Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend

We had a really great Thanksgiving Day. The Turkey-was perfect.

The table was set nicely. We had Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Company Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Honey Glazed Carrots, Cranberry Sauce, Apple Stuffing, Rolls, Pumpkin, and Apple Pies. Oh, and Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider.

Mason was wondering why we were using the fancy dishes, the fancy bowls, etc. At his school the day before, he was asked what he was grateful for-he said his house.

My guys. They dressed themselves. All three of them were wearing their Carhart Overalls an hour before this was taken. They clean up pretty well.
The Day after Thanksgiving, I woke up Mac at 4:45am to go shopping. He needed new jeans, and Old Navy had them on sale for 50% off one day only. I haven't been able to buy him a pair of jeans "off the rack" for him since he was 1-2 years old. He is hard to fit when it comes to jeans. We got to Old Navy 1/2 an hour after they opened, and he was kinda awake. He pepped up after we were done, and was wondering where we were going next. We went home. I didn't get any pics of the shopping trip-I was barely awake myself.

The day after Thanksgiving, it's a tradition with me to put up the Christmas Decorations. I think this comes from working at Nordstrom for so many years. They always have Christmas Decorations up the day after Thanksgiving. Mason has been obsessed with helping me decorate. I assembled the tree (yes, it's fake) and put the lights on the tree. I told Mason we would decorate the next night. When I wasn't helping decorate the tree, he took it upon himself to do it for me.

He pulled the ones he like best out and threw the ones he didn't like on the floor. This is what I found on the floor. Mac's first Christmas ornament, that is fragile-glass, and the Santa Wreath ornament that I have had since my first Christmas with Lee. Both-priceless and un-replaceable.

And this is how he likes to decorate the tree. He likes to clump ornaments on one branch-or in one area. Not to worry, when the boys go to bed, I "redecorate" the tree. When they wake up, they never know. I'll post pics of the tree later. I hope all of you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Shopping Done

Yesterday, I did my/our food shopping for Thanksgiving Dinner. I dropped Mason off at school, I had to drop some Cub Scout stuff off somewhere else, and I went to the store. It had been YEARS since I went shopping by myself. I made really good time (less than 1 hour). It was a really good day until......I went into another Grocery Store to buy 3 items in less than 10 minutes-and my tire was flat. It was flat to the ground flat. I was freaking out because I was suppose to be home in 15 minutes to meet Mason's bus at home. Some nice stranger-with kids (who saw me freaking out a little in the parking lot), drove me home. Then my neighbor drove Mason and myself back to the grocery store where I was to deal with the flat tire. On my list of gratefulness (yes, I know, that's not really a word)-the guys from Les Schwab are on the top. It was a big adventure for Mason-he gave Lee the blow by blow in great detail of the tire guys coming to help us, how we waited forever for them to get there (it was only 10 minutes), going to Les Schwab to get the tire fixed, and then going to McDonalds for lunch (because Mason was starving to death for chicken nuggets). The guys from Les Schwab are getting a big Christmas Cookie Plate from me this year.
This is all of our stuff, except the Turkey, I bought that earlier this month on sale. I only used 3 plastic sacks-other than that, I did the enviromentally correct thing, and brought my own canvas bags. I often times forget to bring them. My sister-in-law came over from Yakima this summer for a week, and made fun of my canvas bags. This is a picture to prove, I do use them. I've been using them for 7 years now, when I discovered that the thing stressing me out most in my pantry area were the plastic grocery sacks. I also use them for other things like, snacks for road trips, extra clothes for day outings, Cub Scout Stuff, Camping, and the list goes on. I love using them, because when I put my groceries in them, I know the bags won't break on my way from the car to the house. The colored Trader Joes ones are my favorites. They aren't canvas-I'm not sure what they're made out of.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

No Dad, I haven't made any rolls yet.

This is my Dad, Larry (I will protect his identity by not publishing his last name). He lives about 20 minutes from me. It's been nice to live so close to him now. He stops by whenever it strikes his fancy, and if he knows I'm baking. He is semi-retired. I won't get into that. I will just say-he is too young and healthy to be a real retired person. He's been working again, and I haven't seen or talked to him since Halloween. He called me today asking if I've made rolls for Thanksgiving yet, because he just read this blog, and saw the pictures of the rolls yesterday. If I had made the rolls, he would have been to my house in 15 minutes, because he speeds. And because he likes my rolls, and chocolate chip cookies. I told him I make them on Thanksgiving Day. He knows this. He used to have Red Hair. This is who Mason got his Red Hair from, amongst other things (like his temperment, but I won't say that). Blogging people, meet my Dad. Love You Dad!

