Saturday, June 28, 2008

How 'bout a kiss??

It's the new color for the formerly red wall in the kitchen....Chocolate Kiss. Yum! (Chocolate is my favorite thing; now it's on my wall too!)

Jeff has been at scout camp all week, and then at 11-year old scout camp with Jared, so Nicole has been helping me patch, prime, and paint the walls in the kitchen. She is an EXCELLENT helper, as always.

We are now down to 10 days until the new cabinets are installed!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sourdough Success!

Yay! My sourdough experiment (scroll down for the post) actually worked! Yesterday morning, I took out some of my active culture, and started preparing it to make bread. The rest I put into a jar and I am storing it in the fridge.

I took out 1/2 cup of the active starter, added flour and water, and let it proof for 12 hours. Then I added more flour and again let it proof for 12 hours. This morning, I added water, salt, and more flour, spoon kneading it for as long as I could. Then I turned it out onto a flour-covered board and kneaded in the rest of the flour to make a nice soft dough. I formed two round loaves and then let them proof once more for about 2 hours, until they doubled in size. I then put them in a cold oven and set the temp to 375 degrees. They took about 50 minutes to bake.

The result looks pretty darn good, if I don't say so myself. :-) It also tastes pretty darn good too! It's amazing that you can take flour and water, add a little patience, and have a self-rising concoction that's also good for you: I learned that not only does starter have wild yeast, but it also has lactobasillis (that good bacteria found in yogurt) in it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Meet Zippy!

Here is Zippy, our newest addition to the family! Zippy is a Dwarf Roborovski Hamster. Tiny, our other hamster, is a Dwarf Campbell Hamster.

In this picture, Zippy is living up to her name. Dwarf Robos are "extremely lively and entertaining." She has been running on the wheel now for about 2 hours, almost non-stop.

She's keeping the kids busy watching her, that's for sure!

Sourdough experiment, Day 6

Thought I'd update on the status of my sourdough (or pre-sourdough culture) experiment. As you can see, I think it's closer to being the sourdough I want. It's getting pretty bubbly, and when I feed it, about every 12 hours, it is starting to grow. I'm looking for it to be able to double itself in 12 hours before I use it for bread. sure smells good! (To those of us who like the smell of sourdough bread, that is!)

Introducing Spike

This cute little bird was visiting our feeders last night. Once in a awhile, we see one that we've never seen before, like this little guy! See the little spiky feathers on its head? Hence the name Spike. (I know, he may be a she, as in Spikelle, Spikette, Spikie, etc....)

Spike stayed on the railing, hopping back and forth, while I v-e-r-y-q-u-i-e-t-l-y snuck out onto the deck to take this picture. I didn't actually get this close, so thank goodness for a good zoom on the camera!

If anyone out there knows what kind of bird this is, please post! :-)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A not-so-fond FAREWELL... the cabinet which was responsible for the stitches on my head a couple of months ago! Soon to be in this spot: a new pantry wall with stainless steel refrigerator.

The work continues...

Me-1, ugly laminate-ZERO!!

Well, this is pretty self-explanatory. We started tearing into the kitchen, and Jeff asked me if I'd like to take a whack at this section of the old countertop. Of course I did!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

It's Alive!!

Well, I learned something new today. (If you can say that at least a few times a week, you're doing well).

Kudos to my dad, who got me onto the idea of making my own sourdough starter with "wild" yeast....yeast that is floating in the air around us all the time. I think I tried this before years ago, but I can't even remember what happened with it. ;-)

Anyway, what I learned was that what is pictured above is actually called a "culture." See the little bubbles on the top? This culture (a mixture of equal parts flour and water) will become my sourdough starter, when the yeast gets good and strong, and which (hopefully) I will use for ever after to make sourdough bread. This picture was taken just 30 minutes or so after "feeding" this culture that I started two nights ago. It's starting to smell nice and "sourdoughy" and I'm really excited to see how this experiment turns out!

I just realized, though, that I'm crazy to be starting this approximately 10 days before my kitchen starts getting torn out, and then replaced. Oh well...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Keep 'em guessing!

I like to keep things interesting, hence the change of colors. As if things aren't interesting enough around here, let me tell you.

It's VERY nice to have the roof done, but soon we will be tearing out our ugly kitchen...which I must concede has been O.K. for the last 6 years. I mean, I have lived with it and could have continued to live with it some more. (When I thought about redoing it, I would be put off by the daunting task of living without a kitchen for a few weeks in the process!)

What was the moment that pushed Jeff to declare to me that "you need a new kitchen!"? While talking on the phone with an insurance agent, I bent down to pick something up off the kitchen floor, and promptly stood up and banged my head into the d%^& cabinet that NEVER stays completely closed! While trying to talk on the phone with stars literally spinning around my head, yet sound like nothing at all had just happened, I put my hand up to the spot to check for blood. I didn't see any, until I put my hand up there again and then touched my counter, leaving a big red smear behind.

Well, needless to say I had to have "stitches," or in other words, that new-fangled glue they can sometimes use instead. The upside? I didn't have to have shots in my head to numb the skin. The downside? Having super glue stuck in my hair for literally 2 months. In fact, I'm still trying to get that stuff off some of my hair!

When Jeff came home and looked at "my honey's wound" as he so sweetly put it, he said, "YOU NEED NEW CABINETS!"

So, any wives out there angling for a new kitchen? You know what to try next! LOL

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A storm is let it rain!!

The roof was finished yesterday!

Here's a picture before, and then now. The really great thing about the new shingles is that they look different in different lights. In the morning light, you can see more of the variation in the color of the shingles. Anyway, the darker color really makes the rock look warmer and richer.

We feel safe from the rain now, so let it come!

No More Brace Face!

Okay, the best thing to happen in Jacob's world was that his braces came off today! I will have to find a "before" picture to post, because the difference is really amazing.

Now he just has to remember to wear his retainer every night, and he'll be good for the rest of his life!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Light, camera, whoa baby!!

Okay, so it's 8:30 in the morning, cloudy, and this is how much lighter the main bathroom is with the new solar tube!! (I did not use the flash on the camera.) Whereas it used to be a dark, ugly cave, it's still an ugly cave but it ain't dark! LOL

Makes you wonder what it'll be like at noon on a sunny day, doesn't it? To check out ODL's Tubular Skylights for yourself, see the link at the bottom of this page under "Places to See." We highly recommend them!

Well, the roofing continues today...hopefully it won't rain too soon.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Let there be light!!

Here is the first of the destruction in our kitchen....a hole cut for a solar tube. We will also have one in the main bath, which has no windows.

Now that the rain has stopped (for now anyway) the new shingles are being put on the roof. So far, no one has fallen off and everything is moving along!

We'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

My own Fear Factor

Well, the title says it...I confronted my fears (on a dare from my kids) and climbed up onto the roof myself! Here's a picture of what I saw when I got up there. You can see how bad the old shingles are.

Everything went fine until I set out to climb back down: I couldn't climb onto the ladder. I pretty much froze, sat down, and waited for Jeff to come hold my hand while I climbed onto the ladder. Once I got onto the ladder, I was okay. Something about facing the drop and having to swing a leg out over it was pretty freaky!

Monday, June 2, 2008

The Renovation....Continues!!

Well, we've begun to tear up the old roof, and let me tell REALLY needed it. The old shingles just crack and crumble to pieces when you walk on them and pick them up. It's definitely time!

Here's a picture of Jeff, Nicole, Jacob and Jared on the roof, helping out by tearing up some of the shingles over the deck. (and yes, I'm scared that my kids are up there!)