April 26, 2012

A Sneak Peek

Yesterday, my husband and two wonderful friends installed the wood floor in our family room. Sweet, glorious hardwood floors.  I have missed them so much!



Everything isn't quite done yet but we're inching ever closer.  DIY home renovations - gotta love it!  The room looks so different. So much better!

April 24, 2012

10, 9, 8, 7 ...

So we're running a bit behind.  The hardwood floors are being installed tomorrow and the mantle is still missing, as you can see.  You can also see how nasty the carpet looks, even though I've steam-cleaned the hell out of it numerous times.  I will NOT miss this carpet one bit!


A few people have warned us that we may not like the TV hanging above the fireplace but it's been this way for about a week now and we love it!  When we removed the big entertainment center, it opened up the room so much.  We had family over on Sunday for my sister's 30th birthday and everyone said the same thing - the room looks a lot bigger with the entertainment center gone.

I cannot wait to see how this turns out!


April 19, 2012

More Progress!

My handy hubby finished the floor and wall tile and the wall is primed. Then he poked the necessary holes in the wall in order to hang the TV (not shown) ... it's coming together ... I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!




April 16, 2012

Holy Cute Shoes!


How adorable are these!


Found in a no-name shoe shop in Philadelphia for $20.

The perfect shoes for when you need pedicure
and don't have time to get one!


April 13, 2012

Spinach and Cheese Calzones

I am not a chef. I find recipes online or in magazines and if they appeal to me, I will attempt to make them. Unfortunately for me, I live in a house with very boring (and picky) eaters.  Every once in a while I'll put a new meal in front of them and they'll eat it, but say they aren't crazy about it. It makes me feel like a bad cook but I know I'm not since my extended family enjoys my cooking!

During the work week I keep things very simple because there isn't enough time to make a time-consuming meal. When I get home, they just want to eat and quick.  If I'm in a meal planning cycle, I'm prepared but if I'm currently on strike, well, PB&J will have to do.  My husband, love him, but he is zero help in this area unless I say, "I have steaks." That's when his ears perk up and his tail starts to wag.

When I got home yesterday, the boys had been treated to McDonald's by their friend's grandmother so I didn't have to feed them and my husband was on his way out the door to meet a friend for a few drinks. Cue heavenly music - I can eat whatever I want!

I mixed thawed spinach, part-skim ricotta, mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper and garlic powder.


Then I took a tube of refrigerated pizza dough and cut it into 4 equal parts and stretched it into a circle. Using a baking sheet and some parchment paper, I arranged the 4 circles on the baking sheet and placed about a 1/2 cup of the spinach mixture on half of the circle, folded the dough over and pinched the ends with a fork to seal the calzone.


I baked these babies for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.


These were so good I ate two!!  As you will see by the recipe below, I did change a few things to use what I had on hand. I'm positive the original recipe would be just as good if not better!  The remaining two calzones I wrapped and put in the freezer after they had cooled ... so I'll have to let you know how that turns out.

Spinach and 3-Cheese Calzones

13.8 oz tube of refrigerate pizza dough (I used Pillsbury thin crust)
10 oz thawed spinach
1 cup part-skim ricotta
1 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
(or just substitute 1 cup mozzarella like I did)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste

Slice a 13.8 oz tube of refrigerated pizza dough into 6 (I did 4) equal pieces. Shape into balls and stretch or roll out on a lightly floured surface. Arrange the circles on the baking sheet and fill with the spinach mixture, spreading on one side of each circle. Fold dough over the filling. Pinch and crimp the edges to seal.

Bake for 14-15 minutes at 425.  Serve with your favorite marinara sauce for dipping (I used Victoria's)

**Recipe from April 2012 Parenting Magazine**

Enjoy!

April 12, 2012

Progress!

Home renovations always take longer than you anticipate. This is the price you pay when you do it yourself. It's a catch 22 if you ask me ... pay someone to do it, who may do it wrong or do it yourself in your spare time.  My husband is handy guy so I should just be thankful we have the option to choose!


Once we started ripping stuff off the walls, we ran into a few issues which lead to a few other issues and decisions. Isn't that always the way? For example, we repainted the front of the fireplace and massively cleaned inside of the (fake) fireplace. It's looking good! I really like the way the tile looks ... and I can't wait to see it all put together with the new stone and the hardwood flooring!

I'm trying my best to be patient!

April 11, 2012

Kids and Sleepovers

My oldest son experienced his first sleepover this past weekend. It was a birthday party for a boy in his class. They "camped out" in an RV camper in the backyard (it's still too chilly for tents around here!)  He was excited but nervous as the clock ticked down to the start of the party.  The birthday boy has been in his class at school for the past two years so I'm familar with hearing stories about T and I've talked to T's mom  a few times so I felt comfortable letting him attend the party but I wasn't convinced he'd actually end up sleeping there!

Surprisingly, this is actually the first time a sleepover has even been offered! I guess it's more of a girl thing to do.  I have two brothers and I actually do not remember them attending sleepovers frequently when they were young. But I know I frequently had sleepovers with my girlfriends!

Whe we arrived at T's house, many boys were standing on the front lawn.  Twelve 9 & 10 year old boys were sleeping over.  I told T's mom she was certifiably insane! She laughed and said, "Well I was smart. I'm making my husband sleep outside in the RV with them!"  Smart indeed.  I can only imagine the smell inside that RV!

