Monday, March 18, 2013

Video of the kitchen

Here is a link to a YouTube video of our new kitchen

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meal Time

First I need to share a fabulous, so yummy recipe and then I will share some thoughts/links for mealtime planning.

I've been pinning on Pinterest for almost 2 years. Of all the recipes I've pinned I think the meal I made on Tuesday is actually the first I've made and not just pinned. It was one of the yummiest and easy recipes I've tried in a long time.

Chipotle Chicken as posted on Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

This was "holy cow" good, as in holy cow this is so tasty and holy cow this is so easy to make. I'm all for dinners that are not only easy to make but tasty and appeal to my grown up tastes, yet the kids will eat it.

Now that I finally have internet at home again I can finally use a meal planning website I signed up for-- Plan To Eat where I can input my own recipes or save ones from the internet. Then I click and drag to make menus and it creates a shopping list based on my meal plan. There is a bookmarklet that makes it super easy to add recipes. So I can go to a website like Mel's Kitchen and import her fabulous recipes and I'm on my way to yummy meal times.

In the past meal time planning was not a favorite thing of mine to do, it takes me so much time. But if I don't plan then I have stress each night as dinner time rolls around. One thing I finally realized that made meal planning overwhelming is I didn't have any sort of structure to my planning, it was just picking random meals and hoping we would want to eat it on a giving evening. Also, too many choices is so overwhelming to me.

Once I realized that some sort of structure would be beneficial to me I assigned each night with a theme and then as I planned I only had to look at recipes that matched my themes and it made it so much easier for me to choose recipes for a given day of the week. This especially helps durning weeks where I haven't made a meal plan. If it's Tuesday and I don't know what to make for dinner I don't have to consider every meal out there, I just focus on "taco" type meals (meaning anything Mexican) thus narrowing down my options to choose from.

My current nightly categories are:
Monday - Macaroni
Tuesday - Taco
Wednesday - Whatever
Thursday - crockpot (not clever, but couldn't come up with anything else)
Friday - Fish or Stir "fry"
Saturday - Sub, salad, sandwich
Sunday - Sundaes (such as Hawaiian Haystacks or potato haystacks)

I've still been unsuccessful at meal planning for months, but having this simple system has lessoned my stress as I try to come up with something last minute.

Now that I have my desktop back in action and a real kitchen to cook in (our rental had virtually no countertop to use and it was not conducive to cooking) I have high hopes for making meal planning a regular thing and experience less stress when meal time rolls around.

It's been so long

We finally have internet at home. When we moved to Twin Falls, last July, I didn't sign up for internet knowing that we would hopefully be moving in the near future and didn't want the hassle of if we might have to change providers. Plus, when I was looking the prices were outrageous-- $50-70.

Jeremy and I both have iPhones and figured we could access most of what we needed from them. This was true, but after so many months of working on such a small screen and having to deal with mobile sites instead of full sites it is so wonderful to be on a large computer screen and typing on a real keyboard. The one thing I miss from my typing on my phone is autocorrect. On the computer it just underlines words with a red line instead of fixing it for me.

This way too long period without internet just serves as a reminder that sometimes there are things I take for granted and forget just how wonderful and convenient they are. On the flip side it has also shown me that I can mostly be technology free and life still continues (although less conveniently).

Monday, March 04, 2013

Moved in

We are all moved in and have everything removed from the rental and the rental is all clean. Although our stuff is at our new house, not much is put away.

We've been spending much of our time finishing things at the new house. Jeremy and his dad in particular have spent long days grouting and installing and finishing all the odds and ends. Even with all the many hours they have spent doing this over the last few days there are still many little things left to do.

The grouting and backsplash consumed a huge chunk of their time. It was well worth their efforts because it is all so beautiful.

We've put some stuff away, but mostly it is a mess everywhere. Now that the packing and cleaning is done I can focus on putting our new house in order.

It has been wonderful having Jeremy's parents here. Their help has been invaluable and the kids have enjoyed spending time with them.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Moving day 2

Yesterday we started moving some of the kids' stuff over to our new house.

The top floor has three bedrooms, the girls will share the large room (that has 2 large closets), Tom and Matthew will share the medium sized room, and Charlie will get the small room, which will double as the guest room, since it will have a king bed in there (eventually whenever Jeremy and I finally get a new bed).

Today we started moving stuff over with more earnest. The new house is a block from our rental, so I just load the minivan with boxes, go over unload and unpack and then bring back the empty boxes.

Thankfully Jeremy's parents came to help and while Jeremy's dad was busy being plumber and handyman, Grandma Honey was busy filling boxes. She got the entire kitchen boxed up, and I successfully got it all put away in my beautiful new kitchen.

Grandma was able to get the girls to pack up their room, which they did all on their own. Becca helped me carry the boxes from the car and get it all put away in their lovely, huge closets. It's nice that they have large closets because allllll of their stuff fits (with ample room left over) in the closets, so I am mightily hoping that their room stands a better chance of being more clean because the only thing out in the bedroom will be their beds--no toys or shelves or anything.

The boys weren't as diligent and have yet to finish putting their stuff in boxes, but about half their stuff is at the new house.

We were able to banish a little more pink from the awful pink bathroom that is the kids bathroom. Originally the tub, sinks (it has a double vanity) walls AND ceiling were all pink. The painter remedied the walls and ceiling and today grandpa changed out the sinks to white sinks so the only remaining pink is the bathtub which will mostly be able to be hidden behind a shower curtain.

Our master closet is mostly Installed, except I still need to buy the rods so we can hang stuff up. The house didn't originally have a master bedroom and bathroom, but we were able to close in a hallway and turn a separate bedroom and bath into an on suite. It is all very small, but it is a nice little bathroom and a walkin closet, just not of the por portion that new houses have.

After having lived in our rental for the last six months that just has one shared bath I will definitely take a small master bed and bath rather than have no master.

the carpet will be restretched downstairs,
the painter will finish touch ups on the baseboards of the main floor,
the counter guy will drill a hole in the kitchen counter for the faucet and he will install the master bath counter,

Most of that should hopefully happen in the morning time so that in the afternoon we move stuff into the master bedroom and the family room.

Besides moving we still have our list of things we need to finish, like grouting, the kitchen backsplash and electrical. Although it would be nice to get it all done before moving, those are things we can do after moving in.

The children have been such troopers over the last couple months. They are ready for normal life to return and for "the house" to not be our only focus.

I think this process is definitely one of those things that has been difficult, time consuming and money draining, but was sooooo worth it. The end result is beautiful. I've always wanted to do a renovation and have my own before and after.

We've taken a fair number of pictures along the way and I'm going to make a before, along, and after photo book.

The photos are the original pink bathroom (I don't have an after yet) and a before and after of the hall that is the half bath and laundry area with a door to the backyard. We changed out all the doors in the house and that back door with the full glass inset is my favorite. It lets in so much light and it frames in the beautiful tree in the backyard. We tiled the floor with a gray tile in a brick pattern which I love the way it looks.

The other photo is me doing the tile, but if you look behind me you might be able to see the tree. I need to take a better photo showing the tree framed in the door.