Archive for the ‘home improvement’ Category

  • Dinner and a table

    Date: 2010.12.05 | Category: home improvement | Response: View Comments

    You may recall that last week I showed you a picture of our old table:


    After spending every single night this last week in the basement doing something with the table – priming, painting, finishing, I am finally done.  As I mentioned, I followed Younghouselove’s directions on how to paint a table

    I put the last coat of finish on Friday night at 10 PM after a movie – that’s dedication, people.  Then I waited patiently until today to put it in our kitchen.  Actually that’s totally not true.  On Saturday while “waiting” for the finish to dry, I kept myself and Mark busy by putting up the Christmas tree, Christmas lights, and raking the yard.  Some people might say I don’t know how to relax, and I would beg to differ.  I know how to relax, I just don’t do it.

    The tree!



    Alright, alright, I made YOU wait too.  So here’s the “after” of the table:


    Side by side


    The table with food on it.


    I have a great recipe to share with you for this chicken and kale salad.


    Without further ado, here it is:

    Greek Chicken and Kale Salad Recipe


    One lazy Sunday + a hungry couple + a vehicle + a few bucks


    1.  Drive to Whole Foods

    2.  Add the Greek chicken and kale salad to cart

    3.  Drive home and devour

    I would highly recommend it.  I plan on adding this to my recipe book.

  • Kitchen Table Refinishing Project

    Date: 2010.12.01 | Category: home improvement | Response: View Comments

    Hi guys!

    How are we all feeling after the Thanksgiving holiday?  I came home refreshed and ready to tackle another big project.  This week, I’ve been tackling the kitchen table refinishing project.

    This is how our kitchen looks right now:


    It’s pretty small, and as you can see one of the chairs does not match.  The next problem is that it’s a little low, and exactly eye-level for Ada, which means our food is in a prime location for canine covert operations.  We really prefer bar-height to this height.

    A couple of weeks ago, Mark and I bought a fairly cheap dining set.  Neither of us wanted to go all out and get something really nice because the timing just isn’t right for an all-out investment.  So we got the next best thing: a cheap dining set from Garden Ridge (that we affectionately sometimes refer to as the "crap store" – there is some good stuff there, but definitely a lot of crap).  The dining set we got was a dark wood, and it doesn’t match our kitchen.  So I decided to refinish and paint it, Younghouselove-style.

    The tutorial on how to paint furniture was exactly what I needed.  So far I have followed the tutorial instructions to a T.  On Monday night, I spent about 2 hours sanding the surface of the dining set.  I HATE SANDING.  It makes my teeth hurt just imagining the noise of sandpaper against smooth finished wood.  But I wanted this to turn out just right so I dutifully followed their instructions.


    (This picture shows the sanded table with the start of the primer job)

    Last night I bought supplies: oil-based primer, semi-gloss latex paint, and Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic Protective Finish (just as they recommended).  I then spent the next 5 hours priming and painting the dining set.  Fun. 

    I worked a little late tonight, so I got a second coat of white paint on, and this is what I’m looking at now:


    (It’s still wet so that’s why you can see the unevenness)

    I have another coat of paint to go, plus the protective finish, and I just noticed that they recommended to apply 2 coats of the finish.  Sad face.  Just an observation: the peeps at Younghouselove are awfully patient.  In addition to all these coats of paint, they even recommend waiting 48 hours before using the furniture.

    I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it that long, but I do want my project to turn out like theirs did.  So I’ll try to hold out.  Two things are for sure: my before and after pictures will be up soon, and the next few days are going to be spent in the basement with a paint brush in my hand. 

    After that, I promise to revert to talking about food and fitness.  For a little while.

  • Scary Spice

    Date: 2010.11.08 | Category: home improvement | Response: View Comments

    Man, Monday hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am saddled with a cold/allergies and I feel like I’m walking through a swamp.  I just feel heavy and tired.  Tonight I’m just going to relax and rest and hope it does me good!

    Yesterday I played with Mark’s camera a bit.  Here is Ada sniffing the wind:


    For dinner yesterday I completed Meal Five of Week Four of the Four Week Recipe plan from Real Simple: Yes, folks, the cookthrough is OVA.

    It went out with a bang.  On the menu?: Cajun Chicken and Collard Greens.  For some reason this recipe made me start talking with a draaaawwwl.  A Suth’n drawl.

    I’ve never eaten or cooked collard greens, and I’m not sure I’ve ever had black-eyed peas either.  (Resist the urge to start singing My Humps.  My husband did not.)  Luckily, 24 hours before I had to cook this meal, I watched Paula Deen herself prepare colluhd greeens, y’all.  Here is how she explains it:

    Wash the collard greens thoroughly.  Remove the stems that run down the center by holding the leaf in your left hand and stripping the leaf down with your right hand.  The tender young leaves in the heart of the collards don’t need to be stripped.  Stack 6 to 8 leaves on top of one another, roll up, and slice into 1/2 to 1-ince thick slices.

    Did I go to the right source or what?  Lady knows what she’s doing!

    Here’s how it turned out


    Another tip for this simple recipe was the chicken called for blackening or cajun seasoning.  Don’t run out and get this (as you know I have a ton of seasonings as it is – more on that later).  You can make it yourself by combining paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, pepper and salt.  Here is a link with measurements, but honestly I don’t think that is necessary – just estimate it.


    And with that, the Real Simple cookthrough is done!

    Fortunately, this means:

    • Less spices to buy
    • Not trying recipes that I don’t want to cook but feel like I have to
    • Less pressure to cook – PB&J and grilled cheese, here we come

    Unfortunately, it means:

    • More PB&J and grilled cheese
    • I have to come up with my own meal plans (and I hate meal planning)
    • I won’t be forced out of my comfort zone
    • Having to come up with stuff to blog about on my own!

    This weekend, I rectified my spice situation.  Unfortunately, I deleted my “before” pictures!  Basically, I had one spice rack by the stove, and more than double the number of spices in the pantry.  It was out of control.  I decided to consolidate it all and install a spice rack on the back of our pantry door, clearing up some counter and pantry space at the same time.  Here is the result:


    The kitchen is really clean and more functional now, and just makes me want to go in there and cook up a storm.  Why didn’t I do this before the cookthrough??!  Who knows.

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