October 1, 2014


..on two counts.

(Side note:  I'm going to start hashtagging every major remodeling task with #victory when it's complete.  It feels like we just won a war against the sad state of the way this house used to be. )

Victory #1 The quartz countertops have been installed and the reason why I was so anxious over it was because this is the FIRST thing we've hired a contractor to do.  When you're depending on someone else's timeline, things get complicated.  However, it was also nice because there wasn't much for us to do (after Scott spent 3 hours on Sunday night making sure the island was level, while I wined my way through Once Upon a Time…).

Here's your BEFORE…

In May


I'm impressed!

The countertops are also our big ticket item.  Between those and the floor, that's where we've invested our money.  A lot of people budget x number of dollars for cabinets when doing a kitchen.  We've redone the cabinets that are already here and spent a minimal amount on solid wood cabinets that we can paint.  Scott has also built custom cabinets for those spaces where pre-made ones just won't work. You can see that we've actually rebuilt the island, but I'll go into that more when it's actually done.

Just a countertop in search of a backsplash…

We chose to over mount the sink because we're paying for that copper and we want to see it.  A lot of people under mount.  The guy who came to measure for the counters kind of gave Scott a hard time on that one.  

We extended this counter by about 8 inches. It adds extra storage and, above, we're going to put in a wine rack.  And probably paint it teal to match the closet door.

We're ordering doors for all these soon-to-be cabinets.  I can't tell you how fantastic it is to have the oven at standing height.  

I'm not sure what you know about induction cooktops, but we had our heart set on a gas stove.  The time and effort it would take to run gas lines to the kitchen wasn't going to work for us.  So, we looked for an alternative that was not the dreaded electric cooktop. Induction cooks faster than gas and you can boil water in less than a minute.  Also, it only heats certain kinds of materials so (while this did cost us some new pans), it won't burn plastic or anything like that.  We didn't believe it until we saw it for ourselves.  We're VERY happy with this purchase.  Originally, spending a lot on this wasn't a priority, but a nice electric range is over half the cost of induction and so…so it goes, right?  I obviously do cook a lot so it's not like it won't be worth it in the end.  

We ordered our countertops from Home Depot and got a good deal, but I do have to say that we don't even have THAT much counter space and it still wasn't cheap.  The turnaround time from order to install was about 3 weeks, but Scott did all the measurements and filled out all the graph paper order forms before we even went to the store to order so that sped up the process, I'm sure.

The plan is to add a wooden bar to the top of the island.  We can't decide between a butcher block style or something with an antique look to it.

There was originally a bar there.  We took away a bit of counter space when we added the cooktop to the island, but we extended the island and when this bar is added back in, all the space should even out to what it was before.

Anyway.  That's a load off our minds.

Victory #2 Another thing that's a load off my mind:  my glucose and insulin-resistant tests came back normal.  This is a relief.

Now we can move into the fall season with clear(er) health and space to bake cookies.  #Victory.

September 30, 2014

Pinned/Did/Done 9/30 (Zucchini help?)

Kitchen pictures coming soon.  I need to wait for good light and I'm already running late for work.  

I made this mahi-mahi on Saturday.  I'm not a huge fish eater, but I make fish of some variety for Scott at least twice a week.  That's my cop-out meal.  He gets protein, I get to eat a quesadilla.  Everyone's happy.  He loved this sauce.  It did smell amazing!  Super easy too.  He said, "I'm so glad you know how to make stuff like this…" and I said, "I credit the new stove. It's not from 1999 and all the burners work, so that probably makes a difference."

So. much. zucchini.  I'm running out of things to do with it.  Especially because I don't really like it that much.  I think I'm just going to shred and freeze most of it?  Here are a few things I made…

Stuffed Zucchini.  Like stuffed peppers.  Scott loved these.  I probably had pizza or something that night.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread.  This was fantabulous.  A must-make.  I topped it with homemade chocolate frosting from this brownie recipe.

I also made this regular zucchini bread.  It was good.

Anything else I can make with zucchini?  I've also roasted it in the oven, tossed it with pasta, etc.

I've really just been going back and forth to the same tried and true recipes lately.  Living in a construction zone isn't conducive to recipe development.  Sometimes I think that my creativity came out in Alaska because it had to as a way for me to cope.  Missouri sucked the life of me and killed whatever creativity I had left.  I'm slowly trying to find it again and I have a great fall-flavors bread recipe in the works…maybe I'll get to it this weekend.  You know, preferably before fall is over.

September 29, 2014

New countertops…

…are supposedly showing up today.  

Think good thoughts please.  I (we) really need this to go well.  I can't deal with the constant upheaval. I just emptied everything of the kitchen for like the 3rd time since we've moved in.  This is exhausting. Cleaning up dirt and dust is tiring.

