Thursday, June 28, 2007

Product Review

A few weeks ago I was surfing the Internet and on one mommy blog I came across a "freebie" that I thought I'd try to go after. The freebie was a free Senseo coffee machine! I didn't really think it was real but today in the mail, I received one as part of the "Share Senseo" program. No kidding! Seeing as how we love coffee here, I might as well try it out. This coffee system uses pods so instead of taking your coffee beans and grinding them, then putting the ground coffee beans in the coffee machine...and waiting for the coffee to be finished brewing... you just simply put a pod or two in the holder, press a button, and 30 seconds later you have a perfectly brewed cup of coffee with a layer of froth on top. Sounded kind of interesting. But I wasn't sure it was going to meet my needs for a specific coffee taste. We have been using the French Press method for making coffee and the coffee usually has a "thick" taste to it, one that is deep and flavorful. I have grown accustomed to coffee being pressed by the French Press method and was a little hesitant to try this out. After washing the machine and flushing it with water, I had to give it a try. It was VERY easy to use. I plugged it in, pushed the on button, then the button for a small cup of coffee (four ounces), and waited. It was done in no time at all. I have to admit that with that layer of froth on top it looked scrumptious. Lip smacking good scrumptious. But would it hold up? It was hot and I took a sip. It wasn't too bad - (meaning...not too sure if Mike will like it or not). It tasted slightly bitter to my tongue, but I wasn't sure if it was just this particular coffee blend or not. After all, I'm really not a coffee aficionado. It's kind of a neat little gadget. We'll have to wait and see from Mike if it will deserve a thumbs up or not. In my humble opinion it might be nice to have around but will it be another one of those appliances that just sits and sits, begging to be used? I don't know. I appreciated the speed of the whole process and how easy it was to use. The taste was OK. But I can see how it could become expensive buying replacement pods to use. I'll have to try it out a few more times to know if it's the real deal or not!

Here are some product specs: This particular model retails for $69.99, and there are other, more expensive models that go up to $139.99. For a package of 18 pods, it would cost you about $29.99 although I did find one bag of 16 pods that is for about $16.99. Let me break it down for you - one pod will make one 4 ounce cup of coffee, and two pods will make you one 8 ounce cup. So if both Mike and I wanted just one cup of coffee, we'd use four pods...Yikes! We wouldn't even be able to make it through one week before we'd need to buy more pods. It means that we'd spend more than $120 a month on this particular kind of coffee. That is just too spendy for us folks. I mean, we aren't made of money people!!! That in itself would deter me from buying this. Even though it looks cool and trendy, I wouldn't be able to fork over the dough each week to feed my habit.

The box we received - states "With the SENSEO coffee machine by Philips you can enjoy a perfect cup of coffee - topped with a rich frothy coffee layer - whenever you feel like it. Each cup is freshly brewed so you're always sure of that pure, smooth taste. The patented SENSEO brewing system from Philips in combination with the special SENSO coffee pods makes sure you get only the very best in flavor and aroma from freshly roasted coffee."

Let the brewing begin!

Drip, Drip, Drip!

Mmmm...look at the froth.

Amanda's ratings (*=poor, *****=excellent)
Appearance - ****
Ease of use - *****
Cost - * 1/2
Taste -*** 1/2

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Resident Graduation

Last night we hired a sitter for the boys and were able to enjoy an adult evening at the Resident Graduation dinner. Mike and the other residents toasted a fellow resident who will be moving to NYC in a short while. We had an awesome meal of steak, a crabcake, some seasonal vegetables, and of course the chocolate cheesecake...which was oh so yummy! Each table had a really pretty floral centerpiece. We were lucky enough to come home with one!

A little home spa therapy...

