Friday, December 24, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Recent picture I took of my cousin's daughter - Savannah

The fire is cracking in the fireplace, the snow is gently falling outside, the presents are wrapped, the cookies are baked and I just boiled the potatoes for Grandma's potato salad.
We're going to have a WHITE CHRISTMAS this year!!
My nieces and nephews - Johnathon, Brittany, Katelyn & Matthew
Well, I need to cut up the rest of the potato salad ingredients and make a cheese ball and then carry everything out in the snow. Shurtz's are gathering at mom & dad's tonight.
I hope everyone in blogland has a Very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thankful for Friends

"We wish you a Merry Christmas" is the song they sang at my back door Saturday night. Two of my grade school friends stopped by with a few house warming gifts and to visit for a while.
I hung the new pot holders on the cabinet already. Love SNOWMEN!
They checked out the progress on the house, we told a few stories and had a few laughs. I didn't think to get the camera out while they were here, not that they'd have let me take their picture anyway.

They also gave me this cute t-shirt! I'm getting ready to put the flannel snowmen sheets in the washer and get them on the bed.
Thanks Deb and Sherry - hope you both have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Snow, Fireplace and Christmas Decorations

Well it doesn't show signs of stoppin'
and I brought some corn for poppin'
and since we've no place to go (tadada)
Let it Snow
Let it Snow

Sunday morning here in SoIL and we finally have our first SNOW! I love the snow!
I really need to be at work today since I have a board meeting tomorrow in which I was given the shortest amount of time possible to get the financials done and then on top of it have to forecast the rest of the year to determine bonus checks. But instead I think I'll sit at home in front of my fireplace and enjoy the scenery. Big thanks to Dad for getting firewood out of the woods out back and starting a fire yesterday while I was at a photo session.

My thermostat is set on 60 and didn't kick on until around 6:30 this morning. Of course I didn't carry wood in last night and had to treck out in the snow early this morning to keep the fire going - well worth it though, I love the feel and smell of wood burning.

Oh forgot to mention, I am officially living in my house now!!

Moved in the day my first house guests arrived (day before Thanksgiving), well truth be told I had to pack an overnight bag with clothes in it after my house guests were here because I only had enough moved for it to be liveable (didn't get around to clothes) and it rained that entire week.

My first Christmas tree.

I'm not ready to show you pictures yet as NO room in my house is done. I've been super duper busy this fall with pictures and have worked 60 hours plus the last two weeks and expect about that many hours this week too so 'things' at the house have been put off. But on a good note, come Thursday afternoon......I'm on vacation until the new year! That vacation isn't going to be a relaxing time but rather a "I'm getting stuff done at the house" vacation. I"ll relax some, but I'm ready to get a few projects marked off as complete. I won't really be able to relax until I get things done.

On the agenda for Christmas break:
*build kitchen island
*faux tin tile ceiling in kitchen
*molding on kitchen shadow boxes
*lay flooring in kitchen
*seal basement floor
*paint basement walls
*maybe build a few shelves in basement
*do a funky treatment on north wall in living room (knocking it out in spring so as of right now it's totally unfinished and ugly - have an idea on cheap treatment to mask look until remodel)
*hang blinds and window treatments in bedrooms and kitchen
*fix paint on kitchen cabinet doors
*hopefully get my handy-men to finish the tile in my bathroom, run electrical hookups to rest of outlets and move my satelitte connection
*re-arrange living room

*lay flooring in closet
*get bed set-up and bedroom put together (matress is on the floor right now), the room is painted but that's about all I can say about it
*maybe if I have time and weather permits, get crown molding installed in two bathrooms

I think that sounds like enough work for a vacation. Here are a few of my Christmas ornaments......well, it's time for me to design a few photo albums and then start working on company financials spreadsheets so I don't have to go into work at 3am tomorrow morning to get them done in time!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quick Update....

