Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hiking to the Hut

This past weekend Chris and I headed up to our favorite place to get away- The White Mountains!  We arrived Thursday night.  Friday morning we woke up, made waffles, and went off to hike the Ammonoosuc Ravine Trail!  This trail is snuggled right in between Mt. Washington and Mt. Monroe and leads up to the Lake of the Clouds Hut.  We had lunch on the lake and then headed back down.  The first 2/3 of the hike is relatively easy.  Once you pass the Gem Pool, there's just no other way to describe it: it gets STEEP!

Sunday afternoon we got to have lunch with Chris' parents and his aunt and uncle.  Dick and Linda brought over hamburgers, potato salad and corn on the cob- YUM!  Oh yes, and they also brought over 6 pounds of hair and total cuteness- Jill's malti poo Sophie!  She's an absolute doll and seemed to enjoy getting to know Bailey.

We were pretty proud of Bailey for letting Sophie jump all over him!  And I think that Bailey definitely needs a malti poo little sister.  He slept like a log in the car all the way home!  Sophie can come visit us in CT anytime!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's what's on the inside that counts

We just gave our closet a mini-makeover!  I know that nobody really sees our closet but us, but knowing that there is a place for everything (and everything in its place) makes me super happy.

This project actually started back in April during our prep for the new carpet.  When we ripped up the old carpet we realized the floor of the closet was lower than the room.  Chris used plywood to build up the closet floor to the same level as the bedroom.  One problem solved.

There was also the issue of these weird pipes.  Or vents?  We really had no idea what they were.  But we knew we didn't need to look at them anymore.

Chris built plywood boxes to hide them.  Nice handiwork, right?!  To build the box, however, Chris had to pull the metal striping that was holding the shelves away from the wall.

There's nothing wrong with the metal strips, they're just not very cute.  Since they were bent, we decided to find an alternate system for hanging shelves.  Chris bought trim (and an air-powered nail gun) and used pieces of the trim to hold up each shelf.  Doesn't it look better?

Before and After...

Before and After!

I got new shelves and curtain rods on my side of the closet (since the old owners never put in permanent ones) and we painted the inside of the closet with leftover bedroom paint.  After two weeks of having my clothes strewn about the guest bedroom, I was more than ready to move them back.  And things fit even better than before!  :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Another one bites the dust

We were hit with a home-improvement emergency this past week.  Sadly, the top shelf in the kitchen pantry had reached the end of its life.  The shelves were held up, not very well, by plastic brackets...not the best idea for shelves that support heavy canned goods and bottles of cooking vinegar.

Luckily there was a can of peanuts and a container of bread crumbs on the shelf below that managed to hold the shelf up for a few days!  :)

I knew my Mr-Fixit-husband could repair the shelves, so Friday morning I took everything out of the pantry.  You don't realize how much stuff you have until it's all over your counters!

Chris cut boards that fit underneath the front and back of each shelf and used his nail gun to secure them to each other.  (He says he has to justify his tool collection.)

Good as new!  Better, actually, than before.  Bailey seems to think so too.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Picking Peaches...and Tomatoes?

We were kind of thrilled when we realized we had no major DIY plans for the weekend!  We missed strawberry picking season but neither Chris or I had ever picked peaches.  So we woke up early this morning and drove to Silverman's Farm, a pick-your-own in Easton, CT.

Chris wore his peach colored shirt to hide any peach juice.
After all, they highly recommend you sample what you're picking!

Are all peach trees this short?  We really had to duck our heads to pick the peaches underneath.

Under the tree!  I got a haircut yesterday...can you tell?


Not yet sure what we're going to do with all these delicious peaches.  We had our friend Heather over for hamburgers today and we used a few for bellinis (since we had leftover champagne in the fridge) and a few more to make the Sunrise Smoothies that we're crazy about.  We had so much fun making strawberry jam last year that we might have to repeat the process with peaches.  We'll see!

We swung through Bethel on our way home to hit their Saturday morning Farmer's Market.  We wanted some tomatoes for the hamburgers and for a caprese salad (we thought our basil died while we were on Block Island, but it's amazingly come back to life).

We found some absolutely beautiful tomatoes at one of the stands.  They were huge, unblemished, and bright red.  Perfect!  And yeah, I saw that the sign said $4.00 a pound but I didn't really think that each of the tomatoes I was holding in my hand could be over a pound.  Clearly I'm not a good judge of weight.  Because the guy told me the total for my two tomatoes was $9.60!  I thought I did a good job of maintaining my composure but Chris said he could tell what I was thinking!  They were a little more expensive than the ones at the grocery store, but I do understand the importance of buying locally and supporting local farms.  And they were the best darn tomatoes we've ever had. 


