Bit by Bit

The MR has informed me this is his last tile job ever. With five bathroom remodels, two patios, and one kitchen backsplash under his belt, I guess he can decide it’s time to call it quits.

As you saw earlier this week, the shower looks amazing, and Sweet Miss assured us that it works great, too. But the countertop the MR ordered weeks ago still hasn’t arrived. When he called the store, apparently the counter was shipped without a sink. Well, it’s not much good without the sink, so they’d sent it back, and we wait.

With that on hold, he decided to finish the bit of tiling behind the commode. Unfortunately, some of the tools he’d lent out hadn’t quite made it home. My brother brought them back last weekend, so the MR was all ready to get started. Of course the saw went out mid-project, and he had to get creative.

No worries—he’s a “can-do” kind of guy, and the tiling turned out lovely as always.

Commode & Tile

It does look really quite nice in person (when you’re not dealing with back-lit, tiny spaces, and bad overhead lights).

Tile Closeup

A little sparkle, a little shine in a subdued color—bliss.

So now all that’s left is the countertop, sink, and lighting up-grade. (I’m sure that’ll make my photography oh-so much better.)

Sink & Shower

Yes, the sink really is that ugly.

Sink

And now, because I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic, let’s go way back to when we bought this place. Remember the faux-finishing?

Overnight guests are treated with a green and blue medley.

Overnight guests are treated with a green and blue medley.

Imagine being surrounded by those walls. How did the MR ever talk me in to buying this place? We’ll never know.

I hear bathroom updates are in the works for a friend and another just finished a remodel. Any stories to share?

(If you need tips on how to fussy-cut tile, check out another blast from the past when the MR tiled the same area in the main floor powder room in A Little Tile Update. That time the sink was delivered three times before it arrived in one piece. Cross your fingers for better luck this go round.)

 

 

Milestones

Me and the MR reached a milestone last week—25 years of marriage. It’s hard to believe all those years have gone by, but I’m sure glad to have spent them with him.

Sweet Miss caught the train home on Thursday, and we picked her up in Seattle. She arrived for our mini-heat wave, so we opened presents out on the deck celebrating her birthday and our anniversary. She and Baby Girl had put together something special for our silver anniversary. They’d had made a canvas with our wedding picture, one of the two of us in Cabo a couple of years ago, our iinvitation, and some numbers quantifying our lives.

Anniversary Canvas

We quickly found a place for it in our room. The girls also presented us with 25th Anniversary salt & pepper shakers they had found when helping my dad move.

We rounded out the weekend with a fancy dinner with friends, an overnight at a lovely hotel, a couple’s massage, a barbecue with my dad, and brother, and sister-in-law, a beautiful slate cheese server from Sweet Miss’ Fella, card games and laughter.

While roses from bell boys, and the massage and presents were great, I think the best part was just being together. Sweet Miss ended our list with “1 Blessed Family”. You know something? She’s right.

Hoping you are blessed with the love of family and friends, too.

Somewhere In the Middle

Things can take a while when you’re doing the work yourself. Remember in early July when the MR Started remodeling the guest bathroom? I showed you a few pictures for inspiration and then a little later Teased with photos of the tile we’d picked out.

Well, I’d love to say it’s all finished, but these things take time. Parts, and tiles, and sinks have to be ordered. The plumber has to come, and then he has to come again. While the sink and counter, and lights, and tile behind the commode are all still on order, in process, or waiting to be completed, the shower is finished.

Sweet Miss was home for the weekend, and she gave the new shower the thumbs up. So it’s as nice to use as it is beautiful to look at.

Sadly, my photos don’t do it justice. Something about the confined space of a bathroom combined with glass, mirrors, and low light make it very hard to photograph.

New Shower 2

I should have taken pictures before the doors went up—the sleek, glass doors, that roll smoothly back and forth and are pretty awesome. It took a lot of patience and multiple cuts, but the MR put in a wonderful shelf to keep soaps, shampoos, and other potions neat and tidy.

And just take a look at the new shower system that incorporates gentle overhead rain, and a hand-held wand.

New Shower

It really is quite lovely, and makes the green carpet in the bedroom next to it look even more crazy. Carpeting all the bedrooms is on the to-do list for this fall.

I’ll share a few more photos when the entire job is complete. Looking at it makes you want to be a guest at our house, doesn’t it?

Any bathroom remodel or tile jobs to share?

 

Herb-alicious

While the kitchen garden has had its issues, our herbs are doing great. But what do you do with all those herbs? Watch them go to seed?

Unfortunately, most years, the answer is yes. I just watch them flower and die. But recently, I saw a post about chopping them up, adding some oil, and freezing them for later. What a great idea!

Rosemary

Rosemary & Oil

I have this great marinade for flank steak with rosemary, oil, garlic, and red wine. It’s been a family favorite forever. Now, I just have to grab a few cubes of the rosemary infused oil and I’m half-way there.

Rosemary Cubes Closeup

Let’s be honest. It’s a lot more likely that I’m going to go outside with my sheers on a beautiful summer day than in a chilly November rainstorm. And those fresh herbs from the grocery store cost an arm and a leg.

Now I have rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, mint, sage, and chives to deal with. I see a sweet smelling afternoon in my future.

Herbs in Colander

 

What’s your favorite way to use fresh herbs?

 

 

Super Size It

Sometimes you’re just kind of stuck with what you’ve got. It’s serviceable, it’s fine, it’ll do.

We had a traditional rug by the front door when we moved here. It was fairly new and would be just fine, if a bit bland, and small, and boring.

We’ve lived with it for a four years.

Old Rug

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a rug on Joss & Main that caught my eye. It was on sale and matched our color scheme. Who could say no to a little gray, a little orange, a little beige in a playful geometric print? Not me.