Countdown to Thanksgiving-Pumpkin Pie

I have posted this recently. If you click on "recipes" on the bottom left hand corner of the list of topics I have written, you will find it for October 24th of this year. This is the Pie my Mom made for years, and I have made it for 12-13 years. It's a Honey Pumpkin Pie, and it's to die for.

Countdown to Thanksgiving-Sweet Potatoes

Well, I just made my menu and shopping list this morning (at 6:00am). I feel like I am leaving something out, so I'll have to check with Lee to make sure. I love Sweet Potatoes. I especially love them with Brown Sugar and Cinamon. The little marshmellows, I can take it or leave it. A friend of mine came over for Thanksgiving 3 years ago, and she brought Sweet Potatoes, and she steamed them. I admit, I just opened a can and cooked them a bit, mashed them, added my other ingredients, and then served them. Fresh Sweet Potatoes are so, so much better than canned, and with not much effort. I was suprised.

1 1/2 lbs Sweet Potatoes
Brown Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
little marshmellows-if you want

Steam Sweet Poatoes whole and unpeeled for 30-40 minutes. Be careful not to over steam them, unless you want them mashed. Let them COOL. Peel them and leave them "whole" as much as you can. After you peel them, slice them and arrange in a baking dish. Put spices on them. Melt butter with Brown Sugar and drizzle on Sweet Potatoes.

Hope's Notes:
I have only made these twice. The first time, I over steamed them, and they were way soft, and took zero effort to mash them, put on little marshmellows, and bake them for however long it took for the marshmellows to get golden brown. I liked them sliced. I do this the day before, bake them to "heat" them. I throw them in the oven until they are warm on the inside, which is like 10-15 minutes. You will have to poke them with a knife or something to make sure. Sorry for the vague instructions. It's just really simple.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Thanksgiving Food Timeline

Last week, I didn't realize that Thanksgiving was so close! I started a "Food Timeline" early on in my life, when I was still working full time at Nordstrom. The first Thanksgiving meal I made, I didn't do anything in advance, including the pies, and was more exhausted after making Thanksgiving Dinner, than I was working a 12 hour shift on the sales floor. After that, I got smart and decided to do stuff the night before, and then I had more time to "relax" and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade :) Now, I do as much as I can 2-3 days before, and it really makes for a less stressful day. I am going to write this as Mon-Tues-Wed-Thurs, because, this is how my brain works.

Monday: -Finalize Menu-compile your list for shopping.
-Clean the Fridge out, go shopping.
-If I have a small fridge, buy Ice for Coolers to leave outside on back porch.

Tuesday: -Cook potatoes for Company Potatoes.
-Make Cranberry Sauce
-Take Turkey out of freezer (and thaw out in fridge).

Wednesday: -Assemble Company Potatoes, and put in fridge.
-Make Cranberry Sauce (if it wasn't done on Tuesday)
-Steam Sweet Potatoes and put into an oven proof dish of your choice.
-Bake Pies.
-Clean house
-Feed the hungry children that you have ignored most of the day.
-Chop up onion & celery for stuffing, and put in the fridge.

Thursday: Turkey Day!
-Wake up at 6:00am (or earlier depending on size of Turkey & what time dinner is).
- Make stuffing, stuff the Turkey, turn on oven, put Turkey in oven. Go back to bed.
- Peel potatoes for mashed potatoes and leave in pan with water until ready to cook.
-Watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade.
-Make Roll dough.
-Set table. Threaten children that if they come within 5 inches from the table....

