Friday, January 29, 2010

Baking Day

So today was Baking Day. I had 4 things that I wanted to make but I only made 2. I made 3 loaves of sandwich bread and homemade granola bars. Before dinner, I will make some cornbread to go with our chicken soup. Tomorrow I will make the banana bread.

So here is my second attempt at a chewy granola bar. My first attempt came out more like a bar cookie which tasted good but was not passing as a suitable substitute for store bought granola bar.

Here is how I made them:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup peanut butter
5 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup applesauce (I used homemade which had some cinnamon in it)
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup rice krispies
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup finely chopped nuts (I used pecans that I had in the freezer)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 11x15 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together the brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, applesauce, and vanilla. In a separate bowl, stir together the oats, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cereal, nuts and wheat germ. Stir the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture until evenly coated. Press lightly into the prepared pan. Bake or 25 to 30 minutes or until slightly golden. Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into 20 bars and wrap in foil or plastic wrap.

You can always substitute other things for the chocolate and peanut butter chips like raisins, dried cranberries, etc.

Here are my bars all wrapped and ready to eat!

Here is my sandwich bread. The house smells so good!

It rose very nicely. It is the perfect height for sandwich bread.

I am off to make some chicken soup for dinner and enjoy the snow that is falling.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The After Pictures - I Need Your Feedback!!!

OK, so the rooms are not completely put back together but, they are about 90% done. The trim and thresholds are not done yet but, neither is all the flooring so we will be doing that when all the flooring is laid. Please, feel free to leave me comments and/or suggestions for a diferent furniture arrangement or ideas for some new accessories. I am always up for new ideas.

This is a picture of the formal living room taken from the office door. The front door is to the right and the dining room is to the left. The curio cabinet is supposed to be in the corner but, the extra flooring planks are stacked in the corner. I deas for an area rug???

This is the living room taken from the kitchen. Again, the curio is usually in the corner.

This is the dining room taken from the living room. The kitchen is to the left and is divided by a penninsula and upper bank of cabinets. We recently replaced our brass chandelier with this beautiful Tiffany style fixture. We love the colors. Please disregard the boxes on the table and all my homeschool stuff stack on the sideboard. What colors would you paint in these 2 rooms (really one big room) keeping in mind that we love the wood moldings?

Here is a view of where we stopped for now. I am standing in between the 2 rooms facing the kitchen and past that, the family room. Please pretend the cluttered countertops are nice and clear and clean. The floor will continue through the kitchen and into the family room (where the kids are). I love how well the floor matches the cabinets. I can't wait for all of it to be done.

This is taken from the same spot. The kitchen is to the right and the office door is to the left. I need to do sometthing different interms of pictures here. I know that one of the pictures is crooked. The lamp is the one I aquired at the Nester's Swap Meet a few months back. I just bought a Better Homes and Garden shade for it at WalMart. I like it but, not with the wall behind it. Any suggestions???

I am linking this post to DIY Day at A Soft Place To Land.

I Think I May Have Compulsive Hoarding Disorder!

I think I need an intervention!

I know . . . I know . . . it looks like I need to be on an episode of the show "Hoarders". You know, that show on A&E where people with Compulsive Hoarding Disorder get a therapist and an organizer and they clean their homes. I like to watch it. In a sick way, it makes me feel good about myself and it makes my mess seem . . . well . . . not so bad. Anyway, My dining room only looks like this because the living room has been pushed into the dining room so we can start laying the new floors! YAY!!!

My boys see an empty room as an opportunity to set up a battle between the Autobots and the Decepticons. This is a view of the formal living room taken from the office door.

Here is a view taken from the kitchen . The battle is still waging as Devastator fights . . . well . . . I don't really know who that little guy is.

Here is the table saw that we used to cut our flooring. Very exciting, I know. Please try and restrain yourself from leaping with excitement.

Here are some of the boxes of flooring which we got from Sam's Club for a very good price.

