Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010, round one continued

Each Christmas is different here, I guess that is the way it goes when most of your children no longer live at home.

In 2008, our first Christmas in our new home, our kids' visits overlapped, with Rich's kids coming first and mine second. It was new and a little awkward, but fun just the same. And so lovely to be in our new home, TOGETHER.

Last year, we had all seven kids at home for the holidays and it was a bit of a madhouse! lol But good just the same.

This year, Rich's boys were here for the actual Christmas celebrations and his daughter couldn't make it. We hope to see her in January sometime. Christmas was quiet and nice. No snow or even cold weather.

Holly and Ben will arrive on January 2nd for a whirlwind belated Christmas celebration. That will be round two!

In the meantime, here are some photos from our Christmas 2010:

Feather trying to find the squeaker in her reindeer toy.

My girls, Heidi and Chloe reluctantly posing- nevermind that the light stinks, I was lucky to get both of them smiling in one photo... lol

Rich's boys, Zach and Ben

 Molly getting in the middle of things- she was either under the tree or in a box

Rich trying out one of his new toys, an RC plane (they are apparently not as easy to fly as it looks!)

We didn't cook a turkey since Thanksgiving here was so late; we cooked a ham and a duck. A l'orange. A la Julia Child. Ahem.

NOT a good idea to cook a brand new dish on Christmas when you have company. Just sayin'.

It did turn out well, but I don't think it was worth all of the babysitting I had to do for it, nor was it worth the amount of stress it caused me over whether or not it would turn out! lol
Lesson learned.

The girls and I did the HUGE Thanksgiving cleanup, so we decided that the Christmas cleanup should be for the boys, and we hopped in the car to look at the neighborhood Christmas lights. Some of our neighbors really go all out- check it out!

There is another house that decorates every single square inch of their house and yard, and I took a little video. I will post it as soon as I figure out how to get it off of my camera!

As seen above, I got Rich an RC plane and here we are, out with the boys, trying to figure out how to fly it!

Lesson number one: Planes need a level place to take off from, and a bumpy lawn isn't it... So off we go from the park, over to the elementary school. 

Notice how we are dressed? Does this look like Boxing Day weather to you? Not to this Canadian girl, it doesn't! But I'll take it! 60F at the end of December is pretty nice, I have to say.

Rich got it going! Flew it around for a bit, and then landed it in the tennis courts next to the elementary school lot we were at. lol There were some nice people playing tennis that caught it and gave it back.

Lesson number two: controlling one of these things IS a lot harder than it looks!

But I think he likes it. YAY!

Christmas 2010, round one

Hello all! Hope you had a merry Christmas with your loved ones and are looking forward to a wonderful upcoming year.

This is our third Christmas here in Colorado. This year Rich and I held an Open House a week before Christmas to visit with our neighbors and co-workers and also to give the many workers who put our kitchen together an opportunity to come and see the completed job. We all enjoyed ourselves very much, and intend to make it a yearly thing.

Waiting for our guests to arrive 

Starting to put the food out 

The punch and goodies and other beverages

Rumaki and baked brie in the oven, sweet & sour meatballs on the stove top.
Let the festivities begin!

Stay tuned for more Christmas news!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Inspiring giveaway!

Hey- for a really inspiring woman to read about and follow (on her blog), why not go to:

Cathy wrote a book about her journey through breast cancer and is giving a signed copy away to one lucky winner!

I haven't read the book yet myself, but am looking forward to it- we women can always benefit from hearing that no matter how tough or impossible the road directly ahead seems, there is a way to get through it.

And while you are at it, if you like art, why not check out Cathy's art blog:

I love both of these sites, and I think you will too!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010


Just had to show you the pumpkins that Chloe carved. There is an art to this- even if you are following a pattern!

The patterns were in an old folder; you tape it to the pumpkin and poke a bunch of holes around the design- then remove the paper pattern and set to cutting all the little pieces out.

It's weird- this child has very little patience for much, but for the past three years, pumpkins have commanded her full attention- and certainly command the attention of the adults taking their kids from door to door!

If you click on them, you can see a larger photo of them.
This is pumpkin number two- Heidi didn't want to carve hers, and Chloe didn't have a lot of time, so she chose an "easier" design... wouldn't have been easier for me, but compared to the first one she did this weekend, I guess it is easier...

