Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Nut Butter Snack

Someone gave Jim this 3 ingredient nut butter recipe so I gave it a try.
It is a hit!

All you need is:

1 cup of nut butter (I used almond butter), peanut would be amazing!
1/2 cup honey
3 cups of oats (the recipe called for quick oats but I only have regular and that worked just fine)

Soften the nut butter and honey if needed in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Then combine all ingredients. I found this could only be done the down and dirty way, with bare hands! 

Line a 9 inch x 9 inch pan with parchment paper and firmly press the mixture into it. If you don't have parchment, line with aluminum foil and spray lightly.
Then chill until firm. Then it is easy to cut into delicious pieces! Yummy! 

With the honey, they are very sweet, perfect for satisfying a craving.

Thank you for stopping by! Let me know if you try this healthy (but high calorie) snack. ~Val

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Kitchen

We are starting to discuss our kitchen remodel. This is our dated little kitchen.
It is actually not little but that back corner is the only counter space in the entire kitchen! 

When we are ready we will have a designer come in to finalize our ideas. We need more counters which I also want to work as eat at space. 

Most likely there will either be a large eat at island in the center of the room or an L shaped eat at counter that would start near the fridge and run along side the stove.

The current configuration of the stove, dishwasher and fridge works well but we will have the bottom counters there rebuilt as well since they are yucky.

The upper counters are beautiful and solid wood. Not like the materials used today! The dark stain feels really dated and does not show off the wood's beauty.

So the cabinets below the sink are our experimental ones since we aren't keeping them. This little door was stripped bare. I can't believe how much lighter it is! 

Next we will try staining it. I want the cabinets to be light and bright while showing off their grain!
So the cabinets will be step one and we will address the rest at a later date. This may take us forever because it is slightly too cold in our basement for the stripper and stain so we are not sure what we will accomplish over the winter.

Cabinet space is plentiful. This cabinet below is floor to ceiling and holds all our cookware and more.
I forgot to take a before photo of it before removing the doors that match the rest of the cabinets. I have given it a fresh coat of paint inside. 

The right side was apparently a coat closet at one time. Jim had the brilliant idea of hanging our pots from the bar! I just need to put a free standing shelf unit in there to utilize the middle part of the space.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of our before kitchen. The remodeling will include just about everything. 
  • refinishing the cabinets 
  • having new cabinets built 
  • installing granite or the like counter tops 
  • new appliances 
  • tiling the floor
  • and the little stuff like the back splash, ceiling fan, etc.
The half bath is right next to that cabinet above which we plan on updating at the same time, but that is an easy fix in comparison!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year in Review

2016 is coming to an end. What a year it has been! 
Jim and I moved in to our first house together. She has been a bit of a fixer upper but nothing we weren't aware of at purchase. Yes, we got a great deal! Since this photo was taken she has gotten a new roof, new chimney, updated electrical, repaired foundation inside and out and a new fence. Not to mention the little things we have done without contractor help! Wow, that's a lot!

We have had fun exploring our new city's different restaurants.
 Its fantastic architecture of buildings re-built in 1882 after a devastating fire.
Downtown artwork depicting its history.

Its parks and reservations.

I got my first pixie cut when I decided to go natural and never color my hair again. This has made my life just a little bit easier!
The biggest thing that happened this year was Jim and I got married!  Ok, so I'm clearly a very private person! 

We both said we would never get married but from time to time this would come up in conversation that maybe we should go for it. So one night over wine we decided to do it. The next morning we went to City Hall to get the ball rolling. 3 weeks later it was a done deal!
We wanted to run off and do this in private but knew we would feel guilty about not telling the moms and dads. Since Jim's parents are in MA during the summer it seemed like perfect timing.
This was the size of our wedding above. I am next to Jim's parents and he is next to mine. It is obvious when you look at the moms because we each look like our mom. 

Combined, these sets of parents have over a century of experience in making a marriage work and last.

We were married in the backyard where I grew up. Wow my hair is getting grey!
The minister of my mom's church officiated the ceremony. She was really sweet. I was concerned since Jim and I aren't churchy (is that a word?), but that was not a problem. I have great respect for the churches that accept and appreciate everyone. I bought a classic Calvin Klein dress that I will get plenty of future wear out of. 

I wanted this whole thing to be as quick and stress free as it could be and it was!

No dull moments this year! I would say it is my best year yet. It is not easy saying that when I know it has been a difficult year for many across the globe. 

I hope you have enjoyed my year in review and that I didn't shock you too much with the husband and wife thing. 💕 2017 will likely be another year about the house. We wish to conquer the kitchen and half bath remodel this coming year so we will see!

Thank you to all my lovely readers. Wishing you an awesome, fulfilling 2017! ~Val

Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas

Wishing all my wonderful readers a very Merry Christmas.
Our snowy tree at night

Our snowy tree during the day

Looking in at our snowy tree at night from outside
It has been a hectic holiday season with work so I feel very lucky to have Jim who brought home this Christmas tree as well as the skirt! We talked about a getting a snow covered tree over no snow and it is perfect.

