Saturday, April 30, 2011

In-Laws' House: Lighting

I previously mentioned the light fixture hunt, but realized I never shared the results.                                                                                                                                                         
Right or wrong, we bucked the realtor's advice and chose not to use oil rubbed bronze lighting in my in-laws' house for resale.  The reasons were threefold:                                                                                                      
Dining Room pendant
1) Trend. The whole family felt oil-rubbed bronze is trendy, and possibly on its way out, while stainless/nickel is more timeless.                                                                                                           
2) Dark.  We were getting rid of most of the 1970s dark brown and didn't want to add any back in, especially at eye level.  We wanted the metals to blend with the new light finishes, not connect with and bring the remaining dark finishes to the forefront.                                                                                                                                            
3) Dull.  ORB fixtures have tan or amber glass shades, diminishing the light offered by the fixtures.  The dull glow of such fixtures will not be advantageous to the feel of the home, which, additionally, has low ceilings in every room but the living/dining, and not a lot of natural light.                                                          
The challenges were to choose something contemporary without being too 'out there' for buyers with more traditional tastes, and, of course, not to spend too much money.  Attractive, and with some interest, but not overbearing or expensive.                                                                                                                                   
Entry fixture.  The ceiling height dictated the
choice of a flush mount.
We ordered from and  Both companies shipped quickly and offered good prices and free shipping.  The only complaint I had was with Lighting Universe.  Too often something I liked and placed in my cart was listed as "In Stock" on the description page, but came up as "Out of Stock" at checkout.   I would think I finally had a suite of fixtures that would work well together, that would arrive in a timely manner, but then have to start over.  Lighting Direct didn't have those problems, but didn't have as many fixtures to fit our needs in the price range I set.

Bedrooms and hallways have similar fixtures,
just in different sizes for proper scale

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Peek at the In-Laws' Bathroom Remodel Progress

I have to say that I'm loving the materials with the painted cabinets (SW Natural Choice), even though they were all chosen when we thought the old, medium-dark oak vanities were staying in the smaller baths. 

The "Blue Bathroom" off the rec room.  The blue toilet will be replaced with a biscuit one to match the sink.  It had a dark, 29 - 30" tall vanity, blue sink, and royal blue countertop...and even a blue light fixture.  You might not be able to tell that there are hints of blue mixed into the earthier browns in the flooring and countertop:                                                                                                                                                                        

The main, or "Brown Bathroom."   It had a brown sink and toilet to match the tub, and a dark brownish burgundy counter on the dark, low vanity:                                                                                                                                                                               

The Master Bath, mid-tear-out...                                                                                                                                                                                
This had the 30" vanity all the way across
with a makeup area at the near end where you
can see the carpet extended underneath.

Here you can see the original woodwork
color, and the bright yellow flooring in the
shower/toilet area

...and currently in-progress:

Here you can see the color of the cabinets up against the wall color.
where, Yay!, it doesn't look like Builder's White

Previous related posts:
I Could Just Cry...
What's Going Well
at the In-Laws' House

In-Laws' Kitchen, Part 5 begins:
Paint chips, tile boards, laminate samples...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Bellingham Bay 
Although we didn't date until after college, Hubby and I met and became friends at Western Washington University.  It was fun to share the campus with Princess Sassy and Prince Steadfast on a beautiful sunny day. -- The kind in which Bellingham and the campus really look gorgeous, surrounded by mountains, richly green trees, sparkling water (not the bubbly kind, but the sun reflecting kind), and at this time of year, beautiful smelling flowers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Hubby went to school at WWU...Period... and felt it was a place he had to be for that purpose, and wanted to get out of as soon as possible.  I feel sad for him in that.  But for me it was a whole, wonderful life experience in a great environment, with fun activities, and some very dear friends.  I cherished every second, and now, every memory.

My major department was in the 5th floor of this grand old building,
where I spent a lot of my time... Well, class time.

The new sports activities building.
I wish we'd had that back in the early 80s!

More new buildings mix with the old
Western is famous for its outdoor exhibit of contemporary sculpture

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Things Come in Twos!

2 Adult Princesses
2 Charming Princes
2 Rings
2 April Proposals
2 Happy Yeses                                                                                                         
2 more sons...both responsible and devoted Christian men we're proud to add to the family.                                                                                                 
2 Summer Weddings... This summer!  One in late July and one in early August.  19 days apart, to be exact.                                                                                                            
All of this results in 1 joyful, but slightly frantic and emotional Mother of the Brides.  ;-)                                                                                                                                                                   
These are the 2 events I've been planning that I eluded to in "We're not Worthy!"  At that time I was frustrated in locating, sifting through, and dealing with venues, the prices, restrictions, and the customer service people who weren't always big on service to those with limited funds.                                                                                                                             
We are a family who always struggles with finances and budget, being a family of 10 on an income of 1 teacher.  So, like everything we do,  these will be cost-conscious events.  -- Very nice, and very special, in spite of it... and unique to each bride.  We don't want the weddings to scream "Home made," or worse, "Cheap," but we will all be counting costs and considering carefully, spending our money where necessary and according to the couples' personal priorities.  I'll share our challenges and choices along the way.                                                                              

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mr Cuisinart, What is the Deal?!

