Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spiffing Up Our Kitchen - Final

As promised, here are photos of our kitchen project.

The old sink and counter.
We very much disliked the sink.
The new sink, faucet and counter.
We are both in love with the new sink and faucet.

Old tile backsplash. 
Note the brown color in the trim, which does not go with the blue accent in the Corian.
The new tile backsplash.

Random shot of the Corian.

Same random shot with the new granite.
I really love the coloration of the granite. 
The Husband said he could have lived the rest of his life with the Corian. 
I said "Yeah, right!"
We are very happy with the kitchen. It was another great project by Dean West Construction. Dean and his employees "spiffed up" our bathroom last year, so we didn't hesitate to contact him for the kitchen. We both heartily recommend his firm for any remodeling project.

Now, we'll start saving our pennies for the next house project. What will it be? Only The Husband knows, because it's his turn to pick from our wish list!

What's on your house wish list?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Happy Birthday, Tim!

We attended our nephew-in-law's birthday party Saturday in Oklahoma City. 

Sixty pounds of crawfish were boiled, along with potatoes and corn. A brisket was also served with a cheesy potato casserole and macaroni salad. Mmmm good!

Here's Tim opening his present.
He's excited, because he has figured out what it is!

His very own vintage travel bar. 

Long story short, we have a vintage travel bar that belonged to The Husband's father and we use it all the time. All four nephews-in-law have, at one point or another, expressed admiration for The Husband's bar. When I found this one at a recent estate sale, I snagged it because I knew it would be a perfect gift for one of the NiL's.

Tim and our niece Tracy.

The Husband and our niece Amy.

Our niece Mary.

We stayed with Mary and Joel at their new home, which is lovely. And, BONUS, look who greets you at the front door!

All in all, a very fun weekend.

And now we are on the hunt for more vintage travel bars. After all, we have to treat all the nephews-in-law the same. :-)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Mom's Macaroni Salad

We are attending a birthday party in Oklahoma City Saturday for our nephew-in-law, Tim. Tracy (our niece) is organizing a lot of food, so I volunteered to make a dish. Tracy loves my Mom's Macaroni Salad, so I made a triple batch. :-)

Mom's Macaroni Salad
2 stalks celery (chopped)
1/2 small white onion (chopped)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 cups cooked macaroni
2 hard boiled eggs (chopped)
Mix all ingredients in large bowl. Lightly mix in macaroni. Chill for 1 hour. Enjoy!

My mom began making this recipe when I was 8 or 9 years old, so it's been a family favorite for the past 41 years. 

The taste of this salad makes me happy and I hope it makes you happy also!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Book Club

Have I told you I've recently joined a book club? 

I have long desired to join a club, but given my previous corporate career I never committed to one. I was concerned my sporadic travel schedule would mean I would miss more meetings than I could attend.

A month ago I was invited to visit a club that has been together for eight years. Members have come and gone, but there is a core of original members still in attendence. 

These women are funny, intelligent and active in our community. They have made me feel very welcome.

The club alternates meeting at member's homes. Everyone brings what they would like to drink, a tasty dish to share and suggestions for the next book.

Apricots Topped with Blue Cheese, Pistachios and Honey was my contribution to the evening repast. These were very tasty. They passed The Husband's taste test and the ladies also liked them.

The book for discussion was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it. The club's conversation about the book was good, but what was better was the conversation about whether we personally are racist and the state of race relations in our city.

The club is taking the summer off and will reconvene in September. A few books on our reading list during the break are:

Olive Kitteridge

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Have you read any of these books? If yes, would you recommend them?

I have been searching out avenues to meet new people and this book club is a perfect fit. How about you? Are you a member of a book club? How do you meet new people?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Easy Dinner

The Husband and I had a great dinner tonight.

Hebert's quail stuffed with crawfish etoufee/rice and green beans:

Sweetened and served over angel food cake with whipped cream:

Delicious and Easy!

Installation of the kitchen backsplash tile continued today and should be finished tomorrow. Touch up painting and a tune-up of the kitchen cabinet hardware will follow. I'm hopeful the project will be finished in 2-3 days. (fingers crossed!)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Spiffing Up Our Kitchen - Part 3

Good progress is being made on our kitchen project, as documented in my last post on this topic.