The rest of it is a blurr. I manage to get everything out on the table, warm. I microwave sliced Turkey, if it's cooled down too much-so it's not cold. But I slice the Turkey last. I put in Company Potatoes RIGHT AFTER I take out the Turkey. I also take out the Company Potatoes out of the fridge, about an hour or 1/2 an hour before I take out the Turkey. I put in the Sweet Potatoes (recipe will come tomorrow) when The Company Potatoes are almost done. The potatoes for mashed potatoes are cooked and ready to be mashed, and the gravy is made. We also have Honey Glazed Carrots too. That will also be happening at the same time the potatoes are cooking on the stove. After the Sweet Potatoes are done, I put in the rolls to bake. Everything is out on the table, waiting 1-2 minutes on the rolls. Making sure people are sitting at the table. And then we say a blessing on the food, go around saying what we are grateful for......and then eat. Then there is the clean up and putting the left overs away. And that is always fun. This is where to cooler is handy if you run out of room in the fridge. I put things in the cooler that we don't use on a regular basis like condiments, extra butter or margarine, left overs of something else from earlier in the week, etc. Stuff that I know is safe and won't spoil if the ice melts to quickly, but it's winter, so it won't. If you are blessed enough to have a second fridge in the garage, then you don't need a cooler. I'll post more recipes tomorrow and Wednesday.

Countdown to Thanksgiving-Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Since I discovered how simple making my own Cranberry Sauce really is, I haven't purchased or opened a can of Cranberry Sauce since. It's probably been, 11-12 years. I was reading my Martha Stewart Menus for Entertaining Cookbook, that I recieved as a Birthday gift in 1996. This book has menus for Spring-Summer-Fall & Winter. Recipes for Spring Luncheons, Easter, Baby Showers, Thanksgiving, & Christmas. This is the only recipe I use in the book. Anyways, like I said. It's super simple to do (my Mom even makes her own Cranberry Sauce, after I told her how easy it was).

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

4 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup of sugar (or a little more)
1/4 cup of water
Juice of 1 orange (about 1/4 cup)

Rinse the cranberries well and discard any that are soft or bruised. In a large saucepan, combine the cranberries with the sugar, water, and orange juice. Bring to a boil over medium high heat, stirring often. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook the berries, uncovered, just until they pop, about 10 minutes. Chill.

Hope's Notes:

-I buy 2 bags of fresh cranberries, because when you sort them out (and you do want to do that), you end up with less. If I have more than 4 cups of cranberries, I add more sugar, water, and orange juice.
-I make this 2-3 days before Thanksgiving. I don't know how long it keeps in the fridge, it never lasts longer than a week in our fridge. But I think I've had it in there 2 weeks once, and it was still fine. It's kinda like a "jam".
-See how simple it is?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Countdown to Thanksgiving-Company Potatoes

Because of how unpredictable my weekend is looking (except Sunday), I have decided to post another recipe for my little countdown. Thanksgiving is sneaking upon me (yikes!) and I have yet to compile my shopping list. This recipe is Lee's favorite, however, I didn't know it was his favorite until we were married for 5-6 years. When we first got married my MIL sent me many recipes that were "Leeland's favorites"-oh, my husbands given name is Leeland. I made several of these recipes, and when I did I got a "What's this?"-looking at it like it came from a outer space. I would respond "It's your favorite". He would look at me and then reply "Who said it was my favorite?" I responded "Your Mom". He then replied "You know she has 9 children, she can't possibly remember whose favorite food is whoms. This is "someone's" favorite, but it's not mine". This conversation took place 5-6 months after we got married. Out of 5-6 of Lee's favorite recipe's, 2 of them were correct. So, I stopped asking for "favorite" recipes. Lee failed to tell me that this was one of his favorite recipes that he absoulutely had to have for holiday dinners (Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas) for the first 5 years of marriage. I got the recipe and have made it for the last 11-12 years. It's super yummy, and depending on how you do your potatoes-boiling them and shredding them yourself or store bought frozen kind- it's fairly easy to do. I made 3 9x13 pans of these 2 days before Thanksgiving last year. I made 1 for dinner at my In-Laws, 1 for us, and 1 for a funeral that was the day before Thanksgiving. And, I cooked the potatoes and shredded them myself. It was exhausting.

Company Potatoes

2 lbs of frozen shredded potatoes-thawed
1 can of Cream of Chicken Soup
2 cups of Sour Cream
2 cups of Sharp Cheddar Cheese-grated
1/2 stick of butter
1 bunch of Green Onions-chopped
Bread Crumbs-Plain and unflavored if you buy them in a can

In a saute pan, melt butter and saute green onions until soft (but not soggy) about 2-3 minutes. In a large bowl combine ALL ingredients, except the breadcrumbs and mix very well. Put potato mixture into a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour at 350 degrees.

