Saturday, March 2, 2013

Kitchen Remodel

Even though I have posted photos of our new kitchen on Facebook, I thought I would do it again on my blog.  When we first bought our house the kitchen was horrible.  It was so bad that we should have walked away from the deal.  The layout wasted a lot of space, the oven didn't even work and the cabinets were made out of carsiding.  The first thing we did was buy a new stovetop and built-in oven.  Then we removed the orange countertops.  We put in a new sink and got by for a few years.  The original owners were too lazy to tape the ceiling seams so they nailed up slabwood beams to cover the seams. 

 The oven was built into the corner so at least four feet of corner space was wasted.

 We replaced the orange Formica with porcelain tile.

 The little pantry cabinet doors didn't close properly and didn't even match.

We needed to remodel but wanted to keep the style of the log cabin.  We learned a lot about wood types and construction.  We got estimates at all the lumber companies but the sizes were off and none of them could redesign the kitchen properly.  One day we saw an offer for an open house at a privately owned kitchen design store.  It was a located in Green Lake (a nearby community).  We went in just to look and we were really impressed with the quality and expertise of the owner.  We decided to go for it.  The business owner redesigned the kitchen adding only two more feet but therefore adding a lot more cabinets.  We took out the corner oven and the stovetop and put in a regular stove. The resulting kitchen is much more efficient.

 The old kitchen is being demolished.  My husband did all the prep work which saved money and because the cabinets were being built, he had time.

 He put new drywall on the ceiling and two of the walls and we had a new hardwood floor put in.

We also hired an electrician to put in outlets and a plumber to bring in the gas line and of course hook up the ice maker and sink.  The installation of the cabinets was difficult because the walls in our kind of home are very uneven.  The installer was a perfectionist and he did a great job.

The countertop went in next.  It is Silestone which is a quartz product.  It is antibacterial and doesn't scratch.  In fact, they told us not to use a knife on it because it would dull the knife.

Lastly the appliances.  I really am happy we did it even though it didn't make me a better cook.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Wonderful Electric Egg Cooker

Today I have a couple of things to recommend that work for me.  One is a small appliance called an electric egg cooker.  Now most of you will say that you don't need an another appliance just to cook eggs.  That's true, a saucepan and water works fine.  However, it's a guessing game for cooking time and if the eggs sit in the refrigerator for a while after they are boiled, the outside of the yolk turns a yucky green.  The egg cooker never fails.  You put in the number of eggs you want to boil (up to 6 or 7), add the recommended amount of water and press start.  The cooker buzzes when the eggs are cooked and it shuts itself off if you forget what your doing.  I admit, I get distracted at times trying to multitask.  You can hard boil them, soft boil them or poach them.  We like egg salad sandwiches or hard cooked eggs on salads.  In a few minutes you can accomplish this.  They are inexpensive too, even if you buy them new.  In a thrift store they are $2.00.
The next thing I have for today is how to store the lids to plastic containers.  Unless you have all the same sized containers with matching lids,  it's hard to organize them.  I store the plastic in a drawer that only holds so many.  It forces me to throw away (recycle) anything extra that I don't need.  I use a CD storage rack.  I put it in the drawer with the containers and I can always see what goes together. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dad's Photoshoot

More snow in Wisconsin brings me back to a year ago.  There is nothing to report today except Snow, Snow and more Snow.  Spring had already arrived by early March last year.  My dad had been asked to do a photoshoot for the local hospital in January 2012.  He is not the kind of person who is a show off and never draws attention to himself.  Imagine our surprise when he agreed to do this.  My mom was still living, so I stayed with her and my husband took him.  They had to take several changes in clothing and make sure he had clean finger nails and a haircut.  Mom and I wondered what was going on because it took quite a long time.  Finally they returned.  Dad had a good time and was pleased that they liked the clothing he was wearing and he didn't even require hair and makeup.  The resulting photos were great.  Mom died at the end of January and never saw the finished product. 