This is Jeff. He is the husband of my good friend, Rona. Jeff was a tremendous help. He even brought his own power tools. Thanks, Jeff!

Here is the first row of flooring. Isn't it so pretty and shiny?!?!?! Humor me! I have been wanting these floors for a very long time. I cannot tell you how good it felt to pull up the carpet on Wednesday morning knowing that Thursday and Friday, my dreams would come true.

Here is a picture facing the office (PLEASE . . . ignore the real "Hoarders"-style mess in the office!) Jeff and my dad had a good rhythm going and the floor went down pretty quickly. Jeremy wanted to help but he kept stepping on the planks so we sent him into the family room to play the Wii.

After we got the living room floor down, we had to take a break and move that giant pile of stuff carefully onto the new floor so we could continue laying the floor into the dining room. This is the living room taken from the kitchen at the end of day 1 (Thursday). Fancy, huh?

Jeff came back at 8 the next morning (Friday). He laid the flooring in the hallway up to the bedroom doors and then continued moving toward the dining room. You can sort of see the opening to the hallway in the background of this picture. We are taking it straight through the kitchen. See how well it matches the cabinets! BTW . . . I will be changing the hardware and counter tops. Just not yet.

Because all the rooms are open to each other, we had to lay some flooring in the kitchen which we were not planning to do until next week. We ended up having to move the refrigerator. We had to take the doors off of it so we could get it out. The island doesn't allow for the refrigerator to come all the way out of it's spot. The floor under the refrigerator made me want to throw up. Did you know linoleum could grow fur? EWWWWW!!! After I cleaned the floor with ammonia, we had to cut the cabinet above this space to allow for the added height the flooring would give to the refrigerator. VERY MESSY! Saw dust was everywhere . . . and I mean everywhere! I had to clean saw dust out of my purse! This is a picture taken from the dining room of Jeff laying the flooring in the alcove.

Here is the refrigerator with no doors on it in the middle of the kitchen floor.

This is the refrigerator door leaning against the wall of the family room. It didn't take very long to get that whole section done. The doors were back on and everything was reconnected with in an hour. Nothing was lost except the ice in the ice maker and a small container of shrimp sauce that fell out of the refrigerator while we were moving it.

Finally, here is a picture of Jeremy helping to clean up all the sawdust. He was a big help today. Tomorrow I will post pictures of the finished rooms after all the furniture is back in place. Now I am off to bed. I am so tired and I didn't even work as hard as my dad or Jeff.

Thanks, Dad and JoAnn for the lovely Christmas gift of new floors! We love them!

I am linking this post to DIY Day at A Soft Place to Land.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So . . . It Is 2010!

Welcome to a new decade! We rang in the new year with a quiet dinner and movie night at my Mom's house. We had to wake the kids at 11:50 so they wouldn't be mad that they missed the ball dropping. Really they just wanted to spray everything with Silly String. After going home and sleeping in, we cleaned the house so we could have some company over for dinner. My good friend, Susanne, came over with her family for dinner. We had Spaghetti and Meatballs and homemade Italian bread. YUM!!! We played a game called Apples to Apples and had a blast.
This morning, however, I was awake from 4 until 8 with a puking 4 year old. He's fine now. He has kept a bowl of soup down and is in the bath tub as I type but, those 4 hours killed me. I was tired all day. Oh Well!
I think I am ready to get back into the swing of things. We'll be taking down our Christmas decorations next Saturday as I like to keep everything up through Little Christmas (January 6th). This coming week promises to be busy as we get back to homeschooling, classes at the Y, and trying to organize all the new stuff the kids got for Christmas. We need to purge some things from every room in the house. There are some goals I am setting for the New Year. I would like to continue to make all of our our bread and soaps. I would like to try to cut some more of the processed foods from our diets. I would like to have more time to myself. Wouldn't we all!?!?!
I plan to keep the blog updated at least weekly but, I make no promises.