Feb 25, 2014

Crazy Times.

So, I finally get my kitchen back up and running and here I am sick as can be.  So...this is going to be a short little posting just to make myself stay more current with my blog.  Hopefully.

First of all, my bulb garden (the store's word for it) is doing wonderfully. 

It smells so good when I go through the front door now.  Not sure just which one, or if it is a combination of several, but the flowers fragrance really is divine.  They are all still alive, except for the yellow tall ones (well the plant part is alive, the blooms have died off) and for me that is something.

The weather is starting to warm up finally and EVERYTHING in the town is budding, blooming and erupting with pollen and signs of life.  We have all been under attack from our allergies, not to mention this cough and flu crap, so we just keep passing it back and forth.

The menu planning has been going pretty well.  It has been fun finding all the gizmos I had put away for when I had my kitchen back. I was selling Pampered Chef, things got really crazy around here with the kitchen remodel, holidays, travel and illness I haven't been able to do much with it, trying to figure out if I want to continue with it, considering I am my best customer.
 This is called a "salad chopper".  You put a bunch of lettuce or spinach and stuff in a bowl, use this like a pair of scissors to chop up everything, right in the bowl. I saw a video where the demonstrator placed the chopper blade part straight in a can of tomatoes and just cut/chopped away, very interesting. However, I have to admit, I have not used it like that yet.  I had a small bunch of green onions that I needed to slice for a recipe I was making, and I really hate chopping or slicing those little buggers, so I tried this gizmo on a whim.  It worked WONDERFULLY!  I will definitely be using this to chop those onions from now on.
Now this little gadget is called a julienne peeler.  Also from Pampered Chef.  I LOVE this thing. Those are zucchini and carrot strips in the bag, ready for stir fry.  This thing just peels off a layer and cuts it in to strips at the same time.  I will have to experiment a bit and see what other veggies this thing works on.

On the subject of menu planning.  I have come to the realization that my current schedule is such that posting the menu plan for the coming week is just not going to work.  One of the posters to the MPM site list what they did have for the week and that seems to work well.  I will be trying that next week.

Thanks for stopping by, come back and visit often.

Feb 10, 2014

MPM 2/10 - 14 Finally...A Working Kitchen...All New

Finally, I am so thrilled, I have a working kitchen again.  My all new kitchen.  The remodel is finally complete.  I will add the photos shortly.  I am just so happy it is all completely finished and it has turned out so much better than the one in my head.

First, getting back to a normal routine.  I am going to link up with Menu Plan Monday over at Organized Junkie. I have not really had time to create the menu plans the way I wanted, but now that the kitchen is back up and running and I have my pantry, fridge and freezer all stocked pretty well, I will be working more on that.  My main obstacle is the mess I face in my sewing room slash office.  I can't even find the desk, have no comfortable chair to work out of, so that will actually be my priority this week.  Nothing is going to get done today, I am taking a day off for my birthday. I know, kind of silly but just being honest.  Another one of my goals for this year, honesty and being more realistic in my plans.  So, that being said, this is my plan for the week.

Mon. - Steak, baked potato and salad.  Hubby is grilling for my birthday tonight.
Tue. - Chicken enchiladas, beans. (using left over rotisserie chicken being)
Wed. - Roast, carrots, potatoes, green beans.
Thu. - Stuffed peppers, corn casserole
Fri. - Teriyaki Chicken and rice. (this is actually Hawaiian chicken that was on sale at Costco)
Sat. - Burgers and fries.
Sun. - Ham, broccoli cheese casserole, carrots, rolls.

This week end is Valentine's which has a totally different meaning for me than others.  I will share that story another time.  My son and his wife are going to a marriage retreat those days so I will have the babies all day and over night as well.  Miss Zebra will be gone with the church youth to winter camp those days as well.  I have had Mr. M overnight, when his little sister was born, but have not had baby girl over night.  It will be a rough weekend for sure, but am glad that hubby will be here and son and daughter-in-law really need a little get away.

Now...drum roll...the new kitchen.  Here is the post with all the before photos.  If you want to see the journey, just look back over the old post.  I will start out with one photo taken before we started to show what the old kitchen originally looked like.
Before, you the bar with the tan tile counters that divided the kitchen from the dining area. Notice the great glass door cabinet?  I hated that thing after about the second year of living here.  

One thing I did not plan on, or rather did not fully understand, was the fact that these cabinets were 15 inches deep while the new standard is 12 inches deep.  The whole layout flowed very poorly.  The pantry was next to the stove, but the only counter space to prep anything was by the sink and the bar area.  Which by the way, the bar was the only space large enough for pots and pans but the stove is across the room.  Granted, it is not a large distance, but still very awkward to work in.