New Rug 2

Ok, so obviously the candle and the door stop are just there till the corners stop rolling up. Hopefully nobody breaks a toe before then. Eventually the rug will relax a little. But even now, it adds a punch of color to our neglected entry. This area has simply been a pass through zone. Not that I want to hang out in the entry, but it would be nice if it matched the vibe of the rest of the house.We want it to set the tone, and a little funky color is a great start.

What kind of message does your entry send?

A Little Friendly Competition

Hard to believe, but this sweet, little teenie is turning 22 tomorrow.

Sweet Miss

Sweet Miss was up visiting a few weeks back and suggested a Fitbit for a birthday present. Simple, easy, and to the point; this I could do. Amazon even shipped it for free with a gift message from me and the MR.

I had laughingly said we could be friends on Fibit. I had no idea what that would mean. I’m friends with my little brother who always has way more steps than I do, and his wife, and one of the MR’s co-workers. My sister-in-law has challenged me to Weekend Warrior to see who can get the most steps, but we’ve never gotten too competitive. I don’t feel like talking smack talk with her.

Sweet Miss’ Fitbit Alta arrived early, so I got a “thank you” phone call on Monday night. We became Fitbit friends, and then next thing you know, she’s challenging me daily to a step competition. No longer is my goal of 10,000 steps enough. I found myself pacing back and forth last night to pull a few hundred ahead.

I know she’s younger, and taller, and stronger, and prettier, but I can’t let my kid win all the time. I’m already the short, roundy mom. I don’t want to be the lazy mom, too.

 Unfortunately, I tend to go to bed first, so she’s beaten me every day so far. We have some exciting trips planned, so maybe then I’ll be able to beat her.  Me and the MR logged in more than 22,000 steps our first day in London wandering along the Thames.


Who knows? Mayb all this walking will help me lose that extra 10 pounds that I’ve been meaning to for years. I’m not the only one making an effort. Sweet Miss’ roommate sent Baby Girl a video of her walking crazily around their house.

At least I’m giving her a run for her money.

Happy Birthday Sweet Miss! You are loved.

Any exercise motivation tips?

Ain’t It Funny

Sometimes life is funny. I’ve planted carrots and lettuce and peas three times now this summer, and we’ve enjoyed a big old nothing. I planted a pony-pack of broccoli from the hardware store and one measly cucumber plant, and they are exploding.

I go down to the garden with my basket and shears, and come back with cups of broccoli and stacks of giant cucumbers. You know what? I don’t really like broccoli. When we were little kids, my folks would set a bowl of frozen broccoli straight from the microwave on the table. Then came the fine dance of whether three or for florets would be considered a proper serving. If I got it wrong, my dad would grab the spoon and pile a huge scoop on my plate. My family didn’t subscribe to the “no-thank-you-bite”. We were totally members of the clean your plate club.

Then when me and the MR were engaged we went to this wedding planning event, and he won a wok that came with a booklet of recipes. Beef and broccoli stir-fry became a staple in our household. The MR doesn’t like eggs, but he likes broccoli. I learned to adapt. After all these years, I can handle broccoli in moderation.

broccoli

But what about cucumbers? Neither of us like cucumbers. Well, why plant them you foolish woman? The girls like cucumbers, and they’ve actually done well most years unlike half of things I plant in the garden. Sometimes, it feels good to enjoy a little success. I guess the key word is little versus inundation.

So lately, I’ve been scanning Pinterest, and Yummly, and Tastespotting for recipes. It’s been a bit of an adventure. We’ve enjoyed spiralized cucumber in Mango Curried Cucumber Salad from Eat, Spin, Run, Repeat (the link to their site isn’t working). I didn’t have any mangoes, so I substituted some sad looking nectarines that really should have been eaten earlier and green peas for the soybeans, since I didn’t have those either. This is a great meal on a hot summer night; yes, we have had a few.

Sunday, we enjoyed Gluten-Free with LB’s Beef Meatballs & Roasted Broccoli. Super tasty and not too labor intensive. I made the meatballs in the afternoon and baked them in the oven. Then I heated them in a frying pan with the sauce while the broccoli (I’d prepped ahead of time) was roasting. Sometimes a little work earlier in the day can make dinner come together so much quicker.

Last week, we had Bacon, Avocado, Cucumber Sushi Rolls from My Korean Kitchen. Another tasty, easy meal. Unfortunately, we had trouble finding seaweed for the wraps at our local independent grocer, so I just made a pile on the plate. I had more success in the seaweed department at the large chain store yesterday, so I’m going to give it another go.

Sushi I

The last two nights, we’ve had Hapanom’s Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Buns. They’re served with Quick Pickled Cucumbers and an amazing Siracha Barbecue Sauce that Baby Girl helped whip up. I made the steamed buns that the reciped called for, but that was a little time-intensive. Maybe next time, we’ll move away from the Asian influence slightly and use burger buns. While, no one in our family likes pickles, these quick pickles added crunch and a little vinegar-y tang to yummy pork sandwiches.

Finally, we have Baked Broccoli Poppers with Honey-Siracha Sauce from Oh My Veggies on the menu. I think these will be fun to munch on while I’m trying my hand at rolling cucumber sushi, so I can serve it up properly.

I managed to hand off four giant cucumbers at knitting group yesterday and one to my friend that I met for lunch on Monday, that means we only have two left before the next batch. People have worse problems.

Any favorite broccoli or cucumber recipes to share?

(Sorry not to share links. I’m having some software issue. If you Google the recipe name or type in a few key words on Tastespotting or Pinterest, I have faith that you will find them. Enjoy!)