Tuesday, March 31, 2009

End of a Bathroom Remodel???

I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel!
We are supposed to get the new doors installed this weekend! Then we can finish the bead board in the bathroom. Still lots of painting to be done, but that can go quickly. So I am thinking we can have it all put together by the end of next week. I need to repaint the ceiling in there as well. There will probably be a few things that won't be finished, like the doors for the open shelves we are turning into a cabinet and an over the toilet cabinet to house toilet paper. But those things can wait. It will still be fully functioning and house all of our toiletries! Oh, I am so excited!

I also got the natural denim I ordered for the slipcovers I am going to make for the chairs in the living room. I am going to wash it so it shrinks before I make them. I have to cut it into smaller lengths in order to fit in all in the washer! I am hoping to get that started by next week and finish it in a week or two! I better get a schedule set up so I can get it all done.

Jeff and I decided to remove our fireplace. It is not functional and replacing it is expensive. And it would just be for looks, so what is the point? We are going to replace it with a built-in. It will house the television and all the components, movies, and accessories. It will even house the Rock Band drums and guitars! Woohoo!

And we need to paint all the trim in the house.
Anyone up for a painting party? (or two, or three)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mushrooms and Stars

I tried a new sauce for pasta tonight. It was looking so tasty as I was cooking the onions, green peppers, red peppers, and mushrooms in butter! How could it go wrong? Then it called for a can of condensed cream of chicken soup and some milk. So I added it. It is not bad. But I am just not loving the cream of soup taste. I think I will try a different cream base for it. We ate it with no delay! Jeff has seconds, so it can't be terribly bad. But I do feel this could be so much better if it didn't include a can of soup. Any ideas?

Here is how the recipe goes:

* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
* 1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
* 1 1/2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
* 4 tablespoons butter
* 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
* 1/3 cup milk

In a sauce pan over medium heat cook the onions, green pepper, red pepper, mushrooms and butter until mushrooms are tender. Stir in the cream of chicken sup and milk. Cook until smooth.

I added some basil, oregano, and cream. We mixed it with tiny star pasta. I don't think it made it better, but it did change the taste a little. I am sorta on the fence about this one. I would love any ideas you have to give it that extra umph!

And, Marianne, I don't want to hear your comments on how the picture could be "better if..." hehe

Thursday, March 26, 2009


From here forth, my brother Charles and his fiance Kelly shall heretofore be referred to as Charelly!
Charelly came down for a visit this week. Being spring break for all of us,it worked out well. Kelly had off work on Wednesday and Thursday, so they drove down late Tuesday. They got in and I served them cake. Then Charles announced that he was still hungry. I let him eat a tuna sandwich with the leftover tuna from our tuna melts. (I am trying to see how many times I can use tuna in one sentence!) The next day, Kelly and I went running. We ran 2 miles. Then we showered and lunch. Then it was down to business. The reason for the visit was so that I could take in a bridesmaid dress she was to wear to a wedding in two weeks. So I started in on it. I took it to Alona's appointment at the Dentist. I was still in the deconstruction phase at this point. Alona went to her friend's dad, Dr. Raven. She was really content. Quite the different experience from previous dentists. I think it helps that she knows him as her friends dad first and as a dentist second. It is less scary that way. I mean, why would your friend's daddy be scary?
After an evening of working on the dress, I completed it. I think Kelly is happy with it. We decided to go hot tubbing with Charelly. We took rice krispie treats in with us. It was fun. It got a bit toasty and we didn't stay in too long. Then came the real treat for Charelly- American Idol. Kelly doesn't get any tv stations at her place, so she doesn't get to watch it. Of course, halfway through, our DVR froze. It wouldn't let us fast forward past a certain point, so we watched Ooh, Baby, Baby by Anoop for the second time and then had to suffer through all the commercials! Oh, the horror! We aren't used to that.
They were supposed to leave around noon today. I am always sad to them go! It is so much fun to have visitors! We tried to make the most of the morning, though. I got up early (before 9 am) and, with help, made pancakes, eggs, and sausage served with Orange Juice! No cold cereal here today! Charles manned the pancakes, Jeff made the scrambled eggs, and I cooked the sausage. It was fun and yummy!
A little while later, I made spelt brownies. While they were cooking, I did a practice run on makeup for Kelly for her wedding. I think she liked it. I think she looks beautiful! We took pictures to see how it photographed. We darkened her eyes a little.
Then we ate our spelt brownies. They were yummy, as always. I am not sure how Kelly felt about them, but I told her she would have to get used to it because they would be serving weird stuff at those Naturopath student gatherings! :P I was teasing. Maybe she can make them one day to take to one of those functions and everyone will love them! Maybe not. She said it tasted natural. She also tried some of my real maple syrup. We determined that it tasted "earthy." We did have traditional corn syrup based syrup for the kids and anyone who isn't into maple syrup. It is a bit different, but you get used to it when you aren't constantly eating things made with corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
They left about 45 minutes late. The kids were having melt downs at that point, so I sent them all to bed for naps. No one slept, but it was peaceful for me!
Thanks for visiting Charelly!
I will leave you with some pictures. They were before we darkened her eyeshadow and eyeliner.

