Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Office Window - Progress so far

Since my last window post I ordered the panel system and purchased the curtain rod for what I'm planning.

The panel system was not supposed to arrive until March 12th.  So I was pretty shocked when it got here on March 6th.  That meant it was time to get busy!

First I had to take down the old curtains and fit them to the window...before they were rather sloppily hanging over both the slider and the arch window.  So I took the curtains down to the basement (where I have enough floor space to spread them out) and got them measured for cutting to fit.  When I did this, I realized that I might have enough fabric to make a curtain for the arched window too.  And although it took a bit of rigging, I was able to do that.  I found some trim in the garage from my father in law's stash to make a curtain rod out of.  (the "rod" is just the trim shoved into the window frame.)

Here's the new arch window curtain.

While I was up on the ladder, I realized how badly the wall needed to be painted.  So I decided to paint an accent wall in here.

Then hubby & I went and bought the 2x2 for the header to screw the panel system into.  We dug through an entire bin of wood to find some that was not too bowed or full of knots.  But that's where things stalled.  The wood sat on the office floor.

Monday hubby was home from work sick.  I thought that perhaps this project would get moving again.  But hubby just wanted to sit and hog my computer all day.  :p  So to annoy him into doing something, I started measuring the wood (it was on the floor behind him).  And that worked.  He took the wood from me and cut it.  Then asked if I wanted to help sand it (only bringing one bit of sand paper though).  So while he sanded, I cleaned up after the dog in the yard.  He also got two coats of paint on the wood.

And now that's where we are.  The wood still sits in the basement "drying" (it's been dry!)  and here are pictures of my window treatments.

Unfortunately it looks as if I won't be able to get this finished until at least Sunday, because hubby won't work on it if I'm not here to pester him and this week is busy for us as my little actress starts rehearsals for Guys & Dolls this weekend.
I hope to have an updated photo of the completed window next week.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, March 08, 2014


First they bought a little farm and had a dream.  Now their story is a book that you can read.  With over 500 copies sold.  w00t!

5 Acres & A Dream The Book:
The Challenges of Establishing A Self-Sufficient Homestead

by Leigh Tate

5 Acres & A Dream The Book: The Challenges of Establishing a Self-Sufficient Homestead
What does it take to become a successful homesteader?

Based on her popular homesteading blog, 5 Acres & A Dream, Leigh Tate shares how she and her husband Dan are facing the challenges of trying to establish a self-sufficient homestead; from defining their dream, finding property, and setting priorities, to obstacles and difficult times, to learning how to work smarter, not harder. She shares what they've learned about energy, water, and food self-sufficiency for themselves and their animals too. Included are copies of their homestead master plan plus revisions and a sampling of Leigh's homestead recipes. 

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

"Instant" Chicken with gravy

I've been planning to make chicken with gravy for a while, I just didn't have the time to slow cook it all day.

So I pulled out my pressure cooker!  I've been storing up bones and vegetable leavings in the freezer for a while with the intent on making broth...and one day that will happen.  Yesterday was not that day.

First I needed some broth.  So I put what I thought were chicken bones (turns out they were big deal really) and carrot, onion & celery in the pressure cooker with water and let that pressure cook for 20 minutes.  all totaled it probably took about 30 minutes as the cooker needed time to heat up.

Then I strained the broth and put it back into the pressure cooker with two frozen chicken breasts.  I added salt & spices here.  Another 30 minutes and I was ready to tear apart the chicken, add flour slurry and tadah I'm done.

all day flavor, about an hour & a half of working & cooking...mostly cooking. 

If only I had remembered to make biscuits for this!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Office Window

Hey remember me?  I know, I know... I've been over on that Facebook thing and totally neglecting the blog.  If I have any readers left it is a miracle.

So last week I went to open the blinds in my office and they broke!  :(  Who knows how old these blinds are, but they've been faithful until now.  However the ones in my kitchen broke many years ago, so I'm sure it was just a number of uses thing.  I've used up all it's uses.

So I've been looking at options on what to replace the blinds with.  Part of my decision is that when the blinds were bought for window there was a different style of window.  When we bought the house, the office window was a double hung.  However, when we went to replace our windows with new energy efficient windows, our city's building department declared that since this room has a window and a closet (not really as the closet is the foyer closet with a door slapped on the back...someone in their infinite wisdom thought they were doing us a favor and increasing the home's value by making this room "legally" a bedroom) it is a bedroom.  So since it is a bedroom it required a window that a fireman in full gear can enter through a single pane.

     note: our arguments that 1) it is NOT a bedroom and would never be considered one as there is no       bathroom on this floor.  2) the front door is right by this room and easier access to the room than the window.  3) a fireman in full gear is going to take his ax and bust through the window to get in if he needs to, so how big the pane is doesn't matter.

so now instead of lovely double hung windows we have a stupid slider window...which looks like a mini-sliding glass door.  Our small victory over the building department is that my sewing room has a double hung window instead as it also has a casement window that fits the stupid egress rules.  :p

So now the blinds in this room don't match the window.  To open the window, you have to fully open the blinds...which of course led to their demise.

