Goodbye 2013 Hello 2014!

I don’t think I have even been so glad to see a year go!

Goodbye 2013, and good riddance!

I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow morning. I know nothing magical will happen as the clock strikes midnight tonight. But as I set new goals, and make a list of things I want to see accomplished I hope it helps leaving 2013 behind!

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It it certainly can’t hurt!

I was hoping this year would be different and things improved from the year before. It wasn’t any one thing I can say happened, just lots of little disappointments. I felt like my life was in limbo, I was hanging in thin air just waiting to live. No one died or no big tragedy happened. Really lots of little things happened that were good things. There just wasn’t that pivotal thing or event that makes you remember a year or event in your life. 2013 didn’t show me that, in a good way.

2014 you are a welcome new born, you have 365 days of a empty journal waiting for the pages to be written in. I love the sound you make, you are even numbered and round. I have big plans for you! Please don’t disappoint me!

I don’t plan on bringing you in with a bang, a quiet time in the darkness I will celebrate your coming. On your first day I will sing praises, greet you with a smile, and know you are there for me.

I hope to see you more in the new year,

Happy New Year!

Smiles and Hugs!

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The flu and Writing Thank You Cards

Sorry I’ve been missing in action!

Well, I ended up with the flu. I’m calling it the fast and furious flu! I don’t know if it had a name but it hit hard and fast, and seemed furious!

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I woke up one morning before Christmas with a fever and small cough. It developed that day and the fever grew, and so did the cough, so that I was in bed. Thankfully no stomach involvement happened! I don’t do well with that!

But still it knocked me on my bum for several days. I drank lots of water, and drank a hot liquid flu therapy a couple times a day. I managed to crawl out of bed for a piece of toast and a scrambled egg as not to starve. I didn’t manage to sleep pretty much 2 days of it which I think helped me recover quicker, as the old saying rest and fluids!

I still have a bit of the cough, but feeling better.

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So there has always been some controversy it seems in my life about Thank You cards. I was raised it is better to give than to receive, and to write a thank you note to the giver.

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I tried to raise my children this same way although they seem to have forgotten their instructions. Things have changed, in this world of instant messages, photos, and gratification I think the old standby of a handwritten Thank-you card may be considered an antiquity.

However…….

I do think the sender of a gift should be made aware that the gift did arrive in one piece and is appreciated! With that said in this day of modern communications, a simple Text, Instagram, email, would work. But what about your technological challenged grandparent? You have 2 options, that handwritten Thank you card, or a phone call.

Now I know some of those 80+ year olds won’t just settle for a call! they also expect a handwritten card on top of it! Well, I’m sorry the world no longer revolves around pen and ink, stamp and post office…..

Tis better to get some kind of connection than none at all. If you really want to know I guess you can call them? Lol

So with that said, you may not agree with my take on the traditional thank you card. That’s ok, There are bigger worries in the world than a Thank You card.

Hugs,

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A Farm House Sink

So I need to pick out some of the things for the new kitchen. These had to be done so we can build cabinets and get started. I searched and researched. I wanted this kitchen to have that Nostalgic look to it. Kind of like grandmas house but with modern conveniences .

You will remember we started the island already here. It will look like an old general store counter.

It only seemed natural that the sink would be a nice white farmhouse one. I drooled over several photos of kitchens with those sinks. I looked a big box stores, and home improvement stores. I fond the one I wanted. A Kohler 36″ white case enamel sink. It is made right here in the USA. It was so nice I could see piles of veggies, and lots of room to wash cookie sheets and large stock pots.

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So here it is! A Kohler Whitehaven apron front 36″ self rimming sink. I ordered it. I think it will be perfect! Look at all that space. I used my bonus from work as this was the “big” splurge for the kitchen. I justified it as something that gets used everyday, more than an appliance really, so why not get what you want.

It arrived by air freight to a major airport more than 4 hours from our house. The shipping was FREE! But would have normally cost more than $150. It arrived by freight company. I was at work, in a meeting and could not meet the driver. He texted me he was at my house with my package. I told him I could not get away and to please put it inside my breezeway, as it would be safe there. He said ok and that was it. I could hardly contain myself until I could get home from work and see it in person!

