Friday, March 31, 2017

Bathroom Renovation: Part 1

It has begun!

Each year we try to take on a home project. Last year we painted the entire outside of the house and the year before that we replaced our heater/ac units. This year we decided to tackle the bathrooms. Starting with our master. My master bathroom is aged. The wood is peeling and the tub was about 14 inches deep and brown. The tile was bowing strangely and the MOLD!

To address these issues we decided to figure out what we could tackle on our own and then hire professionals for the rest.  We decided the moldy tub was something outside out our abilities and would be way to time consuming to do on our own. More on the rest of the bathroom today is about the tub and tub surround.

Yes that is pink tile.
This is what it looked like before.
Pink tile with a lovely black boarder.

This tub was shallow. Only 14 inches deep.

 When you are picking out what to do with your tub there are many options. You can go with a cover which goes over what you have already and "hids" the old. This was not a good option for us due to the mold issue and look wise we did not like the plastic look.  You can re-glaze your tub which to me was scary as my pets and I would have to leave for a long time. Plus that does not address the tiny tub or mold. That left us with the option of a complete removal and replacement. We liked the materials that Tundraland offered. In hindsight they are way too expensive. I will walk you thru what was done though so you can understand what they do as well as some pro's and con's.

They showed up at 7:30am sharp to start the project. They removed the tub and tile as well as the old hardware. The tub area was stripped to the studs.

Fun story: Ryan was working from home the whole time and said that they were pounding on the wall so hard that my giant wooden butterfly in the kitchen fell off the wall.

In progress.
After stripping the old and removing it all they put in marine board pictured below in green. Inserted the tub and the surround with new fixtures. They were done by lunch time. It now needs to dry till tomorrow morning.

They were quick and professional the whole time.
All removal of debris was taken care of by them leaving very little mess in my house.
The product is good quality and is beautiful to look at.
The master plumber found an illegal plumbing issue and was able to fix it for us. When the drop ceiling was put in our basement they put together incorrect plumbing for the tub area. This was fixed with correct plumbing put in.

Extremely expensive. I am usually really good at comparing prices and getting a good deal. We had a miscommunication with the sales guy and got locked into a contract. Ryan did a good job talking them down in price but it was still more than we would have liked to end up spending.
Lack of communication. They need to assign a person to you that sticks with you through the whole process much like a contractor would. We changed what we wanted throughout the process and it was hard to get them to really confirm they understood what we now wanted. I was concerned I was going to come home and the wrong bathroom worked on at one point. This also caused issues it scheduling a day for the project. Ryan ended up calling them after not hearing from them and they were like "oh sure when would you like us to come and do it?"

The final project is breath-taking gorgeous though. The surround is my favorite part by far. I also am excited that Ryan will be able to hopefully take baths in the super deep tub.

This tub is 20 inches deep.

Love the color of the surround.

We had two shelves and a pull bar added.

Side by side comparison.
 Ryan and I have a big job the next couple weeks picking out flooring and everything else in the bathroom. The end project should be lovely.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Travel Adventures: Millwaukee/The Lumineers Concert

What an adventure! Sometimes in life things fall into place in such a perfect way that you really could not have planned them better. As many of you know Ryan and I do a lot of random last minute traveling. It brings us joy and being able to bring others along just adds to the happiness.

This adventure starts with a dear friend having to sell her tickets to The Lumineers. I love this band I did not buy tickets this time around because I had seen them last year. Ryan and I like to continuously try new bands so it can get crazy if you try to throw to much in the mix. Our friend Ashley was kind enough to offer her tickets to us to buy due to not being able to go. Originally I could not find anyone to go with us. Last minute my mom and dad agreed to go with. We packed up the car and were on our way!  As many people know my father has cancer and it is nice to be able to get him out enjoying life and spending time together.

First stop was the original Water Street Brewery . This was the perfect place to take my family the menu was vast so everyone could get something to their liking. The also have their beers on tap and such which always makes the craft beer lover in me happy.

