Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Easy Breakfast (or anytime) Ideas

If you are sick of your normal breakfast routine, here are a few ideas to make breakfast a little more fun.

Instead of pancakes, try these PB&J Crepes. I used GF flour instead of regular and I added a little peanut butter to the batter, which I think made them a little thicker than a regular crepe but they were super yummy with a little powdered sugar on top.

If you are tired of fried eggs, try this baked version with kale. I used bacon instead of pancetta since I had bacon on hand and topped it off with a little parm. The recipe forgets to mention a pad of butter needed in the dish but it's mentioned in the comments and I think it is really necessary.

If you want fruit for breakfast but still want something a little heartier, try this quinoa fruit salad. I actually made this for dinner one night and added goat cheese and basil to give it a more savory component. It's definitely a great dish for a hot summer night!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sunroom Trim Priming

When we moved into our house, it was very wood heavy. There was also some weird things with the trim, which you can see above, like part of the floor trim painted white and the interior window trim painted white. All of the upstairs window trim was painted white and some of the baseboards were also white. It took awhile, but we finally decided that it made the most sense to finish painting all the trim white. Since then, we have been slowly working our way through the house. 

The sunroom was the most heavily laden wood trim room and I've been itching to paint it for a long time. We want this room to be light an airy and the trim was just dragging it down. The only problem was that it is a lot of trim so it takes a lot of motivation to do it all. We've learned that using oil based primer on this trim saves a lot of time (much better coverage) and so this time I decided to try a trim roller as well to see if that would speed up the process even more. (and yes, this is how our rooms look like mid way through a project)

Overall, the roller did speed things up a little but I did have to hand paint quite a bit and since it was an extra thing to clean up, I'm not sure if I would use one again. Plus, it left the trim slightly textured instead of smooth... we'll see if painting helps with that at all.

Since the focus is on getting the playroom ready for Will, I only worked on the trim on the playroom side and left the office side to do later. Even though I only did half the room, it still took me about 4 hours over a few days.

Things are already looking brighter but the annoying thing about priming is that you have to paint over it! So I'm currently slowly working my way around the room with paint. The good thing is that with the playroom side down we'll essentially only have one full room (two half rooms) left before the wood trim is gone!

Friday, August 22, 2014

DIY Simple Cabinet Doors

I mentioned earlier this week that we haven't gotten around to hanging the doors in the sunroom yet. Those doors are a couple that I put together earlier this month. I wanted a simple design that would be sturdy and would look the same whether the doors were open or closed.  I sketched out a design, picked up a small piece of plywood and some 1x2's from Lowe's and got to work.

I started by cutting all of my pieces to size. I measured the cabinet front opening and cut the 1x2's so they would frame out that space. I then cut the plywood to be a inch narrower and shorter (1/2 inch on both sides). I normally leave the heavy powertooling to Nate but since non of the pieces were too big on this project, I went a head a did it myself. I used our table saw to cut the plywood down to size and our miter (chop) saw for the side pieces.

To make sure that the door looked the same whether it was open or closed, I decided to embed the plywood into the sides. I set up the table saw so that it wouldn't cut very deep and there was a 1/4" space between the saw and the blade.  Then I ran each side piece through. I had to do this twice, once on each side, and since the blade wasn't thick enough, I was left with a very thin strip of wood down the middle of my opening.

It was literally hanging on by a thread so I was able to easily snap it out with a straight edge screw driver.

This left me with a 1/4" gap in the middle with 1/4" side pieces on both sides (a 1" is really 3/4"in case you're checking my math).

I did a quick dry fit, trimmed down the plywood just a smidge and then was ready to assemble everything.

This was where things got tricky trying to do this myself. I really needed three hands plus one to take photos but had to make due with just my two.

My goal was to only nail into the wood and not the plywood and you can see there was some room to do that however it did not turn out to be an easy task.

I glued the edges of the sided that would touch and then attempted to nail them together. This is when a few more hands would have been nice. At first I tried to do this by just holding the pieces together myself. This didn't really work since nailing just one corner wasn't enough to keep the pieces together. Then I tried laying them flat on the table to help stabilize. I thought this worked until I realized I nailed at an angle so the whole thing was nailed to the table (commence frustration) and finally I used the plywood to help. You can see a few of the many nails I had to rip out before I got this right on the table.

Luckily, once I had a good method it didn't take too long to finish the rest. I caulked all the seams and let them dry and then the construction phase was complete. 

We still haven't hung the doors since I don't like the hardware we have for them so once we figure that out we'll be back with the finished built-in with the doors.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

TBT Sunroom - Before and Destroy

Over the next few weeks we're going to go back in time and show you how we took our sunroom in our first house from this:

To this:

This Sunroom was a long, narrow room that went along the back of the house. There were many windows which let in the light and may have once looked over a perfectly maintained pool (which unfortunately had a sapling growing out of the bottom of it by the time we bought the place). 

There were some signs of water damage (probably from ice damming), but the inspection report was solid so we assumed that there were no real structural issues. This room was slated for some cosmetic work (get rid of the paneling) and perhaps add a door that would go directly to the back yard, maybe onto a deck.

These plans were accelerated slightly when we started to pull off the fake wood paneling. The header that went above the windows was showing some signs of deterioration, but we were hoping that's where things would stop and a quick patch job and maybe a better ice/water shield on the roof would do the trick. 

We decided to start pulling things apart early in the afternoon on our first wedding anniversary. Just to put our minds at ease, we decided to take a look at the studs under the paneling. I started to pry the paneling off and it kept splintering! 

Finally I got the paneling to pop loose, and the studs came with it. In other words, these studs were not doing anything.