Thursday, the installation of the tile blacksplash began. It is looking great! 

One of the best things we did was request additional shelves be cut for our cabinets. The cabinets use adjustable brackets as pictured below:
This bracket installation allows maximum flexibility in shelf configuration. I've added the new shelves into the configuration and started reloading them.

New shelf configuration + additional shelves = more space = items in different locations

I've already warned The Husband he's going to have to look for things.

He was a bit grumpy about that.

He'll get over it.

P.S. I promise before/after pictures when the project is complete.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Change, Change, Change

The Husband came home today at noon and said, "Hi, Honey. I'm home. Forever."

As expected, his long term "temp" contract ended today.

I say "Get another contract."

He says "No new contracts are available until September 1st." (Yeah, right. He's just wants to take the summer off.)

Needless to say, it will be interesting at our house for the next few weeks as The Husband and I navigate our changed circumstances. Stay tuned. Funny stories are sure to abound!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spiffing Up Our Kitchen - Part 2

Great progress has been made on "Project Spiff Up The Kitchen."

Things that have been installed:
  • granite countertops
  • under mount sink
  • faucet
  • garbage disposal
  • under cabinet lights with separate switch
Unfortunately, the plumber said some bad words: "You have a leak in your wall." Not what you want to hear when you own a 95 year old house. Sigh... More conversations on that topic to occur.

To the topic of backsplash tiles. If you knew me personally, you would think that I would spend hours and hours on research. You would also think I would have to see every possible combination of tiles against the new granite and the existing floor tiles. You would lastly think I would bring home multiple tile samples for a review that would last days/weeks/months.

You wouldn't know me very well, if that is what you thought.

A tile store is nothing but overwhelming. When I get overwhelmed, I go with the simple, understated selection. Fortunately, I'm the person that knows what I want the minute I see it. I "feel" what is right.

We did bring home two tile options to see in our "native" lighting environment. I'm sure we will be able to make a decision tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted on our progress. And, there will be before/after pictures when the project is complete!

Have you ever "spiffed up" your kitchen? What did you do? Were you happy with the end result?

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Ahoy Matey" & Yard Art on Steroids

One last story from our recent Indiana trip...

We split the drive from Indiana to Oklahoma into two days. 

We checked in Sunday night at the Carlinville, IL Best Western. The entire theme of the hotel - lobby, lounge, restaurant, rooms - is nautical. Extremely nautical in the middle of nowhere in the Illinois corn fields! It has a river boat, in a pond, with fish. You can feed the fish from a dock or you can fish for the fish from the dock.

A nice place to be sure, but the decor was surreal, especially after a couple of cocktails in their "Yacht Club." The Husband and I agreed that the owner (a former Navy man) ran a "tight ship" because everything was very "ship shape" at the hotel. (Har dee har har. Aren't we original?)

As we drove down the road the next morning, congratulating ourselves for being so witty, we thought we were seeing things.

A spaceship?
An elephant sticking out of a building? 

Another elephant. Pink this time. 
Isn't he cute? 
My Husband, not the elephant! 
Well, okay, the elephant is cute also.

An oversized ice cream cone? 
And, look, The Three Stooges! 
They were nice enough to agree to a photo with The Husband.

Yet another elephant? 
Smaller than the pink one, but larger than us.
But not larger than my new friend!

Where, you ask, did we see this yard art? Just off I-55, Exit 37, Livingston, IL at The Pink Elephant Antique Mall.

Most people may not agree that this is yard art, in the traditional sense of the term, since it is not located at a private residence. I believe it is yard art because the owner of the antique mall has personally amassed this collection. The ladies who work there tell me many people try to purchase the pieces (especially the space ship, which is what I wanted!) but they are not for sale.

I'm hoping that the Mistress of the Yard Art Game will spend a moment or two pondering whether or not these items qualify for points. If they do not, I will understand.

And, by the way, the antique mall was excellent! The building is the old gymnasium for the town's school and is very cool. The booths were filled with excellent items. And, yes, of course I purchased a few. Vintage linens again. Peacocks for our guest room!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Kane County Flea Market

The Husband and I began the journey from Indiana back to Oklahoma last Sunday.

