Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Kitchen Update - Cabinets and Counters

This side of the kitchen has a makeshift counter made from old plywood to support the sink and keep the dishwasher from falling over when we open it. We are going to put a small pantry on the right of the counter.  We hope to go to Ikea in the next few days and pick up the last few things we need. This side has the old counter for now but no way would I ever have a white counter again.  It shows every mark and I was constantly bleaching it.  All the knobs and drawer pulls are installed.  There are still some trim pieces to go in where the gaps are and the kicks still need to go on but we are getting there!  Next we will install a valance around the bottom of the upper cabinets and under the cabinet lighting.
Apparently the counter manufacturers are closed until January 4 so we have some time to make the final counter decision.  Want to help? From the beginning I wanted green to match the tiled backsplash and the curtains and provide a contrast from the beige floors.  We considered butcher block as well but it wouldn't fill the gap completely because it is a solid flat piece.  I know black and dark counters are in but they look putrid with the backsplash.  Every time I make a (final) decision, someone criticizes it  I keep collecting more samples (and creating more confusion).  Do you think green is too dated?

Kitchen Update - Flooring

This is what our hallway and kitchen floor looked like before Christmas.  Click on the photo to see how threadbare the carpet was.  And boy oh boy was it dirty under the remnants of the underlay!  We removed dustpans and dustpans full of sand!   This is the divider between the old linoleum in the kitchen and the old carpet in the hall.  The divider strip came off years ago so it has been taped down since.  For winter (Christmas/Valentine's Day) we used tuck tape instead of duct tape to make it more festive.  I know I should become a professional decorator with tricks like these.   We wanted to use the same flooring all the way from the front door and into the kitchen.  We couldn't use linoleum because there would be a seam in a high traffic area.  We couldn't use ceramic because our floor is very uneven and our house settles a fair bit still.   
The solution - DuraCeramic.   It looks like ceramic but is really laminate on a limestone base.  The grout is acrylic so the whole floor is more flexible.  It is also warmer on the feet.  It was finished before Christmas but with 4 overnight guests and 17 people for Christmas dinner I was too busy to update before now.  The furniture is all back in place and Kevin is doing the baseboards now but I can't be bothered going up for another picture.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 14, 2009

What is your favourite Christmas movie?

Kevin's is undoubtedly National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.  I think we have watched it every Christmas but one for the last 26 years.  It is hilarious but I want to watch some other favourites this year.

We saw Joyeux Noel a few years ago.  It is definitely not a laughing movie but a wonderful, thoughtful movie to celebrate the season of love and giving.

I enjoyed The Nativity Story when it came out several years ago.  I thought it was an excellent recreation of Jesus' birth and we will be watching it again this year.  

Last year Connor and I listened to an book on tape when he was recovering from his tonsillectomy.  We both really enjoyed Christmas in Canaan and were excited to hear it was being made into a movie this year.  It was only released a few days ago.  If the movie is anything like the book/tape it will be well worth looking for.  It was co-written by Kenny Rogers and stars Billy Ray Cyrus.

So what are you going to watch this holiday season?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kitchen Update

This was the kitchen a few days agoKevin and I removed all the old upper cabinets Friday and Armin (Alec's best friend and our surrogate son) arrived just in time to help Kevin install the tracks the new cupboards hang on.  Thank goodness he came or we wouldn't have made nearly as much progress.  Thanks Armin! The installation instructions say to remove the entire kitchen then install the uppers but this seems to have worked well. 
This is what the kitchen looked like about 9 this morning.  I moved the location of everything in an effort to cut down on the congestion we have at the morning hour rush and meal times.  So my kids make note of the new location of the contents or you will never find anything when you next come home.  
And this is about half an hour later.  We actually really like the cupboards bare.  I am not sure we will install knobs. The upper cabinets went in much smoother than I expected. 
We removed the lower  cabinets on the left side after church and are at a bit of a standstill.  It is difficult to move until the neighbour who wants the cabinets comes to pick them up and we are having a chicken and egg conundrum.  You know - what comes first the floor or the cabinets?  Okay maybe the microwave should come first, then the floor or cabinets. 

