Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Life's simple pleasures

So many things make me happy. Not a lot of big things happen in my life....just a series of small things to make me smile. But this past week was different, something big happened. It was a lot of hard work (but then hard work makes me happy too). Adam and I got to work side by side putting in our new back splash! Originally we were planning on using our Italian marble we used on the countertop. We got it free, years ago, from where I work. They were leftover from a project and they were going to toss them. There are cream, grey and black. Obviously, we used the cream on the couter. We were going to use mostly cream with some black on the back splash. However, Adam had no idea how difficult the cuts he'd have to make were going to be.

Here's the kitchen on Thursday morning before work got under way.

Barry and Steve came over. Those three were going to whip out the backsplash in a few least that's the idea Adam had. I was supposed to hang around to be the go for girl. I was going to work in my garden to get it ready for veggie plants. Because none of the cuts were made on a flat edge of the tile, they weren't coming out exactly right. It was really stressing Adam out. Then, Barry tried cutting out the holes for the outlets and burned through the blades because the tile was too strong. So after we fed them lunch, we let them go home. We made a trip to the hardware tore and got different blades for a different machine to try cutting the outlet holes. We got some that worked but when we pieced together what was already cut out and saw how off the cuts were, we decided we needed a plan B.

Another trip to the home improvement store. We only had 45 minutes to shop before they closed. A couple of different tiles caught our eye...we debated and finallyagreed on one. Then we had to decide on the accent tile. I ran and got a cart 5 minutes before they closed while Adam found an associate to help him find the correct mortar. So by the time we got home, there was no time left to start. I did get a few hours in in my garden so not a complete bust. But nothing happened in the kitchen...except a mess I needed to clean up before we started again in the morning. Oh, and we fed Andy (the guy who lived with us for a month) and his 5 kids. Their mom's stepdad died so she was out of town. Dinner was supposed to be at 6. We just got the stove put back into position and the kitchen cleaned up at about 5:45. Dinner was a little late but we pulled it off. Almost forgot about that.

Friday was our anniversary. When I was going through all the boxes of stuff, I found these hearts that had stuff written on them, things I love about Adam. They were from our second anniversary. I set them aside so I could find them again. And I actually remembered about them. I taped them to the cabinets since they all still applied. ;o) This back splash was our anniversary gift.

Adam slept in. I worked in my garden while he rested. Then we stopped around dinner time. We went to a Japanese Hibachi grill. That was a really cool experience. After dinner, we went back home and watched a movie. So we only got 2/5 of the kitchen tiled on Friday. These are the two walls we finished by the end of the day. And the tiles in the foregound are for behind the stove.

Adam slept in again on Saturday but after a quick breakfast, we were back at it. He put all the mortar on and placed the tiles.

I followed closely behind him getting the mortar out between the tiles, with a toothpick) so the grout has a place to be. Then I cleaned all the surfaces (under the cabinets, tile fronts, counter top) where the mortar got.

At 6, we finished 2 walls and Adam was ready for another break with the heating pad on his back. So I cleaned up and took the dogs for a walk. We were gone for an hour. When we got back, Adam was just finishing up the last of it! Behind the stove.

We cleaned up but left the tools to be taken downstairs the next day. By Sunday evening, it was all cleaned up. And this is what it looks like now. (I have to say, this has to be a record for a project gettng cleaned up.)

We are both so happy with it!!

There's still a few things left to do before it's all finished but we're are one giant step closer.

Here's a funny view. The kitchen side has seen a lot of progress...the living room side, not so much. ;o) One step at a time here, people! You trying to kill us? ;o)

From the staircase.

From the dining room.

I couldn't have gotten a better anniversary gift!! :o)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Progress is showing itself again in the kitchen! It's so exciting! Back in September, Adam put in the counter tops, which was huge. He had a few extra sheets of cement backer board for the back splash and they've been sitting in the hallway ever since. I came home from work last Thur. or Fri. to find Adam working on putting it up. It was rainy so he cute everything inside which covered everything in a layer of thick dust. But I can't complain when progress comes to visit.

I've become used to seeing through the wall so it's kind of weird now that it's not see through. I can still see everything except the dogs waiting at the door to go out so it's not a big deal. It will definitely do it's job (blocking the view to our sink (and dirty dishes)) from anyone who comes to the front door.

And one more thing...we're putting the back splash up tomorrow!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pride in his art

Adam's siblings are all very artistic. Their parents have a wall in their house where they display their children's art. Adam is artistic in his own way...not with pen and paper but with power tools. He creates some wonderful things...just not art. He has always felt bad that he was the only child not represented on the wall. Even his sister-in-law has a painting or two on the wall.

Last year, I had a brilliant idea. I had found some pictures Adam drew while in elementary (5th grade). I picked the one I liked the best and asked his mom if she would be willing to hang it. She thought it was a great idea. His dad made the frame and they hung it and even covered it with a white tea towel. He had no idea what was up and we had an unveiling party. His mom made a speech about how Adam had many talents that they just weren't able to put on the wall, and that finally, they had something they could hang. When the towel was removed, he was beaming like a little kid. It was so cute!! He was so happy to be included on the wall. He still points it out to everyone that comes to dinner at their house. In case you were having trouble guessing which is his, it's the very colorful hand on the top row. I just love that he is so happy about it. :o)

His mom has gone through the attic and gotten rid of all her kid's them to who they belong to. In that bunch of stuff, there were a couple of pottery pieces he made (in elementary again).

This one sits in our bedroom usually. It's our coin jar.