As I went to leave, Son #1 barely gave me a nod. I guess it's not cool to kiss your mother when you are 10. But Son #2 was almost inconsolable.  He was so upset he could not stay at the party. Lucky for me, taking him out for pizza and grabbing a Redbox DVD cheered him right up.  With Daddy off at work and #1 at the sleepover, we enjoyed a quiet evening on the couch watching Jack & Jill ~ which was probably the dumbest movie I've seen in a long time.  Adam Sandler needs to have his head examined. The movie budget was approximately $79 million dollars for 91 minutes of a terrible movie so that equals about $868,132 spent for each minute!  That money should be paid to me for wasting my time!

I'm happy to report the boy had a great time at the sleepover but came home m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e due to the lack of sleep so Saturday was a very long day, filled with tears at times, because his head and body were sleep deprived.  He's already planning when and where his next sleepover will be ... umm, we'll just see about that!

April 10, 2012

More Cat Drama

Last week I was sitting at work, working, when my cell phone rang.  My son was calling to tell me that Tibby was bleeding really bad.  She had been outside but came home and when they let her in, they didn't realize she was bleeding so she left bloody footprints all over the house.  My husband gets on the phone to explain in more detail and said her back foot was messed up and speculated that maybe she stepped on something. So he decided to lock her in the basement.

REALLY??  I suggested maybe a SMALLER place, like a bathroom, might be a better option so we didn't have to clean up cat blood for hours ...

So they moved her to my son's bathroom and then the text messages start. Long story short, I left work for a "cat emergency". I jokingly asked my boss if I was allowed to charge the time off to dependent sick time! Ha! Luckily my boss loves me and found the humor in my question and situation.  Before I headed home, I phoned the vet and they said they would take her as soon as I arrived.

When I got home, I rushed up to the bathroom to see how bad this was. I opened to door to a murder scene.



This picture really doesn't do it justice. And neither does this one.



At some point she must have shaken her foot because blood was also spattered all over the wall. Awesome!  I could see her foot was badly hurt but she wouldn't let me get a good look at it until we got to the vet.



Can you say OUCH!

After an xray, it was determined that she fractured her "digit" or toe and it had to amputated. Yes, amputated! (Just the toe - almost as if she were declawed)  The going theory is that she was jumping off of something, her foot got caught, and she dangled and wiggled until the "digit" broke and freed herself. Poor kitty!

I now refer to her as my million dollar cat because of how much she is costing me, much to the dismay of my husband.  But this was an accident and there was no way to prevent it.  I'm considering mounting a video camera to her body in some way so I can discover what kind of trouble she gets herself into when she's on the prowl.

She is resting comfortably at home but she has one of those collars on so she can't bite at her foot. She just *loves* the collar. Hopefully we can take it off soon.

And I'm hoping for no more vet bills until at least 2013!!


April 6, 2012

April 5, 2012

Boys Love Hammers

Okay, so someone didn't steal my fireplace. My husband ripped it off the wall. Most people sleep at 4am. But not my husband. His sleep schedule is whack thanks to his job so he decided to make good use of his time. This is all my fault though. I've wanted to install hardwood floors since we moved into this house. It's been 3.5 years and finally, that time has come. I AM SO EXCITED!

The hardwood floor has been bought.  750 pounds of hardwood flooring is currently resting in my living room!  Before we can install it, we wanted to refinish the fireplace and mantel.  When all is said and done, our TV will now be hanging above the fireplace - a gas fireplace we don't use. We should just get rid of it but wow, that would be a lot more work so we'll just leave it where it is and enjoy looking at a renovated mantel.


The boys and I got to work on the old marble that was around the fireplace.  Right after I snapped this picture I realized we should be wearing eye-protection ... so don't worry, no one was harmed and everyone still has their sight. It's save to say the boys *loved* destroying a piece of the house. I have now hidden all the hammers.

April 3, 2012

I Hate Walllpaper!

I'm not sure I can put into words my hatred of wallpaper. I just don't like it. And in my world, I've always been affected by the sins committed by homeowners. In other words, I'm the one stuck trying to REMOVE the wallpaper and praying it was done properly when it was hung. 

In my old house there were 4 rooms full of wallpaper. Over plaster walls. Since the living room walls were in bad shape we opted to tear down the ceiling completely and went right over the plaster walls with quarter-inch drywall. Seriously, what a mess. I actually moved out the week this was done! We never did get to the 4th room (we used as an office) and the ugly navy, maroon and green paisley wallpaper that cruely adorned the walls before we ended up selling the house. While house hunting the second time, there were quite a few homes that we instantly walked  out of when we saw how  much wallpaper was in the home!  I refused to deal with it!

The house we ended up buying had a tolerable amount of wallpaper in it. My son's bedroom had a border about 2/3 of the way up the wall around the entire room.  Not great, but not awful.  And the boys's bathroom had a wallpaper border as well.  All of that has been dealt with and scraped off the walls.

But one room was still haunting me ... the powder room. Yes it's a small and insignifcant room but with floor to ceiling wallpaper and a border around the top, it was still there, almost laughing at me, reminding me of what I would have to do some day.  Well, that day has arrived:

Yes, the room does look a bit pink.  The aztec cream wallpaper with pink, mint green and yellow "brush" marks isn't helping. And neither is the MATCHING counter top. Seriously. You would never know my house was built in 1999. What in hell were they thinking?

I did make an interesting discovery though ... I can see pencil-written measurements so this means the walls were never painted and the wallpaper was hung before the original owners moved in (they had the house built - we are the second owners.)  Either the builder hung the wallpaper or they had someone come in to do it before the mirror was hung and before the toilet was installed. Yes, just my luck - it's behind the toilet too.



I'm making progress but it's slow going. And now I have a blister on my hand from all the scraping.
 Fun times! 



Does anyone want to come help?  I'll pay you. I make good brownies!