Boy was I in for a shock! It was in a cardboard box strapped to a pallet! How the delivery guy got it into the breezeway I will never know! Had I known how big and heavy it was I would have told him where the panel to open the garage door was! I feel sorry for him as the thing weighs a ton, well just 143 pounds!

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Here she is! I couldn’t believe it, it was huge! I almost could have taken a bath in it!
My cabinet maker came to measure it and look at it. He couldn’t believe how big it was either. I have a vision on how I wanted it to look.
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I like how the legs make it look like an old piece of furniture was used for the sink. I discussed this with my cabinet maker and he said I needed to find some posts about 23″ long. We also had to do some reworking as they could not stick out at all into the kitchen since we were so short on room.
The right side of the sink cabinet will go into a corner cabinet, so to have anything protrude will not allow the corner door to work correctly. I need to find some old posts, or buy new ones so he can start on this cabinet as it is the first cabinet to be built and the starting point for all the others.

After our meeting that day I ran a few errands. I decided to stop at a local thrift store to look around and see if they had any posts that might work. As I am walking through I see a bed frame pushed up in the back. I pull a different bed frame away and call my cabinet maker, then shoot these photos and email them to him. I take measurements and he comes right down.

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We look the frame over and it is solid maple with four posts. It is a full size, which doesn’t matter to us, but today it’s half price! So for the total of $12.50 I got the whole frame and 4 posts, the headboard and footboard and side rails in Maple.
He immediately goes to work separating the posts from the other pieces then filling the holes. We decide to use the footboard pieces as their finish work is perfect and the feet just finish the bottom up. The main post piece was trimmed down so it sets back.
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The top “ball” part was cut off. He sent me these photos from his shop.

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Here you can see the leg was trim down to snug up against the cupboard, but the foot part wasn’t so it looks like it is the support on the floor.

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This angle shows the sink sitting in the cabinet. It looks like the posts are supporting the sink, but that isn’t the case. It just appears that way. There are supports built inside to support that 143 pound sink plus any weight that might be included when it is full.
I’m exciting to see it is coming along. I have more things to pick out! Still have to choose lights, counters, hardware, faucet, and paint color!
Hugs,
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Baked Potatoes in a Slow Cooker

Baked Potatoes

Yummy! I don’t eat them very often, maybe twice a year? We are taking true Russett potatoes from Idaho.

Who has time to Bake them? Usually by the time you think of it, it will be too long and you need them now for dinner! You have either rushed home from work and need dinner on the table, or haven’t planned for enough time to get them in the oven. And seriously Microwaved potatoes are gross!

I discovered this method years ago, I can’t even remember when or where. Could have been in those little booklets that come with your slow cooker/crock pot? What do you call yours?

It is so easy, you will love this for a treat! It will work for any potato. I love during a big meal to put my potatoes in with water and cook them for mashed potatoes. No more boil over on your stove!

Gather your potatoes, I would recommend larger potatoes especially if you aren’t going to be home, or going to have them in there all day. Wash them good. I use my veggie brush.

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Dry them well, I use paper towels as I’m in a hurry usually. Then poke them a few times with a fork.

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Cut out any bad parts. Hopefully yours will not have any.

I happen to have those neat little foil sheets, but if you don’t cut/rip foil into pieces large enough to cover your potatoes.

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I use virgin Coconut oil, but any shortening, oil, or even bacon grease would work. You rub a lite coat on the potato skin, then wrap it in the foil.

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Place the foil wrapped potatoes into your slow cooker. Mine were big enough they didn’t touch the bottom. However I still should have put something on the bottom of the slow cooker to act like a rack. I have used metal canning jar rings, or even some wadded up foil pieces. (More on why this is important below).

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Set your slow cooker to low for 8 hours, and high for 4 hours.

