And the walls came tumbling down

Well, sort of.

After spending the sunniest, hottest portion of the day moving me out of my old apartment (thanks Mom and Dad!), I managed to talk Chris into painting the bathroom. Impressive, I know!

A little while back I was able to convince Kerry and my friend Dave that it would be a great idea to help me pull down the rest of the wallpaper and paint the door. Thank god they were really gullible when I told them it would be really easy with the three of us working on it. 2+ hours later, 1 minor steam burn, and an almost catastrophe involving the light fixture above the sink (thanks again for saving me Kerry!!) and we were (almost) done. That part about the almost catastrophe with the light fixture? Yeahhhh I left that wall for Chris to de-wallpaper.

Anyway, back to today. We started taping the wall and realized that there was no reason to tape off the ceiling since we are “eventually” going to repaint it.

Before pictures:

(pay close attention to the above wall. This story gets amusing…)

Chris got started with the edges while I finished taking pictures.

Apparently he was to good for the standard paint tray.. just hand him the whole bucket please!

Chris always does the edges and I always use the roller. It works out really well because he hates the roller, and I hate the edges. Perfect team? I think so.

I started painting the wall above the toilet and quickly ran into a small problem. Part of the wall that had been patched started to bubble up as soon as the paint hit it. This caused it to peel off the wall leaving a roughly 2 inch area of unpainted space on the wall. I was perfectly content to just leave it like that until the paint dried and then go back and paint over it. Chris, on the other hand, wanted nothing but perfection. Instead of having a 2 inch space he made it a little bigger…

Now if only that had been good enough, but no, he had to see just how far it would go.

At this point, my dream of a perfectly white wall and a nicely decorated bathroom was washing away down any drain but the one in the bathroom, which rotted out yesterday. (anyone know a good plumber??)

FINALLY he was finished demolishing my wall, and I was left with this:

Another view:

Even Phoebe was so disgusted with how it looked that she left her command post and hid on the stairs so that she wouldn’t have to look at it.

I’ve been told that it will be patched up soon, but something tells me that I might have to hold FIFA hostage in order to get this taken care of!

After getting over my distress at the new “wall art”, if you will, I finished up painting. With the exception of one wall that I wasn’t allowed to paint (the patch on the wall wasn’t dry?) and my new wall art, I’d say it actually looks pretty good!

Now the only problem is that the ceiling looks terrible next to the clean looking walls! (in case you forgot what the walls looked like click here!)

Thats about all for now. I’ve got some updates on the yard coming soon, and I’ve got a few more plans for the bathroom once the “wall art” is fixed! Keep checking back and I promise I’ll update more frequently!

PS. A HUGE thank you to those who commented and sent me ideas for the banana muffins. Not only do I know that I have the back up option of using a fork, I also now have 2 potato mashers and about 7 different banana muffin recipes. Chris (and Bigelow 13) will be well fed!

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Tales of a Domestic Disaster

I took a break from house updates today because I felt the need to be domestic. All I wanted to do was bake banana muffins for Chris. Nothing fancy if you are pretty much anyone else in the world. For me, it was an epic undertaking.

I had been intrigued with baking since my friend Mackenzie had showed me some amazing cupcakes that she was making, and since Colleen had said “Baking is easy, all you have to do it follow the directions”. Little did she know who she was talking to.

Mom brought me a muffin tin that she gently told me “Came with plenty of experience, maybe it will help you”. It was my grandmother’s, who is an AMAZING baker. Somehow, I think this gene skipped me.

Before jumping into the story of today’s muffins I should probably give you a little background. I *try* to make my mom a birthday cake every year for her birthday. A few years ago she got a new stove instead of a cake. True story: I was baking her cake and somehow managed to explode the oven. All I heard was a huge BANG and saw flames. There was no cake that year. Last year I managed to bake the cake, but failed miserably on the frosting. I thought a Magic Bullet Blender would work to make the frosting. Fact: it does not. The frosting was so runny that instead of saying “Happy Birthday Mom” it said “sakjfhasoeiruhsldkjfh”. Chris fixed it with some artistic frosting maneuvers, but it wasn’t exactly what I had been envisioning.

So back to the muffins. I decided muffins out of a box simply would not do. I went onto the Food Network website on a suggestion from Colleen and hunted down the easiest recipe I could find. I carefully wrote down all of the ingredients and trudged off to store in the 90+degree weather. Upon returning home, I was ready to go. Then I got sidetracked by talking with Grandma, hunting for a wedding dress, playing Wii Fit, looking at bridesmaid dresses… well you get the idea. Around 3:30 I finally got going. I carefully followed all the directions. Things were going great until it came time to mash the bananas.

“Not a problem! Just squish them with a spoon” I thought to myself.

Bad idea. The first banana went shooting across the kitchen. I decided I needed to try another approach.

“Use a spatula?”

A little better, but not overly effective. Finally I just gave up, took off my engagement ring and washed my hands really well. Then I picked up the bananas and in pre-schooler mode began to squish them (it was a great combo of gross and wicked fun). The rest of the ingredient mixing went off without a hitch.

