OK, let’s get this out of the way right up front – my parents are pretty awesome. It totally sucks that we have to live so far apart, but they try and come visit every six months to a year, and every time they do, they bring their work clothes.
This time as we planned for their visit, they knew that Inara would be in school most days and Chris would also be at work, so they asked if there was a bigger project we could work on since there wouldn’t be small child disruption. At first, we had planned to overhaul the front yard and begin (what I’m sure will be a long process) turning it into garden. As the time came closer though, I decided I wanted to go a different route. Chris and I are both great project starters, but horrible at actually finishing stuff – so I looked around at all the half finished projects, or supplies we had bought for things that had never gotten done, and decided to try and cross off a bunch of little things rather than one BIG thing.
I sat down and made a list, room by room, of all the things in the house I’d love to accomplish while they were here. I came away with an average of two to three things in each room of the house. I knew it wouldn’t all happen, so on the first afternoon of their visit we sat down and talked about the list, made a plan and decided what to work on.
However, mom and dad had a mini pow-wow while I went to pick up Chris and they had a whole new plan when we sat down to dinner. The plane tickets they had bought to come here had, by in large, been paid for by frequent flier miles. SO, mom decided to spend the amount she had budgeted on their tickets but hadn’t spent on upgrading some of the projects.
OK, so let’s start with a very brief and very crude representation of the common areas of our house:
This is the gist of the floor plan. When we moved in almost seven years ago, and up until VERY recently (within the last few months) our dining table was in the breakfast nook, and the dining room served as this large random area I wasn’t sure what to do with. It’s been our homschool room, a catch all area, an animal area, and all sorts of stuff. however, I was fed up with the timy galley style kitchen I had, and always feeling like the dining table was CRAMMED into that breakfast nook. So, I moved it over to the dining room. This opened up lots of extra space in the kitchen. The first step was that I wanted to put in a coffee bar area under the bay window so that I could free up some counter space and organize our keurig and electric kettle and everything that went with those. I moved a cabinet that had been the stand to Chris’ snake tank over there and it fit PERFECTly. Only one problem, it had no top. So I scrounged in the garage and found a skinny piece of wood that worked but wasn’t attached, and was too large. Then some friends gave us that book shelf and after thinking for a few days, I decided to put it in the corner as a place to put all my cookbooks, small appliances, and for a bit of a decorative touch.
However, I needed more counter space, so I found this old and poorly constructed shelf/counter/thing that Chris had built years ago (and I couldn’t tell you what for now – maybe to put hedgehog cages on??). It was 5 feet long, just taller than counter hight and despite not being even close to level or even, worked well to put my microwave, bread maker, kitchenaid mixer and other items on. Only problem, it was ugly, uneven, not level and ugly. But it worked so it stayed there.
So, on my list for the kitchen was to put a real top on the coffee bar and to put a new top (that was at least even, if we couldn’t fix the level part too) on the ugly counter extender. Well, that’s the part my parents changed. My mom offered to buy us two new large cabinets and a counter top to replace the ugly wood thing and the one small one foot counter/cabinet that was next to the stove. It turned out to be exactly six feet so two large 36″ cabinets and a six foot expanse of uninterrupted counter space – I had died and gone to tiny kitchen heaven. I’m not even joking when I say adding these two cabinets almost doubles our storage space and the counter is the largest counter in my kitchen.
We went back and fourth on a few different cabinet set ups (two 18″ cabinets and a 36; a set of 18 in drawers, an 18 inch cabinet and a 35 inch cabinet; a tall 18 inch pantry cabinet, a standard 18 inch cabinet and a 36 – etc.) Finally we decided on the simplest of two 36 inch cabinets and after choosing what we wanted at Lowes, mom made me go over to Home Depot just to make sure I didn’t like what was there better. Oh am I so glad she made me do that. The cabinets at Lowe’s looked basically the same, except they had two smaller drawers and when you opened the doors there was a small support/divider that ran between the cupboard doors in the front. The cabinets at home depot have one large drawer and an uninterrupted cabinet space. OH MY HEAVEN! I also ended up choosing a different counter top than we had originally picked at Lowes, and in the end I’m very happy with that switch as well.
So, with a fair amount of hard work, Chris and my dad spent three days installing the cabinets – which also included moving an electrical outlet (which they switched from a two outlet receptor to a four outlet one!), and then the counter. Dad also cut and installed a new top on the coffee bar, and cut me SEVERAL new shelves for the bookcases in the dining room.
It’s not a total kitchen remodel (none of us could afford that, nor was there anywhere near enough time) but it’s a FANTASTIC kitchen addition. Mom and I also talked about several of the next steps for continuing the betterment of my tiny kitchen and it’s horrid organization issues.
While the guys were working on that, my mom and I had our own project – but that’s another blog post.
Until then, I’m going to go drool some more over my new kitchen. I have already rearranged half my small appliances and drawers twice – I’m sure it’ll be a couple months before I finally figure out the right combination. just in time to add new things to it for my birthday and Christmas.
