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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Re-do...

We learn something new everyday, don't we?

I learned that picture taking with sunlight beaming in the windows doesn't make for good photos.

Sooo, let's try this whole kitchen thing again. I think these pictures show the color much better. Maybe it's my imagination. But here goes....


 This is Eric still doing our taxes. What a champ.

Notice that he is unaware that I'm taking these pictures of him. That's how intense doing taxes is. 

Please note how nasty the blinds look against the white trim.
We will be investing in white blinds ASAP.


The Rinehart home is finally back to normalcy. Last week, Eric was in Las Vegas for a business trip.

I'll be going on my week long Vegas trip next month.

ha, not. I wish.

Let's just say Barkley missed Eric. He had a bad case of separation anxiety, causing him to keep me up all night....for 4 straight nights. I was not a happy camper. But it was a reality check to see if I can handle having a newborn. I decided that I can handle it, but I didn't love it. It was such a relief to have Eric home on Friday, for both Barkley and me.
But, Eric had the time of his life in Vegas, which is wonderful. He got true VIP treatment. I'm reconsidering my career choice for the sole reason that I would get to take awesome "work" trips. But, I'm giving back...that's all that should matter, right?! (Mom, I can hear you laughing now)

I anticipate a much better week beginning tomorrow. Eric, on the other hand, misses Vegas, hehe.


We made kabobs tonight. Delish.
Eric was in charge of the meat. He marinated chicken and steak in caribbean jerk dressing and then sprinkled it with spices before grilling. He's the unofficial 
grill-master.
I partially cooked the veggies since they require a different cooking time than meat.



I forgot to take an "after" picture because I was devouring the deliciousness. You get the idea. 



Hope everyone has a good week!!

Ta-da!

The kitchen walls and trim are done!! Yahoo!

It's pretty subtle, but really brightens up the space.

That's Eric doing our taxes :)

I just hung up that wall decoration for now. I'm planning on finding antique plates in various colors and making a collage.
That's for another day.
And who knows how long it'll take to find the right plates when we only have one antique store in Sidney.



The cabinets still need to be painted all cream. Maybe I'll get to that next weekend.



Barkley is such a cuddly puppy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kitchen Update

I was able to paint the kitchen walls and most of the trim. The windows are really challenging to paint! I'm dreading finishing the last one....

This is where my inspiration came from...




Now, I do know that my kitchen will never look like the above pictures. But a girl can try!! Don't they just look so airy and inviting?? I thought so too.

I'm really disappointed with my pictures. I really need to figure out the setting on my camera. If I invested as much time into that as I did painting, I'd be quite a photographer!
These really don't show the true color of the walls, so use your imagination. The color is sage green.




I'll take more, I promise. These are just ridiculous. But, the point is...I like it!!

Oh, and this is the kitchen in the midst of it all--


That's right, I pulled out both the refrigerator AND oven all by myself. I'm ripped.

Next step- finishing the windows, installing white blinds, and working on window treatments.

I'm planning to make my own padded valence box. Like this...but not in this fabric. gross.

They look simple to make. Has anyone done these on their own? Do you have tips? And how do you feel about this window treatment in a kitchen? I like the clean lines of the box, personally.

Creamy tomato bacon pasta

I thought I'd share this delicious, creamy, bacony pasta with you. Again, I altered a recipe that I found. It's super easy and most of you have the ingredients already on hand...but get ready to wash a lot of pots!



Ah, the famous chef. Eric was trying to be artsy. How did he do?? hehe


hmmm, bacon. I am a firm believer that bacon makes everything better.


Sorry for the gross picture. I thought I'd show what it looks like in the end. However, I still haven't mastered the art of making food on a plate look appetizing.
I served this up with crusty garlic bread.
Enjoy!



Ingredients:
  • 5 Slices Bacon
  • ¼ teaspoons Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 pound Rigatoni Or Penne Pasta
  • ½ cups Heavy Cream
  • ¼ cups Cream Cheese
  • ¼ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 tablespoon nutmeg
  • 1 whole Egg
  • ¼ teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Sundried tomatoes (as many as you want!)
In a skillet, fry the bacon. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes. When done, remove bacon until cool enough to handle and roughly chop.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until done.
Put cream and cream cheese in a small saucepan. Heat over low until cream cheese is melted, and whisk until smooth. Add the nutmeg. Remove from heat. Add the parmesan cheese, egg, and pepper and whisk until blended.
Drain pasta (reserving 1/2 cup of hot water) and return to pot. Immediately add the white sauce and toss to coat. The hot pasta will cook the eggs. Stir in the bacon and tomatoes, and add some reserved pasta water if needed to loosen the sauce.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clients say the darndest things

So, I have a client today telling me about how his niece steals things from the convenience store. Naturally, I ask what kinds of things she steals.
He says, "Oh, you know...those nice, warm pieces of chicken. What do people call them? Oh yea, chicken tenders."

Don't we all love nice, warm pieces of chicken? Some people like to call them chicken tenders. I prefer nice and warm pieces. It's so much more discriptive...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Kitchen Re-fresh!

I haven't been happy with our kitchen since we moved in. It feels like a hodge podge of colors. It doesn't feel fresh. It's just not going to cut it.
And honestly, the kitchen is where Eric and I spend the majority of our time at home. So it needs to be perfect! Or at least close.
The main challenge with the space is the lack of...space! The kitchen truly is tiny. We've made it work, but it's still not up to par.