Hope's Notes:

-I make this 1-2 days before Thanksgiving or whatever I'm making it for. I bake it the day of the dinner. It takes about an hour to cook it when it's cold from the fridge, 45 minutes if you make it up and then bake it right away. I always stick a knife in the middle to make sure it isn't cold in the middle.
-I have always boiled the potatoes unpeeled, and whole-allowed them to cool and then shredded them with a cheese grater. I can't tell you how many pounds of potatoes or how many potatoes, because if varies with the size of the potato and, how many pans of this I make. I ususally just peel and shread enough to fill the 9x13 pan (for measuring), and then dump the grated potatoes into the bowl and start mixing. I used frozen grated/shredded potatoes in the past, and the potatoes always had that funny frozen taste to them.
-I do use more Sour Cream than the recipe calls for. If the mixture seems "dry" add more Sour Cream.
-Do use Sharp Cheddar Cheese. I have used Medium Cheddar Cheese in the past, and it doesn't taste the same.
-I do use 1 bunch of green onions-it gives it more flavor.
-I have turned this into a "Main Course" casserole by cubing pieces of Ham. I have purchased a Ham Steak, cubed it, and added it to the mixture-yummsville!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Countdown to Thanksgiving-Bread Stuffing

This recipe came out of my Mom's Step-by-Step Cookbook (Better Homes and Gardens) that has been out of print for more than 20 years. I have always used this recipe. I got the idea to put in apples and a little bit of cinnamon from another recipe from a magazine, that I didn't keep. But by adding the apples and cinnamon-it made the stuffing more moist and yummier (is that a real word?) This recipe doesn't get any more boring or basic than this. But, it's always been good. I follow the recipe to the letter, because there is salt in the butter and the chicken broth. You can add a little more salt if you like, but I never do.

1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 teaspoons poultry seasoning or ground sage (I use the poultry seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
8 cups dry bread cubes
1 cup chicken broth

Saute the onion and butter until tender. Put bread cubes in a large bowl. Pour onion and butter over breadcubes. Stir in poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Add chicken broth, mix all of it well. Stuff into Turkey.

Hope's Notes:

- I always double this if I have a Turkey that is over 15 pounds.
-If you have left overs, put the remainder of the stuffing in a pan (9x13 or whatever)-add more chicken broth, and bake it at 325-350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I can't remember what I do or for how long. I do, add more chicken broth so it doesn't dry out so much. I only add more chicken broth for the leftovers.
-I also chop the onions and celery the night before and put them in a tupperware dish so I don't cut myself at 5:00-6:00am or whenever I put in the Turkey.
-If you add apples and cinnamon, I saute the apples in the onions and celery, and add a little more butter in the saute pan. I add the cinnamon with the spices.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Yeast Update

Today I went to Williams-Sonoma and they no longer carry the SAF Perfect Rise Yeast. They don't know when or if they will get it in. I looked online, and you can order it online-but the packaging is different, so I don't know if it's the yeast I've been using. I have used Fleishmans & Red Star Yeast in the past. It works fine. But double check the expiration dates.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Countdown to Thanksgiving

I decided to post recipes that we have for Thanksgiving. I love the holidays, and even though it's hard work, I do love to cook dinner. Being that I worked retail for the first 7 years or so of our marriage, it was hard to get to visit family over the holidays. I worked late the night before Thanksgiving and then I would have to be at work first thing in the morning the day after Thanksgiving. The only thing I wanted to do was hang out in my sweats and cook. Lee didn't like going anywhere either, he was tired too, and it was a good chance for us to be together. Being that most of the time is was just the two of us, I liked to experiment with different recipes. Simple things like adding Cinnamon and apples into the stuffing, or trying a new side dish was always fun. But when it came right down to it, we preferred simple & basic.

The first time I made Thanksgiving dinner, was 1991. Lee and I had been married for 6 months and we were living in Seattle. We didn't feel like going anywhere, so I decided I was going to make dinner. We invited our good friends Kris and Alex (we had our first dates together), and I cooked. This was a lofty goal for someone who only knew how to make lasagna 6 months prior. I was armed with my Step by Step Cookbook, and I felt like I could do anything. The recipes I use now are from 4 different cookbooks or sources. Some are family favorites.