 This one is 4 x 7 feet and hanging in one of the main hallways of the hospital for all to see.  I would  never have thought in a million years that we would have this memory.

They also hung two colored banners outside the nursing home which is run by the hospital.  I didn't have the camera and only a flip phone so this is as good a photo as I could get.  They are still hanging there so I will go back for a better photo.  See how nice the weather was last year at this time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

101 Cookies

Today for my Tuesday recipe I'm just posting one of our favorite cookies.  It makes a big batch and that is why it is called 101 cookies.  I make them bigger by using the scoop that makes round balls that are about a heaping tablespoon of dough.

 I only get 64 cookies using this method.  The larger the cookie the longer they take to bake.

101 Cookies


    1. 1 cup Rice Krispies
    2. 1 cup rolled oats
    3. 1 cup flaked coconut 
    4. 2/3 cup chocolate chips ( optional)
    5. 1 cup white sugar
    6. 1 cup brown sugar
    7. 1 cup butter
    8. 2 eggs
    9. 1 cup oil
    10. 1 teaspoon vanilla
    11. 3 1/2 cups flour
    12. 1 teaspoon baking soda
    13. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine rice krispies, oats, coconut and chocolate chips; set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream both sugars with butter, add eggs then add oil and vanilla.
  4. Combine flour, baking soda and cream of tarter and stir into rice kripies mixture. Add to creamed mixture and mix until ingredients are blended.
  5. Drop or form into balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet, flattening with a fork. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Genealogy Research

One thing I love doing is genealogy.  It all started many years ago.  I wish I would have known how important it was to ask family members certain questions about where they came from and details of their lives.  Even my mother didn't really understand why I wanted to know these details.   My dad knows nothing of his family history.  They must have been so busy working and surviving that where they came from wasn't important.  Fortunately when my great grandmother on my Dad's side passed away, we found all of her important papers like birth records, marriage record and immigration papers.  That helped a lot. 

Great grandma's House

One of my first challenges was with my husbands family.  His dad changed his last name when he was 18 years old to his step fathers last name.  All we knew was the last name of my husbands grandfather but we didn't even know his first name.  We had some bits and pieces but we didn't have the whole picture.  Well, we did have a photo but no name.  I started my search in Indiana because that is where my father in law graduated from high school.  This was before you could get so many records over the internet.  I remember the day I located the marriage license.  I called the Register of Deeds office and there it was, the information we needed.  From the first and last names we were able to track both sides of the family.  I had a woman who volunteered to go to a cemetery in Evansville, Indiana and take photos of all the headstones related to the family.   We found the grandfather had died at a very young age from an accident.  He had been in a hospital for almost a year before he died and was buried in a cemetery in Texas in an unmarked grave.  The grandmother remarried and that solved the mystery of the name.  We also found out that the grandfather had been married before and my father in law had a half brother that no one had any knowledge of.  I won't bore you with anymore details, but it is very interesting to follow our ancestors through history.  You get a better understanding of where you came from and why you have certain traits.  I hope my husband and our children didn't inherit any from the following.  I know that this is a charcoal drawing but these people look pretty scary.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Homemade De-icer

A while back I saw a posting with a helpful hint about preventing ice from forming on sidewalks.  It said if you mix one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, one teaspoon of Dawn dish soap and a half gallon of water, you could get a great de-icer.  I thought I would try.  So before one of our big snow and ice events, I mixed some up.  I poured the solution on a small part of our sidewalk.  To my amazement, the ice on the treated area was easily shoveled off and the rest of the sidewalk will need to melt in the spring.  I guess it works, even after repeated snowfalls.  I only treated a small part of the sidewalk once just to experiment.  I will treat the whole sidewalk next year, if I remember.  I did apply before the snow fell, so I don't know if it removes existing ice.  I heard that it does.  I guess a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol works on the windshield ice also.  I have never tried it because we have a garage, but it might make sense and worth a try.  It may be easier than scraping. 

 No ice on the treated section.
Here is how much ice is on the remaining part of the sidewalk.