Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Darcy Day

For a day that started off pretty shaky, it has ended very well.  I haven't done a single one of my normal chores, but I've made a lot of headway on some of the things I've had to put off. 

The last two weekends we were away from home, and that always makes me a little stressed out.  The weekends are when I menu plan, grocery shop, do the laundry, and do the majority of the housecleaning- so whenever we're away- I have to try to pack all those things into a much more condensed time frame, which makes for a very cranky Erin.

However, this weekend I said to hell with clean floors and clean bathrooms and made Jason promise to do the laundry, as long as I will fold and put it away.  Now, this might come back to bite me in the butt later- my parents are flying in on Thursday night and I would like the house to be clean for them.  However, Jason has agreed to let me HIRE A BI-WEEKLY HOUSEKEEPER to help out with the chores.  Hooray, hooray! I just need to get someone in before Thursday or my parents will have to deal with my slovenliness (is that a word Dad?).

I got a great start to my morning by going over to my grandparents house to spend some time sewing with my grandmother.  She worked on a baby quilt for one of my cousins and I borrowed her machine to start sewing crib sheets for Darcy.  Man, I underestimated how long that would take me- but I got one done (minus elastic).  I also managed to iron all the material I have for Darcy things prior to going over there- so progress is being made. Now if she shows up early she has a sheet, if nothing else.

In the afternoon the boys took a nice long nap which allowed me time to finish sanding Darcy's dresser and learn how to use my new paint sprayer- the Graco Spray Station 2900.

I'm still getting used to it, but so far I am pleased.  The spray is a little thinner than I anticipated, so I will have to do more coats that I had planned (I usually do primer + 2 coats).  However, it took me about a half an hour from can opening to finishing cleaning up to prime a six-drawer dresser and all the drawer fronts.  Did I mention cleaning up is so EASY!  I hate cleaning rollers, so this may be the best $99 I ever spent.

Right now it is coming out a bit speckly, but I have a feeling that is more user-error than anything else.  I'm still trying to find the right flow volume and distance for that professional spray. But, I will just give it a light sanding between coats and I should still finish in record time.  Tomorrow, I hope to put 2 more coats on (and hope that that is all it needs) so I can start the polyacrylic process as well.

In the evening I managed to get the trim in Darcy's room sanded and a first coat of paint on the dresser.  Jason and I would have hung the closet doors in Dominic's room, but my drill ran out battery (for the first time ever).  My good friend Sheena is coming over tomorrow afternoon to help me paint, so I am hoping to get the trim in Darcy room at least primed and first-coated.  I doubt that I'll get her room painted prior to my parents arrival, but I'll be happy with the trim done.

We ended the day with a late dinner at Texas Roadhouse and Dominic behaved better than he has ever behaved while we're out.  He ate the dinner we ordered him, including veggies, and colored during all the waiting times.  Now, after a nice hot shower and a chance to blog, I'm ready to crawl into bed and see if I can get 5 pages into my new book prior to zonking out.  I just hope when I wake up tomorrow too stiff to move, I'm still as gung-ho about the day's plans as I am now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Manic Mom Monthly Menu

My first blog failed.  I attempted too much and ended up giving up altogether.  I was trying to post my monthly menus with links to all recipes, and then do a detailed "how to" post for each recipe, including pictures.  After a week I discovered it was WAY too time consuming and abandoned it.
I also don't always have a monthly menu.  While Jason was away for 6 months, I didn't make any menus.  We ate a lot of PB&J, eggs for dinner, and ate out.  Being pregnant and packing up a house at the same time just didn't inspire me to cook as much as I usually try to.

Since we got settled in in Colorado, I have been trying to at least come up with a weekly menu.  The commissary is close, but not so close that I want to run out and pick up a missing ingredient.  I also wasn't shopping at the commissary initially, but I've discovered it saves us between $20 and $40 a week on groceries, so I'll make the hike.