I know it sounds terrible, and it sounds like we prefer to be by ourselves for Thanksgiving-but we have spent several Thanksgivings at The Bryant's (Lee's family) and with The Dawson's (Hope's family). We lived 1 mile away from Lee's family for 3-4 years. And it was a potluck situation, I would make Pumpkin Pies (I made 8 one year, Lee's brother's eat alot) and I would also make another Turkey-and bring it. Lee is the oldest of 9 kids-5 of them being boys. The year Mac was born, we went to Lee's parents house. I made Pies, a Turkey, and something else. Not bad for just having a baby 3 weeks before, huh. Anyways. If we do go somewhere for Thanksgiving, I have to make another "Thanksgiving Dinner" for us the day after, because we LOVE leftovers. I will also post my Turkey Soup recipe for leftovers. And, another reason why I make so many pies if we go somewhere else....Lee has to have at least 2 pies to eat over the Thanksgiving weekend.

I know this post is kinda all over the place. It's Sunday, and my brain is a little scattered anyways. We also love Thanksgiving because it gives us a chance to reflect on the year, and be grateful for all of our blessings. We are grateful for family, good friends, the church, work, a home to live in, and a country which we are proud to live in. So, it's not all about the food.

Countdown to Thanksgiving-Lion House Rolls

I have been making these rolls for 15 years I think. We were living in Salt Lake City, and I was invited to attend a Luncheon at The Lion House. The Lion House was originally a home that Brigham Young built for his wives (yes, I said wives) and their children. It is now a restaurant, that has banquet rooms, alot of people in Salt Lake City have receptions there. At the luncheon, they served these rolls, from the pans. They were hot, and they were huge in size. They were the best rolls I had ever had. So my friend that I attended the luncheon with went through her Lion House Cookbooks, and we found the recipe. I made my first batch, and I haven't used another roll recipe since. If I come across other roll recipes, I make it for dinner (those nights when I have time) and I'm ususally disappointed, because they aren't The Lion House ones. This recipe makes 3 dozen.

2 cups Warm Water (110-115 degrees)
2/3 cup Non fat dry milk
2 tablespoons Dry Yeast
1/4 cup Sugar
2 teaspoons Salt
1/3 cup butter, shortening, or margarine (I always use butter or margarine)
1 egg
5-6 cups all purpose flour or bread flour (I use bread flour)

In a large mixing bowl, combine water and yeast until yeast dissolves. Add non fat dry milk, sugar, salt, butter, egg, and 2 cups of flour. Mix on low speed until ingredients are wet, then for 2 minutes at medium speed, the dough will be smooth. Mix by hand another 1-2 cups of flour; dough will be getting stiff and remaning flour may need to be mixed 1/2 cup at a time after the first 3-4 cups of flour. Dough should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff. It is not necessary to use the entire amount of flour. The dough will be smooth and elastic. I knead it for 5 minutes, adding a little bit of flour if needed.

Place dough in a well greased bowl (I use shortening), cover with plastic wrap, and then a warm wet towel. Place the bowl someplace warm until double in size (about an hour). Push down dough and knead it for 1 minute with a little bit of flour. Divide dough in 3 sections. Roll out dough into a circle. With a pizza cutter (or a sharp knife) cut out 12 triangles. Starting with the wide end of the triangle, roll up dough into a crescent, tucking the small end underneath the roll (so it won't unravel when it rises). Repeat process and place onto a greased cookie sheet and allow to rise and double in size (about 30 minutes or so).

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until light or golden brown. Brush with melted butter right after they come out of the oven. Makes 3 dozen or 1-1/2 dozen if you want them to be bigger.

*Hope's Notes:

Yeast: I use SAF Perfect Rise Yeast, you can buy it at Williams-Sonoma. It's not that expensive. It comes in a little box. It's the best I've ever used, and haven't looked back.