The picture doesn't quite do them justice...these guys were HUGE!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Red door no more

Painting our front door has been on my to-do list for awhile now.  Besides the regular dings and scratches, at some point the oval lock was replaced with a smaller round lock...and the paint job never touched up.  All the way around the lock you could see the natural wood of the door.  Not pretty.  Unfortunately unlike most of the other paints used in the house, the former owners didn't leave this paint color for us in the garage.  We could either try to color match the paint or just pick a brand new color.  It was really no contest: we were picking a new paint color!

But deciding on the color was easier said than done.  Our house is yellow and our shutters are a very dark navy.  I love red doors, but more so on white houses than yellow.  Green might have been fun, but would that make the house too colorful?  So we settled on a blue to try and match the shutters.  Truth be told, it came out a LOT bluer than we were anticipating, but it's fun to change things up.  We can always paint it again down the road!

Pretty blue, yes?!  I called it "cerulean" the other day and my husband accused me of making up color names.  Cerulean's a real color...right?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Done and Done

This past week we finished not one, but TWO projects that have been works-in-progress for a very long time.  Or, in the case of the downstairs half-bathroom, a very, VERY long time!

We started working on the downstairs half bath almost a year ago.  It started innocently enough, with Chris just wanting to replace the toilet.  But then we found a hole in the wall behind the toilet, which couldn't be fixed without ripping down the paneling, and with the paneling came the wallpaper, and with the wallpaper came the get the picture.

It's actually been 95% finished for awhile now, but Chris finally added the quarter round to the new trim last weekend. (He was waiting to purchase a new tool to do it...finally bit the bullet and bought it last weekend. He loves adding to his tool collection!) Anyway, we're super happy that this project is DONE.  And, as an added bonus, we finally got the incensy smell (left behind from the previous owners) out of the bathroom for good!


We started the deck project around the end of May.  We replaced 17 boards (a process that involved cutting to size and routing the edges of new boards), cleaned and scrubbed the entire deck (upper and lower- we have a deck outside our bedroom on the 2nd floor), and then stained every square inch of bare wood.

We used a solid stain to camouflage the older wood.  The deck boards got stained an orangey/reddish-brown color called "pinecone".  The deck railings got stained a creamy brown called "lodge brown".  Boy, do decks take a long time to paint!  Luckily we had beautiful weather for practically the entire month of June which made the whole process that much more enjoyable.  We're so happy with how it came out and SO thrilled to be done!  :)  Now who wants to come over for hamburgers?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

We eat to beat the heat!

So we're in the middle of a pretty vicious heat wave up here in New England.  (Or I guess it's a "wicked" heat wave?)  But that didn't stop us from tackling several projects around the house OR heading into the city to enjoy the Macy's fireworks display on the 4th of July.  I will post the pics later (the deck is done!  the bathroom is done!  the closet is done!  can I get an amen!?) but for now, I thought I'd share the ever-so-fabulous recipes that have been keeping us happily well-fed despite the temperatures.

Herb-marinated pork tenderloin
This recipes calls for three tenderloins so I only made 1/3 of the marinade.  Got to use the thyme from our herb garden in this one...yum!

Chive risotto cakes
I love, love, love risotto so I thought these sounded amazing.  I got to use our chives for the first time AND I got to try panko bread crumbs for the first time.  I would cook 2 or 3 of these and then keep them warm in the oven while we finished getting the rest of our dinner ready.

Beatty's chocolate cake
Over 800 people have reviewed this recipe on the Food Network website and it's received 5 stars.  Seriously, best chocolate cake ever.  Probably wasn't the best idea for me to make it when it was ninety plus degrees outside (buttercream frosting- enough said) but still, best cake ever.

Blueberry muffins
Sorry there's no link for this one!  But if you want the recipe just ask.  Chris and I enjoyed getting coffee and splitting a blueberry muffin many mornings on Block Island.  To beat the post-vacation blues, I made a batch of these.  He loved them.  :)

Sunrise smoothies
Forget everything else- during the heat wave this was what helped cool us down!  We've made this smoothie twice in the past week and it is the PERFECT summer drink.  And super easy to make (even if your blender is broken so you had to use a food processor).  Try it!

Upon reading the reviews for the chocolate cake we noticed more than one person reference a half-century old Hershey's Black Magic Cake recipe.  If you want to LOL, you can check out the website Food Network Humor.  The bios of the foodnetwork stars alone will make you laugh!