Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dishwasher + Plus More Counter Tops = Much Better Kitchen

The first time our realtor showed us our house I instantly noticed that there was no dishwasher. I wouldn’t even consider a house without a dishwasher unless there was a way to put one in easily. My dad said that it wouldn’t be a big deal to do it so that took care of that problem. For some reason after we bought the house we did not tackle this problem though. We focused on painting and some flooring here and there. The kitchen was actually the only place we didn’t paint the trim white (don’t worry, I’ll be taking care of that soon.)
Even though we were adding the dishwasher I didn’t want to lose my cabinets plus I wanted (and needed) more counter space. The solution was to just turn the cabinet piece to make a peninsula.
Time to get that dishwasher in. Now, buying a new dishwasher and hooking it up is easy compared to what needed to be done here. Since there’s never been a dishwasher you need to hook up plumbing and electrical to it. Most houses nowadays automatically have plug ins behind the dishwasher spot, we didn’t have that luxury. Thank goodness for my dad, he is so handy. I couldn’t imagine trying to do this ourselves.
Finally the dishwasher is in! I seriously started loading it with whatever I could find right away. I was like a kid wanting to play with their present on Christmas morning.
Since we extended our counter top area we needed new counter tops (plus the old ones were pretty dated and had some cracks.) We picked the High Resolution Laminate Wilsonart counter tops in Deepstar Agate. And wow, what a difference!
There’s still some staining to do on the new pieces that were put in but that should be taken care of this weekend. There is definitely more things to be done in here but I think we’re off to a great start.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Start To An Addiction: Spray Painting

A few months ago my sister was telling me about spray painting and how it’s almost addicting. At the time I didn’t take her seriously. Now I’ve realized she was telling the truth. I bought my first can of spray paint and I am hooked! Everything in my house, other peoples’ houses, things at garage sales, anything, I think about spray painting it. It transforms things so quickly how can you not be addicted? So here comes the story of a bathroom clock...
When I was first initially starting thinking about getting a clock in the bathroom images like this came up. I definitely wasn’t going to go this route. Is it weird having a clock in the bathroom? How are you supposed to know if you have time in the morning to curl your hair or just throw in some gel in and run out the door?  I had all but given up when the clouds parted and I found this!
This clock was at a super cute shop in Zimmerman, MN called Ramshackled Treasures. I thought this worked perfect to sit right on the counter. The problem was the color of the clock just isn’t doing it for me. It almost looks like some sort of animal print. Off to Michael's I went to get some spray paint and I couldn’t believe all the different kinds they have. I decided on silver because that is the color of my towels rods and some other fixtures.
Pretty bright! I almost felt like I just painted a car part or something. Maybe I am just overreacting. So I brought it inside and figured that I just needed it to grow on me. 
Nope, I can’t stand it. It is so out of place! Off to the hardware store I went to see if they had anything that would work.
 Espresso! That’s the color of our toothbrush holder and soap dispenser. What have I got to lose?
I love it! There’s no waiting around to see if it grows on me for this one. This color is here to stay. I like it so much that I’ve been eyeing an ugly hunter green lamp this week that may be getting the same treatment. Maybe me and my sister can have a spray painting party so we can work out our addictions together!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Ultimate Challenge: Perfect Paint To Compliment Oak Cabinets & White Trim

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most creative person in the world, but I’m pretty darn good at researching and finding inspiration to make my home feel like it was professionally designed. The only problem now is trying to find inspiration for the wall colors in my kitchen and dining room. I am planning on painting all the trim and windows white like the rest of the house but we are leaving the oak cabinets as is. For some reason there must me an unwritten rule that all home blogs need to feature painted cabinets. Don’t get me wrong I love the look of painted cabinets but due to budget constraints and Ryan’s strong determination to hold onto one of the last pieces of wood grain in the house I’m going to embrace the oak cabinets.

In these pictures you can see the bare kitchen and dining room before we moved in. My plan is to have white wainscoting up to where the border is and above that be our color. Initially we were leaning towards a light yellow but, again, no inspirational photo to get the creative juices flowing. Plus, our master bedroom is a muted light yellow and I would like to do something different room to room to give a unique feel.
This Sherwin Williams Grasslands
This is Sherwin Williams Whole Wheat
Earth tones are always a safe bet you just need to be careful not to do too much tan or there isn’t any personality.
I wasn’t thinking at all about going with a green tone but it actually goes really nice with the oak cabinets. I think that it takes away the orangeyness (I think I just made that word up) that maybe a yellow or a different warm color would bring out.
What do you think? Do these compliment the oak cabinets? Or should I continue on my search for yellow inspiration? We're hoping to start on the installation of the dishwasher this weekend so the pressure is on to make some decisions!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Camp Cook

We are back from our camping trip at Itasca State Park and we had a blast! If you’ve never been there before you should know that they have some of the best bike trails and hiking trails for a state park. Perfect for a family or a group of friends (note that quiet time is at 10 pm! That took a little getting used to.) Now I know that camping isn’t for everybody, it can be a huge hassle and turn out to be not so fun at all. I LOVE camping and it’s probably because that was what our family vacations consisted of growing up. We didn’t go to Disneyland or Wisconsin Dells. We would go camping in Grand Marais, Father Hennepin State Park, you name it. Now how do you get past the sucky parts of camping? I can’t give you any advice on how to make your tent magically pack itself at the end of the weekend but I can help you with the food part of camping. I refuse to do dishes on vacation so I have thought up a few ways to get away with it (and no, I don’t just make Ryan do the dishes.) First off is breakfast. This is probably one of the messiest and instead I’ve made it the easiest. Go to the freezer section in your grocery store and buy a box (or two) of your favorite Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sandwiches. I think that the English muffins kind work best but the biscuit kind work well also.
 They come in these individual plastic pockets so just throw them right in the cooler and you won’t have to worry about them getting wet from melted ice. Put the box in the trash, no need to have wet cardboard floating around in your cooler.
 So when you wake up in the morning and it’s time for breakfast open the plastic the sandwich is wrapped around and discard, then wrapped the sandwich with tin foil and put it on the grill. I’d say it takes about 7 minutes on each side but I would check it if you’re unsure.
 There’s your breakfast! No dishes required! Pair it with a donut or a muffin and you’ll be full until lunch time. Now, you can absolutely just make these a home yourself and package them up and probably end up saving money so more power to you.
My next great discovery for camp eating is burritos. Who would have thought? I found this easy recipe online because I had a box of Zatarains Red Beans and Rice in the cupboard and I was hoping to use it up. The recipe is (weird enough) Red Beans and Rice Burritos. Of course, the recipe isn’t for the grill but we can make it work. When you are about to make your burrito put down a square piece of tin foil and spray it with some Pam (I prefer the Olive Oil kind.) Then make your burrito and wrap it up with the tin foil. I put them in their own individual plastic bags and put them in the freezer. I can make these a week before our camping trip instead of rushing to get everything prepared at the last minute. Plus, if you have them in individual bags it’s a lot easier to just grab one out of the cooler.
 These were just a few of my favorites that I made over this camping trip but the possibilities are endless. Preparing the meals ahead of time is the key. Make a hotdish or a pot of spaghetti and meatballs in one of those foil trays and then heat it up on the stove one night. Or I’ve made foil packets of chicken fajitas and then just put the heated mix on a warmed tortilla.
 It is now officially the end of summer so I’m guessing many of you won’t be camping any more for the rest of the year but you can keep these ideas in mind when you go on an ice fishing trip or snowmobile trip this winter, don’t stop being creative just because it gets cold out!