Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mind wanderings...

Have you ever just sat back and let your mind wander?

I find myself doing that more often...and I think it's because I have no ability to keep myself focused on anything. Any inkling of adult ADHD that I had has been amplified by 1000. Movies can't hold my attention...I will look around and find something else to do. Books don't hold my attention. I have a knitting project that I can't seem to finish. I can really only muster the attention span to flip through a magazine.

When I allow myself to zone out completely I find myself wondering about the craziest things.

I wonder about whether the earth really is round. I mean, seriously...I'm going on faith here and believing that scientists are right when they say we won't fall off somewhere. I've never been on a boat and ridden around the world by sea so how do I REALLY know. It could be a conspiracy.

I wonder about the creation of life....and how in the world it was put together and arranged. I mean, one minute I was without child and the next minute I was with child. I'm sitting here now with this insistent little fellow kicking my belly for his own amusement and in a few months he'll be in my arms. That's something I just can't get my brain around. It's's's beyond words for me.

I wonder about heaven and when I get there whether or not I'll recognize and be recognized by people. Like, will my grandparents will recognize me? I miss my Nannie and my Paw and I feel like I must believe that one day I'll get to heaven and they'll hug me tight and we can talk about all that's gone on since they left the Earth - that they'll know me and I'll know them. Will I know my parents? Like, will Shooter and I know each other as husband and wife or just that we're familiar with each other. Will I know Parker as my son?

I wonder about the galaxies and how far does all that go? It's easy to think about our planet and the planets around us....but how much more is there out there? How far does it go?

What do you wonder about when you let your mind wander?


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Da Mess, Da Mess, Da Mess is Outta Control!

Okay...I can take disorder for only so long...thank God the end is near in the kitchen renovation. Currently, this is the state of my sunroom. It's not only housing our office stuff, but also our kitchen table, our storage hutch, all the contents of the hutch and a bookcase.

Oh room overfloweth....

Does anyone need some brass molds to hang on their wall?

What about some lovely canisters?

I'll be happy to ship them for free to a good home...hehehe....

God...grant me the serenity to outlast this remodel....the patience to understand it's short term...the courage to throw things away....and the wisdom to know the difference between junk and treasure.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Kitchen Renovation - The Paint Goes On!

Wow...the nesting continues at our house...and now I have some pictures to show you guys!

I'm absolutely loving this paint color. At first I thought it might be too light, but it darkened up and looks lovely. Let me be the first to tell you that Shooter picked the color out himself!

That light fixture will have to go. I think we're going to replace it with something in a brushed nickel finish. I also think we're going to replace all the outlet covers with something in brushed nickel.

Here's Morey and Leah's favorite spot. They sit here all day and stare out...looking for cats, dogs, squirrels, stray leaves...whatever might trespass onto our property. :-)

See the crazy difference in the flooring...yea, the previous owner laid it down himself and apparently didn't buy enough of one lot and put the last bit in and it doesn't match the rest of the house. Luckily it's just that strip along by the door. I can cover most of it with furniture and a rug. It just irks me everytime I look at it though.



Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday morning catch up!

Wow....what a weekend! Unfortunately I have no pictures of the goings on at our house but let me tell you , we've been busy bees. Well....Shooter has been a busy bee! ;-)

Saturday I had a hair appointment so I ran out of the house around 10:30am. Shooter was all ready for a morning of tearing down wallpaper. Let me tell you - we've learned our lesson with using a remover other than DIF. We used this stuff called Piranaha from Lowe's and it sooooooo wasn't worth it. Shooter got the wallpaper down but not without much cursing and gnashing of teeth.

I got home from getting my hairs did around 12:30pm and out we went to run some errands. We went to Lowe's and picked up some more Kilz to prime the kitchen and then grabbed some lunch and then went to Sherwin Williams to get a gallon of our paint. While there we bought our DIF - determined to make getting the wallpaper down a better experience.

I helped Shooter get the remnants of the wallpaper down in the breakfast area and then he went to work priming it. Can I just tell you how nasty Kilz smells? Ugh!!! I holed myself up in the bedroom and watched TV, and napped, and read with the pups.

