Friday, July 30, 2010

Another Day of Demolition

Over the course of the last several days, I've learned a few facts about myself.

#1. I do not like change.

Especially when it involves moving the coffeepot downstairs.

Have you ever had to maneuver stairs with your eyes still shut?

It's not pretty.

#2. I am short.

(I know, it surprised me too!)

My involvement in removing the soffits consisted of me handing my son, Dakota, the sledgehammer.

And then patting him on the, and telling him what a good job he did.

He liked it.

#3. Plumbing does not come naturally to me.

I thought that we were going to have to decorate around the pipes.

Until my Mister handed me a pipe wrench and said, "Here honey, take those apart."


He forgot to tell me that water, still in the line, has to come out somewhere.

That was unfortunate.

But, now you see them... you don't.

I wish I could take the credit for that.

#4. I hate shopping.

Especially at a store full of men whose sole purpose in life is to touch every single little doohicky and thing-a-ma-jig in the store.

For 4 hours.

I snapped.

We'll just blame it on the lack of espresso that Lowe's didn't have.

It's safer that way.

#5. I'm the Energizer Bunny once I get that espresso.

This was a doorjamb with no door.

Now it is a doorway with no jamb.

Here is the door that will fill the jamb, after it gets a paint job.

After I get another round of coffee.

#6. Going green can be overrated.

I thought I would recycle the nails.

That thought lasted for exactly 6 nails.

I am going to reuse them...somewhere.

#7. I am a lucky girl.

No explanation necessary.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

New Kitchen: DIY Phase 1

Finally. Phase 1 is underway. The kitchen remodel has officially begun.

Oh, we've been working on it for awhile now, but until the sledgehammer swings, it cannot officially be official.

Know what I mean?

This used to be the girls' bathroom. Notice the lack of girls?

They were mourning the loss of a "boy-free" toilet.

As the official toilet inspector, I completely understand.

They may need therapy.

Just cleaning off the counters made the whole room seem BIGGER.

Hmmm...maybe we really didn't need a remodel.

While I was feeling guilty over my lack of organizational skills, my Mister and eldest son took down the cabinets.

I didn't need to wallow in guilt for too long, most of the cabinets FELL down once the paint had been chipped away from the edges.

Lucky for me.

With the cabinets gone, it was time for some sledgehammerin'.
I knew just the person for the job.

*Please don't try this at home. It takes tremendous skill to not get knocked out by the hangy part of the upper arm, especially once it gets to flappin' in the wind.

My poor Mister.

They make it look so easy on the DIY network.

He had this same look on his face when I came home with a pot-bellied pig.

"Oh woman, why do you torture me so?"

Phase 1 continues today with the removal of the rest of the cabinets, the dishwasher, the kitchen sink and the flooring.

I'll be in town buying a month's worth of paper plates, plastic forks, and a good can opener.

This is our vacation after all!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Goat Condo

One of our many, many, many projects of the summer is finished.

Gertie the Goat now has her own pad.

A condo to be exact.

I wanted to call it "The Love Shack", but alas, there is no Billy in which to share the shack with, so for now, it is just a condo.

Gertie is blossoming right before our eyes... fact, she went from an A cup to a C cup almost overnight!

Disturbing, yes. Informative? Maybe.

I'm still learning.

My best guess is that we will have some wee ones by the end of August.

Here is Gertie's new digs. It is 3 ft. x 4 ft, is fully insulated with upgraded cedar trim, and has edible bedding.

What more could a pregnant goat ask for?

And just in case we forget her name, my son-in-law Jake wood-burned a name plaque for her.

That was very thoughtful of him.

Not to be outdone, my Mister used 30 year architectural roofing.

On a removable roof.

If Gertie lives for another 30 years, we will be glad for that roofing!

Gertie likes to spend time on top of the 30 year roof, playing "Queen of the Mountain".

"Hey Gert~Do you think this is a good idea in your condition?"

"Back off sister, I'm hormonal."

Maisie woke up long enough to discover that we have a goat.

She's been here for a month.


Can't say we weren't warned.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

MPM 7/25/10

After a wonderful week with my granddaughter, it is time to get down to the business of remodeling.

Actually, the business of demolition.

With a sledgehammer.

Because my kitchen is being demolished, I will be moving the meal preparation down to the basement. The kitchen down there is very small.

