Thursday, June 26, 2008

the back shed/service porch

For an explanation of this title, just see the comments from Tuesday's post.

Here are some pictures of aforementioned room, in the late stages of painting:

The color is a little darker in person, but it's not quite what we were going for. Oh well, it still looks fine! Definitely not worth buying two more gallons of paint and spending several more hours to re-do.

Also, we finally received notice that our cash prize from Mr. Bush is on its way.

Just look at that hard workin' man's hand. Too bad we have to spend the dough on my root canal/gum surgery-jaw bone demolition/crown instead of on something sweet like this:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


We've been chipping away at various projects little by little each night lately.

The new bathroom is almost complete, we're just waiting for our vanity to arrive. It's one of the many things in our lives right now that keeps promising to be here "in two weeks". That's about as accurate as when I tell Kyle I'll be ready "in 5 minutes". Anyway, it's painted, the tub & toilet are in, the mirror is waiting in the wings (thanks, Mom!), the waterproof window has been installed, and the light fixture is in.
We put up shelves in the kitchen to fill the empty wall space between the window and the door. I like this option better than another big cabinet, because you can still see the window and it keeps the workspace nice and open over there. I can also feature some of the prettier/bulkier pieces that don't quite belong hidden in a cabinet. See:

I am fully expecting big sis Tera to rearrange the goods on the shelves when she arrives next week, but hey, at least it's a start.

We've also been painting one of the bedrooms that we've decided to turn into a "den", as much as I dislike that name for a room. I also dislike "office" becuase really, who uses their office for anything other than surfing the web and storing junk? I tend to still use the term "family room" but get mocked for that by aforementioned sister. Another choice is "bonus room," of which Uncle Tom and Aunt Lisa have a lovely one, but I somehow can't help giggling every time I say it. I think it's a ploy of builders to make you feel like you're getting something extra special. So, any suggestions on what to call this multi-purpose TV/desk/pull-out couch for guests room? I'll have new pictures of it soon- we're going to try to finish most of the painting tonight.

Monday, June 23, 2008

two little monkeys

jumpin' on the bed...

These little monkeys, Emma and Paige, visited us with their parents/our cousins Jess and Corey yesterday. We had a great time with them and then napped for a good hour and a half after they left! We are definitely not ready for kids yet- for now, we're enjoying letting other people's children jump on our bed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

a culinary tour

We've been giving physical tours of our house for a couple months now, and now that we're finally able to cook there, I thought I'd give a little taste (hee hee) of what we've been cooking up in our fab new kitchen. While we did accomplish a lot of work this past weekend, we also made eating a priority. (but when is it not, really?)

We started with a nice lunch to welcome Mom and Dave on Friday afternoon, which we soon followed with a trip to the amazing Italian deli, Mastellone's, nearby to stock up on some goods for dinner later.
After dinner, we had some canneloni with ice cream, and the two chocoholics had to add some hot fudge. I know these two are only in-laws, but there seem to be a lot of similarities...
On Saturday we were so caught up in our work that we ate out for lunch and dinner. Here we are enjoying some Charcoal Grill, a local bbq favorite.
Getting to dinner was an adventure...we were determined to introduce Dave to MD crabs, and when Kyle asked me if I knew how to get to Mr. Bill's, the restaurant where I wanted to eat, I uttered my famous "I'll know it when I see it". Well, that turned into an adventure in which we saw several other places in Essex with interesting names (Mom's favorite being Mr. B's 7 Day Package) and finally ended up at Mr. Bill's only to find a 1.5 hour wait. So, we headed over to Bluefin's Bar and Grill instead and had a rollicking good time.
More ice cream and hot fudge when we got home...Mom and I teamed up on Sunday to make a special Father's Day breakfast. We used recipes from the b&b where Kyle stayed on our honeymoon. One was so fabulous, I have to share.