Today our post is a bit different Katie Moore is visiting us from her blog Moore From Katie. Katie approached me a while back to ask about sharing on a topic near to her heart, and I think a lot of us as well – Pregnancy. Last month was Pregnancy Awareness Month, so I thought it would be fitting to detour a bit from the norm and share what Katie had to say. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of, motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging, and meeting new people! To connect with Katie contact her via her blog, Moore From Katie or her twitter, @moorekm26.
Take it away Katie!
Preparing for New Baby
Having a baby is a life-altering experience that nobody can ever be fully prepared for. However, there are many things you can do to help make sure his or her arrival and first experiences within the world are as safe and happy as they can be. Often times preparing for what you can makes things easier on you, too.
1. Washing your baby’s blankets and clothes before they begin using them will ensure they’re clean and ready to be worn; it’ll also help make them more comfortable and soft. It is advisable to use a mild dye and fragrance free soap with your baby’s things, as their skin is very sensitive to the chemicals.
2. As you near the big day, you may want to pre-pack your hospital bag. Good things to include are a comfortable change of clothes, socks and pajamas. Some things to distract yourself during labor can also keep nerves down for both you and the baby, like music or a movie. Packing well ahead of your due date will also make you less likely to forget something important in your rush to the hospital.
3. Multiple studies have been showing that talking to your baby in the womb can have a significant impact. Your baby’s relationship with you is the essential foundation of how they will relate with the rest of the world. There is no better time to begin fostering a healthy relationship with your child than during pregnancy.
4. When you take your baby home from the hospital, you will need to place him or her in a car seat designed for newborns to keep them safe and to be compliant with the law. These can be troublesome to install properly, but there are many public places that provide this service for free.
On the Back Burner
In all of the excitement and planning, certain details can evade your attention. Here are some important but often overlooked preparations to make.
1. Baby-proofing your home isn’t necessary until they start crawling, but getting started early can help safety precautions become second nature later on and give you time to consider other hazards. The first months will fly right by and they’ll be trying to get into things before you know it!
2. Consider optional procedures like cord blood banking for your family’s future. Mothers who choose to collect and save their baby’s umbilical cord blood do so in the event a future illness should occur with the baby, or possibly a sibling the family would have access to a source of stem cells. Research has indicated that the stem cells found abundantly in cord blood could provide effective treatment against a number of medical conditions.
Thanks again Katie for visitng us today and for the great info!
Here are some of the pictures of our Easter day. The day was filled with great things and lots of fun. We spent the morning at Church, then went to lunch at Luby’s with Chris’ Uncle (who had joined us at Church as well). After lunch we all took a nice nap, enjoyed a fun Easter egg hunt in the backyard, then had a late dinner of uber yummy ham and a wilted lettuce salad.
Hope all of your days were filled with sunshine, the love of family and friends, and the love of our risen Lord!!
3/4 pound chicken breast cut into bite size chunks
2 cups spinach leaves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 garlic clove minced
1 pack pesto sauce mix (I used the knorr brand because it’s what HEB sells)
1 lb box of your preferred pasta (I used rotini)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup almonds, chopped (you could also use almond slivers, or some pine but would accent the pesto better)
1/4 cup chopped tomato (about 1 small or a Roma tomato)
freshly grated Parmesan cheese (or for the none food snobs, the stuff in the green canister would work just fine too hehe)
*In a large skillet, saute chicken and spinach with the salt, pepper, olive oil, and garlic over medium-low heat.
*While the chicken is cooking, prepare your pesto sauce according to package directions.
*Once the chicken is cooked through (but only just) turn off the burner and drain off any extra oil. Add the frozen corn and stir to evenly distribute mixture in the skillet. Rest skillet and mixture on the burner you just turned off.
*Start a pot of water boiling for the pasta
*When the pesto is finished, stir it into the skillet mixture.
*Cook pasta to package directions, when done, drain and rinse then slowly add it to the skillet mixture.
*Turn the skillet to a warming setting (just above low, not medium-low, on my stove, I used the #2 setting) and stir periodically.
*After about 5 minutes of allowing the mixture to warm, add the lemon juice and continue warming for about another 5 minutes, then turn up to the next higher heat setting, to warm the mixture slowly back to “hot” (I used #3 for another 5 minutes roughly – by that point, Chris was home.
*I plated each serving individually, but it could be served family style too. For individual servings, measure out equal servings onto plates then sprinkle each dish with some of the tomato and almonds and top with cheese to your desired tastes. For a family style, mix all the tomatoes and almonds in then sprinkle the top with the cheese.
*Enjoy -oh my gosh it was so good!
Our dinner table has had a very special guest lately – Noah! Inara has really started to fall in love with this little person (because the smaller toy you can take with you everywhere to lose the better!), at the pediatricians office this morning, the doctor remarked that she thought it was the first time anyone had brought Noah for a visit before. LOL