A few years ago after I had come back from my music camp in Brevard, NC I had one desire to purchase a spa-like piece of equipment. You see, while we were in the thick of things in music camp, playing...oh...around eight to ten hours of music every day your muscles and joints would sometimes start to hurt. Yes, we all overdid the playing at one point or another. But to remedy the situation, the camp nurse offered free weekly 10 minute massages to the first fifteen people who signed up. You had to act quickly my friends. Those massages were like heaven. I still love them. I didn't go out and purchase a professional masseuse mind you. She turned me on to something else quite lovely. Something called Hot Paraffin Wax Treatment...or something like that. You might think that it sounds ridiculous sticking a body part into hot melted wax...why would anyone do that? Oh people...if you only knew! It is such a treat to the skin. When the wax has melted, you dip your hand (or it could be your elbow, foot whatever) into the hot paraffin six to seven times quickly. After taking your hand out, it is covered in waxy goodness so you must wrap them in bags. In my opinion, the bags help to lock the heat in, and seal in the moisturizing effects this has. After sitting for a few minutes, letting your mind do nothing but wander (because really, what else could you be doing while your hands are covered in wax?) you get to unwrap those bags and take the wax off and deposit it back in the crock. The whole process is so soothing...and that's why I brought it out of the closet yesterday. Yesterday was one of those crazy like days when my mind just couldn't stop the madness! The kids were constantly screaming for attention, if not screaming at each other, and there were a million things that needed to be done. My head was spinning and I was in a foul mood. Yes, it happens on occasion. Please forgive me. I needed something for myself. Something to soothe me. The paraffin wax treatment. It's what I call a little piece of serenity in my house. You should try it!

This is the crock with the melted wax inside

The melted wax

Dipping your hand in the wax (yes, I'm odd for taping it, but a girl's gotta show you how to do it!)

Depositing the wax back in the crock

Now let it melt again!

Spice Rack pt. 2

The Spice Rack is up, and we're still looking for the perfect pull. It holds so many spices and I'm loving that it's not taking up extra cabinet or counter space. We love it. Mike did an excellent job making this. Way to go!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Paint and Stainless Steel

We have been slowing down in the kitchen department lately. I guess it can be difficult to paint an entire room when you have two children pulling on your pant legs! Mike has also been busy getting ready for his boards in July. So, this part has taken us a bit longer than we had anticipated. We have, however, picked out a paint color for the kitchen. It is called "Sensible Hue" from the Home Depot. I, on the other hand, prefer to call it "Masking Tape". It truly is a bit toned down and we both thought that having a lighter color in the kitchen would compliment the cabinets and counter nicely. The color is growing on me!
We have also been trying to put up the backsplash. Some of the stainless steel panels were a bit difficult to put up, seeing as how Mike needed to cut out the holes for the outlets and switch plate. But they are all up now, and the kitchen looks quite sparkly. It has a really nice modern flavor to it. Even though the entire kitchen isn't quite done yet it's looking marvelous!

Here, the flash of the camera is on but the under the cabinet lights are not on.

Let's add some pizazz! The lights under the cabinets are on!
The color - "Masking Tape" - whoops, I mean "Sensible Hue"...
It appears a bit darker in the photo than it actually is.

Sorry for the bad picture here. Just wanted to show a difference in the choice of colors. The previous yellow was a bit more mustardy than what it looks like in the picture. The white (or shall I say "masking tape" color) in the middle is the new color.

Now this picture pretty much is exactly as it looks. It's not too bad...for masking tape!

Stop right there!

I saw you for the first time about two weeks ago. It was dark so I couldn't see too clearly. You ran away quickly and hid before I could catch up.
Then just the other night as the lights were being turned off, you mysteriously appeared again, going into my bathroom.
This morning as my son entered my bathroom, you were there again. You tried to run but we fought and I thought I took care of the situation.
How could you? We thought you were long gone! I was sure the words I had spoken to you would ensure us that you would never return under any circumstances.
On my way to the laundry room I saw you again. You looked my way, ran and hid under the cabinet. You dirty little cockroach! And now I'm sure it wasn't just one...


From now on when I go into the boys' room during the night I pray that I won't happen upon you and squish the living daylights out of you. That would just be too gross. My foot would never be the same!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spice Rack

Just to the left of our stove we had a gap in between the cabinets of a few inches. We discovered that it was the perfect size for a spice rack drawer. Unfortunately IKEA does not have any such thing to add on to the existing cabinets we already put up. What to do in a situation like this? Ask your husband to make you one! Mike was busy making the spice rack...and it's nearly finished. We just need to find the perfect pull for the front of the door and it will look like it was always meant to be there.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

I'm going for it!

