Friday, February 29, 2008


We heard today was LEAP Day! Poodles love LEAPING and we are so glad to see they finally dedicated an entire day for it! So, in honor of LEAP Day, we did lots of LEAPING!

We LEAPED into the Suburban to ride over to the new house, then we LEAPED out.

We LEAPED over lumber, then LEAPED across the thresh hold into the house.

We LEAPED all over Brooke, who decided to eat her lunch where Mommy's ovens are going to live one day.

We LEAPED from one room to the other, watching for Strangers LEAPING On Trampolines and Squirrels LEAPING from Branch to Branch, and watching Mommy and Brooke clean.

Cosette LEAPED up on the new cabinets in the Poodle Grooming Room.

We sniffed at the supply shelves and in the shower, but we didn't leap there. We were afraid of a bath.

We LEAPED out of the Poodle Room and LEAPED across the backyard to bark at the Growling Neighbor Dog.

Then we LEAPED back into the Suburban and LEAPED out when we got home! Whew! We're tired from all that LEAPING! So Cosette and Abrial LEAPED into their crates and Delilah LEAPED up on the sofa for naps.

We sure celebrated LEAP Day in high form, dontcha think?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

For Laura in MO

Laura in MO asked to see my floors "up close" to see the scoring, so here's today's picture.

The floors have been finished, but not sealed. When sealed, they'll be a wee bit darker and they'll have a slight sheen to them. They are still dirty here - after sweeping a gazillion times, vacuuming and mopping twice. The Sheetrock dust is simply everywhere.

We scored the squares 24" x 24" throughout. I saw someone's scored and stained floors last week and she had 36" x 36", but her ceilings were 12-15' high and it looked beautiful! But she had WAY more house than we'll have. :^)

It was odd how the stain absorbed in different ways in different areas of the concrete - in my bedroom (which is under an oak tree), some of the pollen and stuff from the tree had fallen right after staining and it made portions look almost black, while other portions look almost "rusted." It sounds ugly, but it looks neat.

The stain is a green acid - it's neat how it foams and smokes when applied, then it changes to the stain color. If you throw different objects across the wet stain, it changes the look of the stain - metal objects, other chemicals, etc. Great for chemistry lab! I can see we'll be using this stuff again in non-flooring related projects!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Scrapbooking Kitchen

Scrapbookers like to eat. Scrapbookers like to eat chocolate. So when you have scrapbook classes, you MUST have somewhere to make the chocolate - and eat the chocolate. And wash off the evidence! :^)

Actually, because if we ever sell, we want the "scrapbook room" to be it's own studio apartment, Steve wanted it to have a kitchenette and a full bath. I would have been happy with a sink and microwave and a "powder room."

Today Morgan and I explored the new cabinets in the scrapbook room. I didn't need a lot of cabinet space and won't have any uppers, but the cabinet maker is making me a few shelves for upper storage - for a teapot or two and a canister with Dark Chocolate M&M's, of course. My old 'fridge will go up here. We'll try to find a range at a "scratch and dent" store in town, and we'll just put in a small single sink. And the scrapbook room will be finished after we are in the house. But it's still fun to see ANYTHING go in there.

Here are the cabinets in the bathroom. Actually, we were just supposed to have the small cabinet with the sink in there, but the tall cabinet was a mistake, so we got the big linen cabinet, too!

The cabinets in the "poodle bathroom" downstairs were "mistakes" as well. Actually, the customer who ordered them changed her mind, so they were just taking up room in his shop. He sold them to us just for the cost of lumber. Morgan and I love "mistake" cabinets! They're CHEAP!

(Okay, she's not really jumping for joy about a deal on cabinets. She was doing a toe-touch for me, which is hard to do in jeans and crocs!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It's A Kitchen!!!

The cabinet guys came today to install all the cabinets, including the uppers! It looks more like a kitchen than a construction site! (Okay, kinda still like a construction site, but not QUITE so much so.) I know all these kitchen cabinet photos are boring for a lot of people, but I'm excited and it's my blog. Ha!

The view from the breakfast area. The unfinished thing in the foreground is the peninsula that will have a little bumped up eat-at bar. The cabinet maker didn't want to make the hickory panels for this until it was all put together, so the measurements would be exact and he wouldn't ruin a bunch of hickory for a 1/4" error.

