right now

right now

Mar 5, 2011

Random Food Post...

I have been up to my eyeballs in paint the past 2 days, I'll post more on that on my weekly project update.  Weather has been so-so, still frosty in the morning, 40-50 during the day, which is typical for us for this time of the year.  Still nursing the seedlings, but other than paint, food has been the only other thing going on the past couple of days.

Did some freezer cooking:

I was very excited to see 2 of my spinach plants survived the winter and are now actively growing again, meaning I had fresh spinach to put into my freezer batch of stuffed shells!

Below, I was able to make enough for dinner plus freeze enough into gallon bags for about 4 more dinners.  It's always a pain to do freezer cooking, but it's soooo nice to just pull them out of the freezer, top with sauce and pop in the oven when I'm feeling overwhelmed!

For you meat lovers out there.... mmmmmm!  The kids were also excited to see the twice baked parmesan & garlic potatoes, but of course were NOT excited to see the nightly reappearance of the beans!  Good news is that I can finally see the end of the garden beans in the freezer!

Just for fun, notice anything about the cheese below?  We kind of have a running joke here that whenever hubby slices cheese for me, it breaks up into states.  I'm not kidding, this always happens!  This night however, it was exceptionally weird since instead of one state, I broke my slices and they fell into these shapes:  do you see them?  

Utah, Wisconsin, Ohio, Louisana, Idaho, and Tennessee maybe?  It seems to be our household version of the vision of the Virgin Mary in a cereal bowl or something.  Hey, I warned you of the random food musings!

How does this happen?

Is it even possible to love reading yet be unable to keep up with the constant flow of reading material that finds its way into the house?  One day...

Off to drown in paint again!

Mar 2, 2011

time for change... "Living Small"!

A different project, in between seedling reports!

I have had so many people comment on the space we live in that I have been meaning to post on it for over a year now.  I have heard nice things like "I love your style", or "You make this place seem big!", to the disguised jabs of "Wow, I can't believe you can live here, it's nice..." and "This is nice, but I could never live in such a small house".  Well, our house is tiny, but when I am faced with situations that I am forced to deal with, I tend to accept and embrace them, after a mourning period, of course (hey, I'm only human!)!  I am now very proud of our tiny space, we've worked hard, and now I know that we are happy with less so someday that means we can have... a big barn!  :)  Of course, if someone offered me a big old broken down farmhouse, I'd jump at the chance, but I don't think that's going to happen anytime soon...

Every so often, I hear voices.  Usually the voices can be quieted by my bi-monthly rearrangement of furniture - this time it is not so.  I am hopelessly addicted to systematically destroying and rebuilding, some would call it remodeling, I call it a sickness!

We basically gutted the place we live in and redesigned the floorplan about 7 years ago.  This new floorplan works much better than the old small, dark, full of walls house that was.  We lived in a great new open space for quite awhile until the kids started getting older, and taller!  The space is starting to feel as if it needs more than just attention paid to furniture placement, I'm thinking we need a whole house freshening.  This time however, I'm doing it all with paint and I'm going to tap into my "outside the box" mind and push it to the limits.

900 sq feet be damned, we are going to live like it's 3000 - and I'm going to take you along for the ride LOL!  I already consider myself to be quite an organized person, but at the rate that I've been accumulating new hobbies (knitting, sewing, quilting, homebrewing to name a few) along with the fact that my kids are growing and their interests are changing (smaller toys, yay!) necessitates a thorough review of just what the heck is going on in here.

"Why not move into a bigger place?", you might ask!  For starters, we can't afford it!  We purchased a duplex and live in one side and rent the other side out.  This helps keep our cost of living lower than it would be if we did otherwise.  Another huge factor is that we are only here because of the military - we do not intend to even live in this state once hubby is out of the Navy, so why lose the farm in this housing market only to move somewhere else here that we know we'll have to sell in a few years?  Yep, the old adage holds true, "it's cheaper to keep her"!  And I'm sure I don't have to tell you that having an over half-acre backyard is very unique in the city/suburbs, we try to do a lot of living outdoors in the warm season, so we aren't as affected by the tiny house that part of the year.