Now, after moving the pantry to the opposite end of the kitchen, creating more prep area, moving the fridge to the opposite wall and end of the kitchen, centering the stove on that wall a bit more, moving the dishwasher as well, I now have a wonderful new kitchen.
Hubby finished all the trim and the nobs on his day off.  I have only had it fully working for a couple of weeks.  The last week of January I got the glass tile backsplash installed, so it has been kind of working and not working as the last of the work was done.
I have to say, I just love my new tile backsplash.  The brown colors just feel so warm and inviting to me.  I may be wrong, but it just doesn't feel so dated either.

The original window was a total mess, it is very strange to be able to see out once again. 

And, as you know I have added a few new small appliances as well.  Hubby was very skeptical of the Keurig, especially since I don't drink coffee I just wanted hot cocoa quickly.  Have to say, he is getting in to the whole K-cup experience though.  He had to go out of town for a week, work related, and he called to tell me he wished he had taken some pods with him because his hotel room had a Keurig machine in it.
 This is the view in to the dining area now.  The camera kind of played a trick here, making it look like a very small space between the walls.  The fridge and pantry could both have the doors extended and have walking space for a couple of people between them.  After all, the floor tiles are 12 inch tiles and there are six of them (6 feet) between.
The glass front china hutch is my newest purchase.  It has all of my mom's glass ware that I ended up with when she passed away.  Found out that one of the china trays dates back to 1840.  It was my great grandmother's, passed to my grandmother, passed to my mom and now to me.  I only knew these ladies through my mom.  The smaller hutch was built by my father and it has some little vintage odd pieces from my child hood and my souvenir coffee cup collection.

As I said, I have only had the functioning kitchen for a couple of weeks, but OH MY GOSH, WHAT A TOTAL DIFFERENCE.  It really is a pure joy to work in this new kitchen, the new design flows SOOOO much better.  I have to admit also, it is a lot more fun to clean up, now that I don't dread walking in it.  Still have to fine tune a few things, change up a few cabinet contents as I have found that some things that I use more often than I thought are located to high to comfortably reach often.  I am bound an determined that I only have to use the step stool occasionally to reach a pan or such instead of every day, which seems to happen now.  I will get it figured out though.

Okay, now for a couple of other photos to share.  Remember I told you about that window?  Well, the original window was a double pane.  The seal had deteriorated which made the glass milky between the panes.  While I could still see out, it was like looking through a window that had been smeared with white paint or such.

This is a closer look at the new window.  My little gnomes hanging out happy in the new window sill, my new cactus balls and now I have some colorful wind chimes hanging in front of the window to look at as well.

Aren't these just the cutest little things.  Should be very easy to care for as well and they are grown for indoor settings so don't need the heat and total sun that you think a cactus would.  I just love them.  The top one has a purple stone in it, so I naturally thought of my birthstone - purple amethyst - for February.  The bottom one doesn't show it clearly, but the red spot is actually a little lady bug.  My wonderfully bright grandson, Mr. M of course, noticed the bug first thing and wanted to be lifted closer to see it.  So funny.

Speaking of plants.  My front entry way is my on going new project.
It was a little bland.  I just wanted to dress it up a bit.  I had an old computer desk that is built to go in a corner that was no longer being used.  In fact, it will probably not last long at all on the porch, it was the victim of a flooding incident so the bottom wood is all warped, but hey...just couldn't toss it to the dump just yet.
I moved this old birdhouse out to it, added a wind chime bell, which Mr. M is totally fascinated with and won't come through the door until he has rang it a few times.
And then I purchased this "bulb garden" which is supposed to be a house plant but the florist told me that if it were in a protected spot with indirect light it would be fine.  She was right.  I need an updated photo, but all the little yellow flowers have bloomed out, the purple and red flowers have spread through the bottom of the stemmed plants making a flower carpet almost and the other two bulbs are about ready to have their blooms all open up.  Eventually there will be a lot more plants on this shelf unit, I hope to really load it down actually.  I need to get some more nails in the rafters to hang some plants from as well.  At the moment, we have had a little cold spell come back to us, so it is good that I don't have too much out there yet.  I do love seeing the pop of flowers every time I walk through my front door, kind of like that little bit of spring that hints at how wonderful summer will be.
It has been so dreary with the weather and the remodel that I just couldn't resist some fresh flowers for the table.  It was a really cheap mixed bouquet, but the colors are so vibrant and warm, just really love them.

Goodness, this posting has gotten long.  Thank you for stopping buy for a visit and please come back again.