Food Processor Pusher Sleeve Assembly:
The long narrow tab that hangs down
farthest is the part that broke off
Just griping.                                                                                                                
Several months ago...maybe well over a year...the pusher sleeve assembly to my Cuisinart food processor had a piece break off when being loaded in, or being taken from, the dishwasher.  The pusher sleeve assembly fits into the lid, and that now-non-existent piece pushes against another component that causes a chain reaction of moving parts down the handle of the bowl and onto the base, resulting in a triggered switch that enables the appliance to actually run when turned on.  It's one of the "safety features."                                                    
As there is a series of things that have to snap in place just right for the food processor to run, it seems to me that it has more safety features than necessary.  At least this one should have not been reliant on a narrow piece of plastic that can, apparently, all-too-easily break off.                                                                                                                                                     
A new pusher sleeve assembly is approximately $35, which seems a lot to replace a part that is still 95% complete, and does most of its job.  After lamenting this in a post on the Gardenweb Kitchen Forum, another member said she got around replacing the same part for the same reason by using a butter knife to reach down and engage the switch...So I've been using the handle from a broken spatula whose slightly angled end reaches in there just right for me.  But it's still a pain to have to do this whenever I run the machine.                                                                                                               

If that was all of my complaint, I wouldn't be bothering to tell you here.  We also have a Cuisinart mini-chopper.  Like the food processor, it is a valuable and well-performing tool that we use often in our kitchen.  But also like the food processor, it has a plastic lid with parts too vulnerable to breakage.  A couple weeks ago, I did something to the lid during normal and careful use (which I can't even remember) that resulted in breaking one of the side clips that locks it onto the bowl.  (I think I dropped it into the sink.) Since it still had one other side clip, and when in use, was otherwise locked into the main part of the appliance with a bigger locking piece, it didn't cause any problem.                                                              
But Prince CuddleBunny came to me this past week in tears, after having dropped the lid when clearing the dishwasher, breaking off the piece of the lid that locked into the appliance and allowed it to run when turned on.  So now I have a working appliance that won't come on because of breaking a tail-like piece off the lid.  It will cost $19 to replace the lid ($12 plus $7 shipping).  The whole appliance cost me $30 - $35 when it was new.                                                                                                                                                              
Funny that 2 parts broke on a 3 year-old appliance within a couple weeks.  Planned obsolescence?  Or are we just clumsier than most?  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

He is risen...
                      He is risen, indeed!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.                                                                                                   
This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.                                                                                                                                                        
Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.                                                                                                                          1 Peter 1: 3 - 9

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Big-family Kitchen Tools at Work

Sweet potato yeast roll dough.
My hamburger bun recipe with sweet potato in place of potato.

My new bowl works just right for raising dough.  Since I will be out of town most of today, I had to make rolls for Easter dinner, so  last night the bowl took its maiden voyage...

We have a standard egg-coloring kit, but we're
also going to try colorful teas, inspired by the ideas
 shown in 
easter cheer ... on Cottage and Creek.

My 16-quart Vollrath Tribute stock pot made 3 dozen eggs for boiling look like nothing.  In previous years, I had to use 2 pots.  This evening these will be dyed pretty colors for a lively hunt at Grandma's and Grandpa's on Sunday.   

Previous related posts:
Stove Bling!
My Little Vesselarian Heart
 is Singing!
Oven Temperature Probe:
Not just for meats any mor...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Great Book, and His Perfect Timing for Good Friday

