Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Checklist

Goodie bags for the birthday party:

Check!

Presents wrapped and ready to be ripped open:

Check!


2 cute boys who can speak/think of nothing else:

Check!


It looks like we are all ready for the birthday! If only the hours would pass a little faster!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Now for the fun stuff

We knew from the minute we moved in to our current house that the kitchen needed a little updating. Now, having lived here for 3 years, we are even more determined that it needs an overhaul.

We were able to sell our rental house yesterday, so now we can put any and all extra money that comes our way toward our new kitchen. I figure we should have the money in about 6 months or so, depending on how much I work (summer is usually really slow, so that might delay it some).


Here is an overall view of the kitchen. The glaring problems are:
  1. The built in oven does not work. We need to replace it.

  2. There is very little counter space. There are about 4 spots of about a foot each, but they are all separated from each other, and one foot of space goes really quickly when you are messy like me cook a lot.

  3. The stove is right in the middle of the largest counter top. It also takes up the space in the cupboard below, so it is a double space waster.

  4. The dishwasher door is broken. So, while it does wash dishes, it requires that we prop it open with a pot anytime we load or unload. You know, the "dishwasher pot". If I had a nickle for everytime I had to go looking for that sucker or smashed my toe into it, the remodel would already be done!

  5. I didn't take a shot of the sink, but I think before we moved in they had the sink reglazed. Well, the glaze is very pourous, which means it stains like crazy, and the enamel is starting to chip away. Really lovely, I'm sure you can imagine.

You can see the dishwasher pot right next to Jack's elbow! A permanent fixture on the kitchen floor!



So, here is our PLAN:

In this section, we will begin by removing the entire cabinet that holds the oven. We will patch the floor as best we can, then get an oven/stove combo. We will also switch from electric to natural gas. Above where the stove is we will either do a built in microwave, or a decorative hood.

The stove that is in the middle there will be removed, and we will get dark (probably black) granite counter tops. We plan to leave the cabinets basically intact, maybe just repaint the doors, so hopefully the black will help the white look better. That is what happened in our old house, so I'm hoping it will work magic again. This should give me one long, uninterrupted counter top! And there is a large space that is next to the oven cabinet that is basically just a storage area, since it is so closed in. Hopefully once we open it up we can access that a little better.


Major changes on this side as well. First, all stainless steel appliances. Granite countertops, deep stainless steel sink with a better looking faucet (NO MORE FAKE GOLD!!). We are also going to knock the bar flat- to be even with the counter top, and under the lip of the lowered bar I am going to install some built in bookshelves.


The dishwasher is at the very end of this cabinet, and there is a huge open and mostly wasted space next to it. We are going to add an extra cabinet (probably big drawers) on the end next to the dishwasher, so we will be able to have another large counter area, and also add a little more storage room.

In a nutshell:
  1. Remove cabinet, install stove and microwave.
  2. All new appliances- stainless steel.
  3. Granite countertops- black.
  4. Add a cabinet and knock down the bar a little.
  5. Maybe repaint the front of the cabinets.

That is what is on my mind today! Any comments, suggestions, critiques? We still have a few months to change our minds!

**blogging is a good excuse to clean up the kitchen!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday morning... once again!

picture from summer of 2006


Yep, you may not know it, but Monday came again. This week is really busy- we have two birthdays coming up this week, and if you think 2 boys are not excited, you would be very wrong!
We should close on our townhouse today... the beginning of many good things. Closing will mean that the last of our debt is paid off... which means we can start seriously saving for our kitchen remodel... which means that I will have the ability to bake something.
The problem is that I still don't know for sure what time the closing will happen. I've scheduled two different child care situtations, and I may have to cancel and do a third. What a pain! But all worth it, of course!
So, that is my Monday... try to figure out the closing, try to eat lunch with Abigail (when she begs, I just can't say no), try to make some phone calls and do a little cleaning, try to convince Jack to put pants on at some point today, and try to get both boys to eat something besides cheese balls all day!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cuteness

As I was laying Abigail down to sleep tonight, I was looking at the adorable pillowcase her Grandmother made her for Christmas, and I decided that she needed a little friend to match. I whipped up this little cutie while watching Star Trek with Kydon.



He even said he thinks it is the cutest thing I've ever made! I have to admit to loving it myself. Now up to sneak it onto her pillow. I can't wait to see what she thinks when she discovers it!

Friday, April 23, 2010

I still don't have an oven

But, there is some good news:

Our townhouse is under contract!! Woo Hoo! And, despite all of my doubts that it would go through, we are set to close on Monday. It is a huge blessing, and we will be happy to say goodbye to 3 of our 4 mortgages. Think I could call Dave Ramsey and tell him I got debt free in 2 months?

83 days without an oven. It is probably the most unnecessary appliance in the house. I am annoyed by it, for sure, but it is not earth shattering not to have one. When you consider the stove, dishwasher, and fridge... I guess it is pretty easy to do without the oven.

With the major kitchen remodel within spitting distance (hopefully less than a year), we have decided not to fix the old one. We tried the easy fix and it didn't work, and we aren't going to try anything else. We are going to move forward, and today Kydon and I came up with the plan of how to replace the oven before anything else, so it may only be another month or two.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

40 Bag Finale

I know it has been more than 40 days since I mentioned it, but I did finish my attempt at 40 bags in the allotted 40 days.

The down side is that I didn't quite get 40 bags- I ended up with a total of 32- 22 to Goodwill and 10 trash. Plus one bed to Goodwill. That would have been a lot of bags!

The up side is that I was able to go through each room and purge. I even went through my Christmas decorations, so that was pretty significant.

My house is less cluttery now... so I'm glad I did it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Eye of the Tiger

While in Williamsburg, we came across this little growth of bamboo. Kydon wanted to get some pictures of the kids in it. He was snapping pictures, and we were all cracking up at Abigail.


I guess the bamboo brought out her wild side!




Monday, April 19, 2010

The Egg Hunt

The egg hunt started at Grandma and Grandpa's- aka the fun place!
Grandpa made his famous breakfast of crepes. A family favorite, and he spends a lot of time making enough to feed this hungry crowd!

Look- 3 cute kids! It wasn't on purpose, but I love how their shirts exactly match their baskets!

The whole crowd of cousins! We love having all of our 'best friends' around to share these fun times with! This one was a little poinant because 3 of these cuties will be moving soon.
Jack and Aidan are so cute together. They have the best twin-brother love! Such great, great friends. I love it!

I don't know why, but I adore this picture of Aidan! Kydon can't see it, but I think it is just gorgeous!
We were there too! If we were teenagers, we would have the 'take a picture of yourself' shot down, but we are old and not as skilled.

This is the perfect backyard for egg hunts! So many crazy places to find eggs!

And there are plenty of eggs to be found!

There isn't even a limit- just find as many as you can!

And they are hidden everywhere! It took about 6 people and 45 minutes to hide them all!

Then it was time to kick back, relax, and enjoy all the goodies!
It was a great hunt! The weather was perfect, the kids were well behaved, and we all had a great time!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A First

My goal is to get Easter pictures up before Thanksgiving. I hope I make it!

I used to love dying eggs as a kid. We would spend hours at my Grandma's house dying hundreds of eggs in preparation for the annual egg hunt. With my own kids, however, it has not yet happened.
I have a morbid fear of the mess. We do plenty of other messy things, but for some reason, I just can't imagine putting open cups of dyed water in front of them and encouraging them to put stuff in and out of them! I buy a dye kit every year, and every year I chicken out!

But, this year, my sister saved my children. She invited us over to her house to dye eggs! I jumped at the opportunity!



Abigail with her "smile". So posed and contrived! We took hundreds of pictues in the past week or so, and virtually all of them have this smile! She is a cutie, but I just love her real, genuine smile!

Jack always comes up with a new face for pictures. Lately he has discovered his tongue!

This smile just makes me melt inside! So funny and cute and sweet!

The whole crowd! Only one spill, and it wasn't any of my kids- and didn't get on anything but the tablecloth! My kids had such a fantastic time, and did SO well with the coloring. We will definately do this again next year. I think.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Twins Getting Shots

There are many advantages to being a twin. Constant playdate, no hand me downs, and a friend at every turn. However, when it comes to getting immunizations, twins have it worse.

The twin who goes first, is okay at the beginning, but normally as soon as the shot is finished and there is the crying, it is usually accompanied by hugs, kisses and being held by mom. Twins don't get all that, becuase as soon as the first is done, and just beginning to fuss and cry, Mom has to set you down because it is time for the next one.

The twin who goes second may have the advantage with the after-shot snuggle, but he has to watch his brother get held down and poked with needles and cry. That is not so good for the anxiety and cooperation.

Guess what we did yesterday?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Benihana Winner

Today is still Monday, right? No? Ah well, that is kind of how my life is lately.

I have a whole list of things to blog about, and I do have a little time, I just can't get myself in gear to do it. I also have a few heavier things on my mind and heart. They may make it here, and may not, it just depends if I can sort them out in my mind.

In the meantime, I can make at least one person's day a little happier with the results of my giveaway! Thanks to the fine folks at Benihana, someone can enjoy a great meal and help out St. Jude!