Just a quick post to let you'll know where things are.....the drywall is getting finished this weekend!!! I can't explain how excited I am - this means that next week I can start to:

Clean, clean, CLEAN
Prime and Paint - the entire house
Install my fridge, microwave and stove
Apply the back splash in the kitchen
Get all the light fixtures installed
Tile the shower in both bathrooms
Install the stool and sink cabinets in both bathrooms
Install the kitchen/dining room ceiling - excited about this can't wait to share pics
Clean, clean, CLEAN some more
Wash all my dishes and put them in the cabinets
Remove the last of the carpeting and try to clean the hard wood (sanding it in the spring) - any suggests to remove carpet/padding marks without sanding are appreciated
Clean out the fireplace and haul a couple loads of wood - starting to get cool here
and then start MOVING IN!!

Time left before my first house guest arrives: 20 days
In that time I also have to get 5 more sessions already shot edited (one of which is a wedding with LOTS of pictures), attend and take a few pic's of a friends wedding next week, 7 photo sessions to shoot(which of course all need to be edited for possible Christmas gifts) and I'm decorating a wedding Nov 20th with fresh flower arrangements- only 40 tables, no biggie! Plus basketball has begun so I 'have' to attempt to attend as many games as possible every Tuesday and Thursday night.

This post isn't meant as a complaint in any way, shape or form - I'm LOVING life!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ceiling Work!

When I purchased my home, it had these ever so lovely acoustical 12" spongy ceiling tiles in the entire house. If you've driven by my house you've probably seen these tiles neatly stacked up at the end of the driveway waiting for the trash man to pick up. You wouldn't believe how many 'locals' have commented on the neat piles of the ceiling tiles (that would be my father who neatly stacked them up).

The only room that still has these tiles is the mudroom. It's a winter/cold weather day project so they'll stay up there for a few months or so. I need to get the actual living space in working condition before I tackle this room.

As of Monday night, most of my ceiling looks like this (below)......drywall!! I'm not entirely sure what type of treatment I want in the living room so in the beginning it'll be flat white paint - exciting, I know. The kitchen is getting a faux metal tile application. Hopefully I can start on that next week sometime.

The two bedrooms have pine tongue & groove boards in excellent condition. I was hoping the entire house would have these, but no such luck. Let me rephrase that, it has tongue & groove boards but they're covered in felt and layers of wallpaper. I'm going to leave the natural wood in the two bedrooms. I have to caulk the cracks so the insulation will stop falling down and then I'm either going to varnish or white-wash them. May start with varnish and then white-wash if I decide the wood is too dark (rooms are only about 12x12).

Johnathon just LOVED taking the nails out of the ceiling! Can't you tell?

I've received some strange looks and comments on leaving the ceiling the natural wood and not covering it up. I think it'll give it a rustic look. I may hate it in the long run but want to give it a try and besides, what's it going to hurt to put a layer of varnish on my ceiling?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Congrats Lindy & Isaiah

If you haven't heard yet, Lindy & Isaiah are new parents!!
A couple months ago they officially adopted their little foster bundle of joy - De'von. He's in the picture below of them before they headed to the hospital, isn't he just a doll?

Around 6pm on October 18th, Josiah James Stonecipher came into this world at 19 and 3/4 inches long and weighing 8 lbs.

If you know Lindy and the medical issues she's had, you know how much of a miracle and blessing this baby is. Congrats again to the new parents, everyone in Illinois is so very happy for you two.

Thanks to Aunt Eileen for posting a few pics on Facebook (which I then stole for on here - don't think she'll mind).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bathroom Tile

I've been having issues determining what I want to do for the tub/shower surround in my bathroom. I made a trip to Lowes and purchased this tile (looks a little darker in real life). I was happy with my purchase and had convinced myself this was what I wanted.

Then my brother informed my that a tile that heavy (these are stone tiles) has to have a backer hung, it can't be hung on the sheet rock. So they'll have to tear out the sheet rock they just installed.

I stopped that quickly and decided to take the tile back (actually it's still sitting in my bedroom - that stuff is HEAVY, need to get it back to Lowe's soon). Now once again I need to decide what to do in my bathroom!