Empty space is for my double oven. The uppers on this side will have seeded glass, which will go in after we stain and poly the cabinets.

This cabinet that goes all the way down on the right is my "baking center." It was made specifically to house my KitchenAid mixer - there is an electrical outlet in there. All my flour/sugar/baking stuff will go into this cupboard above the mixer. I'm definitely a "step saver" in the kitchen if at all possible. (In this house, it's not possible. My KitchenAid is right next to my 12x12 paper trimmer. Yes, awkward I know.)

Here's the little door opened. It has a small piano hinge. If the door would have simply opened out, it would hit the trim for the cased opening into the dining room. To have it slide in near the wall would be a lot of trouble. I didn't want a tambour door. I had a little hinged door like this at our other house, although it wasn't a space tall enough for my mixer.

The view of the peninsula from the kitchen - and a view of The Headless Husband. Muhahahahaha! The cabinet with no door on the right will have a pull out trash receptacle. But, like the pull-out spice drawers, it'll be put together after the staining.

Monday, February 25, 2008

More New Stuff!!!

Last week, we received our appliance delivery, as well as the lower cabinets for the kitchen. Now my kitchen is starting to look (a little bit) like a real kitchen, but my living room just looks like STORAGE!!!

Steve is checking out the freezer, to see if Sears delivered ice cream with the new appliances.

Everything else is in boxes - microwave/vent, double ovens, cook top, and dishwasher.

Oh, the dishwasher! I cannot wait! I absolutely HATE washing dishes. And my dishwasher here went on the fritz a couple of years ago. I do occasionally give the girls the task of washing dishes, but they don't use water as hot as I do, so I tend to rewash things because they feel "greasy." I prefer to do the washing and have the girls dry and put away. The girls generally do an excellent job with laundry. But I digress. I truly CANNOT wait to have a dishwasher again!

This row of cabinets will be for the little "kitchenette" upstairs in the scrapbook studio. The little strange rectangles on top of this cabinet are the risers for the bar portion of the peninsula in our "real" kitchen.

Steve is adjusting the shelf in this high cabinet. He is standing in front of a small "pantry" - it's a cupboard with slide-out shelves.

Steve is thinking, "Wow! Do I have a lot of sanding and staining to do, or what?" Our kitchen cabinets are hickory. We wanted a rustic-looking wood. The cabinets for the upstairs kitchenette and for our bathroom are all paint-grade pine.

My soapstone farmhouse-style sink will go in this cabinet. The cabinet guys will have to cut a hole in the bottom for the cabinet to fit over the plumbing pipes. They had to make this cabinet extra-sturdy because sink weighs a couple hundred pounds.

This little unfinished "hole" will house one of my two pull-out spice drawers. They will be on either side of the cabinet that houses the cooktop.

Now to get in the uppers! I can't wait!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sleepy Sunday

Here is Stewart, demonstrating how our Sunday went.

Not really. We did sleep in and went to the noon church service. It was unusually crowded because that was pick-up time for the junior high and high school kids who attended an "in house" retreat. Great service. We didn't get out until 2:30!

Then we went to eat at Copeland's and had some yummy Louisiana seafood.

Then it was on to Lowe's to get prices of vinyl siding and check on door knobs, light switches, receptacles, and ceiling fans.

After that, the horses needed to be fed and stalls cleaned. We were still in church clothes. Sometimes you need to dress up to go to the barn.

When we came home, I was so tired, I got in the bed at 7 p.m. to do a little reading, but promptly fell asleep. I NEVER go to bed that early! So I guess it WAS a sleepy Sunday after all!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Poodle Pamper Time

Tonight we were watching a rerun of the Eukanuba dog show, mainly because Steve has been reading a novel with a Bouvier de Flanders and he wanted to see what the dog looked like. In "real life." He had seen pictures, but wanted to see perspective of the size of the dog.

Brooke was painting Abrial's nails.

While she was waiting for the polish to dry, she'd give Abrial tummy rubs.

But Abrial was so funny because she would lie still, even if Brooke wasn't touching her, and she'd hold her paws out so she wouldn't mess up her nails!

It was too funny!

(And Steve decided the Bouviers were definitely not for him!)

Friday, February 22, 2008

Something NEW!!!


Hey, wait. That's not new. Haven't we seen that before?