Cobblestone Hobo Breakfast

Potatoes: 5 large, new red potatoes; 1 large onion, chopped; 1 T butter;
1 T oil; paprika for browning agent; salt and pepper to taste; 3 T chopped parsley

Cream Sauce: 1/4 cup butter; 1/2 cup flour; 1 cup half and half; 1 T lemon juice; 1/4 cup crumbled bacon; salt and pepper to taste

8 eggs, poached; 1 cup grated cheddar cheese; 1 T white vinegar

Potatoes: Boil in salted water until just tender, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain, cool, and cut into cubes. Chop onion and saute until tender, then set aside. In a separate pan, melt 1 T butter with oil and add potatoes, paprika and salt and pepper to taste. Fry, stirring as little as possible, until brown and crisp. Stir in parsley and onions.

Poached eggs: Fill a saute pan half full with water and 1 T white vinegar. Bring to a boil and crack 8 eggs gently into water. Poach about 4 minutes and remove carefully with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.Cream Sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan. Add flour and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes. Add half & half and cook until thickened, adding more if necessary. Add lemon juice, bacon bits, salt and pepper to taste.

Place a layer of the potatoes in a quiche pan. Reheat in oven, then add a layer of grated cheese and return it to oven to melt. Gently place poached eggs on top of the hot mixture. Top with dollops of cream sauce and a small piece of parsley. Serve hot.
YUM! Here was breakfast dessert:
And ready to eat...with the special guy looking ravenous after a ride through the ghettos of East Baltimore!

Monday, June 16, 2008

parent trap

In this case, it was the parents who were trapped...working on the house for the weekend. We had an awesome time and accomplished a ton. Thanks so much for making the long journey, Dave and Mom (aka Shelley-in-law)!

We did a lot of work with windows. Fortunately, all of the windows in the house were replaced before we bought it, except for two. Kyle and Dave replaced those in one of our bedrooms.
Before: (I realize it looks fine here, but it's the really old window with the rope on the sides, totally covered by coats and coats of paint so it barely slides)

(Even if he didn't really know what he was doing, he sure looks like he does!)After. Now it just needs some paint.Mom and I did a lot of touch up and trim painting, and got the kitchen really looking beautiful. Here is a window that Kyle had framed last week: And here it is after Mom's flawless paint job: (and some gorgeous flowers from Kate!)

We also painted the door shown behind us in this photo. It was a dingy off-white before, and it makes such a huge difference to have it brightened up.

We did a lot of eating too...those adventures will be documented tomorrow. Suffice it to say that I LOVE cooking in our new kitchen!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

slow and steady

That's how our progress has been lately. After the big rush to get all of our belongings out of the apartment by Thursday night (turned the keys in at approx. 10:30 PM), we spent our first night at the house. Sure, we had to wade through rooms full of miscellany to get to our bed, but it felt good to be there. We actually fell asleep in silence for the first time in a long more hearing neighbor guy's X-box war games through the wall!

Spent the weekend organizing - now pretty much everything is at least in the room where it belongs. Friend Grace came over on Saturday to help arrange the living room - wow, is she full of great ideas! And she has a way of supporting both my and Kyle's side of an issue and helping us reach a great compromise. (i.e. put tv in 3rd bedroom, allowing me a formal living room and him a long time before finishing the basement) Thanks, Grace! I didn't take many pictures but here are a few from the (messy) kitchen.
We're going to be working one room per night this week - finishing up trim, arranging furniture, etc. And making a list of tasks for the parental units to help with this weekend! Dave and Shelley-in-law, bring your work clothes!

Monday, June 2, 2008

workin' for the weekend

Lately, we've been working on the weekend instead of for it, but we both got a much-needed respite this weekend. (Me more than Kyle). I went to NYC to hang out with my friends from studying in Italy, and a few of Kyle's friends from college came to visit. We watched Sex and the City and celebrated Caitlin's upcoming wedding, they watched baseball and drank beer.
But big news to come tomorrow: the kitchen counter is being installed today!!! I'll take lots of pictures tonight. And, Kyle did squeeze in some work over the weekend, including finishing off the recessed lighting in the kitchen. Hooray!