So it makes sense to replace the now dead blinds with ones that hang vertically, like the style of the window opening (note: all the bedrooms upstairs have the WRONG style of blind on them!)  So I have been researching vertical window coverings for this window.

While I'm doing my search...husband chips in with his opinion that whatever I put on the window should match all the other window coverings...because he likes things to match!  We have so many arguments on this subject!


So first I don't really like traditional vertical blinds.  Having all those strips of cloth flopping around drives me nuts and doesn't look good to me.  I like the look of vertical cellular blinds...when they are new.  But when they are old, they don't hold their shape and no matter how much you paid for them (btw: Starting price $350 for this window!) they look terrible.

I found a vertical panel system that we can get.  It appears to be a good looking system that will fit the bill and shouldn't break the bank.  The problem with it... well two problems actually... 1) clearance.  The track for this system is 3inches.  I was hoping it would sit flush inside the window.  I only have about 2 inches of clearance.  But the panels "should" sit on the window sill still.  2) installing them.  from what I have found they install by either attaching to your ceiling or to your wall.

I've forgotten to mention that this window is really a set of two windows...the sliding window and a half circle arch above it.  So to install the panel system, I would need to put in some sort of "header" to screw the track into or install it outside of the window...which in my opinion would totally ruin it!

I wish that I could see the system in person so I know how long the screws are, as that would determine how wide the header needs to be, although I could replace the screws with shorter ones and just put in a lot more of them.

The thing is, the panel system would mostly be viewed from the outside as I have curtains over the blinds.  The header can be painted to match everything else.  And the panel system is adjustable, so differing lengths wouldn't be a problem.

Still thinking about this.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Not a lot going on...

which means I'm frustrated!

DH & I can both agree on one thing for sure... we NEED to redo the kitchen!  The kitchen sink faucet was leaking when we bought the house in 2001 and of course it hasn't gotten any better on it's own.  And if you're going to replace the might as well replace the sink.  And if you're going to replace the sink with an undermount to make me happy, well you might as well replace the counter tops.  btw: now 12 years later the countertops also need to be replaced because...
1) they're formica and just damaged from 17 years of abuse & use
2) they're white (what genius thought that white formica countertops were ever a good idea?!?!)
3) for some odd reason the dishwasher vents steam not only from it's proper vent but also from the other corner which makes the chip board under the formica chip apart (although DH has quick fixed that by sealing it.)

So we're agreed that the kitchen sink, faucet and counter tops need to be replaced.

the cabinets while still in great shape could use some updating...and since you're doing the countertops, you might as well do that too.

and then the kitchen floor needs to be replaced because the dishwasher leaked under it on one end of the kitchen...then the refrigerator leaked under it on the other end...and then there's also damage by the back door.  Sorry, but who thought that hardwood was a good idea under water leaking areas?

I'm all about practicality.  surfaces in the kitchen should not only look good, but be completely functional.

So to that end I want "bullet proof" surfaces here!

But I don't like tile or granite.  I butted heads with DH forever on this.  I wanted solid surface counter tops.  To me having the completely sealed surface that holds up to most anything seemed like the way to go.  I don't care that realtors are pushing everyone to have granite (we couldn't sell MIL's house because it didn't have granite counter tops...even when we included an allowance so the new owner could redo the kitchen any way they wanted...the house wouldn't sell until WE put in the granite.  And then we got $20K more for it!!!  *eyeroll*)

I do not like granite.  It is cold (I don't know why, but my kitchen is already too cold to get dough to rise...rock isn't going to help)  It isn't as durable as they first told us...drop something on it and you have a real mess.  If you don't get the good stuff, it pitts making for a real bacterial breeding ground!  And I just don't like the look of it.

I also like the option of having the under mount sink that is fused with the solid surface counter top.  To me this seemed like a much better solution for cleaning.  Our current sink with it's lovely lip is a bugger to keep clean...of course the white counter tops that catch every stain don't help at all.

So I wanted... Corian counter tops & sink.  Vinyl laminate flooring.  Reface the cabinets and add some new trim.

Nothing was happening because hubby didn't like my plan.  I still can not convince him that this is MY kitchen.  *eyeroll*

So the other day in an effort to get the darned kitchen finally done...I gave in.  A total concession on my part.  I told him he could have the stupid granite counter tops...if we can find one that looks close to wood.  He argued that if I went with something that looked like wood, it would be too dark in the kitchen. ?!?!?!?