Nope. Look again!
The floors have been uncovered. No more Tyvek! They're not sealed yet, but it was nice to SEE them again, especially since they've been covered since June! Our floors are scored, stained concrete and we did the scoring and staining before the walls went up, then covered them with a layer of Tyvek, then brown paper to protect them. Even though they were covered, they are still full of DUST! There were a few little cuts here and there in the Tyvek and it let in lots of dust, although it's not nearly as bad as it would have been without the covering. Then I would have been scrubbing sheetrock mud off the floors on my hands and knees with a brush!
I bought a Floor Mate. Hopefully that will make my job easier. But it was SO exciting to see my floors!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New Recipe

Tonight we had a new recipe from The Pampered Chef cookbook 29 Minutes to Dinner. It was called Brown Butter Tortellini with Spinach and Ham.

1 20-oz package refrigerated cheese-filled tortellini

1 6-oz package fresh baby spinach

1 8-oz piece cooked ham steak

1 large red bell pepper

1/4 cup butter (do not substitute margarine)

coarsely ground black pepper

1. Cook tortellini in boiling, salted water according to package directions.

2. As tortellini cooks, place spinach into a large colander. When tortellini is finished cooking, drain in colander over spinach. This will wilt the spinach without overcooking it.

Meanwhile, dice ham roughly. Finely dice red bell pepper.

3. Add butter to pot in which you boiled tortellini; heat over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until butter is a deep brown color, stirring occasionally. Do not allow to burn. As soon as the butter is browned, add the diced red bell pepper. This will cool the butter and prevent burning. Reduce heat to low; add ham, tortellini, and spinach. Gently toss. Add black pepper to taste.

Yield: 6 servings (Okay, 6 servings of UNREAL people - Joshua was already asleep, so the four of us polished this off.)

My redneck Wal-Mart didn't have tortellini, so I substituted frozen miniature cheese-filled ravioli. This was a noted substitution in the book - they also said you could substitute diced, cooked chicken for the ham. That would be a good way to use up left over chicken.

I really liked this dish. Morgan didn't because she doesn't like ravioli. That said, she ate quite a bit. Steve said it needed "sauce." Men!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Poor Abrial

The other day, while I was at the new house painting, I left the girls with instructions for tidying and dishes and laundry. Brooke's task was to pick up the living room. Imagine my amazement when I walked in to get the girls for the barn and found Brooke not cleaning the living room, but GROOMING Abrial in the middle of the living room! Yikes! There was black hair EVERYWHERE! This is what Brooke started with....

and this is what Abrial looked like at the end of the grooming session.

Now, I must admit that, for a first time, she didn't do a completely awful job. But I almost died when I saw she had shaved her ears. I like long ears.
And a shaved face rather than a moustache. Mainly because, on a black dog, it tends to "brown out" from staying moist from the water bowl.

So tonight I did "damage control." There wasn't much left to work with. Mainly I scissored her topknot, bathed her, and plucked her ear hair.

Here's what she looks like now. Boy, I hope we aren't in for a cold front!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How to Play Fighty Cat: A Tutorial

Steve has invented a game with Stewart. They play it together almost every night. Stewart knows that Only Daddy plays Fighty Cat. For this, I am grateful. However, Stewart will play a much milder version of this game with the Poodles.

Steve's Steps to Playing Fighty Cat:

1. Find a Willing Cat.

When Stewart is ready to play Fighty Cat, he comes and jumps on the bed by Steve and turns his tail to Steve - and twitches it so hard that it makes a loud THUMP on the bed!

2. Human Participant must have a high tolerance for pain and the sight of blood - his own.

This was the end of Round One.

3. Irritate Cat from Step 1 until Cat turns around and bites Human Participant.

4. When Cat relaxes, repeat step 3.

5. Continue until Cat is too worn out to continue the game or Human Participant's hand is hanging by sinews.

I honestly can say, I have yet to see the appeal of Fighty Cat. But evidently Steve and Stewart enjoy it, because they play it every single night.

While Steve and Stewart were engaged in this particularly rousing game of Fighty Cat, Steve was so oblivious to the fact that he was receiving a pedicure - complete with "clear coat." Gee, thanks, Morgan.

This is in the middle of playing Fighty Cat. He knows when to turn it off and when to turn it on.

That doesn't look like a Fighty Cat to me!