Enjoy the weekend! ~Val

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A White Picket Fence

Some people think the America dream is dead. Not for us! We got our white picket fence.
We went with a classic New England style with black hardware that complements the house beautifully. The asphalt walkway will be replaced with something attractive in the spring by our talented concrete guy.

Here is a before from the street. You may remember this rose garden we planted in the summer. We created this garden area knowing the fence would be installed right behind it.
So there aren't many roses left so it is hard to get the idea of how pretty it will be. Our land is so not level so the fence goes up and down where the land goes up and down!
So now the massive shrubs are in the backyard. I am really looking forward to spring when the roses come back and rhododendrons bloom! 

Don't mind our mess here. It was leaf pick up time and the concrete guys still had stuff at our house. It is cleaned up now but right after clean up it snowed and weather has gone downhill since so I haven't taken any better photos.

A before from the back. You can see the old nasty concrete around the foundation too that is all brand new now. The asphalt here is part of the same walkway by the gate so that will be changed out with something pretty too.
The fence fell apart last winter and Jim used his talents to hold it together with some wood and a screw gun! As you can imagine, I was really wanting to replace it.
Our backyard really feels bigger now. The pictures don't quite show the openness but it is there now. Vinyl does not rot so I am happy about that!
The concrete guys' stuff again there!  

We are going to dig up the rhododendrons. 

You may notice a little black trim now on the shed that is not in the before photo. I am working on making it cuter. Hopefully in the spring it will look as I envision.
We may keep the 2 huge burning bushes there though. The rhododendrons surround them now. I would like to save the rhododendrons by transplanting but they are quite tall and ancient so we are not sure how that will go.
We have all winter to think about what we want to do now.
Well that is our last major project for 2016! Now for a hopefully quiet winter. 

Thank you for stopping by! Enjoy your week. ~Val

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Wine Cork Craft

I have been wanting to create something with the plethora of wine corks Jim and I have collected over the last couple of years. 
Yes we have a thing for Michael David wines. 

First I spray painted an artist's canvas with the same paint I used on our radiator since I wanted to hang it on this wall.
 Then I traced a wine bottle.
Then used the tracing as a template for cork placement.
I started by hot gluing 2 by 2 of the neck.
Then attaching those and working downwards. I followed the same principal for the wine glass which initially came out looking more like a martini glass!
I did add a couple of more corks to round it out more so it would be like a red wine goblet.

Then I laid out the pieces on the canvas and decided where I wanted to the wine stream to go
Then glued everything to the canvas using heavy duty E-6000.

So simple! I love how it came out. Now we just need to hang it. Things have been nutty in the household lately between sicknesses, contractors and working but we will get it hung! 

I hope you have enjoyed this craft. I have tons more corks as we continue to collect them. So I will have to start thinking of the next project!

Thank you for stopping by! ~Val 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Basement Repointing

Our basement is finished! I am blown away by how much better it looks! Here are some before and afters.
That high pipe in the photo above was a mystery pipe to us until the concrete guy explained to us it had been an old gutter pipe that led to the sump pump. Well the house no longer has gutters so we were able to remove it and he filled in the holes left behind!
Our curved bump out wall is nice and smooth now.
No more ugly, crumbling yuck! The upper part of the wall is the exposed brick that shows on the outside of the house.
Our new basement windows now look showcased.
The walls look funny because I took these photos before they were completely dry. They will ultimately be a consistent light grey color. We had planned on painting the walls white but that will not be necessary after seeing how this came out!

The floors need a serious cleaning now. After that we will be painting them grey. It is well on its way to being bright with no basement smell. Worth every penny!

We are definitely calling this guy back in the spring to do a couple of outdoor walkways with stones pressed in concrete (his specialty).

I hope you have enjoyed seeing what can be done with an old 1900 basement. I had no idea it was such a simple fix. 2 guys did this in 2 days.

Have a great week! Thank you for stopping by. ~Val

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Wear Hardware

Wear Hardware is a jewelry shop of cool handmade pieces using, you guessed it, hardware!

I had the treat of testing out one of the jewelry kits for these neat dangles.
The kit comes with a detailed instruction sheet and all the components needed.
I loved that there was some wiggle room for creativity, not having to create them a specific way.
After laying out how I wanted them to piece together, it was time to attached everything using pliers.
Once the unique chains were put together they were affixed to the ear wires provided.
Here is how they look on. It is not easy to show how the dangles look but you get the idea of length and width here.
If are you looking to try your hand at making some jewelry, stop by Wear Hardware to shop for kits. Or if you just want to buy some finished jewelry for yourself or as a gift, this is a great shop to browse!

Thank you for stopping by. Enjoy your week! ~Val