Kelly impersonating Charles posing for pictures!

I thought this was such a great shot!

This is a nice one of Charelly!

Being silly!

Natalie had to a have a picture with her beautiful almost aunt!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Bathroom Continues, and Continues, and Continues...

I posted the pictures of the painted walls previously. We are still awaiting the door jams and door so we can finish the rest of the bead board. I painted the vanity last night. Today we set the counter/sink. Jeff is going to seal it and then we can add the backsplash. We also bought the mirror today. I think we might finish this in the next week or two! Oh, and I need to paint the drawers and doors for the vanity!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Today was a beautiful day! The sun was shining and I think it even reached 60 degrees. I begged Jeff to come home early so we could play in the sun as a family! So he came home an hour early. We headed over to the park for some fun.
When we arrived, the park was PACKED! So we headed over to some big art type play structure so we could play on our own. One of those things was shaped like a whale. The kids got inside and I took some pictures. Then we decided to walk over to the play area and join the masses. The kids love this park! It was such a nice time, the kids whined when we left!

The belly of the whale.

Posing at a memorial. This didn't turn out quite how I planned, but it was sure cute of them to hug each other!

The path to the play structures.

The "big" slide.

Ashley posing, as usual!

Natalie on the monkey bar rings. With daddy's help, of course!

Without daddy's help! Love the expression.

On the swings!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Green Dinner"

We unintentionally had a green dinner on St. Patrick's day! I didn't even realize it went with the day's theme until I was mixing the pesto in the pasta. It was very good. Ashley all of her salmon and wanted more. Natalie ate all of her pasta and wanted more. So they switched plates and were happy! We usually have this once a week!

Salmon with Pesto Pasta

2 lbs salmon- cooked however

1⁄2 C pignoli (pine nuts imported from Italy)

1 C chopped fresh basil

1 C chopped fresh spinach leaves

1 large garlic clove

1⁄4 C freshly grated Romano

1⁄4 C freshly grated Parmesan

6 T butter softened

1⁄2 C olive oil

1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper

In food processor or blender with metal blade add pine nuts, basil, spinach, garlic, and cheeses. With motor running, add the butter and oil. Mix in the pepper. (this should take no more than 1 minute). Use with 1 lb cooked pasta. Toss with cooked salmon.

I try to make several batches of pesto at once, especially in the summer when basil is in abundance! We put it in 1 cup containers and freeze it. The hot pasta will melt it, so we don't even defrost it. If you refrigerate or freeze it, be sure that you block air from touching it so it doesn't turn brown. The containers I use fit perfectly so the lid touches the pesto, but you can just put a layer of plastic wrap touching it inside the container if it doesn't fit perfectly!
We like to cook our salmon with lots of lemon pepper and pressed garlic.

As a side note: if you make the recipe exactly as indicated above, the whole pesto is 2207 calories with 213 grams of fat. I am not sure exactly how much pesto you end up with, but we usually divide one cup of pesto into 8-10 servings- a little pesto goes a long way! Hope this is helpful!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Best Dad Ever

Last Friday Jeff had Natalie, Alona, and I meet him for lunch and a tour around his work. We wanted to go to Subway, but it was packed and we were limited on time. So we went to Jack In The Box. The girls loved it. Then we headed back to his work. He showed us all around. Then the girls wanted to play in the "garage" so we headed back down there. There are a couple of TVs with all of the different game consoles and games to play. There is also a ping pong table. We showed Alona how to play. Natalie pretended to be the PingPong Bandit from the Backyardigans episode "Blazing Paddles." If you haven't seen it, you should. It was so funny to watch the kids singing the songs from the episode and Alona trying to do the Bandit Slammit! Natalie would take away our paddles just like the PingPong Bandit did on the show when someone lost a game to him. The girls and I had so much fun! And Alona only got hit in the forehead with a pingpong ball once!