If you know me very well and have been in my bathroom at different times through the year you know that I typically change my bathroom 2-3 times a year. So I'm thinking to keep it as simple as possible I'll just put up white 4" ceramic tiles. My sink/vanity is white and the tub is white so white tiles on the tub surround will fit in nicely. As an added bonus I can change the wall color and accessories in the room to just about any color I desire and my tile won't clash with it!! Isn't what I originally thought about doing but the more I think about it the more I come back to white tiles..........

I'm not sure I'll have time to tile the bathroom next week but everything else should be complete. Before and after pictures of this room coming soon.

House Update: Week 22

So it's been a while since I gave you updates from the house. I decorated way too many weddings/events this summer and any free time I may have had was spent at ballgames - seriously, they're never ending and basketball starts Saturday! As is with most old home fixer-upers one thing has lead to another and then thoughts of simply tearing down a wall and building a bathroom and closet have morphed into pretty much gutting the ENTIRE house.

Good News! I hired my Uncle yesterday to help my brother/dad with the remodel - upgrade. My cousin called and told me she's definitely coming for Thanksgiving so I now have a deadline to be in a 'live-able' home with house guests! Figured an extra set of hands was needed to achieve this new goal.

So here's where we're at:

1) Most demolition has been completed.

2) My new bathroom has walls, electrical ran, plumbing installed, light fixture installed, tub installed, pocket door installed, walls mudded and waiting to be sanded. My sink, vanity and stool are there ready to be installed as soon as the walls are sanded and I get to prime & paint. I need to purchase tile for my tub surround and get that tiled. Then I'll just need to 'decorate' it - woo hoo it's almost done.

3) My new closet has walls with sheet rock on the inside, walls are mudded waiting to be sanded. Electrical is ran along with a light fixture. Once the room is sanded I'll prime & paint it. We still need to hang the door and install hardwood flooring which I still need to pick up.

4) Guest room closet has the 2x4 frame but no sheet rock. I need to determine what kind and size door I want on this and go get it.

5) Two bedrooms need sheetrock on the hall between them and the doors hung. Both rooms need the cracks in the ceiling filled with caulk, lightly sanded and varnished - leaving them the pine wood. Both also need a couple coats of new paint, floors sanded and sealed, and window treatments.

6) Demolition of the existing bathroom is 'in progress'. Cast iron tub should be moved to it's new home in the guest bathroom today! Guest bathroom has had nothing done yet. So it still needs the framing, sheetrock, electrical, plumbing, painting, and fixtures - it's just an empty space in the living room right now.

7) Kitchen: I've painted the cabinets, they're pretty much ready to go. Old bedroom wall has been removed along with the ugly ceiling tiles. New outlets have been installed along with a gas line for my stove. Carpet should be coming up & out of there early next week - YAY. We have to lay a thin subfloor over the existing tile before I can install the new flooring. A new back door has been cut, the old doorway needs to be framed out then we can sheetrock the walls and ceiling, mud, sand, prime, paint, install laminate floor, and move in the appliances! I've purchased new cabinets for between the stove and fridge but need to still get a few more for my island. I want to replace the dining room window with a door that will eventually lead to a back deck too.

8) Living Room: not much has happened here. It'll kind of be in limbo, don't want to put much into it until next spring when the front door gets moved. The ugly ceiling tiles have been removed though and the carpet in this room will also come out sometime next week! This room has beautiful oak hardwood floors hiding under the carpet. The ceiling and south wall will have sheet rock hung, mudded and sanded soon too.

9) Utility Room is where the existing bathroom is, so it's waiting for bathroom demolition to happen. A washer and dryer were left in the house and are hooked up somewhere else so the utility room can technically wait until after the holidays.

10) Mudroom: nothing has been done. It'll be a project for the cold winter months with nothing to do. Plan to paint the existing paneling and paint the cement floor, new window treatments and maybe a few shelving units and some cool hooks.