It may even make me miss my old kitchen upstairs.


Hey, it could happen.

Since we were busy with the bathrooms last week, the garden was sadly neglected. Meaning, I neglected to notice that the broccoli is days away from flowering.

Wanna guess what's on the menu this week?

Cereal (had our son-in-law & daughter's youth group passing through!)
Grilled hamburgers, macaroni salad (prepared by my kids)

Scrambled eggs, toast w/ raw honey
Broccoli Salad, Salmon patties, Devilled eggs, French bread

Cereal (early appointments)
Cold Chicken Satay Noodles, Steamed broccoli

Soaked Oatmeal w/blueberries
Bean & Cheese burritos, Farmer's Market salad


Scrambled eggs, toast w/ raw honey
Fettucini w/ Basil Pesto sauce, Broccoli salad

Tater Tot Casserole w/mixed veggies, Farmer's Market salad

Simple Supper Sunday

For meal planning ideas, visit The Organizing Junkie!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blueberry Picking & Raspberry Jam

Today, we decided to take a break from leaky toilets and sheet-rock.

My Mister & I loaded up the 4 younger kids and our granddaughter and drove to Sauvie Island.

Also known as "my happy place".

The blueberries and raspberries are in full swing, with the marionberries just starting.

We decided to pick blueberries.

Madison decided to eat the blueberries.

She was very careful to only pick the blue ones.

I have $20 waiting to bribe one of the aunties to change her next poopy diaper.

Madison insisted on helping to bring in the harvest.

This was only part of our haul.

We agreed to only pick blueberries, which we did.

Nobody said anything about pre-picked raspberries though, so I smuggled 2 flats into the wagon!

The Mister & I really love raspberry freezer jam.

We hide it from the kids on the top shelf of the freezer, amongst the plums and blueberries.

It was working until the kids grew tall enough to see the top shelf.


If you make this, find a better hiding place.

Or a taller freezer.

Raspberry Freezer Jam
(from the pectin box)

3 cups mashed raspberries
5-1/4 cup sugar
1 box pectin
3/4 cup water

Smash raspberries with a potato masher. Make sure that you measure carefully or the jam will not set up.

In a large bowl, mix sugar with mashed berries.

Let set for 10 minutes.

This allows the sugar to dissolve.

After 10 minutes, pour 3/4 cup water into small saucepan.

Whisk in 1 box of pectin and bring to boil.

Boil hard for 1 minute, then remove from heat and pour into berry/sugar mixture.

Stir for 3 minutes.

Ladle jam into freezer containers. Use a funnel for less mess.

Trust me.

I found these nifty little containers in the canning section of one of our stores. (If you live near me, Bob's Sporting Goods is where to go!) They are made by Ball and the tops screw on; no more lids popping off!


Why can't I think of things like that? This could be one of the greatest inventions of the 21st century.

Better than the screw-top lids~these are stack-able!!

Be still my heart.

And canning season has only just begun!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Busy Summer Days & Some Yucky Stuff Too!

It all started with a phone call.

"Hey Brant, you busy?"

(Some might call that a loaded question.)

"Uh, why?"

(Some might call that an elusive answer.)

"Hay's ready."

(Some might say, "That's what you get for answering the phone.")

And so it begins.

The reality of summer.

Haying season. When everything else is put on hold for those few days of mowing, raking, baling and bucking.

Since I was driving the truck, this is the only picture I managed to shoot. What you can't see is the 200 bales stacked and salted behind the family.

There are about 50 more bales in the field, still needing to be picked up.

But we have other pressing matters to attend to.

Our pregnant goat, Faith, who has been renamed Gertie Faith, needs new digs. She is currently inhabiting Molly's dog kennel.

Which leaves our 1 year old chocolate lab pup to wander the house freely when we're not home.

This project has been marked URGENT.

I am no longer able to feign ignorance on power tools. My Mister decided to initiate me to the chop saw.

I like the chop saw.

Then we were interrupted with yet another crisis.

Black mold.

Sunday morning, we did a walk-thru of our downstairs bedroom and bathroom, making final plans for that part of the remodel.

We found dripping organic matter.

In a closet.

Before church.

Problem is this: we have 5 bathrooms. All of them were plumbed the same way.

Which was wrong.