Butter vs. Shortening: I made this recipe with butter and with shortening. It was way better with butter or margarine than it was with shortening.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Post #40

Wow! Here I was going to write stuff about what we've been up to this last week, and low and behold-I read that this would be Post #40. When I started this blog, is was November or December of last year. I was in our rental house on South Whidbey, surrounded by boxes, and I believe it was past midnight-so I had no business being on the computer. We were literally about to move, I was in the process of packing, cleaning, finishing up with Mac's Football (I was Team Mom amongst other things), found a house, signing papers and basically running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. What possesed me to start a blog was beyond me. I didn't have a digital camera to download pics of my family (yes, a pic of me is missing-I know), I didn't have anything profound to write about. I decided it would be like a Scrapbook for our family, and to stay close to friends & family members who live far away-or not so far away. I didn't tell anyone about the blog for several months, because I really wasn't doing anything with it. It was just out there in internet land-simply existing.
With help from my friend Becky from The Cornwalls-she tagged me, and that's all it took for me to get hooked. Armed with a Digital Camera and stuff that is in my head (this can be a scarry place to be), my family are the primary targets for who knows what, and them wondering "is this going to end up on the blog"? Mac now says "is this going to be on your blog"? or "look out! Mom's got the camera out and you will end up on the blog"! I took a picture of my Dad at Halloween, and he is suprised that his picture hasn't ended up on my blog yet (he did ask).
I have surfed the internet and there are hundreds of blogs with different subjects. I worked retail for 11 years-and have 11 years of interesting tales to tell. The thought of starting a blog with my stories has crossed my mind. Working high end retail brings in people from all walks of life. I recently told a friend of mine about a time when a drug addict who was a size 2 was trying to return some bras she had stolen. The bras were a size 44 DDD and she was a size 32 A. If anyone is interested in the story.....let me know.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Happy 13th Birthday Mac! 13 Things We Love About You.

1. You would rather spend time with your Dad and Family than do something with your friends.
2. You Love Football, and begged your Mom to play for 3 years before she said yes.
3. You are compassionate. When you were 9, you thought that someone should turn an old building you saw into a place for homeless people to go.

4. You work hard. You have Dyslexia like your Mom, and worked really hard on improving your reading skills to keep up with your classmates. You also work hard when you work with your Dad.
5. You are patient. Refer to #1 for an example.
6. You make friends easily and are a sociable kid.

7. When you were 5 years old, we went to a fancy restaurant and said "I think I will have shrimp for dinner". You still like shrimp, and steak, and pizza.
8. You are polite and you have manners-apparently you do use your manners out in public, and for that I am grateful.
9. You are flexible, easy going, and are willing to "go with the flow" of life.
10. You easily accept change. We have moved around alot, and you never complained.
11. You LOVE Science and like to watch things blow up. You like to watch Mythbusters to see how things work, and to watch things blow up.
12. You are a very good big brother. When you were 6 and Mason was a baby, I needed to take a shower, and put him in the swing for you to "watch him". You were watching cartoons, and felt Mason needed to watch them too. You moved his swing into the same direction as the T.V. and did this successfully, without getting his oxygen tube caught under the swing and kept his feeding machine upright. I was shocked when I got out of the shower- 10 minutes later.
13. You are an all around good kid. When you go on Scouting trips, or stay at friends houses, I am always told what a good kid you are, and never cause problems.
We are proud of you Mac! I can't believe you are a Teenager, and am shocked that you are 13. Where did the time go? It doesn't seem like 13 years, but I guess it is. Happy Birthday!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I found them! Spec House Pics

So....I was looking around in Lee's office to find the disks for my scanner, so I can actually use it. I didn't find them, but I did find another disk. It was a disk that Lee made over the summer when he emptied out the Memory Card from our Camcorder/Digital Camera. The disk said "Spec House Pics"-so, here is the house, that consumed us for about a year )the end of 2006-early summer 2007). We were so blessed that the house sold in less than a month. We know we are blessed, and we say that everytime we talk about it. When I went back to S. Whidbey a few weeks ago to see Mason's Pediatrician, I saw homes that are still on the market-that have been ON THE MARKET since before we broke ground, while we were building, and of course after, and now.
The building lot for this house was small and challenging. Our options were to build a 1 level house that was under 1,000 sq feet , or a 2 story. Either way, we were looking at building a house without a garage, because of how the lot was. Building a new house, without a Garage and/or a Master Suite in this day and age is almost unacceptable-and would not sell. So, while I was browsing through some home plan books, I came across this one and asked Lee if this house was possible. It is 3 stories. The lower level is the Garage, with some storage space. Second level is the Living Room (with a 2 story ceiling), Family Room, Kitchen, Dining Room, Powder Room, and Laundry Room. The third level had the Master Bed/Bath, second bedroom, "office" or third bedroom, and another full bathroom. It also had a linen closet, which Lee said there was no space or room for-but low and behold, he found space after he framed it.

