Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Trimming out the windows

 This week's project: Paint the living room and TRIM OUT THE WINDOW. 

Why? Because trim work is my favorite! My goal is to trim every window in my house... which, because we have a lot of big windows, is a LOT of trim :) 

There are a lot of styles in which you could trim out a window. Mine is a Cambridge/Craftsman hybrid with an 8" top casing and a 1/4" fillet.  (The lighting in this room is tough for picts, so I attached a picture from online below to give you an idea what it looks like.) 

Total cost: About $30 (not including the paint and caulk which I already had)
Total time: a few hours 
Total impact: Huge! This is a simple way to add architectural impact to your home. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Jack of All Trades...

I've been in a bit of a funk lately. I'd like to say it started in conjunction with the new year and the opportunity it presents to set goals, but really, it's been hanging on for the better part of a year. You see, I just don't know where to point myself. It's not that I don't have ideas. Really, its that I have too many interests and ideas. 

How can that be, you say? How is it possible to have too many interests or ideas? 

As the saying goes, I'm somewhat of a "jack of all (or at least many) trades, master of none." 

And that's where the funk comes in. Being good at many things is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but I've turned a corner where my heart's desire is to be a MASTER of something (other than embarrassing my kids). But, what? 

Writing? Marketing? Building? Designing? Baking? Healthy cooking? Painting? Gardening? Health and fitness? 

Have you ever tried to make a PB and J but just didn't have enough PB? You pull the scraper out and try to get every last drop out of the jar, right? Well, I've scraped the jar clean and I've got plenty for one sandwich. But for years I've been using that portion to make three, or four, or even more. As much as I can't keep stretching, I cant seem to let go either. 

Yes, I'm stubborn - probably ridiculously so! 

And so, I hedge forward, dragging my feet like a toddler on her way to somewhere she doesn't want to go. I feel like I'm pushing someone off the train. 

But if I can't part ways with one - or five - of my " good trades",  then honestly, it's me that's going to fall off the train! 

So I've spent the last several weeks, whittling down my to-do list. I've compromised with the voices in my head...and I even feel good about most of the task-list carnage. 

But two remain. And I don't just want both of them, I NEED them. Emotionally and mentally they are ingrained in me. But can I do it? Is it possible to be a Master of two trades? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

8 Things that 2016 Taught Me

This morning I sat on my recumbent bike, my feet turning at roughly the speed of "I'm not getting anywhere fast today." Ironically, I wasn't going anywhere anyway. I never do during my morning ride. Unless, of course, spinning my mind and my feet at an equivocal pace whilst never leaving my basement can be considered going somewhere... in which case, I went a whole lot of somewhere today.

What started as a mental check list - you know, the GOAL list that is requisite with the new year - quickly turned into some self-banter about all that 2016 brought with it. As if flipping through the pages of a magazine, the events that shaped my 2016 rolled out easier than the calories I'd been hoping to burn.

And so, today I present a list of THE THINGS 2016 TAUGHT ME: 

1. Quality of life has nothing to do with the size of your paycheck. - This was hand's down the biggest lesson of our year. We - meaning my hubby - made a job change  that flipped our world upside down. His paycheck increased a bit, but his hours doubled. Family time became non-existent, as did sleep, meals, and vacations. Everyone's stress level escalated. We all felt it. None of us liked it.  - Gratefully his old employer offered him a very nice opportunity to come back. It was almost a no brainer. We took the offer and reclaimed our sanity!

2. I am not a superhuman. -  It's something I've suspected for some time, but this summer - specifically the "Garden Cottage" project - was the final proof that I needed. (What is this Garden Cottage, you ask? Check it out here.) Resourceful and determined as I may be, it proved to be physically impossible for a 5'5 1/2" girl to handle 4' x 8' sheets of plywood on her own. And let's not even talk about the Hardie Board... or the roofing... or the climbing up the ladder. 

3. I am braver than I thought. - Or stupid. Probably just stupid. Let's face it, ladders and I are not friends. 
Safety at it's finest. 

4. Letting people help you is NOT a sign of weakness. - Yeah, this lesson came on hard and fast as a result of the "Pinky incident." (If you haven't had a chance to check out those picts, you owe yourself a favor! :0) One wouldn't think a silly little pinky finger would render you helpless, but it did. For about six weeks post op, that whole hand was pretty worthless. I'm 12 weeks out now and finally pretty much back to normal. Well, except for that hunch backed knuckle. Oh, and the fact that the whole finger does its own thing. And then there's the fact that the upper knuckle doesn't bend. So, yeah. Good(ish) as new.
$11k and 12 weeks later, I have a tea-time pinky.
5. Breathe. - Sometimes life doesn't go as planned. And sometimes it goes way worse than you can imagine. Like when your hubby's passport comes up missing... on Christmas day... and you're headed to Cancun with the family the next morning. But, really, what can you do but breathe? (And pray. And be grateful those prayers are answered and he arrives just one day late!)
The so-sad empty seat when your hubby doesn't make the flight. 

6. Spontaneity is, indeed, part of my vocabulary.
- Don't laugh. It's true. I can fly by the seat of my pants. Sometimes. For real. I promise it happened... In the form of a last minute, unplanned car purchase... from the auction. Sight unseen. And, after a day of panic about my crazy spurt, and a six hour drive to pick it up, I was finally able to breathe. I did good. Maybe I should try spontaneous more often.

7. The selfie and I will probably never be one with each other. - And, it's okay. I prefer to be goofy anyway.

8. Live. Laugh. Love. - Yeah, cliche, I know. But really. This is legit. Cherish people. Don't give in to drama. Life's too short to carry baggage.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Creamy Cinnamon Apple Salad

Am I the only one that cringes when they get the "salad" assignment for a pot-luck? I mean, salads are great and all, but you can only toss greens around so much before they become tired. This beautifully delicious salad was my saving grace at a recent party. 

Quick. Easy. DELICIOUS! 

4 lbs Apples, crisp sweet
2 tbsp Lemon juice, fresh
2 cups Water

1/2 cup Brown sugar, packed light
2 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1/8 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1 tsp Vanilla extract
1 (8 oz) pkg Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 (8 oz) pkg Sour Cream, light
3/4 cup Cranberries, dried
1 cup Walnuts

Mix lemon juice and water in large bowl. Slice apples into bite sized pieces and place in lemon-water mix for 5 min. (This prevents them from turning brown). 

In separate mixing bowl, combine Neufchatel cheese, sour cream, brown sugar and spices. Mix until smooth. 

Drain apples and pat dry. 

Add apples, cranberries, and walnuts to cheese mixture. Chill until ready to serve. 

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