Kitchen Construction 2012

We have started our kitchen construction again.  I’m calling it 2012 because it’s not the first time we’ve had to live through tearing our kitchen apart.  The first time we did it, we had just moved into our home and realized that the kitchen cabinets were useless.  They were rotted out, not to mention super-duper ugly, and we spent the first couple of months storing our supplies under a fold away table.  Not the most convenient way to live or cook!  There wasn’t much we could do about it since we had spent every cent we had just getting the house.

house KC 7

Thankfully, friends of friends of ours were getting a new kitchen and were replacing perfectly good cabinets.  Since we couldn’t afford new cabinets of our own we installed the gently used cabinets and they have worked fabulously for us.  The price was great, plus it was nice knowing the perfectly good cabinets were not going to sit in a land fill somewhere.

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I was just so thankful to have a fully functioning kitchen that we stopped working on it and took a break.  Well, there was that and the shingles we lost in a hurricane which caused the roof to leak right through the Little Professor’s ceiling.  Then the boiler needed to be replaced and the little monkey’s room needed attending.

The time has come to finish the kitchen!

Before we do anything else we need to put up a new ceiling and while we are doing that…some recessed lighting.   Unfortunately in order to install a new ceiling we need to pull the present one down.

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And of course, true to the house, we found an even uglier ceiling under it!

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So we spent the weekend tearing down ceiling.  Well, by “we” I mean Daddy.  I did a lot supervising and gave plenty of suggestions.

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By the end of the weekend a third of the ceiling was torn down!  At this rate it’s going to take a month just to get the ceiling down.  It’s bittersweet.  I’m excited to get on with the kitchen, but the stress of living in a construction zone is still very fresh in my mind.

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I know in the end it’ll be worth it, but the process is not nearly as fun as the completed project!

Wonderful Christmas Chaos!

Christmas expectations and Christmas realities are two completely different things in our home.

Christmas expectations are calm and orderly.  They go off without a hitch and are picture perfect.

Christmas realities are busy and messy and very loud.  They drown out Christmas music and leave the living room in total chaos.

Christmas Expectation….

christmas morning

It’s the picture I posted to Facebook today wishing all our friends and family a Merry Christmas.  So cute with the little matching pj’s, on such well behaved children.  What I should have posted was the picture right before I managed to get them to stay still and smile for 5 seconds.

Christmas Reality…

christmas

And then there’s this!

Christmas Expectations…

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The way I wish our living room stayed throughout the morning but really only lasted for a few minutes.

Christmas Reality…

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But for some, Christmas Expectations…

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pale in comparison to Christmas Reality…

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christmas 4

Christmas 9

I’ll take Christmas Reality any day!

Merry Christmas from Our Family to Yours!

Multitasking…

treadmill desk

In a busy life filled with homeschooling, work, children, writing, sewing and many other things, I always find it hard to find time to work out.  It’s frustrating at the end of the day knowing I’ve failed once again to find time for exercise.  I want to be healthy and every day I feel my health deteriorating a little more as I spend day after day sitting at my computer working and writing.  I’ve spent days standing and working, just to change things up before but it’s not much better.

The more I thought about it the more it became clear that something has to change.  I can’t change the amount of hours in a day, and work still has to get done and I refuse to give up writing or my enjoyment of gaming.  So I tried to think up a way to get some exercise while doing these things.

My first thought was to get a stationary bike, but who has the money for that.  Then I remembered a clip I had seen on the news of a woman who put a desk over her treadmill and walked all day.

Brilliant!

Since it’s the holidays and money is tight, Daddy and I found a make shift desk for the treadmill (the leaf for our kitchen table) and I’ve been walking and working (and sometimes gaming) ever since. I started off really slow and I’ve now worked up to 2.8 miles per hour.  Balancing is harder while trying to use the computer on a treadmill.  It’s still not a brisk walk but it’s much better than sitting, plus I can do it for a long time.  The first day I walked while I worked for 4 hours and burned 1000 calories.  Not bad while invoicing.

Four hours is a long time, it’s still hard to get that many hours in a row, but most days I average 2 hours and more than 500 calories.  I’ll take it.

……………

On a totally unrelated note…

Isn’t this the cutest little guy in his first time out?!!

time out

Daddy Says… Working Man

Wood1

If there’s one thing we love at our house in the winter, it’s a nice warm fire in the fireplace.  Last week, we ordered 1/2 cord of wood from our local landscape company and had them drop it on a tarp on our front lawn.  It was a convenient spot so we could then transport it by wheelbarrow to the bulkhead and organize it into two stacks – one in the basement, and one on the side porch.

I recruited the little professor to lend a hand and I have to say, he really pulled his weight – probably more than his weight actually!  As I was running wheelbarrows full of wood to the bulkhead, he would take logs down 2 at a time and then Mummy would organize them into a nice stack in the basement.  Once we decided we had enough downstairs, we moved on to the side porch.  He was a huge help in running logs up and down the stairs and even handled the wheelbarrow some of the time.

Wood3     wood4

After a couple of hours of hard work, we were finally finished and we got the little guy into the house.  Then he had a hot shower, a warm cup of cocoa and was finally relaxing in front of the fire – enjoying the rewards of his hard work.

It’s nice to know I now have a helper that can help me with these projects around the house!

The Road Less Traveled…

I have this problem where I have to take something simple and easy and make it much more complicated and difficult.  For example when I made the Princess’s quilt, the first quilt I ever made, instead of following a kit I made my own pattern.  I bought the material on my own and I came up with my own layout.  Now I’m working on a quilt for the Professor and of course, I’m using my own layout again.  Maybe the next quilt, I’ll use kit…maybe.