Where does she get the patience?!?
I wouldn't even have considered it... and it even has a hanging spider.

She actually spent more time on these pumpkins than on her costume- because it isn't cool to have mom's help any more... but she was happy with how she dressed- and even more so because she was able to wear her footie pajamas underneath! lol

I had to cut her little friend off (she was dressed as a voodoo doll and looked great) because I don't publish other peoples' kids' photos without permission. You know.

Hope you all had a happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day in Denver!

My sweet hubby and I spent Friday in Denver and had a fabulous day!

We took the light rail and got off at the Theatre, ready to walk. It was a really warm day, I think the high was 85F!!! In OCTOBER!!!

We wandered around the 16th Street Mall and the surrounding streets, before caving and ducking into Taki's for an early lunch. BEST Japanese food I have ever had. MMMmmmm. I will have to take the kids there when they are here over the holidays.

We had purchased tickets to see the King Tut exhibit at the Denver Art Museum, but we were plenty early and thoroughly enjoyed walking around, soaking in the lovely sunshine.

We ended up at the Capitol Building. I have only ever seen it while driving/riding in a car, and really had no idea how big or grand it was. One one set of steps is a brass marker that shows were 5,280 feet is- one mile- for the Mile High City.

We went in- and wow- what a place!Our intent was to go up to the cuppola and walk around to see Denver from up high, but alas, the balcony was closed. They did have some doors open to allow photos, and here is what we saw:

The Cathedral

The Scottish Masonic Center (round roof)

The Denver Art Museum and Public Library (center of photo)

Denver Courthouse with the beautiful Rockies behind it

Closer up- trying to see Red Rocks, a popular outdoor amphitheatre, which is northwest of where we live (Denver is northeast of where we live)

Office buildings? Not sure, but it was a nice view anyway!

More office buildings and that ultra blue sky we see so often!

I didn't know if I was allowed to take photos inside, so I didn't. But next time I will ask, because if I am allowed, I would love to show you the grandeur of this beautiful building.

Then it was time to head over to the Art Museum, as the King Tut tours were timed. We headed up to the exhibition, and I have to say, I was pretty disappointed. You know all the stuff you see in the ads and  publicity about Tut- the golden caskets and all that? None of it was there. 

They had some pretty interesting things from different pharoahs, and some odds'n'ends from King Tut's tomb, but I didn't want to see just his golden finger and toe coverings and sandals- I wanted to see the GRAND stuff!!! 

The most impressive thing there, in my opinion, was a gigantic seated statue of Akhenaten. Even though some of the left side of his face was missing, it was beautiful. I was simply in awe of how detailed and how large it was.

The whole display was smaller than I thought it would be and really crowded. Too bad, really. Just a good example of hype I think.

When we visited the Museo Egizio in Torino this past summer, the beginning of our tour of the museum was kind of like that- but it ended much differently!

The Egizio is the largest collection and museum dedicated to Ancient Egypt outside of Cairo. They have many rooms of things and very cool things, including ancient textiles and real mummies. As we got to the last room, we thought: "Is that it?" Because it was raining heavily outside, we decided to go and look a little more, and went into a room that we thought we had been in, but hadn't- there were two enormous rooms of HUGE Egyptian statues, and they were breathtaking. Anyway, I digress.

After the tour, we went to see the 3D movie about the secrets of mummies and it was interesting.

Our tickets were good for the day anywhere in the museum, so away we went! I love me an art museum! 

We saw a lot of beautiful work, a lot of things I didn't understand, a lot of thought-provoking work. It was great!

And I got a some of cool photos from there too- they had windows in random places. Of course there are a few that aren't fit to put here- some of the windows were so dirty, you can barely see what I was taking a photo of! lol

Panoramic view of the mountains

A small part of the Art Museum

View of the Capitol Building from the Museum

By the time we saw all we wanted of the museum, it was time to catch the Light Rail again- or wait till after rush hour.

A couple more shots on the walk back to the station:

Tribute to Christopher Columbus at Civic Center Park

The "gateway" from the park to the street- I would have liked to get some photos of Civic Center Park, but they were setting up for the Rock and Roll Marathon over the weekend, and it was a madhouse there. Next time, I promise!