I got inspired over the weekend and dug up last year's September menu- that really made the process quicker, though I had to sub out some recipes that weren't hits- and take out some vegetarian meals since Jason has expressed that he prefers meat at every meal (too bad- we're eating meatless at least once a week).

So here's my menu plan for the next four weeks, sorry links not included.

Week 1
Rotisserie Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Steamed Green Beans
Chicken Taco Soup with Home-made cornbread
Kung Pow Chicken over Jasmine Rice
Beef Stroganoff and Oven-Roasted Zuchinni
Lemon Garlic Tilapia over Quinoa, with Steamed Broccoli

Week 2
Shrimp Pad Thai
Chicken Fajitas
Sausage, Lentil and Kale Soup w/ French Bread
Pan-seared Pork with Potatoes and Lemon, with a side of Shredded Brussels Sprouts and almonds.
Veggie Calzones (providing I can find refridgerated pizza dough)

Week 3
Bacon and Broccoli Quiche
Turkey Spaghetti w/ mixed veggies
Pork and Green Bean Stir-Fry over Jasmine Rice
Tilapia Tacos w/ fresh salsa and guacamole
Granny's Veggie Chili and home-made cornbread

Week 4
Lentil Soup with Sourdough croutons
Keema curry w/ naan
Red-wine marinated steak with roasted root vegetables and potatoes
Stir-fried ginger chicken w/ rice
Baked pork schnitzel w/ white wine and lemon sauce, with roasted Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes

I plan 5 menus a week to account for the fact that at least 1 night we are going to eat leftovers, and 1 night I demand to be taken out.  I saw an apron at Salvation Army that said something to the extent of, "A wife who cooks and cleans deserves many thanks and dinner out once a week." But the apron version rhymed and I cannot for the life of me remember what it was- or I'd paint it on my kitchen wall.  I can't agree more.  At least one night a week I go on strike and refuse to even microwave anything- because there are still dished to be cleaned, tables to be wiped, and floors to be swept after a leftover dinner.

The Dining Room/Front Room

After Dominic's room, the dinning room and front room (so called because it doesn't really have a function) were the next thing I tackled.  This is kind of an awkward space since it it is long and skinny, and has a weird beam running straight across it.  My first thought was that the beam just looked so out of place and awkward- especially since it was the same color as everything else.

This room isn't really "done" yet. I still need to line the curtains (table clothes from Target) find a corner hutch for my wine glasses and liquor, and figure out what I'm putting in that front room area. I keep hoping to find two matching wingback chairs that I can re-upholster, and I'm also hoping that when my Grandparents move, they won't have room for their piano and I'll be forced to take it off their hands.  Oh- and I want to paint that brassy chandelier- but I can't decide on white or oil-rubbed bronze.  Any thoughts?
Before-From Front Door
After- From Front Door
Before- From Dining Room
After- From Dining Room
Stairwell seating area-
where the piano or wingback chairs would go

Monday, September 13, 2010

Dominic's Room

When I arrived in Colorado, I expected my shipment to be right behind me.  However, because of the wonders of military shipping, it was diverted all over the country before it actually made to my doorstep, 6 days after the date I had initially been told.  I had arranged for Dominic to spend the week with his grandparents so he wouldn't have to be caught up in the moving of furniture and unpacking, and so that he could arrive at his new house with his new room set up with all his things.  It was just not to be.

Dom's Room Before
But, since I had a week off of work (no internet access or desk yet- so I didn't have the option to return early) and nothing to clutter up the house- I decided to make the most of the situation and paint!  I choose Dominic's room first for 2 reasons: 1) he would have the hardest time with the transition and 2) he has the most furniture of any room in the house- no kidding.
Dom's Room Before

First a word about the general condition of the house.  It was in pretty good shape- decent carpet, everything works, etc, but every wall and ceiling was the exact same color of off-white, and all the trim was this really beat-up "foak" color that had been sealed with something so shiny, you could not longer tell it was real wood and not plastic.