It didn't take him long to prime everything so then we were off to grab a bite of dinner...ahhh...Mexican!!!! We have a couple of favorite Mexican spots and the one we went to on Saturday has the most amazing dish called Sal's Special. It's strips of chicken simmered in this cheesy, sour creamy sauce with jalepenos cut up in it. It's kinda spicy but not too spicy. They serve it with rice and tortillas and it makes my heart sing!!!! Anyway, Parker had been really quiet and then as soon as I got halfway through my meal he starts kicking away. I took that as a sign that he likes Mexican food. ;-)

On Sunday Shooter got back to work and put a coat of paint on the walls in the kitchen's breakfast area. At first I was afraid it was going to be too light but it started darkening up as it dried and it looks pretty awesome! Shooter gets off work early all this week so he can do painting before I come home which will be nice. When I get home today he should have the ceiling cut in and another coat of paint on the walls. Yippee!!!!!!!

Oh...we also got new blinds up in the Mini Man-Cave and they're beautiful. We are opting for these blinds from Lowe's that are faux wood plantation blinds. They're 2 inch slats and are just so nice!! I think I'm going to replace the blinds in the kitchen with them and ideally we'd like to put them in the sunroom too....but at $28 per window, that's a little steep - we have 6 windows in the sunroom!!! We'll definitely do the kitchen and then work on the sunroom when we get some extra cash....whenever that might be.

I'll try to take some pictures of everything tonight and post them tomorrow.

Take care!!!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Recipe time!! Ricotta Gnocchi

I have touted the wonderfulness that is on this blog before. I adore the website and have found many wonderful recipes on there. I get a daily recipe from them by email and sometimes I don't even give them a second glance and other times they immediately scream, "make this dish!" Such was the reaction to the Ricotta Gnocchi recipe that showed up on Saturday morning.

Here's the recipe and then I'll explain how I adapted it:

Ricotta Gnocchi

1 (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup all-purpose flour, or as needed

Stir together the ricotta cheese, eggs, Parmesan Cheese, salt, pepper, and garlic powder in a large bowl until evenly combined. Mix in 1 cup of flour. Add additional flour if needed to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into 3 or 4 pieces, and roll into 1/2-inch-thick ropes on a floured surface. Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces, and place on a lightly floured baking sheet. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Boil the gnocchi until they float to the surface, 1 to 2 minutes, then drain. Serve with your favorite sauce.

First, I added way more ricotta than I was supposed to. I measured out 1 cup and then looked at my container and ended up adding probably two cups to the two eggs and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. I also added in about a tablespoon of dried italian seasoning to the gnocchi. I also probably added an additional cup to cup and a half of flour - and I only had 1 cup of regular flour so the rest was whole wheat flour. I essentially doubled the recipe but that's okay because now I have some in the freezer for another time.

Also, we made this with mild italian sausage...I browned the sausages first on all sides and then sliced them and added them back to the pan to finish cooking. Once they were finished I added in the cooked gnocchi to the sausage just to give the gnocchi a little color. Separately I was heating up a jarred vodka sauce I bought from Bertolli and brought it up to temperature. I plated the sausage and gnocchi combo and then topped with the sauce. It was delish, my lovelies! Do try this's easy but kinda labor intensive so making a double batch like I did is better in the long run so that you have some on hand for quick meals.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Keeping it real....real dirty.... all know that we have two dogs in our house. That is no secret. Unfortunately, my dirty little secret is that the two dogs like to treat our sunroom as their indoor potty.

Despite our best scrubbing attempts we could not get this tile and the grout back to the state we knew it started in...white!

So, I called a carpet cleaning company to make an appointment to come clean the carpet in the mini man-cave and found out they also do tile and grout cleaning. Well, I was all over that like white on rice!

Yea, it was nasty...we had mopped and scrubbed the sunroom the night before...

This is one of Morey's favorite spots....apparently he's not a big fan of the fireplace and likes to pee on it regularly.

Here is the same spot post-cleaning! Can you believe it!?!?! It was worth every penny I paid these guys!

Now I'm not ashamed to have anyone step foot in my sunroom...

Oh...and we discovered the grout had never been sealed in the first place, making it crazy susceptible to stains. Shooter promptly sealed it when it was dry. Now...we just have to get those pups to quit peeing in there! (but honestly I'd rather them pee in there than on my laminates where they can do more damage)


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Nesting - I think it's officially happening to us!

Okay....we've just finished updating/painting/furnishing/etc. the nursery. Actually, it's not even really finished yet as we haven't had any showers yet and I still have other whatnots I want to buy - a bookcase and various shelves and stuff.

Several weeks ago when our new fridge was delivered I tore off the wallpaper behind the fridge and it came off so easily. Shooter and I had been talking about re-doing the kitchen for a while but we didn't think we'd get to it before the baby came. Well, we managed to get through the nursery re-do ahead of schedule so we figured that we'd hop right on the kitchen re-do while we were at it.

I saw an opportunity last week as I was looking at the wallpaper and saw a seam coming apart. This time I grabbed hold and started ripping. It came off in this huge sheet...glue backing and all. That evening we got what remained of the glue backing off really quickly. I think the wall took all of 15 minutes to do.

Shooter stopped by Sherwin Williams to get me two sample paint colors and now we just have to figure out what color we want to do!

If you're interested, we've decided to go with Atmospheric from Sherwin Williams. It's a gorgeous light blue color that will change the look of the kitchen dramatically. I cannot wait to get this project finished either!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Recipe time!! Chicken Rollups

Shooter and I were holed up this weekend with sickness abounding at the house. First me and then he got it. First time it's happened that way in a while. We were laying in bed on Sunday morning watching Food Network, and Robin Miller made this interesting chicken rollup dish. I had to modify her version because I just knew it wouldn't work for us...we're not big goat cheese fans in our house.

Here's my version:

Chicken Rollups

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4-8 pieces of deli ham
1 package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1 container of herb and garlic cheese spread (I used Alouette, 6.5 oz)
salt and pepper to taste
dijon mustard
panko breadcrumbs

Put each chicken breast between a piece of plastic wrap and pound until about 1/2 an inch thick. Once all the chicken is pounded out, top each one with 1-2 slices of ham - depends on how big your chicken is and how big your ham slices are. In a small bowl, combine the spinach and the cheese and mix until thoroughly combined. Spread that mixture over the ham on each chicken breast. Starting at the small end of the breast, roll each piece of chicken up and secure with toothpicks. Once all pieces of chicken are rolled up and secured, paint them with dijon mustard until coated well and then dip into panko bread crumbs until thoroughly coated. Spray the bottom of an 9x13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and place the
rolls seam side down. Spray the tops with a little additional nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes until cooked through.

Look at that filling...oh my it was delicious!!!! Salty from the ham and all cheesy goodness.

Oh...and look at that crispiness that is that coating. I have about decided that the only breadcrumbs I'm every going to use are panko breadcrumbs. These were so crunchy and yummy!

We had this with some brown/wild rice mix and a salad. It was super yummy! I'll definitely be adding this into my recipe rotation!


Edit: We also used this super awesome yummy deli meat from Hormel that is all natural with no preservatives, artificial ingredients of MSG...also no nitrites or nitrates! Try it out. The ham and the salami are to die for!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Mini Man-Cave - now we just need a baby!

This weekend marked the culmination of the work we had set for ourselves to get done by the end of March. Amazingly we're done ahead of schedule. I have to give my wonderful husband kudos for this. He really worked his booty off getting his man-cave ready to turn into the mini man-cave.

Here's Shooter with the first pieces of the crib. We were mightily impressed with how well the crib was packaged.

It also didn't take all that long to put together - I think maybe an hour from start to finish, if that. It didn't have scads of screws and stuff either...this was it!

We got lots of help from the pups...

As you can see, Morey's very excited and Leah's her usual stern self. :-)

It's coming along!!!

This is the only part of the crib setup that gave Shooter problems. One of the screws was messed up and wouldn't go in smoothly. Luckily we had some extra screws that are to be used in the conversion to the full sized bed. They worked perfectly!

And now for the final product!!

I can't even begin to tell you how impressed we were with the quality of this furniture. It was packaged amazingly well and had not one single scratch on it! It's an amazing crib that we will have for many many years.

Now we're just need a baby to sleep in the bed - but not too soon!!

We also got the dresser/changing table into the room.

Here's an up close shot...

We purchased Simmons Kids furniture from Baby Depot at Burlington Coat Factory. Again, I cannot say enough about the quality of this furniture and the packaging of it. We're so excited!!!