Here's the plan:  I'm going to try like hell to repurpose every thing I have before buying anything new (with the exception of my new sewing table, which I already bought and will post on when that area is done), I'll do it with hubby's carpentry skills, maybe a bit of paint, fabric and imagination.  I'm going to keep track of what I do here on the blog in a once-weekly update and promise to be true about my budget, post costs and hang my head in public shame if I overspend.  I'm hoping this will ensure that I  stay off the plastic!  I know there are others out there who have very little space and could benefit from just updating what they have - I have been told I have a knack for this organizing/decorating thing but I'll be honest, it comes from necessity because we're a "lower middle class" military family on one income (but so thankful for that one income!), and I think necessity breeds all kinds of ideas and creativity.  This is what I love to do anyways, so here I go again!

Background on my style:  I'm in love with mid-century modernism, Scandinavian design (duh, I'm a MN girl!), Danish Modern... hence I am in love with IKEA (only their solid wood), you can't beat the price for design and simplicity.  Sure I love all things Dwell Magazine and would love to shop at DWR and such, but come on, I can't afford it!  I can easily switch gears to whatever design is appropriate, I love old farmhouses (I grew up in a late 1800's farmhouse) and would love to go Scandinavian farmhouse or shabby chic if that's what I had, would roll with the Craftsman or Victorian style if the house dictated, but this house?  Ugh!  This house was built in 1978, has zero architectural features and no discernable style other than crappy late 70's early 80's ranchiness (is that a word? - it is now!), and thus, I pretty much do whatever I want in here LOL.

A little time machine to take you back a few years:

First, I apologize for these horrible photos, I was so eager to get ahold of the sledgehammer back in 2004 that I didn't really take any "before" photos... you have to look behind the kids in most of them!

Ignore the bib, it was a joke!  Before the walls came down, everywhere you looked there was a wall in your face, only 900 sq feet but it had 3 bedrooms and a long dark hallway... too many walls!

This shot is our rental unit, it is exactly the same as ours was, lots of hallway... we left the original floorplan over there although we redid the kitchen.  It seems most people like to have the 3 bedrooms so it stayed as is, but was brightened up with lighter paint and light flooring instead of carpet, but you get the idea, it's the same as ours was...

There were TWO walls in our tiny kitchen!  One separating the kitchen from the living room, and another separating the eat-in area from the rest of the kitchen... you couldn't even pull a chair out and sit down.

This was the kitchen being gutted, walls down and redone - we have never hired anything out to save costs.  I designed and measured and put together all the cabinets and countertops and paint,  hubby did demo, install, plumbing and flooring, and any other strange requests that I had.

Below: egads! - We lived like this for close to 6 months!  No walls, you can see where 2 bedrooms plus a tiny living room were squeezed in this side of the house - where the crib is was a bedroom, and where you see the tan bed was another bedroom, the living room is at the front.  Finn was a baby here, we used to just push his crib wherever we weren't currently working :)

Now we're getting somewhere, but not quite...  to the left of this bed is where we cut a door to the backyard.  Before the only door was a sliding glass door in a back bedroom that was kind of strange for any normal traffic.  Even though this is still a bedroom, it's open to the living room via French doors now and thus "flows better" from the kitchen and living room to the backyard.

My kids' room has been redone 4 times - here's one of them...
(I still don't have it the way I want it!)

 Are you still with me?  Good!  Now is one last thing:  a video of the house in it's current "done" state.  The floorplan is as good as it's going to get at this point, which is great since we're broke LOL.  I basically like it the way it is but just need to freshen up and repurpose things and create more "multi-purpose" areas to allow all 4 of us and 2 dogs to keep on living here comfortably.

Now I'm going to go ahead and share my whole house with you on video instead of strategic photos :), in hopes that it will help others struggling with a small space!  I wanted to pick up of course before I shot this video today, and then I realized how stupid that would be since I'm starting to haul everything out of the rooms today and paint.  So here is my tiny house as it normally looks on any given day when company is not expected :)

 Next update will be on my paint choices and there will probably be some paint slapped on the wall and good repurposed items and by then!  I'm hoping to share this with others that love living small, and for those that are having to downsize, show you that it can be done!

I plan on my updates to not be so long and rambling, but wanted you to have a basic history of the tiny house!  My advice to any of you, take lots of before pics - I didn't and I really regret it when trying to describe how it was.

Just had another thought... hubby's at the squadron right now and probably reading this thinking he's gotta get home because "she's done lost her mind", again!

Feb 28, 2011



Birds!  Every stinkin' year... 

