07. June 2015 · Comments Off on DIY Kitchen Transformation: The New Floor Revealed · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , , ,
Can you see the difference?

Can you see the difference? The vibrant wood grain should be the biggest difference you see, but we also nudged the color a little bit to make it more brown…less yellow/orange in color.

On Thursday and Friday, we had a contractor come in to sand and re-stain our hardwood floors. Jeff from “A Cut Above Hardwood Flooring” was recommended to us by our carpet cleaning guy.

This piece of floor is continuous from the front door to the kitchen, and to access the front door, garage, basement, and staircase, you will step on the hardwood. I’ll discuss how we dealt with that in a minute.

As mentioned before, there were some areas to the floor that had clearly suffered water damage, but had subsequently dried out. The wood was structurally sound, but the sealer and stain color were messed up. It was important to me that those areas get extra attention, and Jeff did that very well. More »

31. May 2015 · Comments Off on DIY Kitchen Transformation: Painting the Chairs (and my 1000th post!) · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
Today Dave painted our chairs. They're lovely!

Today Dave painted our chairs. Before on the left, after on the right. I think they’re lovely!

Our renovation continues, with just some little things. Unfortunately, our hardwood floor refinish was bumped from tomorrow to the end of this week, but that’s okay. We have a flexible week and it’ll work out.

Ignore the mess, it's a big-enough task to keep that center island clean. Jacob was off to the side waiting to put some balsa glider parts on it.

Note the bar chairs at the island. We are painting them so they don’t stand out from the new brown and white colors.

17. May 2015 · Comments Off on DIY Kitchen Transformation: Painting the Rest of the Cabinets · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,
No turning back now! This is after the primer only. The real paint goes on tomorrow.

No turning back now! This is after the primer only. The real paint goes on tomorrow.

This weekend we are painting the cabinets. This is a much larger undertaking than the island we did last month. Instead of just the four doors we had to disassemble for the island, today we took down 28 doors!

Taking down and preparing the doors took a couple hours alone because we had to be sure to catalog them properly. Let’s talk about how it was done. More »

11. May 2015 · Comments Off on DIY Kitchen Transformation: Crown Moulding Installation · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,

This past weekend Dave installed the crown moulding around the tops of our cabinets. This isn’t a super-tall design, we wanted something subtle, yet elegant.

Later this week and this weekend we will start the priming and painting of the rest of the cabinets. We have a paint sprayer to use for the doors, but will hand-paint the cabinet bases.

We also picked up our hardware for the cabinet doors and drawers. I can’t wait to see how awesome they look when installed.


The moulding is white because we chose a PVC composite.

More »

19. April 2015 · Comments Off on DIY Kitchen Transformation: Testing Island Colors · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

What do you think? Left color or right?

Bear with me while I try to figure out the iPhone version of my blog editor.

Tonight we tried out a couple “browns” for the kitchen island. This is a primer-less paint, and we are just covering this panel with beadboard so you aren’t seeing our “A game” in terms of paint prowess.

We overwhelmingly agreed on the left-hand color.

What do you think?

19. April 2015 · Comments Off on (Mostly) DIY Kitchen Transformation · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , , ,
Ignore the mess, it's a big-enough task to keep that center island clean. Jacob was off to the side waiting to put some balsa glider parts on it.

Our kitchen as of April 2015. Ignore the mess, every time we prepare a meal things just seem to explode. Jacob was off to the side waiting to put some balsa glider parts on the clean island.

We are embarking on our next DIY project over the next few months. Our plan is to make phased improvements to our kitchen between now and the end of 2015. We’re taking our time on this, in part so we can save up money and pay cash for each phase, but also because we have to fit the DIY tasks in between our busy work schedules. More »

No, not pretty, but so tasty!

No, not pretty, but so tasty!

My husband and I made a radical change to our diets this new year. We are attempting a Gluten-Free lifestyle. We aren’t allergic to gluten, but we are trying to see if some lingering ailments subside: joint discomfort, congestion, and (for Dave) IT band problems. I’ve not had arthritis in my hands or knees for the past week (a problem I’ve had in cold climates for many years) so I think we might be on to something. More »

I “won” this Keurig Elite from the HSC Charity Auction last fall.