After we got married, I decided to repaint the kitchen cabinets. It was a nice change, but not quite the makeover I was hoping for....

Here are the cabinets before. I had already taken off the two top cabinets when I took this picture, so pretend they're there. Notice that the cabinets are the same color as the walls...


And after...





So, here's the plan for the kitchen makeover:
paint all of the trim pure white
paint the walls sage green
repaint the cabinets all cream (if the two-tone doesn't look right)
replace the off-white blinds with white ones
And EVENTUALLY, replace the windows with new, more energy efficient ones. They let in waaay too much air and new windows would really up the value of the house. Add those to our dream wish list!

I started on the trim of one entryway today. Here's how it went.



It doesn't look like a big difference in the picture, but it really is. I can already tell the space will be much more fresh and airy.

I plan to paint of the trim this week. Maybe I'll even get to the walls!


My amazing husband is so innovative, creative and handy. We've been brainstorming about how we could make a hanging pot rack. Today, while at Wal Mart (naturally) we found a box of 3 cooling racks that we thought would be perfect for the project! $7 for 3 and we used 2. I'll use the other as a cabinet organizer. So many uses for the common cooling rack!

So, Eric rigged up the coolest pot rack to hang above our kitchen sink! This frees up so much space in our sparse cabinets and, well, it looks cool.
 



I love it!

This, among other reasons, is why I married him :) 

Homemade Granola

I love granola. But, the stuff you buy in the store can be high in sugar and fat, right? So, I decided to make my own and tweek a recipe that I found to make it my own.

You owe it to yourself to try this heavenly mixture. It's perfect in the morning with milk or as an afternoon snack with yogurt. Hmmmmm...


This is what you need:


Here are the delicious almonds that I crushed up....
 ...with a very hefty, manly knife. Somehow I always tend to cut a finger when I use large knives. So I was careful. Very Careful. And I made sure my trusty husband was nearby.

Put all of the liquid, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a pan on medium heat.
It should come to a rolling boil in a few minutes.


Get your cookie sheet ready with foil and make sure to spray it with Pam. It's a lifesaver.



 Pour all of your dry ingredients (see below) into the boiling mixture. Turn off the heat and just mix it all up.


And pour it onto the cookie sheet!


 Spread it out evenly


It should be lightly browned and crispy. At this time, your house will smell
a-m-a-z-i-n-g.
Pour in the raisins and cranberries.


And ta-da!! You have delicious homemade granola! Dig in.





Granola:
4 cups rolled oats
1 cup Special K
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup finely chopped almonds (can also use walnuts and/or pecans
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins and sweetened dried cranberries

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line one large baking sheet with parchment or aluminum foil. Spray with Pam, or any vegetable spray.
Combine the oats, Special K, sunflower seeds, almonds in a large bowl. Stir together the salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, oil, cinnamon, and vanilla in a saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, then pour over the dry ingredients, and stir to coat. Spread the mixture out evenly on the baking sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven until crispy and toasted, about 10 minutes. Stir once halfway through. Cool, then stir in the raisins or cranberries before storing in an airtight container.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Winter in Sidney...

Well, as you can see, this whole blog thing doesn't necessarily come naturally for me. I've been putting off making an entry, but the time has come to make this just another part of my life.

Eric and I were worried that we would get bored this winter. So, we challenged ourselves, along with a couple friend of ours, to get rockin' bods by April.

He has started doing a workout regimen through a program called P90X. It's hardcore. He dedicates an hour to an hour and a half to working out every single day. It's quite impressive. It's been 2 weeks. Only 2 and a half months left! I was supposed to be doing this with him, but found that I just don't have it in me. So, our neighbor Jeff took his place. He is a much better workout partner than I would have been.
BUT, I do have a fitness goal myself! I've always wanted to run a half marathon...so I'm going to do it.
In about 6 months...
I have to train, duh.
And that's why I got a 10 time punch card at the gym. It's not quite a full year, but it's a start!
So, I will train.
And I will document that training on this here blog. It will be my own little fitness diary, among other things.

So, I will have you know that I went to the gym for the first this past Wednesday. I walked for 35 minutes and did several arm weight machines. It felt nice. The Sidney gym is seriously the smallest, most outdated place I've ever seen. When I first walked in, I expected there to be another room of machines. But no, that was it. It will take some getting used to. It's not about what the complex looks like, it's what you do in it. I need to remember that. 
I then took Barkley for a 30 minute walk yesterday because it was nice, and another 30 minute walk today!
I walked, but it's a start.

Sidney has a series of 5Ks coming up. One each month until May. So, Eric and I plan to run our first ever 5K on March 17.  It's going to be awesome.

Eric leaves for Las Vegas on Monday, so I have to find the internal motivation to keep this "training" up. I can do it. No biggie. Barkley will help...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The very first

I've decided to start a blog for a variety of reasons.

I think I owe it to myself to document this crazy, curious, confusing adventure that I'm on.  I want to share my life in a different way with all of the special people that I can't see as often as I'd like. And lastly, I want to stay busy, get creative, and challenge myself. This blog can fulfill many purposes, and if it does just one, I'm satisfied.



Eric and I are watching a movie and it's after 8:30, which means that my attention span is significantly lower. I shall post a more insightful message another day.

 
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