Well, they are perfect! They were big so I only ate half of one. You can cook a steak on the grill, fix a salad, and dinner is done! Or make it the main dish. Top it with leftovers, or the traditional Baked Potato Bar Favorites. I forgot to take a photo after they came out while busy fixing dinner. Here they are later cooled. They are a little more yellow colored, but the flavor is great.

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Here’s where having a programmable slow cooker would come in handy!

I have 3 slow cookers, in 3 sizes. None of mine are programmable or have temperature probes. Gee, that would be great for meats, or potatoes, but mine all work and if it’s not broke why replace it? Right? However with that said, all of mine cook at different temperatures, so low on one isn’t as low on another. I have one that even has a keep warm setting. You need to experiment to see what works best for you.

Now about that rack, or lack of. On certain foods like these potatoes. They will burn on the bottom if they touch the crock. That is why using the canning rings, or wadded up foil creates a barrier to the direct heat on the bottom. My potatoes were big and were wedged in so I didn’t put anything in to act as a rack. However, they did shrink and ended up slightly touching the bottom. It wasn’t too bad, but no one wants a burnt potato!

Hugs,

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Cold Weather and a Hot Berry Pie

We have been having a cold snap here as is most of the US. A week now of sub-freezing temps. I did get all the outside faucets wrapped, plants covered, and wood hauled. We will see when it does completely thaw how we faired.

I couldn’t resist shooting a few photos when it first froze, before we got snow.

Drawing moisture out of lumber and making it look like it has hair.

Drawing moisture out of lumber and making it look like it has hair.

I went out one morning with my camera in hand looking for odd moments captured in ice.
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It looks like this last rose that may of bloomed won’t get the chance now….

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Something about the cold weather makes me want to cook, or bake comfort food! So I gave in yesterday and baked this French Berry Pie.

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I started with a single pie crust

Preheat oven to 375 f or 190c

then mixed together, in a separate bowl

3 to 5 cups frozen berries (I used Blueberries, raspberries, Marion berries)

3/4 cup organic sugar

1/3 organic all-purpose flour or GF thickening agent of your choice

2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Mix this well and spread into crust.

Mix in bowl

2/3 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup flour or other thickening agent
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix well, then add 6 tablespoons organic butter and using a fork mix until crumbly. Spread on top of berry mixture.

Bake for 40 min or until the crust is golden brown. Let it cool completely before cutting. Of course unless you like that warm liquid berry goo with fresh ice cream or whip cream.

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Keep warm,

Hugs,

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How to Hide Your Popcorn Ceiling

While we are having snow and several days of below freezing temps, here is the next installment on the kitchen. It seems hard to believe this was a while ago and things have progressed since then.
So while trying to remodel a kitchen that happens to be in the center of a great room, the whole room becomes involved.

Then the wood stove decides the spit out black soot all over it while everything else is going on in that room and you have a disaster. Yes, that is what happened. At the time it didn’t seem to funny, or good timing but now I know it was perfect timing. The ceiling needed to be done before we moved on with the remodel.

Enter tongue and groove cedar. We have used it before on our cabin and it turned out great. I like the idea of it on the vaulted ceiling and I wanted to white wash it. Mr Nostalgia doesn’t want it painted. (Just like men and wood!) Given the choice of popcorn ceiling or no paint on the wood, I will take no paint, plus sometime in the future in could be painted.(wink, wink)

We measure and calculate what we need. We have to buy a whole unit of this lumber which is way more than we need, but that is how it is sold. Oh I’m sure I already have a use for the remainder of the wood! Shh…don’t tell Mr. Nostalgia.
So we find the trusses in the ceiling and snap a chalk line to mark them. Then sorting through the lumber we sort out the damaged or not as pretty pieces to use for this part of the project as they will not be seen.

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Once we get all the strips nailed into the trusses, we then measure the width across the room and pre cut our lumber so it lines up for easy application. We use our nail gun and both of us on ladders starts at the lower edge and work our way up towards the peak.

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We continued this stopping to measure and sort wood as we went until we were almost to the peak of the ceiling.

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Here it is the next morning. Excuse the piles of mess. Anyone who has lived in the middle of a remodel knows you think it will never get better. So now we stopped near the top, and start again along side the other lower edge.

