Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Kitchen Remodel: Phase 19

You guys forgot all about the kitchen remodel, didn't ya?  Well, it isn't done yet, ahem, but I did finally commit to a finish for the back of the peninsula.

I wavered back and forth between doing some sort of faux board and batten, painted wide planks like the ceiling, and different colored stained wide planks.
I even looked into the contact and wallpapers that look like planked wood.
Then, one day, I remembered the stack of lath from tearing out all the lath and plaster walls.
I ran out to the shed and grabbed a couple pieces, had The Dad hold them up while I stood back to look, and 15 minutes later he had the nail gun out.

They already had some variation in color, so I didn't even have to stain them.
We just went over them with the sander real quick, to knock the biggest slivers off.

You like our helper?

The Dad made vertical lines to mark the studs, adjusted the outlet box so that the lath would sit behind it, and that was pretty much it for prep.
We left the baseboard up because the lath is just barely thicker.
If we had mounted it on top of the lath, it wouldn't have wrapped and met up properly with the piece of baseboard on the end of the peninsula.

You can see here how the reveal is just barely different.

To finish the edge, The Dad dug out a piece of trim that had come off of the original kitchen cabinets.
He just sanded the paint off and cut it to size.

This is one piece shy of being done.

I can't remember why, but he didn't get that last piece cut until the next day.

I didn't take any fancy "after" photos because the trim wasn't finished yet.
But it is now!
All the baseboards and quarter round are officially nailed up, caulked, and painted.
In the dining room AND the kitchen.
Woot, woot.
Plus, he got the trim up around the ceiling in the dining room.
Ya know, 'cause we only planked the ceiling in there two years ago.
The trim made a huuuuge difference, though, and really finished it up.
I'll get some pictures of everything for another post.

So now, the only things left to do, before a FINISHED kitchen, are backsplash, outlet and switch cover plates, plank the ceiling, ceiling trim, and install the lights over the peninsula.
Sooooo close I can taste it.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Flower Party

The Girl turned 7 last week.  What?!?!  We had a party at home over the weekend.  She requested a flower theme and burritos this year.  So a flower theme and burritos is what she got.

I did ground turkey (cooked with taco seasonings the day before) and refried beans in the double crockpot.
Mexican rice, that I also cooked the day before, then rewarmed in the oven - and then forgot it was in the oven until after dinner.
So we have a vat of rice to get through for the rest of the week.
Cheddar, Pepperjack, Guacamole, Sour Cream, Shredded Lettuce, Cilantro, and Salsa for toppers.

To go with dinner, I did a big fruit platter with pineapple, red and green grapes, apples, and persimmons.

For appetizers, I made a couple batches of salsa with all the tomatoes and peppers still in the garden.
I also made Shrimp Ceviche and put it in little flower cups that I made out of wonton wrappers.
I got the idea here:

Flower Appetizer Cups

She used a cookie cutter with fewer petals, so they looked more like flowers.
My sister thought I had just used Scoops brand chips.
Um, clearly I should have, 'cause that would have been a heck of a lot less time-consuming.
I looked at a few Ceviche recipes online, then ended up sorta faking it.
I used a pound of cooked shrimp, each one cut into three pieces, diced cucumber, tomato, yellow bell pepper, jalapeno, red onion, and avocado.  Chopped cilantro, the juice from one lime, and salt.
Pretty easy.  I don't do shrimp, so The Dad was my taste tester and said it was good.
I didn't fill the cups until just before serving, 'cause I didn't want them to get soggy, which they did after setting for awhile.

I also tried the molded jello in my cake pan that has flowers on it.
You couldn't really tell there were flowers on it when it was all said and done, but oh well, it was colorful.
I found Jolly Rancher brand jello and used two watermelon, two green apple and two blue raspberry.
You can find the instructions for it here:

Rainbow Jello Mold

For decorations, I made three different sized paper dahlias.
The instructions I found were for the largest one, so I just winged it to make the other two.
The tutorial is here:
I hot glued some ribbon on the back to hang them.
The pictures aren't great because of hanging in front of the window, but they turned out pretty cute.

For the table, I cut up the fake grass from The Kid's football party to make a runner and placemats.
Flowers in the yard were slim pickin's, but I was able to get enough Dahlias for the middle.
The plates, cups and napkins are from Target.
I was originally just going to use regular dishes, but when I saw them, I couldn't leave the store without them.
I had the little wooden flower pots in my stash, so I painted them with chalkboard paint, stuck a little piece of floral foam down in, covered that with some mossy stuff, then poked a flower down in.
(More on how I made the flowers in a minute.)
I used a chalk pen to write the kids' names on them.

Gummy butterflies, just for fun.

For dessert, I made a cake that I've always wanted to try, and just needed a good excuse.
I tried a new frosting recipe that I thought was nasty, but the kids inhaled it.
It supposedly holds better for decorating, but I didn't think it did any better than a regular old buttercream.
Needless to say, I'll never make it again.
The cake itself was Betty Crocker's Banana Cake and it's delicious.
The decoration inspiration came from here:

It took a really long time to fill the whole thing in, but it was pretty cute.
I used four colors: light pink, dark pink, green, and turquoise.
I made all the colors with a regular box of food coloring.
This is a good post that shows you how to make lots of colors from a regular grocery store box:

I had three grass tips, which really helped.  If I had only had one, it would have taken even longer.
A two-pound bag of powdered sugar made enough frosting to cover and fill between the two layers.

The other dessert I made just because I came across them and thought they were so dang cute.
The tutorial is here:
I had a really hard time finding flowers that I liked.
Of course.  
They're everywhere when you aren't looking for them.
But I found some paper stickers that had the leaves behind them, so I took them apart and glued them to toothpicks.
I also got a couple sprigs of fake flowers to fill in 'cause the stickers were expensive and I needed 24.
The pot is sugar cookie filled with chocolate ganache.
Crushed Oreos for the dirt.

Aren't they fun?
Here's all the treats on the table after dinner.

I have lots of party pictures, but I'll save those for a Life Snippets post.
I do have to throw in one of the birthday girl, though.

Mission Flower Birthday Party:  Accomplished.

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