We then had a little more time to kill after parking the car. That was interesting as the ramp we usually park in was tore down for the new Buck's stadium. We always know we can count on Mader's  for a good German beer. This is as classic as it gets when it comes to German bars. The service was a little slow and we quickly realized that it is because the restaurant was packed almost overflowing with people. I went to the bathroom and walked past like 100 people in all their service rooms they have.

After killing some time at Mader's it was time to go to the concert. I really liked seeing The Lumineers outside and I was hoping inside they would be even better. They killed it. Back to that in a bit first I have to tell the tale of the missing donuts. When your on a trip with your family you want to make sure everyone is happy. My dad loves mini donuts and if he could have them every day I bet he would. We could smell them and saw a sign advertising them at two locations. One on floor 200 and one on floor 400. NADA.... Not there! We were stumped and thought maybe they were not serving them at all our noses lied to us. Until my mom saw a lady with some. I sprinted after this stranger as fast as my body would let me to ask her where she got them. "Oh on floor 300" she tells me. Once again this was not true nothing on that floor. The suites are on that floor and the lady working there directed us back to floor 200 near 204 she says. Becoming rather annoyed we almost gave up when we got to 204 and there were no donuts in sight. Lucky for us my tall husband spotted the stand!
Mini donuts in hand we made it back to our seats as the first opener started.

The first opening band was pretty good Susto.  I liked their up tempo beats and vocals a lot.
The second opener was Kaleo. I really only liked half of their set. Their music has a strange off beat to it sometimes and I am not a fan of the lead singers voice on some of the songs. He tries to sing high sometimes and his range does not really allow that. I liked the blues tracks more than the other songs they sang.

The Lumineers. They are special. Most of their songs are under 5 minutes. I like to call their music short and sweet. Their song pacing is perfection it is almost like a dance class. They build you up with fast manic pace and then cool down for a bit. The lead singer shared some personal stories about his father dying of cancer and some of the songs he sang were about that. I found that touching to be standing next to my own father who is battling the disease. They roam the stage, they run through the crowd and they even pay some songs in the crowd on a smaller stage.  It was a great show and even my parents really enjoyed themselves.

I find that the older you get the less time you have with the ones you love. If you can have nights like this where you go on a random adventure I would recommend it. What's the worst that can happen you eat too many donuts?

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blueberry Cream Muffins

Blueberries have to make the best muffins. Something about the way the blueberries melt a little and give off their juices makes these muffins even better. The sour cream is the secret weapon that makes these light and fluffy. I made these for a bake sale at work and they are a huge hit. I only hope to snag one if we do not sell out. I found this recipe in one of my super old cookbooks my mom found for me. She knows I love baking and finds the best old time books for me.

Egg mix beating.
Batter almost done.

Blueberries coated in sugar/flour.
Ready to go in the oven.

This bottom one Ryan got to have this AM. I hope he was excited that I saved him one. Make these and I know you will impress everyone. This recipe does make almost 2 dozen though so I hope you are hungry!
Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Friday, March 24, 2017

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls

Are you lazy and do not want to burn your hands? This recipe is for you. It has all the same stuff as cabbage rolls without the painful process of stuffing and rolling hot cabbage. Not to mention it is tasty and healthy. I always like to buy items when they are on sale and due to Saint Patrick's day cabbage was like 17 cents a head. I made this and we had left overs for a couple days. It really was good.

What you need~
1 head of cabbage
1 pound of ground turkey (or beef)
1 white onion (chopped)
1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
28 ounces of diced tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1 cup of pre-cooked rice
Mrs. Dash
Smoked Paprika

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Start by bringing a stock pot of water to a bowl. Roughly chop up the cabbage into smaller piece and boil for about 5-10 minutes depending on how done you want the cabbage. I did mine for 10 minutes and had to do two batches of the cabbage.

While the cabbage is boiling merrily away  put a frying pan on

medium and brown your meat. Towards the end add the onion and garlic. Cook that down for a bit and season as you go. Add your tomato paste and diced tomatoes. I used a mix of brown/wild rice and added that towards the end.

