I can't remember whether I mentioned this or not yet, but for Christmas my parents got Ryan a Soda Stream so he could make his own soda at home.
Master Suite Remodeling
While we were at Mary’s waiting for the tile adhesive to set…we watched a LOT of television. More specifically, we watched a lot of HGTV. Seeing all those nice houses and remodeling inspired me to start planning a remodel of our master suite. I say master suite because my remodeling plans would affect the bathroom, closet and office (plus decorating the bedroom). The picture below is an approximate representation of our current downstairs floorplan. The top of the picture is the back of the house and the front door is at the bottom of the picture towards the center. The kitchen and garage are not shown and some other details may be slightly off but it’s pretty close.
Finally a current post after the last few belated posts! Over the last couple months, Ryan has been playing a new game called “Ingress”. The game is in testing or “beta” release so you can only play if you are invited to play. I requested an invite a couple weeks after he started playing but it took forever – I just finally got an invite last weekend. The premise of the game is that the world is divided into two teams or factions: The Resistance, and The Enlightened. Before you even start playing you choose a team – we’re both on The Enlightened.
The game is GPS based and requires you to drive to various places to go to “portals”. These portals are located at all public places so far: libraries, post offices, fire departments, historical sites, etc.
New Tile for Mary
I know in a previous post I talked a little bit about the tile work we did for Mary over Christmas but I guess I forgot that I had taken pictures. I recently switched from my phone camera storing the pics in the camera folder to storing them on the SD card so now my main “gallery” only shows the photos from one of the sources. I didn’t realize I had a bunch of other pics until I was on my computer browsing through my phone folders.
Anyways, Ryan was struggling to think of a good Christmas gift for his mom Mary and I recalled that she always mentioned (every time we were up there) that she would love to rip the linoleum out of her guest bath and put tile instead. Since the guest bathroom is so small, I suggested that we should tile it for her for Christmas. Then Ryan volunteered us to also do the master bathroom and the entry way and closet. It ended up being a lot of tile but it should make a dramatic improvement for her house. Now the only linoleum left to replace is in the kitchen and under the washer/dryer. Maybe we’ll do those for Christmas and her birthday this year. Here’s what her old linoleum looked like, it really wasn’t bad, just not as nice as tile.
2012 Cookie Exchange
Sorry for these old posts but I found some pictures on my camera that reminded me I forgot to post some neat stuff that we did in December. Between the wedding, honeymoon, and Christmas I guess I just forgot to write about them. On the weekend before Christmas, Doreen had her annual cookie bake. She usually goes for two days. On the first day, lots of family members come over and then on the second day she has a few family or friends over. Everyone brings their own baking supplies and recipes and makes at least one kind of cookies (preferably two though). Then, when the cookies are all done, there are tons of different kinds of cookies and everyone makes a tin or platter of Christmas cookies. Last year I made Chocolate Italian cookies and I think I might have made them the year before. I also usually help Doreen bake whatever cookies she has left that she wants to make (she usually picks at least 5 recipes).
But last year, Al (Doreen’s husband) complained that we weren’t making “pretty” enough cookies anymore. He wanted an attractive looking platter for Christmas day and too many people were making boring drop cookies, LOL. So this year I went on my pinterest board and found a couple of prettier cookies to make. First I made these spiral cookies:
We All Scream for Ice Cream!
I LOVE ice cream, I always have and probably always will. I like vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, caramel and any other dessert-like flavors or toppings. Not only did we get a Kitchen Aid mixer for the wedding but we also got the ice cream attachment and a book with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream recipes. I’ve been dying to try and make some ice cream but we kept forgetting. Finally this past weekend I remembered and I happened to have all the stuff I needed. Ryan and I decided to make Oreo Mint for our first recipe. It called for eggs, milk, whipping cream, sugar, peppermint extract and Oreo’s (except we used Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies instead). First you crush up the cookies – which Ryan reminded me that I should have let my Blendtec do it for me instead of getting out the rubber mallet to smash them up, haha. Then you use the regular mixer bowl to wisk the eggs for a bit, then gradually add in the sugar and lastly the milk, cream and extract.
The ice cream attachment is a special double walled bowls that has a liquid trapped inside it that has a freezing temperature lower than that of water. You freeze the bowl overnight before use (I’m going to just keep it in the freezer so it’s always ready) and then the temperature of the bowl will be colder than ice. Once you’ve mixed all the ingredients listed above, you put the freezer bowl in place of the regular mixing bowl and attach the mixing piece (they call it the “dasher”). Pour in the liquid and set the mixing bowl to stir for about 25 minutes. Here’s what it looks like while it’s mixing:
Before the wedding I made some super cute gifts for my bridesmaids (and myself, LOL) but I think I forgot to post them! I wanted to post them right away but I know at least a couple of the girls read my blog so I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. First, I got them all little birdie necklaces that have their initial hand stamped on them.
Thanks to my Aunt Katie, we now have a waffle maker and I have started making waffles on the weekends. I just use the recipe on the bisquick box (plus a little cinnamon) and, in our iron, it makes exactly five waffles which is enough for whoever has Friday off to have a waffle and then each of us to have one waffle Saturday and one Sunday. So far I’ve been making the batter Saturday morning and making two waffles. Then I put the leftover batter and the syrup container in the fridge. Sunday I heat the remaining syrup in my little pourer container and make the rest of the waffles.
Sadly I didn't take many pictures of the freezer cooking but here's a recap of the first freezer cooking or "big day" (as some people call it) of 2013. I was behind (as usual) so I didn't get my grocery list finalized until friday morning (on the big day). I decided to use my Access database to plan the cooking but I hadn't tested it in a while and I was a little nervous about whether it would have any bugs or not. Well...it sorta worked. I got to the grocery store and my list said I needed 4 cups of yeast (when I knew I only needed about 3 tbsp) and it didn't show any ricotta cheese when I was pretty certain I needed some. So I did the best I could adjusting the list on the fly and getting all the groceries for me to cook for a month and Carolyn to cook for two weeks.
I think we have developed poor enough habits that reaching this goal will not necessarily require structured meal or training plans. At the end of each month I will evaluate my habits and progress to see if what I’m doing is working or if I need to adjust something to meet my goal. I hope to meet this goal no later than 3/31/13. But to start, here are my specific goals: