Saturday, March 28, 2009

Those sneaky Girl Scouts.....

About 1.5 weeks ago while I was making a trip to Lowe's to pick up some supplies needed for the kitchen, there were Girl Scouts selling cookies at the exit. I had bought 2 boxes a couple of weeks earlier, but my favorites, Thin Mints, were just about gone. Later I found out a friend's little girl was selling them, so I asked her if she had any Thin Mints left. My step-mom and I were both on the lookout, but my friend was out of the Thin Mints.

Back to my Lowe's I came out of the store, I heard a little voice say, "Would you like to buy some.....". I looked up and the table was empty. I asked if they sold out and a mom told me there was another troop arriving to man the spot. She asked what I wanted and I told her Thin Mints. Turns out, they were out of them, too! I waited as the other troop arrived and was notified they had Thin Mints, but not very many boxes. I picked up 6 of their 14 boxes, 3 for me and 3 for my step-mom. I was feeling very accomplished that I tracked the Thin Mints down!

Amazingly, I had not opened any of the boxes until today. We were headed out the door and I opened a box to have one of the tasty treats. Only thing was, I couldn't have one of the tasty treats. It seems those sneaky Girl Scouts left the precious Thin Mints in a place too warm because the entire stack of cookies were stuck to each other. I tried and tried to get one cookie off, but was unsuccessful and just left a pile of crumbs. Seriously--anyone have some recipes that call for Thin Mint crumbs. I think that is all these Thin Mints will be good for. I was so desperate for one that I tried slicing it off the stack, but it just doesn't work.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Progress on the kitchen.....

When we started moving everything around, Lucas wasn't very happy about it. He seems to be better now, but he is still asking us to "put the kitchen back". He calls the little area in the basement that we set up our "basement kitchen". I went and bought an electric skillet last night so I would have another cooking option besides the crockpot, microwave, and toaster oven. So far, it is working out. We ate all the casseroles I had prepared, but still have all the ground beef.

Logan got to make the first hole and he was VERY excited about it. He wanted to keep helping, but with 4 adults already in a tiny kitchen it wasn't realistic. Plus, I was afraid he would get hurt. I mean, drywall is typically a little heavy, but adding that texture and bricks to the wall made it really heavy.....just ask my dad. I hit him in the head with a piece of it while tossing it in at the dump!! What can I say, I was excited to get it thrown away!!

Anyway, here are some pictures of our progress so far. Looking at these pictures, I realized that it looks a lot worse in person. The fake bricks were painted bright red and the spacing wasn't realistic.....they just really bothered me. Oh, let's not forget the avocado green sink!! Needless to say, I didn't like my kitchen!

Before (these were taken after the leaks started, so the holes were cut in the walls for that):

Logan making the first hole:

The culprit of all this:

The end of day 1:

The tooth fairy even stopped by to see the action on day 3:

I didn't get pictures of some days because you couldn't tell much of a difference. Those days we worked on running electrical wires, installing Pex, and installing a dryer vent.

Here is where we are at now. One week after demo started. New drywall is up and ready for us to tape and mud.

You may notice that we really opened the kitchen up. The half wall (with a counter top and overhead cabinets) that separated the kitchen and dining room is GONE! This week we will continue working. Today we will tape and mud and start sanding the cabinets. I really wish we could afford to buy new ones, but we can't. I think painting them will make a big difference, though. I'll keep you posted on our progress!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

MPM--minus the kitchen, week 2.

This week we are still working on the kitchen. The new wiring is in, the plumbing is repaired, and all the drywall is up. This week we will be taping, mudding, sanding, priming, get the idea!

In other words, it is another week (at least) of figuring out what to eat when there is no kitchen to cook in. Considering my husband is only one month in on his new job since being laid off for 3.5 months, eating out every night isn't an option.

Monday--BLTs on croissants, apples, chips


Wednesday--beef stroganoff, peas, carrots

Thursday--pork roast (scroll down in that post for the recipe), mashed potatoes, salad, green beans (didn't get to this last week)

Friday--?? not sure yet, maybe leftovers

For more menu plan Monday fun, head on over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Menu Plan Monday--minus the kitchen!

This week we started the work in our kitchen. In preparation for that, I did a lot of cooking on Saturday. I made a potato casserole with ham, I cooked 6 pounds of chicken breasts and made poppy seed chicken and chicken salad for sandwiches with it, and browned 6 pounds of hamburger meat.

I'll get some before shots and progress shots up ASAP, but here is one to show I really do mean "minus the kitchen" (notice my fridge for proof it is my kitchen).

Sunday--potato casserole, corn, green beans, rolls

Monday--poppy seed chicken, rice, carrots, salad

Tuesday--potato casserole, black eyed peas, green beans

Wednesday--beef dish of some sort in the crockpot

Thursday--pork roast (scroll down in that post for the recipe), mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans


For more menu plan Monday fun, head on over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday...

Last week was crazy, but next week might be worse (as far as having a kitchen to cook in goes). This week, I'll try to follow a plan.