I had been wondering why my peas hadn't germinated yet so I took a closer look at the beds... looks like they are riddled with shotgun holes where I planted each pea!  I only blame myself - they did the same thing last year but I stupidly thought maybe they wouldn't bother them this year since I hadn't seen many birds in the yard yet.  Today the birds were perched on the fence laughing at me and my rubber snakes all over.  I hate bird netting with a passion, it seems more likely that I will die some horrible tangled death 'Alaskan Crab Fishing' style in that stuff than that it would work for its intended purpose, but I admit defeat.  Tomorrow, I buy more peas, grumbling since I don't want to have to buy them from Joe's Big Box Store, and bird netting.

On to other things:  we made Mama Pea's Oatmeal Bread yesterday, and we rushed it!  Don't get me wrong, the flavor & crust was very good, we didn't let it rise enough so it came out too dense and weighed about 10 lbs LOL.  We will definitely be doing this again and not cutting any corners because the flavor was delicious and well worth figuring out this dough thing!  Maybe it's because we used the stand mixer?  I hear lots of you prefer to do it by hand instead, I think I need to try that.

Some of the more mature seedlings were allowed outside today, don't throw things at your computer screen and boo/hiss.... but it was 77ยบ here today.  (duck!)  Temporary though, back to the 40's tomorrow.

Checked to see how the dormant goldfish are, they are definitely out and about and ready to eat!  The pond needs to be cleaned on the next nice weekend, but they all fared well through the winter.  Mine are going on 3 years, but if you remember my "rescued goldfish" from the hoarder next door LOL? - they did fine!

 I have so much to do outside and feel so behind, but I have to keep reminding myself it's only February (for another day!) and there is plenty of time for chores yet.  Seems rushed since our nice days have been coming more frequently than in other years, and much warmer than the usual "nice days" in early Spring.

Pathways around the beds and the berry beds outside the fenced garden were weeded and mulched.  I have only mulched once since the garden was built several years ago, so it looks very pristine compared to the  spotty mulch and weeds that were there last year.

One little bright spot is now growing on the patio:  overwintered flowers are blooming once again and I planted Sweet Peas in the container as well, they will grow up a suppport behind them.

I had a request for a tutorial on the cart skirt I posted the other day - I will try!  It made me giggle since I can't even read a pattern, but all your nice comments gives my confidence a boost!  It does seem crazy that I am quilting but have yet to sew a skirt or bag... I really want to learn but I'm intimidated about cutting out paper patterns.  I can't explain it, but quilting is "different" - I don't really follow a pattern, yet it is very exact, I don't quite understand how I'm doing it and enjoying it so much, maybe it's best left unpondered LOL!

State of the Seedlings:

All tomatoes have germinated, about half of the peppers!

Feb 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Loch!

I've had 2 sewing projects in 2 days to blog about, but hold on... this post is all about Thing 1 !

Happy Birthday, Lochlann!
8 years old today

Present Day

The first one...

When you were brand new...

Aside from the 1st birthday disaster, Loch was happy about everything, almost all of the time.

Your independence started very early

Eager to learn the family pizza recipe at an early age!

Loved the garden from the beginning

Your first fish!

And then came a brother...

you are a fantastic brother, so eager to share everything you have already figured out about the world

Loch, he may not always show it, but your brother loves you to the moon and back!  He thinks you are the coolest, smartest guy in the world, and you will be best friends always... if you don't believe your mom, ask your uncles!


 Thanks for not getting mad when we put you in here and told you it was a time machine :)

When daddy had to leave on deployment and there was no time for a camping trip, you had the great idea to "pretend" you were camping and eat breakfast outside on that cold morning... it looks like you really made Finn happy, he'll remember that!

So intense in every thing you do...

you endure much more than most little boys should have to, and you do it proudly without complaint, even though you have every right to!

thank you for playing outdoors like all little boys should!

When daddy was deployed, you dared be seen accompanying me to a Hall and Oates concert knowing I didn't want to go alone, - you will be able to play that card for the rest of your life!  That was pretty cool :)

Thanks for allowing me to look at quilting books for way too long, even though I bribed you!

Loch, thanks for being ours.  You are the the smartest, coolest, most independent kid a parent could ask for.  You are thoughtful, kind, creative, and I can't wait to see what new things you come up with everyday.  You are a different kind of kid, and I want you to remember that different is another word for great!

I wish you a long lifetime of brother moments just like this one...

  It's uncanny, isn't it?  I'll just say the resemblance isn't just in appearance, we're both a little intense LOL, we can learn a lot from your brother & dad's easygoing ways!

That's my Loch.