In a 9x13 dish layer 1/2 the cabbage on the bottom. Put your meat/rice mixture next and top with remaining cabbage. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serve hot. It is really tasty and you can eat a lot of it as it is healthy.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, March 20, 2017

Peach Cobbler

Peaches are the best. I have had a craving for this since I saw a celebrity make it on a cooking competition. It seemed like a super straight forward recipe and it is. If you want a more simple dessert you will not find it. Warmed up it pairs perfectly with vanilla ice cream.

What you need~
3 cans of peaches
1 box of yellow cake mix
1 stick of butter melted (1/2 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 2 cans of peaches and their juice in the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Drain the last can of juice and add the remaining peaches to the pan. Dump the cake mix and spread over the top of the peaches. Pour the melted butter over the top of the cake mix. Put in the oven for an hour. Serve hot with ice cream or whip cream.

As you can see pretty easy to make and turns out great. I will make this again in the future for sure.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Monday, March 13, 2017

Organizing Closet

It is time to spring clean! I know it does not feel like it with the snow but spring comes next week already. I took the time to follow through with my closet plans I started last year. I sat down and flipped all my hangers backward early last year. Ryan and I thought if by the end of the year they were not flipped over from being worn within the year they needed to go. I have some tips and tricks I use for organizing and getting rid of clothes. Hope this is helpful!

1. Flip those hangers. I general face all my hangers in that way they are easy to access. Flipping them the other way with the hanger facing forward is a good way to see what has not been worn in a year. I had over 20 items that I donated because they were facing the opposite direction after a year.

2. Do not hang onto things due to emotional attachment. Someone gave you a shirt as a gift or maybe it was expensive. These are common reasons people hang on to ill fitting or clothes they do not wear anymore. This is silly and I am guilty of this as well. I actually have a particular pair of dress pants that I bought when I was 50 pounds heavier. I kept them all this time because they were expensive. I cannot even wear them anymore and yet I held onto them. It felt good to finally give them to the donate pile yesterday.

3. Organize by use. The top row is work dress's and tops, plain t-shirts, band t-shirts, sports t-shirts and MISC. t-shirts. The bottom row is exercise hoodies, sweaters, dress pants and jeans. I tried to group them by like type items so I can quickly go to that section and grab what I need. I also organized my scarfs this way by use. Winter scarves are in the back and dress scarves in the front.

4. If it is damaged get rid of it. Holes in your socks? Tear in that jacket? If it is not something that can be an easy fix it is time to throw it out.

5. Donating is great it means you can go buy new things. I really need to start living this motto more. Since losing weight I have slowly started buying better fitting items and donating the ill fitting items. 

Some day I will be cool like Ryan and have all wooden hangers. For the time being I think it still looks really good. Let's hope I can keep it this organized.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Roasted Asparagus

Easy and tasty. My friend Katelyn sent me a link a long time ago for roasted asparagus. Every time I made it in a pan or on the grill it was a mess and I always undercooked or burnt them. Roasting is the answer to all of those issues. It is almost spring which means asparagus season. This is the season where you can get tiny little pieces that are not woody. Rule of thumb is the larger the asparagus the more woody it is. I got lucky this week and found it on sale and really tiny at the store. SCORE.

HINT: If you are stuck with large woody pieces use a veggie peeler to remove the outer layer of the plant. This will help it break down more.

What you need~
Coconut oil OR olive oil
Sheet pan

Start by pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees F. Trim your asparagus. How I do this is I hold the asparagus in my hand and use the other hand to snap off the ends. Almost like green beans in a way. This removes the woody ends. They should naturally break at the dead end. Place them on the sheet pan and lightly coat with oil. I used my lemon herb oil (coconut oil). It brings a light and refreshing lemon flavor to my asparagus. If you do not have fancy oil like this you can sprinkle some lemon juice over them. I also used lemon pepper seasoning and sea salt. You can really season them with anything and they turn out great. Now cook times. This varies depending on how done you want your asparagus. I would say keep and eye on them in the oven and it will take about 10-15 minutes depending on how done you want them.

Eat them right away and I promise you will want to make them everyday. Roasting is such a great way to eat any vegetable really. It is how I got myself into eating Brussels sprouts and cauliflower which I always hated. I always say that you do not dislike a veggie you just have not found a way prepared that you like.

Until next time~
XoXo Emily