Look who's peeking into the Denver Convention Center window! It's quite something to see- and you see him as soon as you walk out from the Light Rail, if you get off at the Theatre/Convention Center (the station is just past the bear)

He's 40 feet tall, 10,000 lbs, and I think the sculpture is titled "I See What You Mean", though he is known affectionately as the Denver Blue Bear.

We had a great day. I love Denver. I love the people, the city and all it's surrounding smaller cities, I love our community which is just a short 20 minute drive out of the city. It's a place I am happy to call home.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Done, but not done- and a really good read!

I haven't posted pictures of the kitchen lately, because there is nothing to show... :( For all intents and purposes, the kitchen is done- but NOT done.

Many of the cabinets are still missing the pulls.

A few shelves are still awaiting the little shelf supports- we either didn't get enough of them or they were inadvertently thrown out.

My stove, which technically arrived in town last week, was damaged in the move and is now sitting in the warehouse awaiting a new part on the front.

So though the room is basically finished, I am really only partially able to function.

I was warned that things can go wrong and get delayed, and I am not being grumpy about it. I just really want to get back to our normal routine.

While we are in the waiting stage, Rich helped me put the sitting room back to its former glory, and we started getting things on the shelves and hung up again.

Thankfully, I have had some good books to read while waiting for the kitchen transformation!

Before we went to Santa Fe a couple of weeks ago (posts & photos to come), I went to the library to get a couple of books from the ongoing book sale. I don't like to take borrowed books out of the house, so I always buy two or three to take with me when we go away.

One of the books I got was "The Expected One" by Kathleen McGowan. I don't know how many of you are familiar with this book- I surely wasn't until I brought it home. But I believe it caused a bit of a stir when it was released, as it challenges a LOT of what traditional religion has been based on.

I am not a religious person, though I do consider myself to be a spiritual one. And this book has really made me re-think not only what I was taught in church and Sunday school, but in school from my history books.

Though the story is specific to the Bible, it also brings up the question of the validity of all of the history books we learn from.

Most, if not all, of the history books were written by men of high social and economic standing with their personal slant. AND let's face the fact that traditionally (and still today in some societies and situations) women are considered to be unimportant and therefore have been left out, ignored, or made to look bad in some way, in those accounts.

I am not on a man-bashing mission here, and I am not explaining myself very well... I guess what I got most out of this book was the need to question things more, rather than just accepting someone's version of it.

I will put my latest reads at the bottom of my blog, on my bookshelf. I have been remiss in doing this lately... feel free also to recommend good reads to me in your comments- who doesn't love a really good read?!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Plumbing and cabinets and tile, oh my!

LOL  Couldn't resist- The Wizard of Oz is still one of my all-time favourite movies and that line... you know the one... seems to stick in my head! Anyway, onto the renovation update.

Yesterday was busy here too. The plumbers came to hook up my sink- YAY!!! We now have a working sink again and thank goodness for that.

I really love the sink, but I never would have chosen it based on any photos that the company has online. The photos they have are downright poor- I happened to see it in a showroom and didn't take a photo of it myself. When I tried to show Rich, he wasn't sure it was a great as I said it was, but trusted me. He agrees, now that it is in. Whew! lol

I like how the front and back edges are beveled in, and the divider doesn't reach the top. Plus I LOVE the undermount; it just looks sleeker and will be SO much easier to keep clean!

A closer view. Rich likes the racks on the bottom- that means no more ugly dish racks on the counter!

The cabinet guys came in just to set the remaining cabinets so that the tile guy could do his work. They only set them and drilled the necessary holes- the trim and crown moulding will go in next week.

Lastly, the tile guys set up the mosaic on the counter so we could all make sure we liked it. Boy, that is a job that could take all day, if you let it. You could keep changing your mind over and over... But between four of us, we got it so that everyone thought it looked good and we let the guy get to work.

You can see some of the stackstone tile behind the sink here, I think it is very cool. 

Starting on the mosaic tile layout for the backsplash behind the stove.

And here it is, up and finished. I wish the stove would get here already!!!

A longer view of the tile- I will get a not-so-orange photo of it later today, when the sun moves!

It's so hard to believe this is even the same room- we didn't change the actual layout, just moved the appliances around a bit and streamlined things. So how does it seem SO much bigger????

The painter is here today, working on a few things, but everyone will be taking the long weekend off, so I won't have anything to show you till next week. 

I hope everyone has a relaxing and fun weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

More paint and countertops!

It's finally starting to look like a kitchen again, with the addition of countertops yesterday.