The good news: We are removing 1 of the bathrooms to expand the kitchen, so we only have 4 to repair.


But it's not all work and no play.

Madison came to visit for the week and we are enjoying some much-needed grandbaby time.

She reminds us to enjoy the simple pleasures in life, like reading...

...and making playdough pancakes.

She reminds us that there is joy in small things like blowing bubbles with Uncle Matty...

...and decorating Nana & Poppa's front porch with sidewalk chalk.

Grandbabies remind us that life is short, the show must go on, and to put our troubles in a bubble and let them float away.

And in January and March, we'll have 2 more precious grandbabies to remind us to do just that.

Congratulations to my daughters, Tia and Kelsie!!!

Black mold and all, we feel very blessed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

MPM 7/19/10

I'm in a hurry to get things done,
I rush and rush until life's no fun.
All I really gotta to do is live and die,
but I'm in a hurry and don't know why.
~Alabama, country music group

I'm more of a "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay" kind of gal, but lately have dubbed Alabama's song as my mantra.

Because it's summertime.

Because my Mister has 3 weeks off.

Because school is on hold.

Because we have a nasty toilet leak in one of our closets.

Because we have 12 hungry youth from out of state crashing at our house on their way to a Christian music festival.

Because 'when it rains, it pours'.

We decided to do a major remodel of our kitchen. In order to accomplish this, we need to remove one of the bathrooms behind the kitchen to add another 8 feet to it. This allows us a little wiggle room and a nice sized pantry. Currently, our pantry is spread out in various closets throughout the house.

That's it. Just a kitchen remodel.

But because we're losing a bathroom, the 3 others needed updating.

And there lies the problem.

The proverbial can of worms has been opened.

There's no going back.

So, because of our ridiculously huge remodel, I will not be spending any time in the kitchen this week.

So, here's what's cooking this week~courtesy of my beloved daughters...

Spaghetti, Garlic bread

Cheese Tortellini Pesto Salad (from last week), fruit salad

Chicken Satay Noodle Salad

Grilled Hamburgers, Macaroni Salad

Meatloaf, Macaroni & Cheese, Green beans

Taco Salad

Breakfasts will be cold cereal, lunches will be leftovers and sandwiches.

Did I mention that my granddaughter, Madison, is spending the week with us?

Of course, there will be plenty of playtime and snuggles in our days too!
For more menu planning ideas, visit The Organizing Junkie's Menu Plan Monday!

Monday, July 12, 2010

White Zinfandel Pasta Sauce

Disclaimer: I am not a photographer.

Please do not hold it against the pasta sauce!

Have you ever noticed the size of the pasta aisle at the grocery store? Jar after jar of sauces that have almost identical ingredients, but varying prices. The really cheap stuff has added high-fructose corn syrup, soybean oil, and no expiration date, the more expensive versions have...well, more expensive packaging.

And don't even get me started on the sauces with meat in them. Blah.

One of the more expensive, organic brands that I was looking at had Zinfandel as an ingredient. It also had tomato puree, tomato paste and spices. I suddenly had a moment of brilliance.

I could create my own version and save the $5.oo per jar cost!

Couldn't I?

Simply said, yes.

And it was good.

~The Players~

2 medium yellow onions, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil + 2 Tb. for sauteing
1 t. dried oregano
1 scant teaspoon sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper
1 quart canned tomatoes, broken up (or the equivalent of)
1 small can tomato paste
2 Tb. packed brown sugar
1 cup White Zinfandel
1 bay leaf, broken in half

In a heavy pan, saute the onions for about 3 minutes in some olive oil.

Add the celery and garlic and continue to cook for a couple minutes more. Add more olive oil if necessary.

Slice mushrooms, then roughly chop. Add to the onions and cook a couple of minutes longer.

Come closer. Can you smell it yet?

Dump the jar of tomatoes and can of tomato paste into a large pot. Stir well.

Add the brown sugar.

Add the chopped basil to the tomatoes, along with the salt, pepper, and dried oregano.

Remove the onions from the heat and dump them into the tomato sauce pot.

Add the White Zinfandel and stir well.

Add the 1/4 cup olive oil and the bay leaf.

Bring the sauce to a boil; reduce heat and simmer with a lid on for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Or, if you prefer, place in a crockpot and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Serve with your favorite pasta and sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.


*This made enough for my family...times 2!