Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Confession #2

Here's another confession for ya! I have a really strong mind-body connection. I think most people do, but don't pay attention to it. When someone around me isn't feeling well, I tend to take on their illness. Not to an extreme extent, but mildly. Right now my doggie isn't feeling so well. Last night she woke up and was acting a bit strange. We fed her a bit, and she ate, but not as fast as she usually does. She then drank a decent amount of water. We called her up on the bed and spent some quality time with her, then she went to sleep after going out for a potty break. Now it's 6 or 7 hours later and her tummy is gurgling (which probably explains the uncomfortableness of last night). I'm afraid to see what's going to come next, hopefully just some gas, but now my tummy is upset. I don't like to see people, or animals for that matter, in any kind of discomfort. Needless to say, I tend to take on the ailments of those around me. I'm strange, I know!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tile is 98% finished

So here's the final product. It took us about 2 weeks of working on the tile, on and off, but we finally got it done. We worked on it for 2-4 hours a day, but not consistently. All I have to say about tiling a floor, is that I'll never do it again. Of course Shawn and I started with the largest room in the house that needs to be tiled, the downstairs kitchenette and laundry area. This room is about 250 square feet of wonderfulness. I will post pics of before, during and after pics once we get the kitchen cabinets and granite counter top in. But for now, you will have to settle for these pics.

We tried to grout the floor in a dark color, per my sister's advice. She said that grout will change colors when it gets dirty. So, we started out with a dark color, but apparently once you get the grout in there, it is MUCH lighter than the color on the grout bag, and even the color chart. Now our grout is exactly the same color as the tile, which is slightly disappointing. We wanted darker grout, but such is life - you live and you learn I guess.

Our next step, sealing the grout, getting the washer and dryer back into the room, and installing the lower cabinets. I can't wait until the room is finished.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

We eat with our eyes.....

This is what I made today.....

I also made some really good deviled eggs, but I didn't take a picture of those because, well, they are deviled eggs, and who hasn't seen those?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Despite reports.....

I keep hearing and reading reports about education being a 'safe' job in this economy. Every time I hear that I laugh. Being a teacher in primary education, and even an instructor in higher education DOES NOT mean that you are immune to layoffs. In fact, it means quite the opposite. Here's what I read today:

California Asks Feds For Nearly $5B For Education

Posted: 3:49 pm PDT April 9, 2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is asking the federal government for nearly $5 billion in economic stimulus money for California schools.

The governor signed the state's application Thursday.

Schwarzenegger says he hopes the money will avoid further teacher layoffs and help schools that are struggling to absorb $8 billion in budget cuts.

About 26,000 California teachers were handed pink slips this spring after Schwarzenegger signed a state budget that made massive cuts to state programs and raised taxes to boost revenue.

The governor's office estimates schools could get about $3.1 billion after the application is approved, with another $1.8 billion to follow. Most of the money will go to K-12 schools, with about a fifth of the total dedicated for higher education.

Copycat Outback Steakhouse Ranch Dressing

I have been searching for a good homemade ranch dressing recipe but have been unable to find one. I decided to search for copycat recipes and have been making different versions all week. Here is one of the best ones I have found so far:

1 teaspoon Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix (make sure it's the Buttermilk version)
1 cup mayonnaise (Hellman's or Best Food's only)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Throw everything in a blender and blend until everything is well combined.

1 teaspoon Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix (make sure it's the Buttermilk version)
1/2 cup mayonnaise (Hellman's or Best Food's only)
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix everything together in the blender until well combined.

The only difference between the lighter version and the first recipe posted is the substitution of cottage cheese for some of the mayo. Both versions were good, but it's still not exactly the same as Outback. I have also seen some copycat recipes with 1 Tablespoon of the Ranch Dressing Mix instead of 1 teaspoon. I personally think the dressing needs a bit more flavor, but that's probably only because I'm a ranch snob. Enjoy!

Kitty Burglar

I just read a story on cnn.com about a cat who is stealing clothing and other items from neighbors. The kitty's name is "Jack", if that really is his name though I wouldn't blame the owner for using an alias in this situation. He goes out at night and collects items from his neighbors and brings them home for his owner. You can watch the video HERE.

So far he has collected:
stuffed animals
a childs hoodie
and much more.......

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Laying Tile

My wonderful husband and I are laying tile in our downstairs kitchen. Yes, our house has two kitchens. A full kitchen exists upstairs, and a kitchenette resides downstairs. Our full kitchen upstairs has everything a kitchen needs. The kitchen downstairs has everything a kitchen needs except for a dishwasher. I keep calling the downstairs kitchen a 'kitchenette' because that's how we are going to use it. We are currently leaving out the refrigerator and stove, though there is space and wiring. But let's get to the point......

We have been laying tile on the floor for the past couple of days. If there is one word of advice for the beginning tiler - DON'T FREAKING DO IT!!!!! Buy the materials and hire a professional to do it. Laying tile has to be the hardest jobs we have done in our house so far - and we've torn down walls, replaced front and back door with re-framing, built walls, remodeled bathrooms, refinished 1150 square feet of hardwood floors, painted the house inside, painted the outside of the house that had been beaten down by the sun for 50 years, laid pergo flooring, replaced windows, built a concrete wall including a slab for the hot tub, and countless other remodel projects around the house. Tiling a floor is by far one of the worst remodeling projects EVER!!!!!!!! (I use multiple exclamation points to emphasize the fact that tiling is horrendous. Don't do it, just don't.)

Here are some pics of the kitchenette and the tile project. I hope you can see the color of the kitchen. If not, it's a gray/blue color. The tile is a ceramic travertine tile, and the counter top is a natural granite color (that was free-$.99 thank you very much to the folks disposing of perfectly good granite slab). The cabinets will be white along with the ceiling, trim and door. The kitchenette theme is "Ocean" or "Beach". I will put up my ocean photography in the room, and make some matching curtains.

Without further ado, here are a couple of pics......

Notice the gray/blue color of the walls, light and breezy. Recessed lighting because our downstairs is not a full 8 feet, and the natural color travertine tiles. This pic is where the cabinets will eventually be. We have the cabinets, they are just waiting to be assembled and installed.

Notice the perfect grout lines. Yeah, 18x18 tiles are really hard to place. Never will we tile a room this big again. Never, nope, no way.