Friday, March 13, 2009

The nursery (aka Mini Man-Cave) - during (Part II)

Well, the changes keep coming to the Mini Man-Cave! Soon it's going to look like a bonafide nursery, ahem, man-cave suitable for the little mini-Shooter on the way!

Remember that light fixture? Here's the new one that we put up (Thanks Baty!):

We're going to set the changing table/dresser against that far wall.

I have a really nice open bookcase picked out that I want to put along this wall. It's big enough to put baskets on the bottom shelf to store things and also store Parker's books and other odds and binkies and such.

I think we've decided that the glider will go in this area. See that dresser, I'm hoping that it'll fit perfectly into the back of the closet so that I can use it for hidden storage. :-)

We're going to set the crib up in this area. Very likely crosswise in this corner. I can't wait to see how it looks in there!

Not sure what we'll do here in this area....I'm thinking I may take the quilt that comes with his bedding set and use it as a wall hanging...this would be a pretty good place for it. you can see, the progress keeps moving along!

The evolution of the "Man Cave"

I was notified by Shooter that the Man Cave has been officially dismantled. I agreed with him as it's now being turned into a nursery, duh!

Well, Shooter has decided that he doesn't want Parker's room to be called "The Nursery" any longer.

He thinks the room has been, and always should be, a man cave. Only change is that now with Parker it'll be the......

.....wait for it........

Mini Man Cave!

Personally, I love it. I think that's what we'll call it from now on. I have even contracted with a gal on Etsy to have have to have a little sign made to put on the door that says "Parker's Mimi Man Cave". :-) On the other side it says "You wake him, You take him!". hehehe!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Nothing like a little supervision!

This is where the dogs and I supervised the nursery re-do. We're very helpful and offer lots of decorating advice.

Side note - poor little Morey, the one laying down with floppy ears, was suffering from a "raging" (doctor's words) urinary tract infection in this photo and we didn't know it. Poor dude started peeing some blood late on Saturday and we took him to the vet immediately on Sunday. The doctor said she had never seen so many crystals in a dog's urine sample before. He's doing better now that he's been on his antibiotics and drinking lots of fluids (a mix of chicken broth and water...he's frickin' spoiled rotten).


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The nursery - during (Part I)

Shooter decided that I didn't need to be anywhere near the nursery while he was he relegated me to house cleaning duty. I didn't mind, really! That meant that I got to clean the kitchen, mop the floors, sweep the rest of the house and then play on Facebook and watch cooking shows. :-) I'm pregnant after all!!!

Shooter plugged in his iPod and went to work. I have to say that it was pretty cute hearing him singing from the living room. :-)

He really worked hard in getting it all done and by the end of the day had trimmed out the ceiling and gotten two good coats of paint on the walls.

While I came in to take pictures, the dogs took a moment to give everything a good sniff test.

Doesn't the taupe give it such a warmer feel? It's going to look so awesome when it's finished!

Shooter has been working on priming the baseboards, trim and doors - and that's finished as well! I helped out by taping the wall by the baseboards and the trim so that we can put the final touches on it. We're getting there!!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The nursery - before

The nursery was previously Shooter's man cave. He reluctantly graciously offered up his room for Baby Parker. Here he is working on the last bits of wallpaper border remaining on the walls. There was a really bad nice mint green floral border that the previous owners had bequeathed us and unfortunately it had to go because it just didn't go with our nursery bedding.

This is the light fixture in the room, it's coming down and will be replaced by a nice new one from Lowe's!

Here's Shooter...preparing to get to work! He's getting some help from Big Ed. Oh...and a side story...if you are ever in the Knoxville/Oak Ridge, Tennessee area you HAVE to go to Big Ed's for some pizza. It's a local landmark and has been around for decades. My parents used to go there when they were in high school.

Here are the blank, drab, oh so minty fresh walls of the nursery before the wonderful, warm paint hit them. You can see that this room is BEGGING for a makeover!

I mean, look at that sad bamboo shade! Shooter had a sheet hanging from parachute cord to cover that window. We're so redneck. Oh...and see the magnanimous outlet on the wall? Yea, the previous owners had a super duper outlet put in so that they could put in a tanning bed. Yea........

Well, you've seen the nursery before....over the course of the next week or so I'll show you the transformation!