I haven't found a home for this one yet but it matches the kitchen cabinets almost exactly so it will be hung in the kitchen somewhere. It is a vase for small flowers. But I am thinking it won't hold water so it will hold a small amount of dried or silk flowers.

My pottery never turned out very well...which, I assume, is why I have none of what I've made.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A little valentine's day exchange

We're not big on Valentines day here since our anniversary is right on it's heels but we usually do something small for each other. This year, I made Adam a candy bar bouquet. I almost forgot to make it. I only remembered as I was going to bed. So I had to stay up to make it. The cute little bear is destined to be a dog toy once we're done with it.

On Monday, I started a gluten free month to see how my body reacts, if it reacts at all. Adam bought me a few gluten free food items. There are a couple cookie things. He thought I was going to be back on sugar now that I am trying gluten and dairy free months. He was a little upset when he learned I still wasn't eating sugar. I will probably have one of each just to make him feel better. He also got me some rice pasta, gluten free pasta sauce, waffles (those are actually sugar free) and Udi's bread. I have heard that Udi's bread is so good...the best gluten free bread out there. may be better than other options out there but it tastes kind of like the plastic bag it is packaged in. Wow, life is sad in gluten free bread world. But I am sure I will be grateful for it as the month wears on. He reused my bear. :o) He is so sweet. He really had to think to figure out a snack I would eat this year.

So, the only time we saw each other all day was when Adam woke up for work...he didn't have enough time to sit and eat dinner but he did anyway.

I made buttermilk roasted chicken, roasted potatoes (white for him, sweet for me), and steamed carrots and asparagus. The buttermilk chicken was SOOO moist! I will definitely be making that again. You just fill a bag with chicken (will do breasts next time as they're our favorite part), I did 6 chicken legs. You make a sauce with 2 cups buttermilk, 5-6 cloves of garlic peeled and smashed, a 1 Tbsp salt, 1 1/2 tsp paprika. Stir it up then pour it over the chicken in the bag and make sure everything is coated. Let it sit in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Then you roast at 425 for 30 minutes (about 35-40 for breasts). I turned the broiler on for the last few minutes to darken it up a little. Like I said, it was very moist. It was also very simple. I will definitely be making this again!

So, that was our day. I hope yours was good.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I have been working hard at home...getting a lot done. But most of it is not least not in pictures. So here's some random shots from the past week or so. Ever since I found out that the camera phone is a fairly good camera, I have been taking way more pictures and having a lot of fun with it since I always have a camera with me. :o) Not all of these were taken with the phone but most of them were.

I have entered the 2nd month of logging my food for the GI doctor. This month (starting today) will be gluten free. I made myself a batch of buttermilk pancakes as a farewell to gluten for the time being. Next month is dairy free. Both months will be tough!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

healthy cookies?

Well, I am not sure if these are technically healthy, they certainly aren't unhealthy...unless I ate a ton of them.

They're super simple to make, you don't have to bake them, they taste good...what's not to love? Oh, and the recipe is small enough that you don't have enough sitting around taunting you. It only makes 4 cookies and I halved it so I only got two cookies but that's fine because that was plenty to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

12 pitted dates
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tbsp reduced-fat peanut butter (I used Adam's crunchy peanut butter)

Place the dates in the bowl of a mini-food processor fitted with the chopping blade (I used my blender). Process until the dates are very finely chopped and stick together. With a spatula, transfer to a small mixing bowl. Add the oats and peanut butter. Using an electric mixer fitted with beaters or your hands, mix well.

Divide the mixture into 4 equal amounts. Shape each into a ball. Place one ball between two sheets of waxed paper. Flatten the ball to a 3" diameter cookie. Repeat with each ball. Serve immediately or stack between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight plastic container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Makes 2 (2-cookie) servings

I just made the cookies in my hand, no paper wasted and it didn't stick to my hands at all. Yum!!

Monday, February 6, 2012


I learned something cool this week....actually, 2 somethings. 2 of my pictures have inspired 2 different people to paint. One is doing a painting based on one of the rainy pictures I took recently and the other is doing a mural from a picture I took while on my backpacking trip...which reminds me, I never did a post on that so I need to cause it was pretty. Later on that.

Here's my pic that inspired the mural:

Here's the mural:

It feels kind of like winning a contest...even though I don't win anything. lol

This weekend I worked on a major project which isn't finished...not sure when it wil be, or if it ever will be. But I will talk about it soon. And I finished another project I'd been working on for a few weeks so I can finally blog about that too. The pictures are in different folders though since it took such a span of time so that one will probably not be up for a few days, we'll see. All I can say is, Pinterest is so cool!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

a weekday bike ride

In the winter, I don't usually get to ride my bike during the week because I only have about an hour of sunlight after I get home from work and I need to use the daylight to walk the dogs. It's very stressful to walk the dogs in the dark because of their agression issues toward other dogs. If I can't see a dog until we're close to it, it causes problems. All our walks end in the dark but I can get some daylight during the walk at least.

Jack has been limping a lot lately, not even using his rear leg sometimes after we get home from a walk. And Jasmine has been really stiff too so I decided they needed a reast for a couple days at least. I took one of the days they had off to take a bike ride. Woo hoo!! I had a great time. It was warm enough for a short sleeved jersey and shorts. And I even got to see one of the best sunsets I had seen in quite some time (that slowed my ride down considerably since I couldn't get far before I had to stop to take another picture. The dogs didn't think it was a win/win...but I did.

A beautiful evening and I got in 13 miles!
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