11) Basement: nothing has been done (except for me piling up loads of 'stuff'). Need to get everything out that I've carried down there and seal the floors (course in reality I'll just move it to one side, paint, and then move it to the other side). I hope to get lots of electrical boxes ran down here soon cause I NEED them! I'm going to paint the walls (probably different colors in different areas) and partition off areas of the basement: photo area, scrapbooking area, wedding prep area, and general storage. Too bad there's a monster furnace in the middle of the room! Eventually I'll get some type of storage going - shelves and/or cabinets. Also need to move the light switch and build the stairwell wall up to the ceiling - kind of has more to do more with the mudroom.

12) Doesn't have anything to do with the remodel but I need to get firewood gathered from the woods. Sounds like a good job for Johnathon and I! Temps have started falling into the 40's at night so here real soon I'll have to get a gas tank too :)

My dad and brother were making steady progress, but I think an extra knowledgeable person will make a huge difference. Excited to see what was accomplished today when I go home tonight!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Peppermint Mocha

I've found a new LOVE! I read a comment someone made a few days ago about Peppermint Mocha Coffee-Mate, saw it on my trip to Walmart the other day and decided to give it a try.

OH MY!!! It tastes like you're eating candy or some type of dessert with every drink of coffee. I was afraid the peppermint flavor would be stronger than what I'd like, but I was wrong - it's so delicious.

I was just visiting Coffee-Mate's website and found this recipe using the Peppermint Mocha creamer:

Peppermint Mocha Cheesecake!

2 cups ground Oreo's Mint N'Cream cookies
3 pkgs (8 ozs) room temp cream cheese
1 cup Peppermint Mocha powdered creamer
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 container (16 oz) sour cream at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F and grease bottom and sides of a 9" springform pan.

Press cookie crumbs into sides and bottom and place in freezer for 5 minutes.

Beat cream cheese, coffee-mate and 1/4 cup sugar until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour into crust.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes until edges are set but center still moves slightly.

Combine sour cream, remaining sugar and vanilla; mix well. Spread over surface of cheesecake and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove from springform pan.


I haven't tried this yet but it sound YUMM-O!
Planning on making some for the holidays.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Interesting fact.....

I received a text message earlier this morning telling me that the month of October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. According to the text this only happens once in 823 years (not sure of the validity of this fact, I did get it from a random txt message!).

I hadn't realized that we have 5 full weekends this month, not that it really makes any difference - just thought I'd share it with you! If you think about it, there are 10 weekend days of the 31 days in October so basically 1/3 of October is a weekend.......hope you have a great October!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In a People House

"Come inside, Mr. Bird," said the Mouse.
"I'll show you what there is in a people house...."

While this wasn't my favorite Dr. Seuss book, it was Michael's and I read it to him over and over and over. Sunday Johnathon and I were unloading wedding decorations from the night before, carrying some stuff inside while other boxes were unloaded to the garage.

Johnathon came running out of my house with big wild eyes telling me there was a bird in my kitchen! I finish dealing with what ever I was unpacking and went inside to check it out.....he was right, there was a little chickadee in my house.

Johnathon and I attempted for a few minutes to direct it out the front door - unsuccessfully of course. So I went home and got reinforcements. I'm glad there wasn't a hidden camera in my house as dad, Johnathon, John Greyson and myself got the bird out of the people house. Then again a video would have been comical to watch!

The bird made it safely out and "In a People House" still isn't one of my favorite books (come on, it's about a bird and mouse running through your house)!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A season ending

Anyone who knows me, knows that I spend a lot of time at sporting events. When I was younger I enjoyed participating and playing sports but I attend now to support & cheer for nephews and nieces.

Another season of school-fall baseball is nearing an end. The last home game was earlier this week, one of the fathers gathered all the 8th graders after the game for a group picture. This group of 7 boys have been playing sports together since they were old enough to play organized sports......flag football, summer baseball, basketball, school/fall baseball, name it, if it's considered a 'sport' they'll play. While I'm looking forward to watching them play football, I can't believe they'll be in high school next year! Front Row - Luke, Kaleb, Nick
Back Row - Johnathon, Jacob, Zach, Steven
They won some and lost some this year, but supported each other no matter the outcome of the game - they really are a great bunch of kids. I think the fact that they all attend church has something to do with it, but that's just my opinion.