If I don't get a fully-functioning kitchen soon…

…I might lose my mind. 

September 26, 2014

Convenience vs. Cost

Ordered from macys.com on Sunday, delivered to my door on Thursday.  Totally worth $10 in shipping.

How do you feel about it?  I was always a lowest cost no matter what kinda person, but lately I've come to realize that fifty extra cents is not going to make a difference.  It will if it applies to everything all the time, but if I need milk and I'm at Safeway and it's 60 cents more than it is at the commissary and I won't be at the commissary for another couple of days…I'm just going to buy the milk.

A year ago, I would've waited and bought it at the commissary.  A year ago, my day to day driving radius was about 5 miles.  

In the last few months, I've learned that time is money.  Now, we concentrate on consolidating and making the most of our trips.  Wal-mart is in one part of town (the one we go to anyway), the commissary is on base so I usually don't make special trips there, and the stores we like to shop at are on the other end of town.  Colorado Springs is ridiculously spread out.  We only live 20 minutes from the nearest part of town and 30 minutes from the base, but that time really adds up.  

For this reason, we've really taken advantage of online shopping since we've been here.  Amazon Prime Pantry is my favorite way to stock up on necessities just because the prices are the same as they are at the stores around here and shipping is $5 a box.  It's a big box and fits lots of stuff.  And if it means I don't have to remember to stop for paper towels, I'll gladly wait a couple of days for the order.  With the remodel and dogs, we go through a lot of paper towels.

There's two malls in Colorado Springs and neither are anything write home about.  There's some outlets about an hour north of here and they look to be pretty fantastic from the highway.  I haven't had a chance to actually stop.  I haven't really had time.  However, I do have a computer and a credit card, so I've ordered from Bath and Body Works and J.Crew Outlet and Macy's in the last few weeks.  It's worth it to pay $5-10 in shipping, opposed to driving somewhere and browsing and maybe buying.  Scott and I agree on this.  Plus, there's almost always an online coupon I can use: Buy 2, Get One Free at BBW, 30% off at J.Crew.  I was ready to pay full price at macys.com the other day, and a "20% off!" promotion popped right up.  So, definitely worth paying a few dollars in shipping.

I've also taken to stopping at Safeway if I need something instead of going to Wal-Mart.  Why?  Well, the milieu and and overall aesthetics of Safeway are slightly more pleasing than that of Wal-Mart.  Actually, the milieu of a gas station would win in a contest against Wal-Mart.  Yesterday, I probably spent ten extra dollars by going to Safeway instead of Wal-Mart but, after school on a Thursday, that's a price I'm willing to pay.  SuperTarget is also a good option for groceries if I'm in that part of town because their prices are the same as Wal-Mart and better than Safeway.  What I'm trying to say is that I'm avoiding Wal-Mart at all costs from here on out.  Because their prices aren't that good and if we're not going there for low prices, what are we going there for?  Exactly.

What do you think?  Convenience or cost?

September 25, 2014

Stuff and Things 9/25

+This is the pantry door I painted over the weekend.  Scott is a fan of bold colors and I'm not necessarily, so this was a nice compromise.  Now I can paint the kitchen gray or something. I bought this sign at World Market a month ago and it's become the inspiration for the rest of the kitchen.  A deconstructed, modern/antique styled kitchen.

+New countertops are coming Monday.  This is the most exciting development yet.

+Pumpkin Swap partners have been sent out!  If you haven't heard from your partner yet, please let me or Becky know.  And please, let's thank Becky for sending out the partners.  I really appreciate her taking on that responsibility!  

+I have a pretty loose definition of country music.  I don't like the stuff that's blasted on the radio.  I prefer to explore my Pandora stations. This song has been everywhere though and, while I enjoy it, it can't possibly be classified as country.

These are the thoughts I have on my 30-some minute commute.  I've been meaning to mention this for weeks.

+Remember back when I had a borderline inappropriate crush on Hunter Hayes? I now find myself listening to a lot of Thomas Rhett.  No tour dates in Colorado anytime soon.  And he's only like 4 years younger than me, so not nearly as inappropriate.  

+Speaking of young, I set up a retirement account the other day.  This is in addition to the automatic withdrawal one provided by my district.  When the consultant asked me how much "liquid" I brought home each month, I was a bit flustered to realize I didn't really know.  Also, I couldn't stop thinking of Chuck Bass after that.

I was going to be all, "Hehe, 'liquid' equals Chuck Bass in my mind.  How bout you? Do you watch Gossip Girl?". But considering that the consultant was a 30 year old male who already presumed me to be an idiot, I decided against it.