Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So much for...

regularly blogging! I have been so busy the past few days that I've barely had time to check my email. The kitchen remodel starts on Friday evening and there is soooooo much to do before then.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Hardwood

On Friday night the kiddos & I went to watch our oldest play in the marching band. While we were gone he removed EVERYTHING from Dori's room and pulled up the carpet. He had to remove a little paint from the hardwood, but overall it wasn't much work. He polished it and has put up quarter round along the base boards. I spent a bunch of time yesterday going through all the piles from the room and I've purged at least half of it. I've handed off most of the clothes to Dori's BFF and pulled out small toys, dolls, stuffed animals, and lots of other junk. Today I am going to put the rest back in her room. Usually her room is a mess, but I hope with having a lot less stuff that she will be able to keep it clean. I will be encouraging her in this area. Our room and bathroom are staying nice and we've actually been dusting & sweeping a lot. Something we usually ignore.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

4 Years Ago Today

On 8/28/2006 (a Monday) our lives changed forever. We got the call that told us all about a little girl waiting for us in China. She was almost 9 months old and was living in Southern China. This was a day we'd been dreaming of for 19 months. Eric took the day off so that he'd be home for the call, but the boys were in school. We knew the call was coming because our agency received referrals for family logged in thru 7/22/2005. Your log-in date is the date that your paperwork is entered into the system in China and regular referrals come in order based on your log-in date (LID). I was still a little nervous that we might not get the call cause maybe our paperwork was misplace or some other silly reason I came up with in my head. Our agency is in Colorado so I knew they wouldn't make calls until at least 10am. Needless to say we were on pins & needles from 10am on. In fact, here is a little video of that morning. This is the edited version.
video
A few minutes after noon we got the official call. After a few seconds of banter, Deb said let me tell you about your little girl. WOW! What a moment! After she told us all the basics and gave us instructions (including estimated travel of 9 weeks) she sent us a photo. Unfortunately it did not come through right away. She tried several different email addresses and we hit refresh a million times, but it still hadn't arrived by the time the call ended. It was nearly an hour after the call first came through that we got the email. I was so anxious to see it. What did she look like? Was she cute? What could I tell from the photo? This is what we saw~
First thing I noticed was her little elf ears and how they reminded me of Parker's ears. I'll be honest here...I didn't feel that instant connection to her when I saw the photo. I was thrilled, but I wanted to know MORE about her. People were telling me that she was cute, but I just wasn't seeing it. Anyway, the stork (Fed-Ex) arrived the next day with a package from our agency that contained 2 more photos. I was able to connect much more with Dori through those photos.
When I found out which orphanage she was from I knew she'd be in a blow-up Hello Kitty chair. We called her our little Hello Kitty baby and she still loves Hello Kitty to this day! My most favorite color on her in the whole world is light yellow. Can you see why?

These photos were taken 3 months before we got them so I wondered how much she changed. Our agency got updated photos & info a month after referral and we got to see current photos of our girl.
Shaving baby's heads in China is common place and you can see that she'd been shaved since the first photos! By the time we had these updated photos we had our plane tickets to China, which had us leaving Oct 25. The online customer service contract I had been working under for the last 16 months expired the day before referral, so I had lots of time on my hands. We made a smart decision to move the kid's bedrooms around (I was giving up my sewing room for the teen to have a room in the basement!) and that helped the time move quickly. It was so nice to have a pretty room ready for Dori, although she didn't sleep in it for a long time!

Here is a photo of Dori today with her referral photo!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I ♥ My Toilet

Today I am picking a topic that most people DO NOT blog about~ toilets. Face it, we all use them...but it's a privacy thing.

With remodeling the house we decided that we wanted a new toilet. My BIL recently got a new potty and he raves about it. So we bought the same one. It's an American Standard Cadet 3 FloWise. I love that it's taller than our old one, that it stays cleaner longer, it uses a lot less water and the flush is about a split second long, AND we've not needed to plunge at all! WOW! (TMI?)It's white, not pink like in this pic. The only thing I don't like about this potty is the toilet seat, but I changed that out with a new one I bought at Menards. I didn't install the potty, but I did install the new seat! I know that many new toilets have cool features, but I just wanted to brag on ours.