Friday, December 11, 2009

23 years ago

These two entered my life.  I became a mother for the first time. I had a routine pregnancy until a second heartbeat was detected at 24 weeks.  We didn't believe it until an ultrasound confirmed it 2 weeks later.  Other people (not my doctor) had said all along I was large but what did we know?  It was our first pregnancy so we had nothing to compare it to.  Because we were living in Labrador and there were no obstetricians or pediatricians I was sent home early where there was better care.  The babies were originally due January 1 but as is common with multiple births they were early.  Their delivery was pretty "normal" (I won't bore you with the details) and Caitlin and Alec arrived in the wee hours of the morning.  My mother (who repeatedly said she was not old enough to be a grandmother) was so excited when she phoned her brother that she told him I had a little girl - 5 -13 and a boy 6 ft 4.  

Is anyone every really prepared to be a parent?  The first 6 months were exhausting - I only "remember" what we have pictures of.  They crawled up the stairs at 6 months and walked at 9 months.  But the rewards so far outweighed the bad times and I am proud of the adults they have become.

A few pictures from the years.


First day of school 

Can you guess what we are up to now?

Living room yesterday
 and today 

Thursday, December 10, 2009


We bought this deacon's bench a few weeks ago.  We assembled it on the weekend and I have spent the week staining it. It took me a while to decide on the stain.  I knew I wanted to stain it, not paint it so some of the beauty of the grain shone through, but I also wanted it to look custom, not like I just bought it finished.  This is the bench after 2 applications of Minwax driftwood.  It is shown against the new half wall Kevin just built and I painted.  Our entrance is really small and I wanted somewhere that we could sit and put our shoes on (not on the stairs because that causes a real traffic flow problem).   
So here's where I need help.  Should I leave it plain, as above or paint flowers (or something else) as shown below.  I painted the flowers quickly on a piece of clear plastic just so I could see what it might look like.  I hope my real paint job is a bit better, though it has been years since I painted anything.  I could also put flowers in other spots.  So please, give me your opinions. 
One of the last times my parents came to visit my dad mentioned that the banister needed refinishing.  That would be because of an unnamed child who slides down the rail with his shoes.  So, I added that to my list of things to do before Christmas.  Thanks Dad - I didn't have enough to keep me busy.  There are a few drips but it sure looks better than before.  So shiny!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Patsy the Pussycat

I do not have a pussycat named Patsy.  However, when the kids were little we had a book by that name.  It was about (you guessed it) a cat named Patsy who lived on a farm.  One day the farmer's wife painted the kitchen thereby disrupting Patsy's world.  No fire in the stove to keep warm by, no bowl of milk - you get the idea.  So Patsy visits all the animals on the farm looking for advice? sympathy? a new home?  At the end of the day, she returns to her kitchen and is overjoyed to find everything back to normal.  

When I started writing I was going to tell you that our dogs were Patsy this week.  Kevin replaced the banister at the top of the stairs with a half wall and I started painting it 3 days ago.  Awkward position for me and the ladder.  Since I had the paint out, I gave the halls a fresh coat - we must be a dirty family because I recoat the halls virtually every year.  Then I figured I might as well paint the kitchen since it needs to be done before the cabinets are replaced in the next few months.  So Shasta and Darcy's beds were moved downstairs.  Shasta couldn't care less but Darcy couldn't settle all night.  Their bowls were moved to the other side of the kitchen.  And they have been locked up in the laundry room for the better part of two days because they insist on leaning against the wall I have just washed or painted.  They have many other places to lie, but have to pick the one spot they can't.  And of course, I didn't have time to walk them.  I am a supreme multi-tasker but I haven't figured out how to be inside painting and outside walking yet.  

As I wrote I started to think that I was really Patsy.  I hate things out of place for days on end (like tables covered with tools, curtains and other things that should be hung on the walls).  I get very impatient.  I wish I had some animal friends to go elicit compassion from.  The painting is done.  All I have to do in the next 24 hours is clean the whole house from top to bottom, put all the light covers and curtains back up and at least start the holiday decorating.  We have a dinner at the church tomorrow night and for the first time ever, I am not baking something.  I love baking but new I wouldn't have time so I bought a lemon tart before this craziness started.

Next week doesn't look any better for me - get the Christmas cards and baking done and a new special project I will blog about next week (as long as it turns out).