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This side isn’t a straight shot due to the soffit or bulkhead above the cabinets. We decided to install the first full width piece along the soffit then work towards the wall on the partial side. That gave us a full piece with no odd cut. After working down to the wall we started from the full piece, and headed towards the peak again.

This side will be a challenge as we have electrical boxes in the ceiling for the lights. We haven’t chosen the light fixtures yet, so we leave the boxes where they are for now and work around them.

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Yeah! Side two is done. I wanted to tell you there is no finish on this wood. The shine is from the natural planed wood itself.

We debated on how to finish the peak. Should be put a false beam up, or perhaps old reclaimed, recycled gingerbread trim from an old house? We hadn’t really decided I thought. Well, one day I came home to fine Mr. Nostalgia had come up with his own solution. I really like it. It blends in well, now to get the finish moulding around the edges!

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If you have a house of this time period beware if you have ceiling heat. We do in this house. However the heat had been disconnect in the great room and the wiring used for a 220 wall heater. If you do not use your ceiling heat, you will need to have an electrician disconnect it permanently before you can nail into the ceiling. I will talk about the light fixtures, and paint choices as we continue the kitchen.

Hugs

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Update on Kitchen #2

So here we are, cabinets torn out, ginormous (is that even a word?) island removed. Now that leaves us with a floor that is uneven. It seems when they updated the kitchen the last time in the 1990’s they added plywood to cover the original floor around the new island
The house is a 1978 Ranch. We have found archeological evidence of some updating about every 10 years. So it looks like we are going to peel a few decades away from our girl, and give her a brand new kitchen. This will be her first completely new kitchen, since the disco era! Here are some flashbacks for you of some kitchens from that time period.

Check this one out, harvest gold, dark cabinets. They look so cheap.

Check this one out, harvest gold, dark cabinets. They look so cheap.

Again dark cabinets, harvest gold, and lots of harvest gold vinyl floors!

Again dark cabinets, harvest gold, and lots of harvest gold vinyl floors!

Diggin' this one. It has wallpaper, and Tupperware, bonus a matching washer and dryer. Plus that lovely light fixture.

Diggin’ this one. It has wallpaper, and Tupperware, bonus a matching washer and dryer. Plus that lovely light fixture.

Three Harvest Gold Disco kitchens, circa 1978. Just to give you an idea of what her original look might have been.
She had some small cosmetic work done, such as paint, floors, and track lighting installed when I got her.

I know I want to do a lot of this remodel myself, but I cannot do this alone. The kitchen is odd and small and requires custom made cabinets to pull it off. I have collected magazine clipping for 30 years of kitchens that I liked. I one day a few years back sat down with a pile of magazine pages and finally cut out the inspirations that I loved and pasted them to a vision board. (I might note this was before Pinterest) Boy hasn’t that made that rather old fashioned!

I knew just who to call. My dear friend Frank. I’ve seen his work before and we get along great, plus I can describe most things to him and he gets it. So he looks and measures and asks and sketches. Then goes home on his computer and does some magic and returns with some graphics of what the 2 walls will look like. We fine tune it and both go to work doing our parts. Mine being some demo, and finding a new sink, and islan.
I first start by tearing out the uneven plywood floor, and pantry.

Ripping out 3 layers to the original 1978 vinyl.

Ripping out 3 layers to the original 1978 vinyl.

Wow, so many different layers! But I got them all up.

Here is the pantry. Door is removed inside is already started. Marks and plans underway!

Here is the pantry. Door is removed inside is already started. Marks and plans underway!

If you look real close you can see where the cut in on the drywall for the new opening. But all work comes to a halt! We found 220 wiring above there. This means that this part cannot come out without a lot of added expense. So plans will change.
However we have the floor all leveled off now and back to 1978. I posted this photo on Facebook, some how it made me want to put on a pair on hip huggin bell bottoms!

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And the wires from the old island take up temporary residence on the toaster island!

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This is post sure has a lot of Harvest Gold in it! Stay tuned we have more exciting things to come….

Hugs

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