Thanksgiving week looked like this...

We had such a fun week leading up to Thanksgiving.
For some reason, we usually travel or spend the day in another home.
This year, with our many projects, skidding toward an end
We stayed home and put our partially functional kitchen to use.
Myron's bro was still here, and we also had the remnants of family
Left in the area, over for dinner.
Yes, we had turkey.
And it was delish.
We also had mashed potatoes and all the fixings
Except for the pie.
We opted for apple dumplings instead.
And let's say the pie was not missed.
Big fat juicy dumplings have a way of making pie look rather humble.
The reason I mention mashed potatoes
Is because we watched the Thanksgiving edition of Biggest Loser.
And let's be honest: I'm a freak about eating healthy.
Granted, we fall out sometimes
And neglect our waistlines.  *ahem, self: you need to hear this*
But steamed cauliflower and white beans
Mashed together in a great mound
Do not take the place of mashed potatoes.
Not even in your wildest imagination.
I'd far rather do without those taters than to commit to such a substitute.
 Maybe instead of having those potatoes
I'll have another helping of Cranberry Apple Salad
I'm a sucker for anything cranberry
But I know a lot of people don't like the tartness of a cranberry sauce
So here's a recipe, I guarantee
Will even make it to the favorites list
For anyone.

Paradise Sauce:
1 qt. cranberries
2 qts. apples
2 C. sugar
Put cranberries in a pan with a small amount of water.  Cover and cook slowly on low heat until soft.  Rub through a food press, cheesecloth or strainer (the point is to get the bitter husk off the flesh).  Return to pan and add peeled, cored and sliced apples.  Cook gently until apples are soft, but still retain their shape.  Add 2 C. sugar and cook 5 min. longer.  ( I don't add any sugar at all, but I guess that would depend on the type of apple you use and how tart or sweet it is.)
Serve hot or cold.
 We also did a church dinner in my moms basement on Tues. eve.
These pictures do nothing to show
What an amazing dinner we had
Or how warm the fellowship was
We had such a great time of sharing and communion
After all the food was consumed.
And how great is that big ole bear rug on the back wall
One of my brothers prize hunting trophies.
You think he'd let me bring that thing home
To lay in front of the fire
On a cold winter night?


Framed in time

Apparently, taking pictures of kids
Is an almost apocalyptic experience.
Before kids, I thought pictures of kids
Would be so charming.
They would always look cute
Smile so sweetly with dimples on their cheeks.
And we would wow the world
With our good looks.
Yeah, in your dreams, your thinking.
Real-life, they must be bribed with doughnuts and hot chocolate
And they smile all right
Big cheesy grins that make their eyes squint right shut.
But I still think
They're so good looking.
Even if they aren't picture perfect.
Today was the "great picture of the year" day
That one time shot we try for 
When everyone is on their best behaviour.
Hey, it's worth the try
And the doughnuts afterward, apparently.
 "No, you've gotta turn your head...THIS WAY!"
 Finally one that will pass as good enough
Till next year.

Apparently, the adults in this family
Aren't too photogenic either
And are as crazed as the kids.
First shot, ya'll mama needs to visit the gym
But it's us, and that's what is so endearing.

 Oh, yes, there was just that one
Where we all happened to be looking in the same direction
And noone is picking their nose
Or checking out the goat grazing on the hill in front of us.
Good pictures, or not.
We are special to each other
And to Jesus.
We'll keep it that way.


They're here!
My kitchen cabinets arrived yesterday.
And they're beautiful.
What a complete waste of time those nerves were.
It will take a few days for them to be installed.
And a few more than that for me to realize this is actually MY kitchen!
Myron said last night that he can see me in this kitchen.
I said, good, cause I designed it.  I better look like I'd fit.
 What a mess of sawdust, debris and dust this old house has seen
In the past year and a half.
But the sight of that trailor in my driveway
Is worth the clean-up afterwards.
 Moving in!
 And looking good.
I was completely unsure about my choice of a green cabinet.
But it's so perfect.
I had an old set of butler pantry doors that I wanted to use there
But they were a thorn in the cabinet builders side.
So he made a new set to look a lot like the old ones.
The green is very close to the same color as the butler doors.
Just doesn't have that time-worn look to them.
Give it a few years, I suppose.

They got most of the lower cabinets set yesterday.
Today they're attaching the uppers
And putting up the range hood.

In other news...we got a gorgeous blanket of snow last night.
Could not have been more beautiful.
Big fluffy flakes were falling
Just as dusk was setting in
So all the street lights were twinkly
And the snow just sparkled.
Hello, days of wet outdoor clothes.
Let's be nice to each other
Until I have a closet to store you in, shall we?


Kitchen 4

I think the last time I was this nervous, was my wedding day.
Simply crazy.
I'm trying to decide if I've become completely materialistic
Or if this really is a big deal.
Ah! Freak out!
I was rolling it around in my mind, and then Myron gets up this morning and says,
"what if they don't look anything like we wanted them to look"
I think his nerves got onto mine
And now I almost want to go hide
Until the cabinets are all in their places and the cabinet maker has gone home
So that I can shriek or panic in private.
But I will not run.
And I will trust that my gut instinct for this kitchen was good.
Great, in fact.
The last week we finished the floor and my bro.-in-law moved in for a few weeks
To do all the trim work in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry.
 There's the bro-in-law, finishing up the floor.
Gotta admit, man, it was fun to do some of that floor myself.
My ego wanted to say I did it ALL,
But egos are a bad enemy.
 There's some of that trim for ya.
Looks like I'll have painting to do till my arm falls off.
The door in the center goes into the "man cave"
My poor man has clutter and dust scattered all over his space.
It'll be good for him to have that room back as his own
Rather than a short term carpentry warehouse.
The door to the right is my pantry.
I kept that door from our other house
Because it was replaced by a "real" storm door
But I loved the weathered look and patina it had
So I decided it would move with us.
We stored it hoping it would prove to be useful somewhere, someday.
And, sure enough.
I'll probably frost the glass, or hang a curtain on the inside
Cause I'm not a "look at my well-organized pantry"
Kind of gal.
That and kid-friendly, help-yourself storage
Is better than a "oh look, it's blog-worthy" kind of organization.
My two-cents.

