Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Post-Christmas loot

Baby T and I had an outing to Barnes & Noble and Home Depot this morning.

  • I'm feeling very smug about my haul from the Barnes & Noble Christmas 75% off table.  I got a cup of coffee, a large box of peppermint bark and a bag of chocolate truffles all for $10. 
  • We don't usually go to Home Depot (we usually go to Lowes), so it was interesting to check out their offerings.  I came away with yet more speckled white and white marble laminate countertop samples for my renovation hope box.  I also noted that there were some small bathroom vanities that might fit into our downstairs powder room.  The powder room sink is so constructed that water winds up hitting the caulking and sitting there, so was quite thrilled to see that some of the small vanities have a sort of built-in backsplash.  Would it fit, though?
  • One nice thing about Home Depot is that after my years of perusing House Beautiful and other home magazines, just about everything looks really inexpensive.  $30 a square foot for granite--sign me up!
  • Another area for study is the question of the kitchen/entry/powder room/hall/laundry room flooring.  It is currently white tile with pinkish marbled veining.  I actually kind of like the light flooring.  The problem is 1) my ultimate plan is to de-pink the house and 2) there's an area in the kitchen with a crack that runs across four tiles.  Our local soil is prone to expanding and contracting as the water content changes (hence the need to vigorous water the foundation to prevent movement).  The existing tile has worn very well over 20+ years and getting new tile would be very practical for the entry, but then again, it would nearly kill me to put in new tile and then have cracks suddenly appear again.  We can't really do wood because there's already wood flooring elsewhere in the downstairs, and it's not really that practical for wet areas.  Engineered wood would be OK for wet areas, but you still have the problem of matching the existing wood floor in the living room--I think fake wood is going to look bad next to real wood.  The current leading option is to do vinyl planks or tiles.  I think it would look fine in the kitchen, entry and powder room, but I have concerns about how it's going to look in the main entry, which is one of those over-sized McMansion entries with sweeping staircase.  If we go with vinyl plank or tile, it needs to look really good.         
  • It sounds like some family paintings may be coming to our house!  I'm thinking that the paintings may help us choose paint colors for the downstairs.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

First world problems

Here's some of what's going on:

  • This is a bit of a first world problem, but I am sad to see that the antique/knick knack store downtown that I had been hoping to buy a new reclaimed wood dining room table from is now closed, with no sign on the door or forwarding address.  Bummer.  I am hoping I can find the people and order a table from them, as their price ($1,000 for an 8-foot long table made from solid hardwood planks reclaimed from old buildings) was very attractive, as was their product.  I really like the idea of a big farmhouse table.   
  • I think I heard Baby T saying, "Up!" earlier today.
  • I also think that Baby T was expressing displeasure and dismay after hearing me mention a diaper change and also after hearing me mention a nap. 
  • She now puts up more of a fight when we try to remove objects from her grasp.
  • Baby T loves walking around with her baby doll.  She holds it correctly, as my husband pointed out to us.
  • Baby T loves C's stuffed horses, in all sizes, but particularly the enormous stuffed horse that she enjoys riding.  As C points out, Baby T used to be terrified of the huge stuffed horse.
  • Baby T enjoys being read to.  Her mother especially enjoys rhyming boardbooks with few words per page.
  • I'm on Day 2 of a modified version of my diabetic diet.  I'm having trouble finding shoes that fit properly, so any serious exercise is pretty much out until I have a chance to see my podiatrist.  It's probably a sign of creeping middle age that I start as many sentences as I do, "My podiatrist says..."     

C on T rolling off a stuffed horse

C said:  "I feel sorry for her, but it was really funny."

It was totally painless, as the floor is covered with foam tiles.

Monday, January 13, 2014


C has been machine-sewing felt saddles for some plastic horses.  There's a black felt saddle with red detailing that's very striking.

End of break

Here's some of what's been happening:

  • We celebrated my husband's birthday about a week ago.  He made a delicious cinnamon chocolate version of the classic Hershey's chocolate cake recipe.  
  • We've watched all of the extended versions of LOTR over Christmas break.  I did a substantial chunk of that on our new elliptical machine.
  • D has been building LOTR inspired block fortresses and my husband has cut and sanded a bunch of new blocks for him.  On one occasion, D had a block Minas Tirith and a block Mordor (with Barad-Dur and Mount Doom).  
  • C has sewed a stuffed Minecraft creeper and finished a baby quilt kit from Big Lots.  She also made up an Aunt Annie's gingerbread pretzel kit I got from the store on clearance.
  • I got such a good deal on cloth napkins today on Christmas clearance--70% off.    
  • I made a visit to the nice local home materials store over Christmas break.  I'm kind of smitten with Armstrong's line of vinyl tile and I think it is a fantastic product for areas like bathrooms and kitchens.  It's much warmer to the touch than ceramic tile or stone. 
  • I need to talk to a professional and make some sort of staged plan for renovating our house.  My current thought is that for the kitchen, we could do very well to change the floor from the current tile (we'd also be retiling a hallway, powder room and entry), paint, change the knobs on the cabinets (currently white ceramic with pink water lilies) and switch from our current mauve pink laminate countertop and backsplash to a different neutral light laminate countertop and backsplash (I'm thinking pearly white or sparkly white or fake white marble if that's possible).  That could change a lot.  I'm not sure how the new stuff would go with our late 80s/early 90s pinkish pickled finish cabinets, but what I'm hoping is that once the paint and countertops aren't pink, the cabinets will stop glowing so pinkly.  We will eventually have appliances to think about.  I don't want to be the last person on earth to buy stainless steel appliances, but I am nonetheless leaning toward getting a stainless steel fridge when the time comes, as well as replacing our current antique-looking wall oven with something stainless steel.  
  • Appliance-wise, we've currently got a lot of different finishes.  We've got a white fridge, black dishwasher, black cook top, stainless microwave and a white/black/stainless oven.  I'd like to limit our appliance palette to stainless and black or just stainless.  
  • There's some risk that the pickled pink cabinets just won't work with stainless steel appliances.
  • As I said, I don't want to be the last person to get stainless, but I also don't feel crazy about white or black, and I really like our stainless steel microwave.   

Monday, January 6, 2014

Captain Awkward archives

Being an advice column junkie, I have been enjoying Captain Awkward's archives over Christmas break.  Here's a snippet of an old advice letter from 2011:

He's kind, generous, supportive, and smart; he understands "privilege" and "the kyriarchy," we have similar goals in life; and the sex if awesome.  We're talking about getting married and having kids.  However, I have a problem:  his personal hygiene and housekeeping skills are disgusting.
Here's my short answer:  How about finding a guy who doesn't understand "privilege" and "the kyriarchy" who brushes his teeth twice a day, showers daily, and keeps a clean home.  You'll find it much easier to live with.

Friday, January 3, 2014

For Sarah

Here is a great Huffington Post piece on Facebook abuse.

The only problem with it is that it leaves the question hanging, so what do we Facebook about if we can't do X, Y or Z, as it's all attention-seeking and bragging?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Baby T was saying "ca" while pointing to her daddy's phone.  My husband thinks that she was trying to say "computer."

Baby T has of late started using us as book-reading machines.  Current favorites include Is Your Mama a Llama?, Are You My Mother?, a baby ABC, Wheels on the Bus and Sandra Boynton's Pajama Time.

Pad thai

I put some pad thai (dinner leftovers) on Baby T's tray.  She was looking at it with interest, but there was something missing--namely a fork.  She needed a fork.

Husband's movie idea

We've been discussing summer travel logistics.  My husband suggests the following as a movie premise:  Toddlers on a Plane.