We only have two more regular season games (one tonight, one Monday) and then the regional playoff's. Good Luck on the rest of the season Boys!! Of course I'll see you in a few weeks on the basketball court......oh, basketball starts Saturday, Oct 23rd. I wish there was a way to attend basketball without having to sit on bleachers, those things kill me by the end of the season - I know I'm getting old.

If you like to see some of the pictures of Johnathon click the link below:


There are galleries of the other players also or you can click on an individual game and watch the progess of pictures from that game on a slide show (shorten version of the game!). I only have about 1 1/2 games posted so far but hope to have more done this weekend - we'll see how it goes. Check back often, as soon as I get the baseball ones done I'll start in on basketball......a BIG THANKS to the coach for allowing me to sit on the field during the home games!! It's great not having to shoot through the fence.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Special Fans!


As some you may know and many more of you don' nephew Johnathon has 6 siblings. He has one sister who is my brothers (Brittany) who of course we love dearly and see all the time. He also has 5 more siblings by his mother.

A little history - Johnathon has lived with my parents pretty much since he was born and after a small battle, obtained legal-temporary custody of him when he was around 5 years old.

In the mean time, his mother had many more children. While Johnathon was living in a safe, stable environment with my parents his siblings weren't as lucky and eventually DCFS stepped in and placed his sisters and brother in foster care. They were all adopted by their foster parents when his mother permanently lost custody. Johnathon was of course adopted by my parents.

Johnathon's situation with his mother was a little different than his younger siblings 1.) he was 'aware' of what was going on - even though he may not of completely understood everything 2)he wasn't removed by DCFS since he didn't live with her. He does continue to see her a couple times a year, usually for dinner with my parents present. His siblings though had a total break in contact and due to the nature of the situation, that also meant that Johnathon no longer got to see his siblings (we quickly found out that according to IL law, Johnathon had no visitation rights). He's never met his brother, he was taken when he was only a few hours old - we have yet to meet him but hope to some day.

All that history being said, the mother of the three oldest girls contacted us and decided to bring the girls to Johnathon's baseball game last night! We didn't tell Johnathon they were coming, he hasn't seen them in 3 1/2 years. The game was already under way when they got there......the only downfall to the night was the rain coming down which kept me from getting my camera out.

It was a very emotional reunion. Most of the parents in the stands and the coach had be informed of what was going to happen and I think most had tears running down their checks. The girls mother was a little apprehensive that the two younger ones wouldn't remember him, but the way they lit up when they saw him and clung to him the rest of the evening ended those doubts quickly.

After the game, Johnathon had the girls stand at the top of the bleachers and introduced them to the team - he was so excited for everyone to meet them. For the first time in a very long time, the Junior-High Baseball team BEAT was believed by the team that his sisters brought them good luck and were made honorary mascots and asked to attend all the rest of the games!

They agreed to have dinner with us uptown, giving the separated siblings time to visit. We hope they'll get to see each other more frequently now and someday we'll get to meet his youngest sister and brother.
It wasn't raining in the Opera House so I got to take pictures..........introductions are now in order.

This is Shelby, she's got the thickest brown hair - cut in the cutest style. She giggled most of the night at anything Johnathon would say........

.......and this is Delany. She was the one most attached to Johnathon before their separation and was the one most attached to Johnathon last night - literally attached as in wouldn't let go of him. She's always had the sweetest personality, a trait that's only gotten stronger. She's such a pretty little girl, inside and out.......
........and Brooke, who has the biggest, prettiest brown eyes. Brooke is more quiet and reserved than her younger sisters. She's grown into a beautiful young girl. Brooke has the same thickness and natural curl/wave in her hair that Johnathon has.

We/I tried taking a picture of all four of them. They were all giddy though and had a hard time sitting still and Brooke kept closing her eyes every time the shutter would close.....oh well, still a cute picture.

Delany wouldn't let Johnathon get but maybe 12 inches from her.

Shelby liked "posing" for the camera.