A couple of weeks ago, we tried Tammy's tomato onion pizza. I didn't get a picture of it, but it was sooooo yummy! I wasn't sure Logan would like it (due to the onions), but he gobbled it up. I used the cheese I had on hand (Mexican blend) and it was great!! (scroll down for recipe)

* = new recipe

Sunday--hot dogs, chips, apple slices

Monday--Breakfast for dinner: homemade gravy and biscuits, eggs, sausage

Tuesday--pasta, green beans with garlic Parmesan butter

Wednesday--lemon butter chicken, lemon rice (I just throw it together, but it is similar to this), simple peas (minus the onion this time since I'm trying to skip a trip to the store this week), and carrots

Thursday--cajun style snapper*, hoppin john rice, corn

Friday--Salisbury steak, Jasmine rice (instead of mashed potatoes because hubby bought a 25 pound bag at Costco!!), carrots

For more menu plan Monday fun, head on over to Laura's at I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Tomato Onion Pizza

2 packages refrigerated pizza crusts
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 package green onions thinly sliced
2 tomatoes thinly sliced or 1 box grape tomatoes cut in half
2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese

* Unroll the pizza crusts onto a cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.
* Flatten dough and build up edges slightly.
* Prick dough several times with a fork.
* Sprinkle sesame seeds over dough.
* Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or til lightly browned.
* Combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, and basil and spread over the cooked crust.
* Sprinkle with Swiss cheese.
* Sprinkle with onions and tomatoes.
* Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese.
* Bake another 7-9 minutes or til cheese is melted.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Life's been crazy....

After I posted my last entry, we had a series of events that leads to my dad and step-mom coming from Texas this coming Friday. We invited a friend and her daughter over for pizza, cake, and ice cream to celebrate Lucas' birthday (this was on March 1st). The Monday before, we found a leak in the bulk head above our kitchen cabinets. The plumbers came out and repaired it and said we found it pretty quickly. They told us to leave the cut open to let it air out and all should be fine. We were very happy that the pipe was fairly accessible and we didn't have any major damage. Well, fast forward to March 1st.

We were out picking up a cake and ice cream and had just returned home. My husband had left to pick up the pizza and I was going to do a quick wipe down of the kitchen. Well, I opened up the cabinet under the sink and there was water everywhere! GREAT!! I grabbed a chair and stuck my head in the hole cut by the previous leak and it was not the culprit. I could hear the leak and it didn't sound like it was a slow one. I ran upstairs and filled the tub with water and then ran to the basement and turned the water to the house off, leaving the faucets on to drain the water out.

We called the home warranty company to tell them about our new leak and they dispatched a plumber. He arrived and cut a new hole in our wall looking for the new leak. No luck. The leak was higher. He cut another hole. No luck. The leak was higher. So, this time the leak is BEHIND our cabinet. NICE!! Well, the plumbers won't pull the cabinets, we have to. He said he might be able to thread some flexible pipe through, but he didn't have any on his truck. He told us that he would be out the next day, weather permitting. It was already starting to snow while he was here and we ended up with at least 6 inches. I didn't hear from them on Monday, so I assumed that they were closed due to the roads. In the meantime, we decided that we had to pull the cabinets regardless because the drywall got very wet.

I called on Tuesday and a different plumber came out. He said that if we were pulling the cabinets down and replacing drywall, it would be best to have the repair made while the wall is opened up. Since we still had not been able to turn the water to our house on, I asked him to cut and cap the line so that we could at least have water. He did and we turned the water back on. Man.....48 hours with no water was a major pain!!

So, what brings my dad?? Well, he and my step-mom are coming to help us out. I know that no one expects a leak, but this happened at a rather poor time. I mean, considering my husband was without work for 3.5 months and we JUST got a paycheck on Friday, it just happened at the wrong time. We moved into a fixer-upper and we've already done a lot of fixing (new windows, new gutters, new window well, remodeled both bathrooms, new carpet in the basement, new porch light, pulled down paneling in part of basement and replaced with drywall, and sump pump installed). The kitchen was likely next on our list (as it is hideous!!), but it wasn't scheduled for a while. However, since we are going to have to pull down part of it, it is pretty much all getting pulled down.

With the housing market the way it is (and our lack of money), we are going with el cheapo on the remodel. We will reuse our cabinets (they are wood) and give them a new look with some white paint (and maybe some knobs since they currently have none). We'll keep the same appliances, even though I'd love to have stainless steel. Instead of the granite counter tops I'd love to have, we're going with laminate. While everything is opened up, we will install new electric, which we really need. It is sounding like we may even be moving some things around. Currently, there is a half wall between the dining room and kitchen. There is a cabinet that backs up to the half wall with a counter top on it and there is a cabinet that hangs above. I talked to my dad about wishing I could get rid of that to open up the space some (our kitchen and dining room are small) and he said we can probably do it. Part of the reasoning is that the counter top is 30 inches wide due to being on top of the cabinet and the half wall and we were going to have to special order a counter top for it. By moving the cabinet and just having it up against a wall, the counter top would only need to be 24 inches, meaning we could buy it in the store. I'm not sure that we'll have the money to do the floor right now. The bad thing about that is the floor is horrible! Pulling a cabinet up and moving it will only make it worse. However, I can deal with it for a while. I mean, I've dealt with my ugly kitchen for 2 years!! While my kitchen won't be fancy, it will be a MAJOR improvement from what it is now.

In the past, I've avoided sharing pictures that showed my ugly kitchen. It is pretty embarrassing. I'm not going to give any hints about it, but I'll share pictures once we start the remodeling process. Let's just say this house was built in 1972!!