Monday, December 31, 2012

Must Be a Tradition

Last year, Dwayne took over the kitchen on New Years Eve to cook each person exactly what they asked for. I blogged about it, and this year, it became a “tradition”.

This year, the kids asked for pizza (each wanted something different 072on their third),









I wanted some of his excellent fish tacos, 074


and Dwayne fixed Jim and himself a steak.



And then he whipped up some crème brulee for dessert.  088

The man I married didn’t cook like this—I hoped I’ve changed this much for the good, too, in the past 10 years!   Thanks, Babe, for the delicious feast.


I love low key evenings, and after we got the kids to bed, we watched 3 Idiots, a movie another friend blogged about.  It’s long, has no particular genre, has subtitles and an off-putting title…and shouldn’t be missed. 


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cabin Remodel

We did it!  While I might mourn the loss a full bowling alley in my bedroom, we have remodeled our cabin to have three bedrooms and a perfectly darling, useful landing.  Wanna see it?  (Because I’m dying to show you!)

This is the “before” picture. The tape was a general outline of what we wanted to do.

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Here’s the basic outline of the area (not to scale).  The orange is the two closets, the red the stairs, and the small blue area is the original landing space.  It’s not to scale, but the drawing is not completely disproportionate.  It made moving furniture (and drywall) upstairs difficult.



“We” (Papa Jim did most of the work, especially the really heavy stuff) cut the big room in half, then built a small hallway so that each room would have it’s own entrance.  We tore out the closets, leaving only a small one in the second room.  This leaves the landing wide open and inviting. For a while, it will probably be a little playroom, housing the train/Lego table.  Eventually, I’m thinking a comfy reading chair, a bookshelf, lamp and small table to place a cup of tea.

The full wall separating the stairway from the new landing was cut to a half wall, allowing more openness and better lighting.



So this is how it really looks!

Our room, half the size but no less usable.

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The new room (known officially as Jim’s Room—we are calling this “payment”).  Sorry for the poor light.  Hopefully this week, we’ll get a mattress and a frame.

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This is the tiny closet we left.  It fits the vacuum and a few hangers.  What else does a cabin closet need?

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And what may be my favorite part, the landing.

This is not quite a “before” picture, as you can tell Jim and Dwayne had to tear out the ceiling and the wall has already been partially built.  The wooden door on the right was the original door to the kids room and it didn’t open or shut very well.  Like the closet at the end, it didn’t make the cut.

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This is how it looks now. New door, new light, no closets, new flooring.  I chose and installed the vinyl planks and I love it! 

Here’s also a peek at that half wall.

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Here are the doors to master bedroom and Jim’s room.  (Darling mirror, huh?  $6 at Value Village!)

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I want to show you the new attic entrance. It used to be right above the stairs, which no one who had to go up there liked very much.  When Dwayne and Jim redid the ceiling, they moved the access and then Jim framed it well with bunk bed supports we had leftover when we got the kids’ beds for the cabin.

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And now we are back to the stairs. 

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I have yet to finish the half wall (forgot the oscillating saw last time I was there), but this is what it will look like.  Jim measured and cut and I sanded and stained.  It looks good!

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Just a few more side notes.  We had two large closets that were great storage—if you needed it. But we have two sheds on the premise, and since it really is just a getaway cabin (and a place to practice projects), we don’t need to store much outside of bedding and slippers.  It felt so good to get back lots of square footage by demolishing these two monstrosities.  However, it left a carpet dilemma.  But putting in new flooring gave us a chance to us up the extra transition pieces we had left over from our April remodel of our kitchen.  And it looks so much better!

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“We” did all the work ourselves, except I hired a local guy to come in during a week when no one was there to tape, mud, and texture the drywall—a tedious task that not only takes several days, but is also something I’m not particularly good at. 

We never noticed how funny some of the wood was until we had to work with it or around it. If you look at the trim in the bedrooms, you’ll see that the original trim is a different width on almost every wall.  That was great, because it didn’t matter so much when we used different trim to finish the new walls. 

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I fell in love with Rustolium’s Oiled Rubbed Bronze that I learned about from a blog my sister-in-law blogged about.  Beautiful stuff.  I got the light fixture I wanted (that fit the budget) and spray painted it with this to match the door knobs I had chosen.  I also did the hinges to match.  It’s the small things, and these fantastic doors look even better with this not-quite-black contrast.12-20 99% done 8


Nothing gets me going like a good project, and as soon as I get the half-wall trim on, and finish painting the new floor and ceiling trim, we will stamp this one



And it might be the most useful project we’ve ever done.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twelve Days

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me

12 Kylas caroling

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11 Pipers Piping

12-25 Piper chocolate

10 Wesleys Whistling (or whining, depending)

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9   Daddies napping

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8   Mamas yelling

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7   Grandmas knitting

12-25 Parker and Grandma

6 Papas sawing

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[Note: my dad made the two doll beds that can be put together as bunks, for when the girls’ dolls want to have a sleep over.]

5 Uncles uncling

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4   Aunties baking

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3   Cousins playing

12-25 Grinch watching

2   Friends singing

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1   Large and  happy family

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Reindeer Games

12-25 Christmas Morning indoor ball games 9So breakfast has ended, the kids have opened their stockings, we are doing general clean up (grown ups) or dirty down (kids), when my beloved takes a ball of foam pellets (a stocking stuffer for the kids) forms it into a ball, and lobs it at my mother.  To her credit, Mom raises her broom and takes a swing at it. 


Instant indoor softball.


Batter, batter, Hey batter!

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12-25 Christmas Morning indoor ball games (2)

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When Janet and Cheryl came, we wouldn’t even let Janet up the stairs until she fielded a few balls in the outfield. Then we let her hit. 

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But I tagged her out at home plate. (Hey, is that one of my good plates?!)

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If you know anything about the human condition and balls, you know without me telling you that this quickly degenerated into a game of


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Two targets, and whenever that target was hit, s/he would have their place taken by the sniper.

[Ed. note: I’m not even going to try to curate the following.  There are too many great candid shots of my family playing dodge ball in my kitchen, for the love of all that is good about holidays.]12-25 Christmas Morning indoor ball games 23

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All right, folks.  Game over.  Time to snack more.

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