I use very techno-savvy ways to pick the winner:
And I enlist a neutral third party (he was looking for Aunt Catherine's name):

But despite the challenges, we did get a winner (out of 18 entries):

You know who you are! The gift certificate is on the way!

If you didn't enter or didn't win, you can still download and print the children's coloring form, and enter for a chance to win dinner for 8! Hope is still alive!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Abigail's Hot Tub Rulz

Our room in the resort we are staying in has a hot tub. The grownups are not impressed, but the children are loving it. As they were playing and splashing tonight, Kydon and I were giggling as we overheard Abigail telling her brothers "The Rules"! And I quote:

"Rule number 1: Ask a Grownup"
"Number 2: Wait 10 minutes"
"Number 3: Swim Carefully"
"Number 4: Have fun!"

It was too sweet not to write down! (And publish for the world!)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Favorites

My favorites:

In the post for the Benihana Giveaway I asked you your favorite thing about Japan, St. Jude, and Spring. I thought you might like to know my answers!

Kydon's brother spent 2 years in Japan on a mission for our church, so we have enjoyed talking to him about things Japanese, and there are so many things I love. But I think I would have to say that Bento boxes are one of my favorite, and I loved making them until Abigail got really mad at me and told me to just put a regular sandwich in a regular bag and send it! I guess I like Bento more than she did! :)

I love that St. Jude is so great at what they do. Kydon's sister had cancer as a child, and I work a lot with children who have cancer. They would not have the advances and prognosis that they do without the research that is done at St. Jude. I am impressed with Benihana for making such great offerings to that charity!

And my favorite thing about Spring? It is NOT the pollen that creates a fine yellow dust over everything and everyone right now, but I do love the colors of the trees! The beautiful white, pink, and purple blossoms popping out on all the trees is so sweet and beautiful!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! I will choose a winner on Monday. I figure Mondays need something good to happen, right? :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Enjoy Benihana!

I promised to give you something fun, and here it is!


Benihana is celebrating Children's Day 2010. To participate, you can download the official form, and have your kids draw, paint, or color a picture of "children helping children", and for each drawing recieved Benihana will donate $1 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. In addition, they will choose one entry to win a prize of dinner for 8!


Then, on May 5, if you go to Benihana, they will donate 100% of the purchase price of your Children's meal to St. Jude! 100%! That date is right in between the birthdays of Jack, Aidan, and Kydon, so it sounds like a good excuse to go out for a great meal!


Now for the really fun news- I am GIVING AWAY a $40 gift card! For Benihana! (Just in case you couldn't guess). Right now they are offering Hibachi Steak for two for only $37, so the giftcard could easily cover dinner for two!


To enter the giveaway: Leave a comment telling me something you love about Japan! Or Benihana, or St. Jude! Or Spring, for that matter! Just leave me a comment telling me something and I will enter you in!

To gain one more entry, blog about this giveaway, link to my post, and then leave me a comment with the link to your post! That's it- 2 chances to win! Good luck!

I'm Out

Pictures from March of 2006...
Aidan hasn't changed a bit.
Neither has Jack.

Neither has Abigail.

Springtime means fun times, business, and vacations. We are going to visit Jack and Aidan's birthfamily over this next weekend, and we decided to piggyback on a fun trip to Williamsburg, Virginia. We may as well join the ranks of Spring Break Vacationers, right?
Just wanted to say that there is somthing fun that is going to post later today, but other than that, I might not be back to blog posting until next week sometime!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lessons Learned From Not Having An Oven


  1. A good brownie can only be baked. Mixes are easy, cheap, and delicious. Purchased brownies are not as tasty and very expensive (therefore not worth it).

  2. You don't really need one (oven, that is- brownies are essential).

Friday, April 2, 2010

Subliminal Messages

I worked last night. When I work, I leave a leave home a little before 6 pm, and come home a little before 8 am. That means that the kids have to endure the torture of having me gone for one bedtime and one morning time. Jack and Aidan don't seem to care, in fact I think they prefer having only Daddy. Abigail, however, misses me.

Today, she got off the bus and was drooping her head. She informed me that she got sent to the principles office today... April Fools!

Then she spent the 2 minute walk home telling me that Daddy forgot to make her a sandwich for lunch (I had the lunches all ready except for the sandwich- he just assumed that they were set to go and did not put the sandwich in), and she was missing me, and she hates going to school without seeing me, and she was starving.

I was feeling a little bad about it all, and then I checked in her backpack, and found the library book she selected today:

"Mummies in the Morning" from the Magic Tree House series! I started laughing! She must have been really missing seeing me in the morning!