So when my little Princess asked me if I’d sew her some clothes for her American Girl doll I knew a typical pattern would never do.  The pattern pictures show ill fitting clothes on the front of the envelope.  They all look homemade and really plain compared to the actual American Girl doll clothes.  I’ve made one outfit from the patterns months ago and it just didn’t measure up.  I knew I had to take it up a notch, so I called upon my pattern making skills back from my college days and started creating.  I’m pretty sure my parents didn’t send me to school to make doll patterns for their future granddaughter, but at least it didn’t go to complete waste.

 

I still have much more to do.  My pattern making skills are rusty but they’re coming back to me.  I’m excited to see the finished project and I’m even more excited to give my little girl her new doll clothes on Christmas morning.  I hope they measure up to the ones from the store.

The List

I have a list of books that I created 9 years ago – books that I want to read in my lifetime.  Not all the books are literary fiction, nor are they classics.  Very few are main stream books, at least they weren’t at the time they were added to my list.  Some actually have been turned into movies…Life of Pi, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Lovely Bones to name a few.  Some of the books I added because they were so original – The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse,  and some actually are classics – To Kill A Mockingbird, 1984.

Today I decided to show the Little Professor my book list.  He was really impressed by the idea.  I encouraged him to make a list of his own and he thought it was a great idea.  That, of course, made me smile.

Not every book I read is from my list.  In fact, the majority of books I’ve read have nothing to do with my list.  I’m not sure how to explain what qualifies a book to make the list.  Each book has earned it’s place because something about it spoke to me, whether it’s the title, the description or the author.  Some books I read years ago and added them on my list to read again – The Handmaid’s Tale.  Not every book has started off great, some were very slow going at first but I’ve yet to finish a book and find it not worthy of being read.  I haven’t read every book on the list yet, but I’ve read quite a few of them.

I’d like to share my list with you….

Title Author
Life of Pi Yann Martel
Diary Chuck Palahniuk
Fahrenhiet 451 Ray Bradbury
The Five People You Meet in Heaven Mitch Albom
The Dogs of Babel Carolyn Parkhurst
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell Susanna Clarke
The Know-It-All: One Mans Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World A. J. Jacobs
The Hollow Choclate Bunnies of the Apocalypse Robert Rankin
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time Mark Haddon
The Stones of Summer Dow Mossman
Shade Neil Jordan
The Secret Life of Bees Sue Monk Kidd
The Alchemist Paulo Ceollio
East of Eden John Stienbeck
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
Grapes of Wrath John Stienbeck
Saint Training Elizabeth Fixmer
Flyboys James Bradley
The Great Divorce C.S. Lewis
Blessings Anna Quindlen
Unless Carol Shields
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Great Gasby F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini
Lord of the Flies William Golding
The Time Machine H.G. Wells
The Eyre Affair Jasper Fforde
The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
The Time Traveler’s Wife Audrey Niffenegger
1984 George Orwell
Water for Elephants Sara Gruen
The Help Kathryn Stockett
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
The Chrysalids John Wyndham
The Night Circus Erin Morgenstern
Anna Karenina Leo Tolstoy

Daddy Says… Christmas Stroll

Every year, our town has a “Christmas Stroll”.  They close down the main street through the center of town, and various merchants and local organizations put out tables with free goodies for the kids.  There are some that have items for sale as well, and most of them benefit local groups like the Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts or the Lions club.

It only lasts a few hours, but it’s always a popular event and is always pretty busy. It seems most of the town shows up and walks up & down the street, saying hi to friends, old & new.

The kids look forward to it every year, and they were pretty excited when we discovered that the stroll was this weekend.

The kids with Frosty!

We stopped into a local bank and the kids each had a Santa hat made with their names on them.  It was only $2 for each hat, but they really thought they were great!

The Professor & Princess waiting for their hats.

This year it was pretty cold, so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside, but we did make our way up and down the street once, had a cookie & a cup of hot chocolate and stopped into a local church for a bowl of some delicious soup!

All in all, it was a fun time and really kicked off the Christmas season for us!

My Wonderful Life…

This morning, as I was getting out of bed I was met by a toothless boy who insisted I needed to stay in bed and have a cup of coffee first.

He took off down the stairs yelling, “Daddy, Mummy needs a coffee!”

A few minutes later there were footsteps coming up the stairs and a Little Professor complaining that he wanted to deliver the coffee.

Instead, Daddy appeared with two mugs of coffee and we actually sat for a little while drinking coffee together…alone.

That never happens!

We enjoyed our time while listening to the chaos going on downstairs.

Eventually, it came to an end and we made our way downstairs.  Daddy built a fire and then disappeared into the kitchen.

A little while later he returned with homemade, from scratch, Banana Coconut muffins!

Yes, that’s my life…coffee in bed, roaring fire in the morning and homemade muffins worthy of small town bakery!

No complaints here!

Thankful…

There are so many things I’m thankful for…

If I listed them all it would take all day to read it – maybe not all day.

What I’m most thankful for is my family.

I’ve been blessed with 3 beautiful, healthy children and an amazing husband.

I am so thankful we get to spend so much time together.

I am thankful for their kind and gentle hearts and their thoughtful ways.

I’m thankful for the privilege to watch my little one’s personalities blossom.

I’m thankful my children have an amazing father who sets an example of patience, love, and self sacrifice for the benefit of his family.

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

I hope you spend the day surrounded by those you love.