Most of the paint is now done, though the painter will be back to do a couple of sections of the eating area ceiling and to touch up the bookcases and window seat. We have decided to keep them white, at least for the time being. We figure it is easy enough to paint them brown later if we change our minds. Right now, we are enjoying the airiness of the room and letting the red really shine!

The tan colour wraps right around the room, and into the kitchen. We do have a tile backsplash going in, right up to the  bottom of the cabinets, so there won't be a lot of paint in the kitchen. But it's the continuity thing, you know? The tan really makes the fireplace pop!

Early morning photo of the sitting room- I think it is dark enough in the early (and late) times of the day. I really like the red to stand out.

First view of the installed countertop! It just looks gorgeous, I am so happy with it!
And how incredible is it that this is ALL workspace! Woo-hoo!!! This photo was taken late afternoon, and it shows a different light than the photo below- it IS all the same... lol

The piece of counter on the right side of the range. I just LOVE this granite!

This morning the plumber comes to hook up the sink, the cabinet guy comes to set the last two cabinets (they sit right on the countertop because of the appliance garages), and the tile guy comes to start on the backsplash. Another busy day.

We are having a fun backsplash section behind the range, a mosaic-type of stone with some random coloured glass tiles mixed in. We chose a red (of course), a root beer colour, and a really light brown glass tile for this and I think it will be really pretty. I love glass tiles- but in the mix, not as a whole backsplash.

Stay tuned, I will post photos of the (hopefully) working sink later today or tomorrow.

It's weird; not having a sink has really been the biggest challenge. That and blowing outlets in the garden room... lol

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Time for paint

Once the granite guys have the template, it takes about a week to cut, so Amy has the painter coming in.

He started with my red wall. I LOVE IT. At night you can see more of the orange in it, but it is a lovely, rich, warm colour, and I am really happy with it. It is a custom colour of paint, the colour that my new stove will be. And the stove will sit on the wall right opposite this one. Also on the long wall will be the couch, the filing cabinet/end table, and my computer desk (on the unseen right side of the door here).

Waiting for a second coat

Second coat finished

How it looks coming into the kitchen from the hall. Beautiful, I think!

Next the base colour went on the walls, a tan colour which we chose to go with the tile backsplash, the cabinets, and the granite. I really like this colour too. It goes really well with the red.

See how it looks more orange at night? I took this last night so I could see how the red and tan go together, and I like it.

A little closer so you can see the bookcase and window seat.

Now we have a decision to make. I thought we had already made it (brown), but then the painter comes in and makes suggestions to Amy & I, and we have to really think it through.

Our designer, Amy, thinks we should paint these bookcases and window seat dark brown, to make them look like built in furniture, to warm up the room, to echo the chocolate brown of my wonderful chair that will sit across from it. And as Rich and I use this room mainly in the fall and winter to sit in front of the fire to read and relax, we don't need the space to be really light. The large window gives lots of sunlight during the day (it's a south-facing window), and we have good lighting for reading in the evenings.

The painter thinks we should leave the bookcases, window seat, and fireplace mantle and showcase it in the white, to match the ceiling beams, to accent it as woodwork. He and Amy both agree that painting the mantle will mean losing its detail.

Rich thinks the white is nice, now that we can see the red, tan, and white together, but he thinks it is too contemporary for the house, and he is favouring the brown.

I do think the white is sharp, and it would keep a light, airy feel to the room. But I love the thought of cozying up the space, considering what we use it for. 

I know it is just paint, I know we can re-paint if we make a mistake. I just really want to get it right the first time, because once this is all done, I know I am not going to want to be put out of the space again for a good long while! lol

Granite template

So the guys were here to template the granite.

The first thing the guy said was that the iron supports that we were planning to use instead of corbels were nowhere near good enough- they were far too short. Where they end would push up on the middle of the countertop and possibly cause cracking. I would cry like a baby if that happened! lol So they have ordered longer ones, ones that will go right across to the front of the cabinet and properly counterweight it.

They made the template out of balsa wood, all stapled together.

Just getting started

Figuring out where the seams will go

Done and ready to carry out

One of the three slabs we have on hold

It's hard to imagine how this will look on our counter. Both Rich and I wanted large movement in the granite as opposed to the smaller, more uniform types. I love it and can't wait to see how it looks next week!

Template by