Have I told you that we used to live in North Aurora, IL? We transferred there 10 years ago for my husband's job. Since we were within an hour's drive of our old stomping grounds, and since it was the first weekend of the month, I successfully negotiated a slight detour to attend the Kane County Flea Market. The KCFM is one of the best in the nation. I absolutely adore it. 

Here I am giddy with excitement upon entering the grounds.

Yard art, anyone?

The Husband on the hunt for treasures.

They were selling hundreds of ears of corn.

The weather was absolutely perfect for walking this huge flea market.

I picked up some great vintage linens that I need like a hole in the head, but whatever! 
If you ever have the chance to attend the KCFM, I highly recommend it.

While we were in the neighborhood, we drove by our old house, which happens to be for sale. Unfortunately, the national housing market down turn has had a negative impact in that area of the country. The house is on the market now for less than our purchase price 10 years ago when it was brand new. Very sad, but a good buy for someone.

I Am Not Happy

I worked for an hour tonight on a new post. I kept "saving" it. But, somehow, at the last minute it was lost.

It's too late now for me to recreate it. 


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Little Posers!

Funerals are not good. 
But they are not all bad, either. 
They provide time for family to reconnect.

We attended a dinner with the brother-in-law's family and following are a few scenes from that event.

Our sweet Baby L commandeering an appetizer plate:

Mine! All Mine!

Four of Grandma's youngest grandchildren:

All I asked was to take their picture.
Look at how they IMMEDIATELY posed for me!

Families are the most important thing in the world.

And, isn't it great that youth is always present at funerals?

They are the future!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Case of Mistaken Identity

The Husband and I left Tulsa last Thursday afternoon to drive to Indiana. Our plan was to drive a few hours and stop for the night. We pulled into a small Missouri town, which shall remain nameless, and checked into a hotel. As is our habit, we asked for a recommendation for a locally owned restaurant for dinner.

The restaurant was a nice steakhouse, which was not busy when we arrived. We had our choice of seats and settled on a spot across the room from a party of 3 couples. We chatted with the waitress, ordered cocktails, reviewed the menu and placed our food order.

We never paid any attention to the party of 6 just a few feet away. They paid their bill and started making their way past our table to the door. I had my back to the group. The Husband looked up and, being the polite guy that he is, smiled as they passed.

One of the men paused at our table and said to The Husband, "Nice to see you again." The Husband said in response "Nice to see you also."

At the same time, one of the women had turned back and was directing a very disgusted look at me.

As the group walked out the door, The Husband and I looked at each other and I said, "That man must have thought he knew you."

He said, "I know and that woman was giving you a really dirty look as she walked to the table."

We began laughing, speculating that those folks thought someone they knew was stepping out with a strange woman.

We later told the waitress the story and asked if she knew the people because we wanted her to tell them we were strangers in town and my husband is not who they thought. She knew one couple by sight, but not the others.

She went back to the kitchen and told the story. The staff agreed my husband looks like the former editor of newspaper, who has lived there years and years. Plus, his first name and my husband's first name are the same, so the group could have also heard me calling him by name.

And, to top it all off, as the waitress said "And you look NOTHING like his wife."

So there you have it. We may have unintentionally besmirched one poor guy's good reputation with a few folks in a small Missouri town.

We told the waitress we were depending on her to straighten it out, next time she sees those folks!

Monday, May 3, 2010

My Brother-in-Law's Mother

I've been absent from here for a few days.

The Husband and I left late last week to drive to northwest Indiana for the funeral of my sister's husband's mother.
Nancy was a funny, funny lady. 

She and I shared many fashion favorites:
  • Glitter
  • Rhinestones
  • Gold Lame
  • Sparkly Jewelry
  • Bright, Shiny Colors
  • Animal Prints
I carried this purse all weekend in Nancy's honor. I thought it was appropriate. Fortunately, so did her children!
Nancy's loving husband, 7 children, 16 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren are going to miss her very much.

As will we.

I'm Baaaaaaack!

I just arrived home a short while ago.

I'll have stories to tell you over the next few days.