We have a few minor things to do to finish off our bathroom. One of them being decorating. I think we are going to with an Asian theme.
Happy Weekend Everyone!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Not a fan of Wednesday!

With getting back into blogging I thought I would start doing things a little different. I was getting bored with Wordless Wednesday so I thought I'd do something new. Wednesdays are my busiest day of the week. Yesterday was no exception! I was extremely stressed out by the time I went to bed. Normally I get a little time to relax before bed, but we were out figuring out or flooring options for the kitchen and doing a few other things related to the remodel and didn't get back til after 9pm. My BIL stopped by with the upgraded laptop (w00t!) and I had a bunch of waiting emails. (I hadn't checked email for 8 hrs by the time I got on!) We plan on going to look at refrigerators & flooring tonight, but we plan on getting an earlier start and hopefully be home earlier than 9.

So long and short of it~ I think I am going to continue with Wordless Wednesday. It's pretty easy to find a photo to post and I don't have to say anything! Maybe it will make Wednesdays a little bit easier!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Song Rings True!

My daughter has just discovered the Fresh Beat Band at NickJr.com. She would sit there all day if I let her. I am getting to know all the songs (ugh!) and one sticks in my head...Get up now and go go! Go go go go go go go!
Well DH just IMd me that our custom cabinets are in at Menards. YIKES! We only ordered them 2 weeks ago and they said 4+ weeks. So it's time to get up and go go on the kitchen remodel. I am feeling a little panicked. I am wondering how we are going to quickly pull this together and make it all happen. Of course even it was 2-3 weeks from now, I would still feel panicked. I know that part of my panic is the natural resistance to change...even though the kitchen could use some updating. I just know the process is going to be a PITA...and we are planning on doing it ourselves. Gulp! I am thinking we might need to hire in for some parts of the process. Of course right now I am thinking of another Fresh Beat Band song...Friends give friends a hand...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meal Monday - Creamy Chicken

Last night we had my sis & her fam over for dinner and I made this SUPER simple chicken dish. I got it off a new website I found called Deliciously Thin. That site is devoted to being on a lo-carb diet. They have a section of recipes called 3 ingredient dishes. I am ALL for simplicity and I found this recipe that was devoured last night. Even my son who isn't a big fan of this type of thing had 2nds and licked his plate clean.

Creamy Chicken

* 1 bag - 2.5 to 3 lb bag of frozen chicken breasts
* 1 package cream cheese
* 2 can cream of chicken soup (Cream of Chicken & Mushroom is lower in carbs if you can find it!)

Place all in crock pot and cook all day. Great over french style green beans or cauliflower.
I just realized right now that it called for 2 cans of soup. I only used one can of Cream of Chicken & Mushroom, which I will do next time I make it. We served it over long thin green beans. There were 9 of us and it was gone quickly. Even the left over sauce got scooped up. I didn't start it until nearly lunch time so I cooked it on high for just over 6 hours. This will be going on our high rotation meal list

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Diet

About 3 weeks ago I was watching the Dr. Oz show. I am not sure why because I don't turn on the TV during the day, but that doesn't matter. He was talking about different diets and how they will be successful for different people. The low carb diet really spoke to me because I carry weight around my middle AND I eat a TON of carbs. I LOVE tortillas and will eat several each day. I also love bread, rolls, rice, cereal, crackers, pasta and just about anything with carbs. In fact, cards are what I snack on post of the time. I usually buy whole wheat breads and 'healthier' carbs, but I still have too many of them. And sugar is a carb!!!! So I decided to give the lo-carb thing a try. I didn't put a lot of planning or thought into it, I just decided one day to really pay attention to what I am eating and cut out the simple carbs. It hasn't been tough at all! I've been looking up recipes and alternatives online. I am not big on meat, so Atkins wouldn't work for me. I like cheese, but can only have so much in a day. So I am beefing up on fruits and veggies. I know that many fruits that are not low in carbs, but eating them in moderation has got to be better than snacking on crackers or cereal. I haven't been tired (which many say happens with a lo-carb diet) and I am not feeling hungry. Only one did I struggle with something to snack with. I didn't weigh myself before starting, but I am feeling a little slimmer. The first place that I put weight on and off is my hips. It seems as if I can't pinch a big blob of fat like I could a few weeks ago. I don't know if I will cut carbs permanently, but I hope to get used to eating less and in turn NOT go overboard at parties and gatherings. There are recipes out there with alternative ingredients, but I haven't tried any yet. I did find this simple recipe for rotisserie chicken in the crock pot. You take a whole chicken, spray it with cooking spray (olive oil preferred) and then sprinkle it with Lawry's Seasoning Salt. You ball up foil and put it in the bottom of a crock pot and then set the chicken on top. I actually put the steaming tray from one of my rice cookers in the bottom of it. The recipe said cook on low for 4-5 hours, but my chicken wasn't fully defrosted so I cooked it longer. Super easy and yummy!I've been eating lots of salads!! YUM!!!
Yes...this 2nd one has a lot of dressing!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to School!