Going outside, it was now clear that there was significant structural damage to the main support beam which held up the floor. In retrospect this made sense, since the floor did slant down quite a bit.

Along with the rotten wood, we also found a nice little colony of carpenter ants.

And that's pretty much why we had a somber first wedding anniversary. We happened to have dry rot insurance so after an insurance adjuster came out and we showed pictures proving we didn't know the extent of the damage when we bought the house, we were able to use the insurance money to completely overhaul this space. And by overhaul, I mean take the entire back wall of the house off.

The insurance money wasn't a ton so we still did a lot of work ourselves and for this big of a job, I called in the reinforcements. Soon my dad was on the scene and we did some of the most major structural work of my life. The back wall of the house was removed, and sturdy 2x8 boards were inserted to support the roof.

Next we got some KFC (apparently), and removed that rotten support beam. The damage in the corner where it was "supported" showed that it was not too far from failing.

With this beam gone, we took the opportunity to jack up the floor so that it no longer sloped away from the house.

All I can say is thank goodness it was summer. This gave us time to properly think through our plan, get the right permits, and build everything back correctly. Tune in next week to see this room take shape!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Wednesdays with Will: Dog Walker

We have a great park near us that has a really nice walking path that's quiet and far far away from speeding cars. It's a loop that's less than a mile which is still a little long for our short legged family members but it's a nice evening stroll/ride.

The first time we tried this walk though, we brought the stroller and it was awful. Will couldn't decide whether he wanted walk, ride or push the stroller and so there was crying and a lot of mind changing and nobody had a ton of fun. So, the second time, we didn't even bother with the stroller. Instead, we gave Will the reins leash. And apparently, if you give a boy a leash he will walk... at least half the way.

At first we thought Zoe would be a good dog for Will to walk but she was a little to fast for him. Madeline on the other hand, loves the slow pace.

It's a great spot and there are sooo many bunnies! 

We would like to be doing this walk a lot more often but right now it is so hot so we go when can and can't wait for cooler weather!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tasty Tuesdays: Guilt Free Dinners

We've been trying to reduce processed carbs especially for dinner (which I mentioned a few weeks back and then posted two weeks of highly processed recipes... oops...but who can resist trying new GF products??). We actually have really liked this switch especially when we compare the number of calories in a serving! Here are a few of our favorites from the past couple of weeks. All of these are even toddler approved!

1. Sweet potato and zucchini lasagna. (our version picture above) We've used the trick of thin zucchini slices in the place of lasagna noodles before (easy way to make any lasagna GF) but this sweet potato sauce is a pretty awesome twist. We used ground chicken instead of sausage and it was really good but I definitely want to try the sausage version.

2.  Slow cooker black bean soup. This was so easy and sooo good. This is a perfect meal to make if you are going to have a long day at work and don't want to cook.

3. Cabbage Rolls. I improvised a bit on this one but followed the general theme of seasoned ground turkey with veggies and cheese. You can throw in some rice or quinoa if you want to but we kept them simple and it brought us right back to Hungary.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pillow (and Mattress) Talk

With the new sunroom bench built, it was time to make it more toddler friendly... aka softer. We made the seat of the bench the exact size of a crib mattress and so we picked up this inexpensive one from IKEA. This took care of the seat cushion, but we still needed some soft back support. Since this area is going to be Will's playroom, I decided to get a little crafty and DIY a few fun pillow cases.

Initially I was going to buy some fabric from Spoonflower that I really liked (a triangle print which you can find here and an arrow print here) but when I looked at it on the "yard" setting I realized the scale was too small for what I wanted and $17.50/yard was going to add up pretty quick for 3 pillow cases.

Instead, I went to Target and got 2 packs of their ultra soft pillowcases (which comes with two each) in white (do you know that it's almost impossible to find white pillowcases two weeks before colleges start up??), four different multi-purpose paints from Micheals, and a black paint pen. I couldn't find a large triangle stamp so I cut an old sponge into a triangle and I was good to go.

I used the sponge and the paint to stamp two of the pillowcases. I used one paint color at a time and just filled in as I went trying to not group any one color too much. Using the sponge was nice since I could just rinse it out between colors.

I was a little too excited about this project though and forgot to put anything in the pillow to prevent the paint from leaking through to the other side. At first I was bummed but then I decided to just stamp the same pattern on the back and that covered all the spots perfectly.

For the arrow pillowI used the paint pen to draw out my arrows. Arrows are really easy to draw and all I really needed was the pen and a ruler to keep a straight line. I was able to draw larger scale arrows and also do my own unique pattern.

The arrow case definitely was a little time intensive (total of about 2 hrs broken up) especially compared to the triangle cases but I really love how it came out. I love how all three came out but the arrow one is my fav (maybe because it took so long?)

I considered ironing the cases but then I remembered they were going in a playroom so I decided against it. All in all I spent about $34 on all three (plus a left over plain case) so even if these are spilt on or destroyed it's not a huge deal.

Since we used a crib mattress for the seat, we were able to just buy a crib sheet to cover it and call it a day. We got this one from Buy Buy Baby. We really like that we can switch out the sheet if it needs to get washed... easy to clean = awesome in a playroom.

Things are still looking a little unfinished since the doors aren't hung yet and we still don't have curtains (the sheers are just for a little privacy) but we're getting there. Slowly but surely.

Linking To: Hi Sugar Plum,  House of Hepworths, My Repurposed Life, Lovely Etc., Tatertots and Jello, Ask Anna, Home Stories A to Z, Uncommon Designs, House wives of RivertonCrafty Texas GirlsSouthern InstituteWatch out Martha!, http://www.myrepurposedlife.com http://www.lizmarieblog.com/ http://missmustardseed.com/ classyclutter.com remodelaholic.com