I don't know what granite he thinks we should get, but I'm really mad now.  As I don't want the stupid rock to begin with!  ARGH

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

5 Acres & A Dream is now a book!

My friend (I think I can call her a friend...we've never met in person!) has written a book about her experiences in starting her homestead... working off the grid and becoming self-sufficient.

Here's the info

I've been following Leigh for years now and been very jealous of her 5 acres.  So much so that I've been known to look into finding my own spot of land nearby.  I also recommend her blog to everyone.

If you're at all interested in farm life, check this book out.

Note: I'm not being paid to write this.  Look baby goats!  :D

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hey! Long time no see. ;)

Is anyone still out there?  I don't blame you if you've moved on.  I haven't been around much, so why should you.
Seems that every time I have something that I might want to blog about that I remember all the folks who could see what I have to say and decide that it really isn't all that important.

And of course since I'm on Facebook so much, I really haven't spent much time anywhere else.  I do check to see if any of you that I'm following have posted anything new.  And with the exception of a few, I'm not the only one to have moved I don't feel too bad.

In an attempt to update you...

Back in July I put myself on a diet and managed to lose 20lbs.  Which now that it's the holidays, I seem to be trying to gain all back.  LOL  actually I've been trying to counter all the calories by also consuming large amounts of far so good.  Hopefully by January I won't have much to resolve.

I've also started a new adventure.  After over 17 years of not working, I took a part time job.  It's less than 20 hours per week, but it's money.  Which reminds me that I need to turn in my time sheet.

This year's Thanksgiving was a very small quiet affair.  Just Dh, Darly, Lilly & me.  Here's what we had...

1/2 a Turkey.  The last time I made a turkey, I decided to take half of it and put it back in the freezer.  So I pulled that out, it was already brined and ready to go.  We're going into day 3 and still have plenty for dinner.  Eaten by: everyone

Mashed Potatoes - I think that I made too many as we still have a lot left-over.  Made with butter & milk.  So partially fatty.  ;)  Eaten by: everyone

Gravy - oh boy did this give me fits this year.  First the turkey didn't want to give me any drippings (probably due to being just half and the way I cooked it.)  So I pulled out some turkey broth.  Then I got the pan too hot, so I had lumps and had to strain those out.  I did manage to get a decent just took a lot more work.  Eaten by: DH & me

Corn - Darly made this...just dump frozen corn in dish and microwave it.  Eaten by: everyone

Green Beans - These were from fresh and Darly was NOT pleased to have to wash and snap all the beans, but so worth it.  We just steamed these in the microwave with salt & seasonings...Dh won't eat the casserole, and I don't need the calories.  Eaten by: Dh & me

Squash - Butternut squash.  I learned a tip online for getting these buggers cut...microwave them for 3 minutes.  This helped a lot with cutting through the seedy part, but the stem was still as hard as ever to cut...oh well, at least I got help with half of it.  Speaking of half, since I'm the only squash eater...I put half of the squash right into the freezer for later.  Eaten by: just me

Rutabaga - speaking of hard to cut...whoo!  I took my meat mallet to slam the knife through the rutabagas, which since DH was in the kitchen caused a lot more fuss than it should have.  He didn't appreciate the extra noise.  I pressure cooked them with some brown sugar...oh so yummy!  Eaten by: just me

Yams - Darly fixed these.  We got the canned yams, she added brown sugar and butter...then baked them.  I hear they were wonderful.  I wouldn't know as I don't like them.  Eaten by: Dh & Darly

Mushrooms - This is my stuffing replacement.  The pickies won't eat stuffing, and I don't need the extra calories, so I just steam the mushrooms with seasonings.  Gives me the stuffing feel w/o all the extras.  Eaten by: just me

Cranberry sauce - just the jellied stuff from a can.  Eaten by: Darly & me.

Rolls - from frozen dough.  A bit burned on the bottoms...bad oven.  Eaten by: everyone

Pumpkin Dessert - yummy dessert from DH's family.  It's like an upside down pumpkin pie with more seasonings than your traditional pie.  This year I made the recipe which should go into one 9x13 pan in two 8x8s so that we could take one to Church for Thanksgiving Eve service.  Small turn out so we had more than half left over... we still haven't started the second pan yet and I'm looking for someone to donate it to.  Eaten by: everyone

DH complained that I made too much food.  He doesn't like (for some odd reason) seeing so many dishes.  Yet I argued that half of the dishes were foods I made for just me that he won't touch.  His parents drilled in his head this silly "clean your plate" thing and his mom always insisted that they finish all the left-overs.  Hard to break the habits even though I've had him longer than his parents did.  sigh!

We forgot to take Thanksgiving last night I set up the camera and took our picture.  It came out blurry...I had space issues.  Sorry.