I read to Prince CuddleBunny every night when I tuck him in... Every night that he gets in bed by a certain time, which turns out to be only a couple of nights a week, as he's often distracted by being part of the 'big boy club' with his brothers.  So when we started this book a few months ago, I had no way of timing when we might finish it.                                                                                                               
Sheep TalesThe book is Sheep Tales by Ken Davis.  One of the two main characters of this book is Edgar, a raven born with cloudy vision.  He had a wonderful mother, though, who loved and trained him, flying with him to teach him to recognize shapes and smells, and who told him of a loving Creator.  The basic survival training stayed with him, but not what she told him of love or hope, when she died tragically, leaving him to face the terrors of his blurry world alone.                                                                                                                             
The other character is Galya, a sheep who befriends Edgar.  Even though Edgar is brash and cold, often ridiculing Galya and questioning all he says and believes, the sheep is steadfast in his friendship and sadness for all Edgar doesn't understand.  We meet Galya just as he is being chosen as the sacrificial lamb for Passover.  While he is in the pen awaiting his fate, Edgar comes to share more discontent, but Galya shares the "Sheep Tales" with the bird...Stories of the Bible from the beginning, but as witnessed through the eyes of animals who were at each scene.                                                                                                                                
It sounds like it might be cutesie and a little hokey, but not at all.  I didn't really find this to be a book particularly written for young children.  There is so much to retrieve from the stories, and so much depth, that I thought it might be beyond Prince CuddleBunny.  I thoroughly enjoyed the fictional stories intermixed with passages of actual Scripture, but thought he might be just enduring it in order for me to stay with him longer.                                                                                                                           
What was really cool in this case was that we read the last few chapters this week.  Earlier in the week we read about a lame little bunny who, although not physically healed, was affected to the soul by his encounter with the newborn Baby King in Bethlehem.  That was the story that started to really crack Edgar's tough shell of fear and anger.  He flew away from Galya to deal with the avalanche of emotion that was building up behind that fractured wall.  Meanwhile Galya was led to his master for a last once-over before the trip to the Temple, so was missing when Edgar was finally able to return, wanting to hear the rest of the Tales.                                                                                                                           
It was then that we found out that Galya was scheduled for Passover sacrifice the week Jesus was on trial... So we now switched from stories of the past to events happening in real-time, according to the story.  The writing allowed me to feel Edgar's desperate feelings of loss, sadness, and despair... to feel Galya's combination of fear and honor... to feel the earthquake and the emotion of the moment of Jesus' crucifixion and the effect on the people who were there.  Edgar followed Jesus from the cross to the tomb, and in his agony stayed put, thinking his only friend, and the Son of God he believed in, were both dead...and that hope was dead.  The Resurrection changed all of that.                                                                                                     
Again, though I was getting a lot from the story, I wasn't sure any of it was resonating with my 7-year-old prince.  But as we finished and discussed it a bit, he seemed to understand the important messages, and just in time for Easter.  I was thankful for the timeliness for some increased appreciation of the reasons we celebrate.  I wished I'd been reading it to the whole family. Prince CuddleBunny said, "I really liked that book."

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. --John 1:9-14

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Who Was That Woman?

In my trip down memory lane while organizing bins and boxes of very mixed up photos, I found a former endeavor to share in keeping with Sugar & Spice in the land of Balls & Sticks' Throwback Thursday.                                                                                                                                         
I used to decorate cakes...Like all the time.  I put a lot of planning and time into some pretty extensive decorating for friends' showers and, especially, our kids' birthdays.  Whatever their current interest was, they got a cake fashioned to it.  For Princess Bossy's 6th birthday, she even got 2.  She had a cake in the shape of Belle from Beauty and the Beast for the party with her kindergarten friends (the only year she wasn't homeschooled), and another with for the party with cousins and grandparents.  Of course, I can't find the pictures...or remember what the 2nd one was.                                                                                                                                                                                     
I'm not trying to brag, I just had fun.  I was inspired by my mom who did really amazing cake decorating.  She was asked more than a few times to do wedding cakes for people.  I found further help in studying the The Wilton Pictorial Encyclopedia of Modern Cake Decorating book she had, and my childhood favorite, Cut-Up Cakes.  The latter was put out by Baker's to encourage the use of their flaked coconut, which I loved, and had cute and fun ideas for cutting cakes and reorganizing them into animals, toys, and other fun things.  It's a super-easy way to make a very impressive cake.                                                                                                         

My personal favorite was my own version of a cut-up cake, a dump truck for Prince Stoic's 6th birthday.  I started with with the understructure... A carefully shaped piece of thin Melamine that sat on five pieces of 2 x 2 lumber to serve as support and axles.  Oreo cookies stuck, with a dab of frosting, on the ends of those foil-wrapped 'axles' completed that look easily.                                                                                                                      
I think you can tell, generally, from the shape of the cake, how they were cut and stacked to form the truck and the dump trailer.  2 colors of base frosting, some not-very-complex piped-on details, and a foil bumper created a truck out of the blocks of cake.  More Oreos, but crumbs this time, finished the cake off with a convincing act as dirt.  --So convincing, in fact, that one of the party guests, a fairly sensitive young man, told his mom he just didn't want to eat dirt and wouldn't believe that it was cookie.                                                                                                        
Hubby laughs at me for keeping the wood understructure pieces.  He doesn't believe I'll ever use them again, but I told him we might have a grandson who likes dump trucks some day...and he just laughed some more.  Now, if anyone sees this and is able to thrill their own special prince because of making a similar cake, it was worth the little bit of storage it has occupied.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
I looked at the many pictures as I rifled through, wondering what happened to that woman who went to all that trouble and had so much passion for those cakes....Then I noticed that as the cakes got simpler, there were photos of 4-H, then Little League, more babies, Bible quizzing, youth group activities, and a house to build... 
The best part was seeing that when I started to pull back, the kids started to insist on trying some cake decorating of their own.  One way or the other, I know my grandchildren will have some cool birthday cakes!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Looking through photos as I sorted out the mess from the entry closet, I was reminded of past scenes from our life I really miss, but have been very blessed to experience:                                                                        
Being piled high with kids

 and having all 8 under one roof.

Sharing babies and celebrations with our grandparents, and having our older kids get to know them...

One of my all-time favorite pics

When the girls loved for me to sew them matching dresses, and, even better, impromptu loves between siblings.

Shared excitement over a new baby...

...and Hubby's classic pose with each one!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...