Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dining Room (Progress)

Goodbye flowered wallpaper! Goodbye painted brown trim (is it just me, or does that color look EXACTLY like band-aids?)!! We tackled another big project in the house this weekend! Actually, my mom came up a few weeks ago, and we started tearing off the wallpaper. Unfortunately, in the process, we discovered that the walls weren't actually made of drywall. It took us a while to figure it out, but we've decided that they're actually some type of flat paneling. They were covered with a wallpaper primer, but in one spot, the white primer had worn away, and you could see the lovely wood grain of the paneling. No project is ever simple :) We realized we'd have to patch, spackle, and sand almost the entire surface of the wall (it wasn't in the greatest of shape), and then texture it. We debated about hiring the texture work done, but we did that in the family room, and it cost a bundle. We decided the tackle this project ourselves, and we're so glad we did! We used this product (which you can buy at any hardware store), and it worked like a charm. It was a little on the messy side, but well worth it, considering the money we saved! And then the truly difficult part...choosing a wall color! The dining room is open to the kitchen, which has blue counters, so I wanted to make sure I chose something that worked with the blue. In the end, I decided neutral was the way to go, and ended up choosing the one on the left (Valspar: Urban Sunrise). I had painted the trim earlier in the week (Sherwin Williams: Dover). So after eight hours of taping, texturing, spraying and painting, I've got beautiful dining room walls. And crown molding!! With the molding painted "bandaid," I didn't even think about the fact that the room had crown molding...I just thought it was ugly. But now, I love it! The best part it, you'd never know the walls weren't made of drywall. They look great! Next up...painting the kitchen cupboards (they're currently the same "band-aid" color as the trim). Not sure when I'll get that done, but I'll be sure to share pictures when I do!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Chicken Satay Noodles

I thought I'd take a detour from my regular posts, and instead of whining about my wallpaper, I'd post a recipe :)

This one is a house favorite. Even Macieo loves it, which is amazing when you see all the ingredients. Just goes to show that you don't need to cater to kids with "kid food." Although, we do call this recipe by it's alternate kid-friendly title, "Peanut Butter Pasta," when he asks what's for dinner.



Chicken Satay Noodles
1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti (this is my favorite brand, they sell the organic type at Costco)
1/3 C. smooth peanut butter
2 T. honey
1/4 C. water
1/4 C. tamari (or regular soy sauce)
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 2 limes
1 T. hot sauce
3 T. olive or peanut oil
shredded carrots (as many as you want)
bean sprouts (as many as you want)
4 green onions, green and white parts, thinly sliced
1/2 sack triple washed spinach, torn or sliced
2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 C. cooked shredded chicken meat

Early in the day, throw 2 chicken breasts in the crock pot with some chicken broth and a dash of soy sauce. When you're ready to make dinner, take them out of the crock pot and shred them with two forks. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, then run the cooked pasta under cold water to cool. Drain well and reserve.

While the pasta water is coming to a boil, heat the peanut butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the softened peanut butter with the honey and water. Whisk in the tamari (soy sauce), garlic, lime juice and hot sauce. Add the oil in a steady stream, whisking constantly.

Add the drained noodles to the dressing and toss until the sauce coats the noodles evenly (I usually use my hands...prepare to get messy!) Add the vegetables and chicken, and toss to evenly distribute the ingredients. Serve the noodles in shallow bowls, and top each serving with cilantro.

**I usually serve this at room temperature, but it's great left over the next day, cold from the fridge. It's also good with chopped cucumbers, you could add whatever veggies you like!

Yum!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Progress

We have made a lot of progress on the family room this week. It's amazing how much better I feel just having one room that looks sort of finished. I have a hard time sitting still and relaxing when my house is a mess, so when you move into a house and everything is a mess....well, let's just say I haven't sat still much lately ;)

I've got a ton of pictures here, of the room before we started doing anything, during the messy process, and after. We still have some things we want to do, so this I guess these are really more "semi-after" pictures. Who knows when we'll actually be done.

As you'll see, I still haven't painted the fireplace. But I'm going to. I think.

Here is the family room the day we closed on the house. Mauve carpet, floral wallpaper, and valances. Oh my! Everything in the house was pretty much muted tones of mauve and country blue. Those have got to be the most depressing colors in the whole world!!


The quality of these pictures is pretty crummy...I was in a hurry when I took them, and when I realized they were bad, we had already torn everything up, so I couldn't exactly go back and retake them!


Here is one....


...of the MANY valances we took out of the house. That's a lot of ruffles!


So again, here's a shot of the room the day we took possession of the house:


And here's what it looks like now:



I'd call that an improvement! We've been working like crazy on this room, and are lovin' the result! We (and by we, I mean Nate) started out by tearing up the carpet and putting in a new floor.


The wallpaper also came down, which turned out to be a nightmare. It had been applied to the bare drywall when the family room was added to the house (sometime in the 70's, we believe). So we had old, damaged, untextured drywall to contend with. We ended up having to hire people to come in and retexture the walls. A major unexpected expense, but we didn't have much choice!

I was so sad, because after we paid the bill and the painters left, the walls looked like this:



Doesn't seem like much of an improvement, but at least they were paintable!

I orinigally had different furniture in this room, and had planned to paint a turquoise accent wall, and go crazy with color. Halfway through, I changed my mind.

I did still want turquoise somewhere, however. There's a Benjamin Moore color called Drizzle that is my absolute favorite paint color in the whole world. At our last house, the dining room was painted this color. In the house we rented for a year, we had it in our bedroom.

On one end of the family room there's an office that we're using as our homeschool room. You can see a glimpse through the doorway at the end of that room, which is now painted my very favorite color.


We're still missing some trim here and there :)



Painting was quite a process. Since the drywall was old, and was newly textured, we had to coat the whole room with a clear sealer before we could paint. Painting with something clear is the most depressing job. You work ALL DAY, and it looks exactly the same when you're done as it did when you started!

We've got some tall ceilings in this room, so much of my time was spent painting trim while clutching onto a ladder for dear life!



The new floor is probably my favorite part of the room. It's amazing what a difference it makes!


Although the curtains were a pretty drastic (and much needed) change, as well!


Like I said, the fireplace is most likely going to get a coat of antique white paint. Although I like it more now then I did before!

We're excited because we've got a game table and chairs in the family room now. We love to play games and do puzzles, so I think we'll get a lot of use out of this! We ordered a new dining room table, and once it arrives, our current kitchen table will replace this lovely card table/tablecloth combo.

The chairs I purchased from a friend's blog. I've got plans to paint and recover them.


All in all, we couldn't be happier with the room! We've still got a lot of work to do, but we're making progress!

Up next? The kitchen. I don't even know where to begin!


We're planning a low- budget makeover, which means the appliances, cabinets, etc. will stay. Unfortunately, that means the blue counters will stay, also. I'll likely be painting about everything I can realistically paint. We'll see how it goes!

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