Eventually, all that plastic-wood will be painted white, but I'm taking it one room at at time- that's about all I can manage these days.  Dominic's room got the white trim treatment, and 2 coats of "Spa" blue by Olympic.  I picked Olympic because it has Zero VOCs- even the colors.  Without further ado- I give you Dominic's room with it's new color, decorations, and furniture (all painted by me, btw).  I have not given you a shot of his closet though- as I have yet to re-hang the doors.  I need Jason's help, and I've only been asking for about a month- so it's should only be another 2 months before it actually gets done.

I didn't take a picture of his other bookshelf and the "Goodnight Moon" lithograph- it was too close to the undoored closet.  I'm also not one for staging a photo. What you see is pretty much what his room looks like on any given day- wires showing, bed slightly rumpled, etc.  Did I mention I also made his quilt?  I am pretty proud of the fact that his toys are picked up everyday and not allowed to get out of control, now if only we could institute the same policy for our kitchen bar!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Itchin' for some Thriftin' (why I'm completely insane)

Hi, my name is Erin and I'm completely incapable of making realistic evaluations of what I can and cannot take on.  For instance, I am whining (just a little bit, and mostly in my own head) about the fact that the next two weekends because I'll be away from home.  This means that my regular cleaning has to get done some time else, but most importantly, I don't have time for projects.  I really want to go to this flea market with my friend Sheena (even though I don't really NEED anything right now) and check out what's there. 

What am I hoping to find?  Well, I'm thinking it would be great to find a wine cabinet (that could potentially hold liquor and our wine glasses that are still in the box from our wedding).  I also want some cool frames that I can turn into chalk and cork boards around the house.  I'd love some floating shelves for the kitchen, some more bookcases, a rocker glider, a better desk, a futon, and a pair of wing back chairs, and some chandeliers to replace the hideous brass fixtures in the dining room and kitchen.  Also, a porch swing and maybe some cool pots so I can liven up our entry way next year.  I wouldn't be opposed to finding some nice fall decorations either.

Okay, maybe that doesn't sound too crazy- but keep in mind that anything I buy I will probably end up painting or refinishing is someway- and I'm 6 months pregnant with a 3-year old and a puppy.  And a husband- he needs looking after too.  Plus, I already have the promise of a desk and a rocker glider from my grandparents, if I can just find the time to drive up to their mountain house and get them.  I also could just paint the ugly chandeliers with blogland's favorite ORB (oil-rubbed bronze) spray paint.  That's actually what is most likely to happen.  I'd like to get a futon so we can sleep a few more guests- right now we have twin with a trundle- and that's not so very nice for couples because even though I CAN make a king from it, there tends to be a huge gap in the middle.  Plus it would be nice to have a futon in my office.

And all of this is on top of the projects I'm already trying to complete.  I've got a lap quilt I've been working on for 8 years (yes, it takes me that long) and it's coming close to being finished.  I've also purchased a lot of fabric to sew my own crib sheets and bedding for little Darcy Rose (all rose-themed of course), and I still need to repaint the crib and the yard-sale dresser I have for her room.  Plus I'm planning on painting her room (along with all the trim) before she arrives, and I'd like to finish the living room down stairs and the hallway upstairs too.  Preferrably the room painting will get done prior to my parents arrival on Sept. 23rd- yipes!  I'm not sure I'm going to get the three bathrooms, laundry room, office, or master bedroom done before December.  The painting seems a lot harder now than it did a few months ago, and crawling around on the floor to do trim and cut in means I can barely stand up straight the next day. 

Le sigh.  I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore, and I still have 15 weeks left!  In fact, I'm so ready I'm even fantasizing about running again. I've downloaded a cool app to my iPhone for a 10k training program, still determined to do the Bolder Boulder next Memorial day.  Potential start date is Jan. 31st- as long as I've been cleared by a doctor. I figure that's about 6 weeks after delivery and any stiches/staples/what-have-you should be healed.  No need for a baby weight loss plan- I'll be running and breastfeeding- so if that doesn't do it, nothing will.  Thanks for reading my ramblings if you made it this far, the next post will contain some house pictures, I promise!