Brooke was sitting next to me so I wasn't able to get as many pictures of her. She wasn't quite as camera happy as the other two either.
Delany took this picture of Johnathon (I let the girls take a few of the pictures)

They were having fun "playing" with Johnathon's hair - aggravating him was more like it! Johnathon is attempting to let his hair grown out, he wants a shaggy cut and to be able to flip his hair (basketball's coming up though so I'm thinking the growing out won't last much longer). Course I told him that when his hair is long enough for them to part it and play with it, it's time to get it cut!

This one loved the spaghetti at the Opera House.

I think the girls would have let me sit and take pictures of them for hours and Johnathon would have sat and visited with them as long as they'd have stayed there. Toward the end of the evening, Shelby announced "okay, I'm ready to go home with Johnathon now" and just looked at him and grinned.

We're very grateful to their mother for realizing that Johnathon was also a victim of the situation and agreed to allow their reunion. Johnathon was sooooo wound up when he got home last night, it took a long time for him to fall asleep last night.

Even though we had to sit under umbrella's and got a little wet watching as baseball game......SV beat Carterville and more importantly, a long awaited reunion took place.

It was one GREAT night!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quick update

I know I'm behind on my blogging.....sorry. Life's been busy, what can I say.

1. Went to my house to start prep on wedding stuff for this weekend
2. Attempted to wash vases & jars in my dishwasher (doesn't work when the hot water heater is turned off, just a FYI for anyone else out there remodeling), so I started washing them by hand - to be continued tomorrow
3. Received delivery of fresh flowers from both UPS and FedEx!
4. Packed my car and dad's truck with tent, tables and chairs
5. Went to Johnathon's ball game in ZR (SV wins!!)
6. Go to MOB house and set up party tent and tables and chairs for rehersal dinner
7. get home about 8pm and fall onto couch, tired

1. Make floral arrangements for rehersal dinner
2. Delivery arrangements to MOB for rehersal dinner in the early am hours
3. Return to my house and assemble all floral arrangements
4. Prep all supplies and 'stuff' for wedding

1. Pack up cars with wedding stuff
2. Decorate Kokopelli's for outdoor wedding and indoor reception later that evening
3. Breakdown tent from MOB houses during wedding ceremony
4. Breakdown wedding/reception later in evening

1. Attend two baseball games in Pinckneyville @ 10am and I believe 1pm
2. Take pictures at a 55th anniversay party later that evening

1. High school senior photo session early Sunday evening

......I don't understand why I can't get anything done on my house! Oh and I have about 4 photo sessions to get edited. So that being said I think it's well past the time for me to be in bed, long day tomorrow and then again Friday and then again Saturday. I should have time to do a real house update next week - progress is being made, promise.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Magazine Covers!

Katie's softball coach contacted me about creating magazine covers for the girls on her team (I'd been to several of the games and she knew I had pictures of all the girls). While making them for Katies team I also did one for Matthew.

You can see Katie's team HERE!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

House Update: Week 7

It's been 7 weeks now since I signed on my house. The past couple of weeks haven't really had much progress to speak about.....sorry.

I learned the hard way that I 'DID' need to sand my base cabinets. When we put the doors back on, one stuck and when I opened it paint peeled off. So the cabinet doors are once again off and we've started peeling off paint and sanding the bases. It was kind of one step forward, two steps back. Better to find out now before the cabinets are full and everything else is done in the kitchen - less mess this way.

My bathroom & closets are waiting on plumbing, electrical work and sheet rock. Unfortunately it's been way too hot to climb into the attic to do electrical work and my brother and I have both been too busy to help dad with the plumbing/sheet rock.

Thankfully baseball/softball for the summer has ended! I've done about 10 photo sessions since the end of ball season with about that many booked in the near future. I've also decorated a several weddings and have one more wedding this month along with a 55th anniversary party. This past weekend I did floral arrangements for 30 tables (with 6-8 candles on each table too) along with 14 bouquets & 2 corsages and delivered it all to the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis. That was the first wedding which I traveled that far to. It went great - of course I didn't get pictures to prove it! Side note, I had to rent a cargo van to get everything there and am very thankful that I did - Arielle and I would have never got all that stuff into two cars.