I have finally made the decision to teach Jonah the violin. I have thought about this long and hard and after thinking about what little we have to do this summer I decided that I might as well just give it a try. I'm really nervous about it. I don't want this to be all about me wanting my son to be the best little violin player out there. I want to do this because I think he'd like it and might have fun learning something and later he might appreciate the discipline that comes from practicing an instrument. Maybe I'm looking too far ahead but I'm willing to give it a try. I approach this with much trepidation. I've thought about this for several months now...should I do it, or shouldn't I? I've made the decision to go for it! Just a little while ago I ordered a violin online. Hopefully if all goes well we'll have it by next week! Wish us luck!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

A story of the Mutant Tomatoes

Over a month ago I had an idea to start a small tomato garden outside of my kitchen window. It would be fun I thought to myself. We'd have delicious tomatoes that we could pick off the vine ourselves. We'd eat them every day! They would be the best tomatoes anyone has ever seen.
I purchased three different tomato plants at the Home Depot ~ Roma tomatoes, Mr. Stripey heirloom tomatoes, and Yellow Pear tomatoes. I thought the variety would be fun. And as they were growing outside I could just glance out the window and marvel at the process happening before my very eyes.
The plants grew very quickly. One plant practically quadrupled in size. I was so excited! Then, the little yellow blossoms starts showing. I thought they were really nice. I have never grown any kind of vegetable before and so anything new here was progress. I waited and waited to see any sign of tomatoes springing forth. When my inlaws were here visiting a week or so ago it finally happened. Two oblong shaped tomatoes popped out overnight. I was thrilled! I watched to see how much they would grow. I watered them. I hoped they would grow and turn out to become beautiful tomatoes, the very first tomatoes that I had ever grown myself. I was so proud of these tomatoes.
When I first decided to place my tomatoes outside of my kitchen window I had a brief thought that the tomatoes, if they chose to grow, would turn out to be some kind of mutant tomatoes, seeing as how they were being grown on the street...literally! I didn't dare plant them in my backyard, seeing as how the rats would probably get to the tomatoes before I ever could. Even thinking that the rats could touch them gives me the goosebumps. Gross! So I planted them in the window box to keep them from large city rats. Mike didn't think that we'd end up with any tomatoes. He assumed that the birds would get to them and eat them before they ripened. I didn't anything or anyone would touch or harm them.
I was wrong.
Shortly after my inlaws left I noticed my two prized tomatoes growing rather nicely. I even thought that they were starting to change colors from green to red! The bottoms of each fruit had turned a color that was like a deep purple - and I just knew that it wouldn't be long before we'd be able to enjoy them. I waited and waited to see if the color would spread to the rest of the fruit, but it didn't.

After talking with my older sister last night I realized that I had a problem on my hands. My tomatoes had blossom end rot...and I needed to get rid of them. So I'm trying something she suggested...and if it doesn't work...older sister, you know who you are!!! She suggested that I try putting banana peels and or pieces of banana in the dirt. So this morning after I took off the rotten tomatoes, I placed a banana peel around my three plants.
I'm waiting and watching carefully and hoping against all odds that my tomatoes will be fruitful!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A visit to the warehouse

This morning we traveled to the Stone Warehouse to pick out our rock for the new kitchen countertop! We were both excited about the process and anxious to see how our choice would look against our new cabinets. We were able to pick out the slab we wanted and that was that! It's called Uba Tuba and is black with specks of green, yellow, and tan in it. We were glad we went seeing as how it differed slightly in the way it looked online. We are very excited to be upgrading our kitchen and can't wait for the finishing touches to be added! Tuesday is the date of installation! Stay tuned for further pictures!

Friday, June 1, 2007

New appliances

Out with the old...

...and in with the new!!!

We even updated our light is so bright in our kitchen now, I LOVE IT!

Let the demo begin!

This is just after Mike and Jack took down the top wall cabinets. They patched up a few things and moved on.

The corner before the new cabinet went in. Previously there was not a corner cabinet~just two smaller cabinets which didn't utilize the corner. We had so much wasted space in the corners that we opted to get a few corner cabinets and a lazy susan.

The very first new cabinet goes up!

A few more are added, along with one of the doors to give you an idea of what it will look like.

More cabinets on the main wall went up, along with a new corner cabinet on the right.

Family scrapbook

Storybook Island, Rapid City, SD ~ August 2005
Dinosaur Park, Rapid City, August 2005

My child loves to golf with his Daddy!