Thursday, October 15, 2009

FREE AT LAST: the basement is done

The last two weeks has felt like we had two full time jobs a piece! Weekday mornings we would wake up, get ready, Dave would go to work, I would put in an hour of construction/minimal cleaning, go to work myself, come home and work until about 10 - 12 at night on the house. Sometimes we would stop for dinner (something frozen or canned), sometimes we would forget. Saturdays were even worse because we would wake up at 7 and work for 12+ hours with breaks for food when we were starving. I've never been so grateful for Sundays, and the excuse that we had to rest and enjoy church!

So last night at about 10 we finally finished and this is what it looks like!!! We finally got the door in and swinging properly (after having to paint and sand the edge twice because it didn't fit. I didn't take a picture of the door, figuring you've all seen a door before... but I did take a few pictures of the kitchen for you! We're so stinking proud of it. When you walk in on the far left you are greeted with the cabinets, sink, and counter top (all of which we installed ourselves).

The cabinets are from Ikea and were pretty easy to install. The hard part was leveling them… The entire room is at a slant to the right because the water heater is through the curtain on the far right side of the room. So there’s a drain on the floor of this room to ensure if the water heater blows the water has somewhere to go. What that meant for our project was the cabinets were about 3 inches from the ground on the left side, and had to be almost 6 inches on the far right. It was such a pain to figure out how to level and how to cut the kick guard!

The counter top also was an unexpected challenge. Ikea cabinets are made to be used with a counter top without a lip on it. We bought a counter top at Home Depot with a lip and a back splash attached to it (I was able to barging them down to $100 because there was a chip in one side, and we just cut off that end of the counter). So that meant we had to elevate the counter with 2x4’s before we could install it. It worked out, but took far longer than it should!

Here’s a picture of our fabulous sink that we installed with the help of both our dads (on different days). Doesn’t it look great?

When you turn your body to the right you can see the fridge, stove and space for the kitchen table.
Dave and my dad installed the electric on these. I found the fabulous deals on the fridge (it’s an Energy Star 18 cu ft. that I got for $420 with free delivery, usually $619 plus $75 for delivery), the stove ($250 including the hood we didn’t use and will sell on Craigs list with free delivery), and leveled the appliances. We really weren't sure if the fridge would fit in the basement, but after the delivery guys took the doors off, it did!

Also, notice the curtain on the side, I found that at Ikea for $10 (including the rail to install it on), hemmed up the bottom, and put it in to cover the entry way to the boiler room. There are storage cabinets in there, so we wanted Blaine and Angela to have access to it, but didn't have room for a full door after putting the fridge in that corner. It needs some decorations to make it look more homey, but it's perfectly ready to be occupied. It cost us more than the $2,000 I had expected, but less than the $8,000 check we got from the government before we started this project! So we did well, I'll just have to wait for the next credit card bill to know exactly what the cost was.

We're sooo exhausted from all the work we did, but are glad to be done! I celebrated this morning by waking up early, deep cleaning the bedroom, threw in a load of laundry, made the batter for some Peach Strawberry ice cream that I'll complete when I get home from work, and blogging my joy out to the masses. Dave decided to celebrate by sleeping in... Maybe I should have done that too. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

To DIE for Apple Strudel Muffins!

Every year my family has a General Conference party. We started doing it in Michigan because the stake center was too far away to go home for the two hour break, so we just brought our lunch to the church and indulged! Everyone was invited, but the Poulsons, Moes, and Welches were always in attendance. Now that the whole family has migrated out to Utah we can get the broadcast from the comfort of our homes, so we've moved the party to the parent's house. The Poulsons joined us Sunday. Everyone brings something, and everyone grazes all day long.

Since my parents have been blessed with an abundance of apples (and both Dad and Mom have brought by a bag of apples for us), I decided it would be best to make something that contained apples. So I started my internet search for the best apple muffin recipe I could find! I found one with 658 five star reviews, and decided it must be the one for our five star Conference party! I made a few changes, and want to share my edited version with you.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2  cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 dashes of nutmeg
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
1 1/2 cups grated apples

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan (I use the reusable muffin liners) 

  • In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. It will be a light tan color like this

  • In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugars and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla. Stir in grated apples followed by apple chunks, and gradually blend in the flour mixture. This ends up an extremely thick batter, but I added the extra grated apples which releases moisture into the muffins as the muffin cooks. It should look like this when done

  •  Spoon the mixture into the prepared muffin pan. This is a way messy process, since the mixture is so thick. I used a spatula but still had to use my fingers to take the batter off the spatula. You could use a spoon if desired. They will look chunky in the pan, but will rise smooth

  • In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over tops of mixture in muffin pan. I started this with my spatula, but it wouldn't mix as well as I would like, so I would either recommend softening the butter prior to adding it, or use your hands to do the final mixing in. You could double this if you like extra topping, but I felt the topping was sufficient

  • Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow to sit 5 minutes before removing muffins from pan. Cool on a wire rack. Look at those savory little guys! They were a delicious way to start Sunday morning Conference

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Revenge of the Rude People!

    Why do people think just because they're having a bad day they can take it out on whoever is closest to them? I did a quick picking up at Ikea after work today. Dave and I bought him a drafting desk last night, and we missed a piece (half of the legs, might be necessary) so I had to go pick up the missing pieces.

    Anyway, I'm in the self-checkout line with my legs and the other 4 items that convinced me I couldn't live without them. This older man was standing in the line beside me waiting for one of the two self checkout lines in front of him to be ready. The farthest one swipes her card, so he intentionally rams his cart into the cart of the woman in front of him, and continues to push her cart right into her which pushes her into her husband. He proceeds to push the woman that's paying with his cart while she is trying to grab her receipt and items so he can check out!

    No "excuse me", no "my wife is in the hospital and really needs this children's art easel before she dies", NOTHING! He just bogarted his way in, and saw nothing wrong with it. It was like a bad made for TV movie where the old man has to get the gift before 6:00 or the mutant slime people will take over the world! Don't ask me how they equate, but I swear they do...

    I think it annoyed me so much because my co-worker was so stinking ornery to me today. I came over to ask her about the status of a project and she just went off! I'm not sure why and to my knowledge I didn't do anything to bring this on. She just had a conniption. I think what it came down to is she didn't have time for the conversation, but if that's the case JUST TELL ME! Don't raise your voice and take it out on me in front of the whole office! Ask if we can schedule a time for a meeting tomorrow.

    It's been an intense week in our office, I'll give her that. There have been huge meetings between the CEO, VP of Marketing and Owners, so everyone's a little wired and has worked a few too many hours. But what can you do but your best and live with it?

    So to everyone that's reading this, go out of your way to be nice to someone today. Don't be ornery.