This week we're to have record temps, in the 3 digits with heat index's of 115 to 120 degrees and I HAVE to get pictures edited. Those two factors mean that not much will get accomplished this week on the house. By September the temps should be decent again and once we get started on what's left it should go pretty quickly. Still shooting to be in by Halloween!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Jambalaya Recipe

This is what was for lunch at our house today, and it was sooooo easy and for the most part it all came out of a box! Semi-homemade, my favorite kind of meal.

You start with a box of Jambalaya rice mix, a package of sausage (type is your choice or in my case what happens to be in the fridge), a can or two of beans - I usually use black beans but black eyed peas were in the cabinet, and extra ingredients to your taste. I typically add a can or two of diced tomatoes, an onion, some red pepper and lots of garlic. Dad canned homemade salsa yesterday and didn't have room in the canner for this I used it today, after all it had all the 'extra' ingredients combined in one.

I did add a few more tomatoes (fresh out of the garden - no cans this time of year) and a half a head of garlic. What can I say, I LOVE garlic.

Simply dump all ingredients (along with some water) into a stock pot, bring to a boil and turn down heat allowing it to simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Once the Jambalaya was in the pot cooking I used this box, following the directions on the back to make a small pan of cornbread.

We had a few small zucchini that needed to be fixed before they went bad. Fried zucchini seemed like a good side for the Jambalaya & corn bread. Simply slice, dip in egg mixture, dip in flour/bread crumb mixture and fry in hot oil. This was my favorite part of our lunch!

I love FRIED ZUCCHINI!!!! Prep, cooking, eating and clean up last about 1 hour total.
Just doesn't get much better than that.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Found a Treasure

Dad found this in the ceiling of the little hallway between the kitchen and bedroom(the one I'm making a dining room).

It almost fell on his head as he was taking down the paneling ceiling.

A little elbow grease and a new shade and it'll look good as new! Can't wait to display it in my completed kitchen.

Friday, July 16, 2010

But why can't I sand it.....

Conversation from last night with my cousin Danny (the contractor/our remodel advisor), Danny meets Dad & I at my house to answer a technical question or two dad needs clarification on before tackling the next project.

Dad had started tearing out the shelf unit between the living room and kitchen that I want to be an open area - no walls / no shelf unit / no beams. When he had most of it torn down he realized that the beam the framed the doorway was a support beam - bad news for me - and that the beam/joice it's supporting in the ceiling is bowing - more bad news for me. After Danny explained to dad how to build a support, jack wall and replace the joice I asked him about the ceiling.

Dad had removed the ugly tiles in the kitchen & dining room per my request. I was happy to find that there was an old slat ceiling in there but unfortunately they'd covered it with felt and layers of wallpaper (yeah for me, more wall paper!!)

and into our conversation.....

Me: Any suggestions on the best way to get the wallpaper off the ceiling and lightly sand the slats?

Danny: You don't

Me: Yah, I want to sand the slats and whitewash them - it'll look cool - I saw it on a blog

Danny: Then put up new slats

Me: Don't want to buy new ones, how do I clean these

Danny: You don't, either buy new slats or put up sheet rock

Me: Don't want to do that, what's wrong with these?

Danny: By the looks of them they're from the original house

Me: I know, that's what I like about them

Danny: Understand, but you don't know what's on them. You don't know what they treated them with a hundred years ago or what they used to put up the felt or what type of adhesive was used for the paper. Good chance there's something up there you don't want to stir up. I understand the concept of what you want to do and if you want painted slats you need to put new wood slats on top of the existing.

Me: Seriously. Well that's not the answer I was looking for.

So, now I have a ceiling without ugly white tile but with felt and wallpaper half attached in most places on old dark brown slats (that would look sooooo cool whitewashed by the way) that I'm told I can't touch and need to cover with something........any suggestions? Since I did ask his professional opinion I guess I'll listen to the advice and leave the old stuff up there alone (secretly protesting that decision though). I'm thinking I'll probably go back to the tin tile ceiling look for the kitchen & dining room.

