start canning tomorrow.

Emma was off to her first day of junior kindergarten this morning and Tommy and I eagerly await her arrival home. As for this momma, we've decided it's time to be just that, a momma. Especially since I already had a job lined up for the fall, I have some negative feelings about this decision, but with a little help, I am trying to stay focused on the most important things in our life! Perhaps I will return to work at some point, but it will certainly be to a lesser degree if I do. Just keep telling yourself, this is for the best.

As for summer, yes it went by quickly, and no we didn't get as much done as planned, but overall I need very few reminders that the summer was a happy one. We did not finish all our summer bucket clothespins, but that just gives us something to look forward to next year. And rather than tell you all our adventures, I thought I'd share some pictures of our favorite bucket list memories. Enjoy!

Just keep telling yourself, One day these days will only exist in your make those memories good ones!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Peaches time! Summer must be almost over...

     Summer's end is fast approaching. Besides the cold weather we have been having for the past week that reminds us of fall, I've started my end-of-summer freezing and canning. Today was peaches...and I thought I'd share my recipe, because it's so easy and tasty.
     Rather than canning them, which is a whole lot of work for what (in my opinion) turns out to be a lot different than that yummy deliciousness of a fresh peach. This way you get the best of both worlds...taste of a fresh peach all winter long.
     Using a food processor with a shredder attachment, and no chopping blade is the secret. The best part, no boiling required, you can shred the peaches skin and all.

1. Rinse skins and halve peaches. Remove pit from halves.
2. After piling up a bowl of halves, shred peaches using the food processor.
3. Add sugar and lemon juice (to preserve color). I just do it to taste, as peaches can vary in how much sugar needed depending on the batch.
4. I freeze in medium freezer bags of about 3 cups each, just enough for a serving at dinner and a snack later.

Emma loves them still partially frozen, and I have to agree the colder the better!
On to tomatoes next, and then I know fall will be around the corner! Tomorrow Emma and I are off to school shop, so we are squeezing in a few more summer bucket pins, before time slips away on us!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Slowly, but surely...our wishlist keeps shrinking!

I've been asked for a house update by several people now, so I decided it might be best to just post it here and then everyone can see the progress for themselves.  Some days I feel like we are going backwards, (like when we started ripping up the kitchen floor, see here or the Sunday we went to deliver our last load of stuff from the previous house and discovered two inches of water on the floor) but when I look back at pictures from last month there is forward momentum!
I though the best way to deliver that progress would be to go over our original wishlist, which you can read here if you want a refresher on what the house was like when we bought it.

1. Drywall:  Check--We have a few spots left to drywall, but not much.  It might also have gotten done a little quicker for our tastes (because then my kitchen would NOT be sitting in the living room instead of installed in it's proper place), but so be it.  We still have one wall of the downstairs bath that is missing drywall because we have to see where the stove will be wired in (on the opposite side of that wall) and might not require a lot of drywall as the bathtub/shower unit will also be against this un-drywalled piece.  Same goes for the upstairs bath...We have the water lines run for our shower upstairs, but as it is not installed yet, one wall in the guest bedroom closet requires a chunk to finish it off.  Feels good to have this dusty job (mostly) complete!
2.  Painting:  One of things I've really enjoyed about this is being able to choose all my colors at one time.  I haven't been very adventurous, I must admit, but color coordinating can be an adventure in itself, so I've tried to stick to classic, but slightly modern neutrals.  Luckily this  is another project mostly completed.  For obvious reasons I haven't touched the downstairs bath, but other than a small portion in the living room that has my counter top laying against it, everything has at least one coat of paint!  Actually, the only thing that doesn't have just one coat is the living room because I would like to make sure the last coat is all put on at the same time and we don't get a slightly different hue on two walls that meet in a corner.  It has also been a project that feels good to have almost accomplished, (maybe just because I've been doing it every morning for the past month!)  And yes, I'm to the point where I am sick of cutting in and ceilings, and standing on stepladders and having paint covered hands and...okay I will just quit there.
Probably the most adventurous room, I choose a turquoise color for one wall of the kitchen.  I had a bright blue and green kitchen in the last house and LOVED it, so I felt like I needed to put a punch of color somewhere.  I'm thinking of accenting with bits of red!
3.  Windows:  If you look at the kitchen closely, you will see that we have two new windows installed, although not permanently.   However, as you can see from the shot below (what will be the "study" and sits to the back of the dining room) those are the only two.  We have all the rest, but our contractors are working on the front porch at the moment and hope to use it's roof when they install the upstairs windows.  I'm still thinking they will probably add the most "pop" to the house from the outside.
4.  Downstairs bathroom:  As you can see, no where near being complete, but this is does show how we decided to put the bath and laundry together to create more useable space (YAY!) and how the door opens into the study area, rather than the kitchen.  Hopefully we will see some progress here in the next couple of weeks.  My parents are headed to Menard's today to pick up three of our outside doors and the tub/shower unit.
5.  Redesign upstairs bedrooms:  After much discussion we decided to take the back two bedrooms (by back, I mean they sat at the back of the hallway) and turn them into a master bath/bedroom.  Again, we are not quite finished in the bath as everything is still sitting in the boxes it came in, despite the plumbing being all ready to go.  HINT, HINT!  Liking the fact that we will have our own closets, cause there are two!  And I've already laid claim to the one you can see here, cause it's bigger!
6.  New Floors:  Obviously not done, but will be before we move in.  And no we didn't find any hardwood anywhere!  Such a bummer!
7.  Structural elements have all been looked after.  We have a massive beam running through the middle of our living room/dining/study now, but it actually doesn't look out of place.  We also addressed the nasty floor joices in the kitchen and some drainage issues outside.
8.  Insulation:  We put new insulation where it was absolutely necessary, but plan to finish this job by spraying insulation in the attic and probably in the outer kitchen wall before winter hits.
9.  Porch:  For various reasons this has actually moved up the wishlist.  We tore off the old porch walls, ceiling, and floor and opened it up so we will have a partial wrap-around porch and deck off the back.  As I mentioned, this is where we are seeing the most progress right now.  On Monday, our roof trusses should be going up!
10.  Attic:  I'm still hoping we might render it useful someday, but right now I have too many other jobs to advocate for, that I feel this project is not even on the radar.

Which leaves us with the kitchen (why that wasn't on my top 10, I'm not sure other than it was maybe such an obvious thing?!)  Yes, these are my cupboards and they are currently sitting in the living room, but by the end of next week when my Dad comes, they should be in their proper place! 

Also gives a good shot of how we opened the staircase up...this would have been looking at a wall before!Kids room, I'm going to add pink and brown stickers on the green walls that I found at Canadian Tire, buy them bunk beds, and hope they can share for a few years!
Guest bedroom walls are Pecan Shell and Buckwheat ceiling all by Benjamin Moore at Canadian Tire.  Master bedroom walls are also Pecan Shell.  Chestnut Pony is the dark brown wall in the kids room and my ceiling in the living/dining/study.  Buckwheat continues from the upstairs ceilings to the hallway and all the walls in the living/dining/study.  Loved that Benjamin Moore could be found close to home (usually I drive an hour for name brand paint), for the shades, but also for the primer added.  Saved me from priming all my walls first!  Two coats of paint=DONE!