Pouring the batter into the muffin pan definitely did NOT go off without a hitch. It was a mess that only I could possibly create.Well, me, and probably that pre-schooler I had channeled for the banana squishing I mentioned earlier. There was batter pretty much everywhere except in the lovely pastel baking cups my mom had so kindly sent with the muffin tin. There was batter on the table, on the tin, on the cat, on the floor, you name it (I blame Phoebe for being in the way when that one glob hit the floor. She is capable of jumping heights of olympic proportions, and is not a huge fan of bananas. Now I know!). It was at that point that I let out a very pitiful whine that went something along the lines of “I’m a Domestic DISASTER!” (hence the title!). After a little practice, and a lot more whining, I was finally able to get the batter in the baking cup, and on my (now) merry way I went.

I had properly pre-heated the oven and was ready to put the muffins in. 12 minutes later I went to rotate the pan, per the directions, and somehow managed to burn my neck. I’m still working on how exactly I managed this. I think it had to do with the fact that the oven was giving off huge amounts of heat, and my necklace got really hot, landed on my neck when I stood up and burned me. OUCH!

I just ate one of the muffins I made. I have to say, not half bad. They are a little dry, so I will probably try a different recipe next time, but they are edible (SCORE!) and I think Chris might even like them. Lesson for the day? A burned neck and a mad cat are all you need to make pretty decent muffins.

Here is the recipe I used, along with the link to the website!

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly brush a 12-muffin tin with butter and set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, brown sugar, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Whisk the banana, oil, milk, eggs, salt, and vanilla in a large measuring cup with a spout or another bowl.

Make a small well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into the center; then stir with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are moistened but still lumpy. Do not overmix the batter or your muffins will come out dense. Gently stir in the nuts. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin tin.

Put the muffins in the oven and immediately reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the cooking. (Insert a toothpick into the center of a muffin to check if it is done. Toothpick should come out clean). Cool muffins in the pan on a rack for a couple minutes. Turn the muffins out of the pan and cool on the rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Copyright 2003 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/banana-muffins-recipe/index.html

Let me know what you think of these if you give them a try!

17 years of dirt gets washed away in an afternoon..

My mom came to visit today. I had expected the usual shopping/lunch/mani-pedi type of afternoon. This, however, was not to be.

Mom came in the house, went to the bathroom, and then sat down with a very serious look on her face. “Is there a reason your bathroom looks like that?” EEEEEEP!! I knew it would happen sooner or later!

Now, my mom just finished re-doing all 3 bathrooms in her house, and she was still in the bathroom fixing mood. This woman on a mission was not going to rest until I had a clean (and somewhat redecorated) bathroom.

So here is the before:

Yeah. Gross. I know. So we got to work.

In case you were wondering, this is what 17 years worth of dirt looks like. Feel free to judge me for not taking care of this earlier (Thank you, again, Mom, for the intervention!!)

So we spent all afternoon cleaning. We cleaned walls, the toilet, the shower, the floor, the sink, the windows, you name it, we cleaned it! I even cleaned all the grout between the tiles in the shower. Who knew the tiles were pink? I thought they were a weird shade of grey.

Then we got ambitious. I painted the window frame white, and Mom and I started to pull down that hideous wallpaper!

Then we went shopping (a special thanks to my dad for driving us in bad traffic, through a monsoon to get everything we needed!) We got new curtains, new towels and some “decorative elements”. Its looking much better!

I still have my work cut out for me. I want to pull down the rest of the wallpaper, and paint the door. I also want to get the walls painted as well. I’ll probably just paint them white for now so that we can change the color later if needed.

Keep following for more updates!

The Backyard. Part 1

Our backyard is a jungle, which is kind of amusing since there are no trees and the ground is covered with brick. Weeds in the city are a crazy thing. They are so hardy and sneaky that even when you think you’ve got them beat, they still come back. Even when you spray them with gallons upon gallons of Round-Up, put down weed blocker, add pounds of sand, and then rebrick, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The backyard is shaped like and L. The long part of the “L” is brick, with a small garden area on the lower half. The short end of the “L” is half brick, half garden. Part of the garden is a steep hill. In the past few years the greenery has gotten way out of control. Chris and I went out in an attempt to clean it up. After many hours we stopped, looked around, and decided it was more of a mess than when we had started!

Ahhh, lovely, isn’t it?

So anyway, Chris started re-bricking. We decided to hold off on planting anything until next year, with the main goal of finishing the brick work before winter.

So he started pulling up the bricks, leveling off the ground (as best he could) putting down that weed-blocker and sand I talked about earlier, and then re-laying the bricks.

He worked a lot while I was studying for my boards. It kept him out of my hair, which was great!

He made some great progress, and was so nice to remember to take pictures along the way!

Sometimes, while I was studying, I would get bored and lean out the window to get a bird’s eye view of his work. It was part brick masterpiece, part toddler’s sandbox.

Then, one magical night after I passed my boards (Wooohoo!!) it was cool enough (read: not the Sahara Desert) and I was able to help Chris with some work on the bricks. In just one short hour we made some huge progress.

Thanks to Chris’ parents, we now have a grill to go along with our quarter done back yard 🙂

Hopefully we’ll be able to work on it more soon and have it finished before the winter. Grandma wants to get some patio furniture so that we can sit out there when its nice out.

So thats all for now. Send Chris many messages to go buy more sand and weed blocker so we can finish this project! Thanks for stopping by!