On a good note - Dad started framing out my bathroom yesterday! Isn't that wallpaper lovely. It's one of the 4 layers on the slat boards that was under the sheet rock I/dad knocked down.

Monday, July 12, 2010

House Update: Week 3 & 4 combined

As of today I've owned my home for 4 weeks - can't believe it's been that long. In that time I've come to a realization (after another, after another!), the more you do to the home......the more you find to do to the home. Once we started tearing this and that out, the more I wanted to tear out. Which isn't speeding up my timeline to move in....

So as of right now - nothing is complete and more has been destroyed (intentionally of course). So here's where I'm at:

1) The wall & closet between the kitchen and what I'm making into a dining room has been torn down thanks to dad. You can see the wall behind the custom build shelf unit between the kitchen and living room (this shelf will be coming down in the near future too). I was surprised to find dry wall under the paneling - why would you put up that green paneling?? Anyway, that's the wall that was removed as you'll see the progress in the next two pics.

As you can see above the wall is GONE!!

2.) The walls in the old bedroom (that you can see in the picture above have wallpaper on them - no big deal, right? Wrong, after who knows how many hours and use of a professional steamer......I knocked down one of the walls! It will be so much cheaper and easier to just put up new sheet rock. Why I wasted so many hours trying to remove the 4 layers of old, old paper is beyond me. The back wall shown above now has a door cut out - part of this room will be the master bath and the other half will be the dining room. The window you see will eventually become a door leading onto a deck out back.

The hole in the wall is where the door was later cut out.

3.) My cabinets are almost completely painted. I've trimmed one side (didn't have enough to get the other side completely done). Once I get the other side trimmed, I'll paint the trim and then work on the back splash. My new drawer pulls came in Saturday, so installing them and putting the cabinets 'back together' will complete that part of the remodel. Below is a pic before the trim.

.....and here it is with the trim on it and the top cubby hole with a coat of paint (several more will be required).

4.) I've determined that I really don't like the ceiling tiles currently in the house and have found that the entire house has the old slat ceiling. Pretty sure the tiles will be removed and the slats sanded and white washed. Can't wait to start on that - should be a huge improvement.

5.) My closet (which use to be a 1/2 bath and double closet between the two bedrooms) is down to 2x4's now. Still have to deal with the plumbing from the old bathroom and then we'll be able to start the dry wall! The before picture:and an in-process picture. The tiles, stool and sink are now gone (just don't have a picture).

Dad also took the top boards off the built in shelf between the living room and kitchen to make sure the post wasn't load-bearing and it's not!! So I'll be able to have that 12 foot area between the two rooms open.

I've decided that several of the things that I was going to wait and do once I moved in I'll probably go ahead and do now. Since everything's all tore up I might as well do it all at once instead of starting a project and leaving 1 or 2 things undone until a later date and then making a huge mess once furniture and my belongs are in place.

My move in goal is Halloween.....we'll see how it goes!

Left to do in the kitchen / dining room:
1.) Finish trim, finish painting cabinets and top cubby hole.
2.) Install hardware and re-hang doors
3.) Backsplash - faux silver tin
4.) Finish the removal of the custom built shelf between living room & kitchen
5.) Remove ceiling tiles, sand & white wash planks
6.) Remove carpet in kitchen
7.) Hope to remove floor tiles under kitchen carpet glued directly onto oak hardwood floors
8.) Frame and dry wall my bathroom (1/2 floor space of old bedroom/dining room area)
9.) Remove window and cut frame for patio door
10.) Cut frame for new back door (leading to mudroom/basement)
11.) Fill in old backdoor with dry wall
12.) Mud & sand all dry wall
13.) Paint
14.) Have floors sanded and refinished
15.) Install new floor and wall cabinets between stove & fridge
16.) Build/install kitchen island
17.) Hang new lighting in the kitchen & dining room
18.) Install all floor & ceiling trim
19.) Move in kitchen 'stuff'