Like millions of other Americans, we have become Keurig customers.  It’s like a revolution in coffee…Keurigs give you a “perfect” cup of coffee with very little work.  The American dream, right?

We got our first Keurig, a “Mini“, just before we moved from Nebraska to Florida in fall 2010.  After the movers took our regular coffee pot, it was a nice way to keep having our coffee in the morning.  It’s small and we didn’t have to keep coffee grounds on hand, just a box (or two) of K-Cups and some disposable coffee cups. That one ended up in Dave’s office.  We like how it turns itself off after the cup of coffee brews.  We get a bit paranoid about coffee pots being left on.

This past fall we got one for the home.  It’s been great.  When you register your machine with Keurig, you get coupons for free K-Cups.  BOGO for 2 boxes of 48 K-Cups.  This was a great deal after Christmas when the Starbucks K-Cups became available online.

K-Cup-brewed coffee is delicious and perfect every time.  No doubt there.

My conundrum: K-Cups are very wasteful and are expensive.  After all, traditional coffee pots brew through compostable coffee filters and then you can go on to compost the spent coffee grounds. More »

27. April 2011 · 5 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Tonight I’m making chicken tikka masala for dinner.  I never thought in a million years I’d be cooking homemade Indian food, but here I am!

I don’t keep a ton of fancy spices on hand, they tend to expire before I use it all up.  But for the past few months I’d been seeing these McCormick’s Recipe Inspirations at our local grocery stores and I got to thinking….

“Yes, I can smell the smoke!”

GROAN.  Anyway, in my often-difficult attempt to cook as much as I can from scratch, I pondered this product and decided this can’t be too bad.  I picked up a card this week at our local commissary.  Chicken Tikka Masala.  At only $1.08 (that’s the commissary price, it’s probably at least double that at your local grocery stores) it already presented more appeal than a jarred simmer sauce or one of those frozen all-in-one meal kits.**

So here’s what we have…it’s a card filled with little bubbles of spices.  Just enough for the recipe you’re making, pre-measured for your convenience.

Flip the card over, and you have a listing of ingredients on the card, and the recipe.  So while you’re on the same shopping trip you can pick up the rest of the ingredients you need.

Truth be told, I had everything in this card except for the “garam masala”…if we like this, I can pick up some garam masala at our local Asian grocery store, hold onto the card and make this in the future…

Here’s my assembly of ingredients ready to go.  (Except for the salt and cornstarch, which I always have on hand).

Don’t freak from the heavy cream — you don’t need a lot of it…

So when you peel the back of the card, I’m greeted with 6 individually wrapped packets of spice, marked with the type of spice and amount.  I ordinarily would whine about the amount of packaging here, but there’s some utility to have the packaging this way just in case you choose not to use all the spices and you want to store it for later.

I prepared the dish exactly as the recipe recommended.  I didn’t include the red pepper (which was optional anyway), but instead gave that particular packet to Jacob.  He loves red pepper flake!

The verdict?  This dish is very tasty, but didn’t seem like the tikka masala I’d had in restaurants.  It was more like a chicken cacciatore with a hint of cumin.  The kids liked it, but probably didn’t love it.

I probably will be trying the Asian Sesame Salmon next time.

**Please don’t think I’m being all elitist or anything about processed foods.  I make meals like that once in a while.  Lately with some of our family’s diet and stomach sensitivity issues, those easy-to-prepare meals are too high in sodium or other chemicals that make it tough to digest.

06. August 2008 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

Thankfully I saw replacements for this at Kohl’s this past weekend!
(Yes, I have yellow plates. This is Fiestaware, and I have place settings in green, purple, yellow and burgundy.)
This is a by-product of the frequent moves. Things can break…and they do. Several of my kitchen tools have broken, and our scanner has a huge crack on the glass now. We’re probably about halfway unpacked at this point. The government has a process of letting us file a claim, and but it’s a lot of work. You have to go out and get replacement costs estimates, or repair costs if it’s an expensive item that has broken (such as an antique piece of furniture). We’ll see how much damage we end up with and decide which items are worth fightning for. The flatbed scanner, yes. A pizza dough roller, probably not.