Summer is over. On one hand it seems like it was long, but on the other hand it seems like it was short. With being in Alaska much of the summer our time at home was short! Yesterday was Parker's first day of middle school.Today was Jake's last first day of high school. Yup...he's a senior!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yes! I've been a bad blogger!

I haven't posted much here at Diana Rambles over the last 3-4 months. In the spring I was busy preparing for our big trip to Alaska (which I did blog about here), we were gone in June & July, and I've been swamped with returning to work and home improvement since we got back. Our trip to Alaska was a big success! I was cleaning up our kitchen a few days after we got back and I was telling DH how sick of it I was. He said, "Why don't we remodel? Or what if we just move?" I did a little searching online at realtor.com, but I realized that if we were to move than I'd have to clean up the whole house and the economy stinks...so we would not get the value out of our house that we think we deserve. So we are remodeling. We started with our bedroom. We were inspired by the beautiful turquoise-blueish color that we saw in glaciers and glacier fed lakes and streams on the trip.I found this awesome bedding at Overstock.com and we picked a new wall color to match.We were trying to decide about flooring and I decided I wanted laminate. When DH went to pull the carpet up...we found HARDWOOD! w00t! The floor had paint spills all over it, but DH was able to get it up with rubbing alcohol. He polished it and now our room looks FANTASTIC!I am not ready to post the final after pics yet because I still need to sew curtains and we hope to get a different dresser. Our walls are now in great need of some art.
DH has moved onto the bathroom now. The vanity was falling apart when we moved in 9 years ago...so it was WAY overdue for an update. We found a nice 5' vanity at Menards that looks great in there. We ordered a custom counter from them (in the kitchen department), got a sink, faucet, and new lights and fixtures. DH removed the wallpaper and painted the walls and ceiling WHITE! We still need to install several things, but it's coming together. We moved the position of the sink and changed the flooring, so it looks completely different. Here are some before and current shots~We plan on getting new towels and accent decor. We just have no idea what color(s) to go with. What goes with black, white, and royal oak? I think just about any bold color, but we are clueless with where to start. We do plan on changing out the towels/accents every few years to give it a fresh feel.

The next room is the kitchen. While the bedroom and bathroom were more of an update, the kitchen is going to be a TOTAL remodel. First off we are knocking out the wall between the kitchen and dining room. We will be putting in a peninsula (also an inspiration from our trip? Kenai Peninsula???) right by where the wall was. There will be overhang on the back where people can sit on stools. We've already ordered the cabinets, $tove, and microwave from Menards. We are going with stainless appliances. We still need to pick our a fridge & dishwasher. Once the cabinets are in place we will order the counter. Our counter will be Sedona Trail, but we have no idea of what colors to go with for flooring, ceiling, and walls. White will not look good! I think we will pick a lighter color from the counter for the flooring. We'd like to do a tile back splash. That can be quite $$ so we will probably wait until we can find something on sale. So many decisions!! We plan on doing most of the work by ourselves. (That means DH is doing it all! LOL!)We aren't this messy...we just wanted to make the before look bad! (I'm lying!)

I want to do a better job of posting. At this point I have no real plans surrounding my posts. I might do some memes or I just might ramble. I am sure there will be lots of stuff about our remodel. I know that a makeover is in order...which I hope to do very soon. I think I'll move things around a little.