The front of the house. Notice the shingles-I stained each and every one of them by hand. All of them. The 2 decks on the left-the lower one is off the Family Room and the upper one is off the Master Bedroom. There was a veiw of the water from the deck and bedroom.
We put in Bamboo Flooring. It was very inexpensive to put in, and it came pre-finished. It was beautiful after Lee installed it. It was in the whole main floor level-except the Powder Room and Laundry Room-Lee intalled Tile in those 2 rooms.

The Master Bath corner tub. Lee tiled the tub area, and the floor. When I tell people Lee can do everything, I'm not exaggerating. He has to sub-contract the plumbing and electrical because he's not licensed to do that....but he can and has on a few occasions.

The double vanity sink in the Master Bath. There is also a separate shower in there, and a toilet room as well, but I'll spare you of those.

The living room windows-that I took from upstairs. You can see the loving room below from where I was standing. I accidentally put this pic on here, I couldn't delete it-does anyone know how?
Experiancing some technical difficulty. The pic below is the Master Bath from the doorway. I couldn't flip it around or delete it. Just turn your head (or laptop) and you can see the tile floor.
This is the fireplace in the Living Room. Lee, tiled it as well. He left room on the left for someone to place a T.V. in there, or bookshelves.

This is the Dining Room area, that is off of the Kitchen. There is a sliding glass door that goes to the back yard. It doesn't look like it, but it's a bigger space than it looks.

Below, the Kitchen. It has Maple Cabinets, we were able to put an Island in it. It is a nice size Kitchen, with plenty of space to work in.
The back of the house. The long narrow window is the stairwell. It let in alot of light into the house. The little back door on the right went into a little hallway where the laundry room was on one side and the powder room was on the other.

The retaining wall in the driveway-with a little fence thing built on top of it. The fence thing was a code issue. Someone could fall off the top part (which is the front yard) and hurt themselves. The little red head boy got in the way. He wanted his picture taken.......

so I did. And he left me alone. This is a really cute pic of him though. If I don't say so myself.

A close up of the shingles I stained. I don't know how many I stained, but it was alot. We have some left over.
Thanks for humoring me. Now all of you know what Lee does for a living. And I help him out a little.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote!

As I said in my previous post, Lee and I voted absentee last Friday. It was nice to be able to sit and get it done before today.
As I was reading some posts of my friends this morning, I am really glad we don't have a "land line" or a real telephone. We have our Cell Phones. My friends have been getting phone calls from Obama & other people who are running for Governor, or whatever. The other day, Lee said he recieved a phone call from Michelle Obama, asking him to vote for her husband. He thought he was safe from all of those phone calls. I however, haven't recieved any calls-which I am grateful for. We were shopping the other day, and the cashier asked Lee for his phone number, and he gave IT TO THEM! I couldn't believe it! So I said "Now I know how Michelle Obama got your phone number". He just looked at me and nodded is head.
I really have nothing profound to say today. But I will say this...if you don't like what is going on with our country, if you think our country needs a "change"-then go out an vote. Otherwise, stop complaining. I found it funny that with all of the griping, complaining, and protesting people did 4 years ago-that Bush still won.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

We Voted!

Lee and I are absentee voters. Actually, I think our whole county is. I started voting absentee after I had Mac. I had him on a Monday, we were voting for something (not a presidential year) on Tuesday, and I was still in the hospital with Mac on voting day. It bugged me that I couldn't vote because of circumstances out of my control.
It's been nice to be able to sit down, look things over, and be able to think about what you are voting for.
Lee and I sat down, discussed initiatives and people and filled out our ballots. I then took them to an official drop off place-where we can drop off our ballots, instead of mailing them through the Post Office.
I can't wait for this election year to be over. I think I'm looking forward to it more than most years. I'm so sick and tired of watching T.V. and seeing negative ads. I am thankful more than ever for our DVR-so we can bypass that stuff. I'm not going to get political or push my views onto anyone. I am grateful that I can vote, I am grateful that Lee and I share the same views and that we are not a "house divided", and that my voice will be heard through the voting process.