And in the middle of all the dust, noise and clamor
It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
Kids are good for that
Making Christmas happen early.
So we set up "their" tree upstairs on the landing
With the train running underneath.
We're working on the rest of the house now too.
I love the coziness of it all
So we'll do it early, and enjoy every minute of it.
Call it winter decorating
If you're one of those who's genes run with the Grinch's
And thinks that Christmas just keeps coming earlier and earlier every year.
I know some people feel like Christmas
Is way over-commercialized.
And some days I might agree, in a way.
But I get so excited about this time of year
And we'll squeeze all the fun we can 
Out of it,
Between all those Christmas parties, banquets, and whole-town shindigs.

Now for a cup of coffee
To calm my nerves.


Ok, wow.
I was so determined to do better with this whole blogging the process thing.
But I'm so involved in the process,
I haven't had time to so much as crack open the computer.
Here's my reasons:
 A new bedroom floor!
The trim isn't complete yet, although all the rest of the painting is finished.
You'll have to excuse the open closet door, and lack of styling.
It's just Au Naturale today. 
I think this floor was an all around great choice.
It's so terribly handsome.

And the kitchen floor is going in!
I need to brag on my husband for a minute.
He's got so many skills...plumbing, electrical, and carpentry.
This was totally going to be our project,
But he was starting to run thin on time so we hired some of it out.
He taught me to do flooring last Sat. while we were putting it in the bedroom
And I was blown away that he trusted me
with putting in the kitchen floor.
I loved putting it in...maybe it's because I could see progress
And it wasn't just the regular piles-of-dirty-laundry
that never seem to end kind of job.
I've got some pretty sore knees and super tight shoulder muscles
But I'm crazy over my new kitchen floor.
And yep, we've got electric too!
So happy with my choice of lighting.
Just the look and feel I was going for.

We've also been doing a ton and a half of raking and cleanup outside.
The maple trees are lovely in the summer
and so beautiful in the fall
But what a supreme lot of work!
We've had some of the most gorgeous weather ever this week
And we've spent a lot of time outside
Doing yard work and jumping in the ginormous piles of leaves
I also spent an evening at my mom's
We put together 600 favors for her wedding 
Yes, you read it right.  I didn't say 60, I said 600.
That's a whole lot of silver boxes, ribbon and mints.

I've got some school reports to get written
And a whole house full of family to get ready for this weekend.
Better get movin'.


Dining Room

The Dining Room has been completed for a while.
Except, shhh...the inside of my corner cupboard still shows some Waye green.
Remember this?
 We spent literally weeks stripping the wallpaper of these walls.
No, I really don't have any good hints on how to take off really stuck wallpaper.
We tried scoring tools, vinegar water, gel, etc.
The best tip we found, was just the old nose-to-the-grindstone
and a whole lot of chipped fingernails because all in all, they just worked best.
We read in an old newspaper article about a house tour they had done of this house back in the 80's
and it mentioned that the dining room
was hand painted at one time. 
We were so hoping to find some beautiful mural or something under all that green wallpaper.
But, alas, it had all been primed before the wallpaper was put up.
The chair rail was painted with oil base paint
and was a complete nightmare to cover over with a lighter color.
Since there is so much trim work in that room
It also took weeks for us to get it all painted, and coat upon coat of paint too.
We tried sanding some of it and also putting on primer
but it is still giving us grief--the paint chips off very easily.
Stripping wood is not in my vocabulary right now, so we'll work with what we got.

 We painted the walls a burnt red and the trim is an antique white.
The room is octagonal shape, so it is really difficult to take pictures of.
I thought I had pictures of the process, but they're nowhere to be found.
So here's the breakdown:
We taped off all the trim.  That's a whole lot of Frog.
Which, by the way, is my favorite painters tape.
Painted the walls, and then painted all the trim.
We went for the hand stenciled idea
because in my disappointment at not finding 100 year old hand painting underneath
I just had to give it some old life back.
For the stenciling, I drew on the walls freehand with chalk
I then mixed two parts acrylic paint with one part water.
 It gives the leaves a transparent look.
I then painted over the chalk.
After the paint dried, I just took a damp rag
And removed all the chalk lines.
I was going to go for gold leafing in the center of each leaf
But I kind of like it just the way it is, for now.
 And the end result:
That mantle below has a story.
I bought it for a dollar at a yard sale.
Yep, you heard me right. $1.00.
But I had to find a way to get it home.
So we strapped it on top of the van.
Along with the porch swing, bed, and kids kitchen we found on the same day.
Myron thought it was a complete disaster.
I thought it was a great piece of junk.
After a good coat of paint, you can't see much of the water damage it had
Except for the wood flaking on the top
But I've got a free piece of marble from another fireplace surround
To cover all that up some day.
 I told you the angles are weird for good pictures
here's proof:
And some day I'll be brave, style the table
and take some glamour shots.

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