This week Jeff took his girls out on lunch dates. It started on Wednesday with Natalie. He came home from work and picked her up. Then they headed off to McDonalds. It was obviously Natalie's choice. She had a great time and loved all of the one on one attention!
Thursday was Alona's turn. She wanted a milkshake and chose to go to Sonic. She drew a map that had our house and an arrow that went all the way around the page to a building labeled Sonic! She showed it to Daddy and said "this is where we're going!" It was so cute. She had a wonderful time. I think she would love to go to lunch with him every day if she could.
Friday there was no school, so it was Ashley's turn. She chose Burger King. She was so excited, but she doesn't talk about things quite as much as her little sisters.

I am not sure the girls in our family fully appreciate what a great Dad they have. Just so he knows, Jeff is the Best Dad Ever! (Sorry to any other dads out there who might be offended!) He absolutely loves and adores each of his girls! And they are happy and love him very much, too. I don't think these pictures even begin to hint at the love that is in our home between Daddy and his girls, but I will show them anyway just to give you an idea. I wish I had all of the pictures we took when Ashley was a baby on the computer- there are so many of her and Jeff!

At the coast with Natalie and Alona.

At the coast with Natalie, Alona, and Ashley.

Easter with Alona.

Just messin' around with Natalie.

Building a snowman with Ashley and Alona.

Reading to Ashley, Alona, and Natalie.

Lunch at Wildlife Safari with Alona and Natalie.

At the pumpkin patch with Natalie.

Napping with Alona.

Showing Alona how petals are thrown at Kari's wedding.

Helping Natalie impersonate Gene Simmons.

Showing Ashley how to wash the car.

At the coast with Alona.

Chillin' with Alona!

Helping Alona eat her 1st birthday cake.

Ashley and Alona helping him study!

At the Army Ball with his FAVORITE GIRL!!!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Neverending Bathroom Story

This is the current state of the bathroom remodel. It is progressing slowly. I got the first coat of paint on the walls tonight. It will require a second coat.
The open shelving in there now has a back to it. It still needs to be painted. I plan to get a face frame for it and Jeff's dad will hopefully make doors. A cabinet will look so much nicer than open shelves on that wall.
Jeff put up the bead board and trim in the toilet area. It still needs to be painted. We still have a long way to go on this one, but hopefully we will have the toilet back in by the weekend!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Life has been kinda blah lately. The kids are busy, busy, busy. They play with legos, each other, and stuff they shouldn't. What's new?! Oh, that is my life. :) My children. How I love them.
Ashley's sweet innocent face. She is always so sleepy lately. I will take her to the doctor on Thursday. They will check her iron and maybe see if she has seasonal allergies.
Alona's big blue eyes that can just eat right through to your heart. One look is all it takes. She is enjoying her new dance class- intro to hip hop/jazz. It is more her pace than ballet was. She loves when I volunteer in her kindergarten class on Wednesdays.
Natalie's big silly toothy grin followed by her pretend doggy pant! Then she gives me a quick kiss(lick really, after all she is a doggy) and runs off to play again. She is into everything! She is so curious and just wants to experience it all. She absolutely refuses to give in to what I want her to wear. She would wear the same dress every day if she could. I have to hide the dress from her so she will wear something else!
I wouldn't give them up for the world! They are what I live for everyday. My sweet beautiful little girls!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Engagement Photo Shoot

I went up to Seattle over the weekend to take Charles and Kelly's engagement picture. We drove up to Deception Pass to take them. It was about an hour and half from Kelly's house.
Charles is always playing around, so it was so much fun. This is how it went. They had to walk over all the logs to get to the water. Charles was such a gentleman and helped Kelly down. Then there was a bit of rock climbing mixed with kissing! What else do you expect? They are in love! There was a cool tree stump that they leaned on for a bit and then Charles had to twirl Kelly around. Then they found a seagull perched on a concrete bench and Charles just had to feed it a grape. It didn't ever take the grape. It flew away (the bird, not the grape) and they played around on the bench for a bit. We warmed up in the car for a bit after that and then headed back out for more fun. This time they played teeter-totter on a log! Then Charles wanted a picture of him holding Kelly in the water (cause really, what kind of trip would it be without Charles ending up in the water?). He got in and then started to sink! It was quite funny, but I was afraid they were going to fall all the way in! They didn't. Kelly just ended up with one really wet foot!

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