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Monday, September 22, 2014

Here We Go | House Project Week #1 | Demo Day




Here we go!

Whew!  After moving into this house almost two years ago, we are finally starting our project - officially, for real.  We spent the last three days packing it up and emptying it out.  That little sentence was short and sweet and hardly does justice to the physical labor that we, ok, mostly Mike ; ) endured.  As of midnight - it was ready.   We had a moment last night before we left, remembering being in the same empty house two years ago, painting the walls around midnight on a very similar September night dreaming of the possibilities of what we could do - some day.

It has taken the entire two years we have lived there to get our project started - from architectural delays, city reviews, finding the perfect contractor, we have finally made it.  It still doesn't seem real quite yet - until I arrived this morning and saw the dumpster in the driveway!

Left, photo of our little family just after moving in... and a visit to the pumpkin patch.  Look at that sweet Emma : )

The "site prep" team is there this morning getting everything dismantled and outta there.  Since most of the front of the house stays intact, they were carefully taking off doors, marking and labeling everything that will get reused.  


I am so glad that we are planning to use everything we can from the original house - we've been careful to not be too wasteful or have too much debris from our project.  While we were packing, we made a big effort to have a huge donation pile, a big recycling pile and a small trash pile.  Anything that is salvageable from the house (cabinets, mantles, lumber, etc.) will be donated to charity home stores.  The appliances will be saved for the new kitchen.  I am so glad to see that mantle go!



It wasn't original to the house and really wasn't my style... or the mauve faux stone tile that surrounded it that I painted white.  Also, gone now.  Goodbye!



Here is Emma at 10 months, 2 years ago right after we moved in.  You can find the house tour photos from that day, here.  In that post, I talk a lot about what we hope to do with the house - it is so exciting to actually see it beginning to happen today.




One a sad note, we had to take down a tree that was planted too closely to the curb and to make room for the new driveway.  I really hated to take it down - such a hard process.  We will be sure to replant several in the spring when we start our landscaping.  The good news is that Doug, our tree man, said that moving the current driveway off of our big giant oak tree will really help it in future... so there is some good news.  



He and his crew did an amazing job of taking it down and leaving the yard in great shape.  It was so impressive how fast they were!  Emma and I watched out the window and talked about what trees we would plant in the spring.  



I highly recommend there service to anyone in the area - Durbin Tree Service, (816) 356-1861.  He is one of Mike's parents' friends and was so helpful and knowledgable during the decision making process.  He recommended trees that we can replace it with and the proper areas they should be planted.

I have been so good about posting a weekly menu for the last month+ and today I'm dropping the ball.  Because I hardly have our toothbrushes unpacked (ok, I do have those unpacked, but that is about it...) the only thing I have planned for the week is tonight's roasted chicken (again) but with roasted root vegetables.   I think I might do carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and red onions roasted then tossed in a lemon thyme vinaigrette.   I will share the recipe later this week - along with those Spiced Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting & Toffee from last week.  

I hope you all are having a great monday morning.  We're spending the next 6 months at Mike's parents' house - they are so kind to have us.  I love their home.  It is so warm, cozy and with big generous rooms.  His Mom has done such a great job decorating it - I'll definitely share photos in the next couple of weeks to give you a visual of where we'll be.  I'll wait until she has her Fallizing done - no one does Fallizing like Joy Hobick! 

Happy Monday,
Jenny

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bathroom Inspiration | Looking for Advice | Marble, Wood & Subway Tile




I can't tell you how excited we are to actually have our very own bathroom.  We've been sharing our current 5x8 bathroom with Emma and our guests for the last couple of years - this bathroom will be a complete luxury for us.   Like most things for the new addition that we've picked out, I have for the most part, always known exactly what we want.  For the bathroom that means some marble, bone subway tile, wood vanity, polished nickel fixtures, brass pulls and accents and mostly cream painted walls.  Trying to figure out where all of these finishes will exactly play out is a little more difficult.   I'll talk more about finish choices, what I need your help with and more below.  For now, let's talk layout - something that was really important for me... and tricky.

The layout and design of the master bedroom and bathroom was really tough.  For starters, I wanted a lot of windows and natural light in our bedroom and bathroom.  The only solution that worked to make that happen was to put the master suite running along the entire back side of the house.  The other problem, was trying to make the window layout on the exterior work with what we wanted on the interior.  We ended up sacrificing some vanity length to make it happen - which I was 100% ok with... which shocked everyone.  The construction process is all about compromise, and priority - and asserting yourself to your architect ; )  

I found (like most things during this process) that most layout designs offered up were not what I was looking for.  It seemed like everything was lined up and push against each other.  For me, that felt too cramped.  As I said, I want our bathroom to feel airy and bright - and since it is not that big of a room, I had to do that with smaller scale things - no lengthy vanities or huge scale tubs and showers.  

Our architect assumed that I would require the 6ft vanity that most bathrooms feature, and told me that there was no way we could squeeze a master bathroom and bedroom along the back of the house (only 29ft wide) that was lined with windows.  However, I knew that my vision for the bathroom, one with airy windows and tons of light was much more important that being able to store 10 years worth of old makeup in my vanity.  Because Mike and I are pretty minimal with our primping, it was an easy choice.  
Our architect also assumed that when I said tub that I meant something that would be 72+ inches long with jets and bubbles and he told me it could never work.  My persistence paid off.   I drew it up myself and included everything I wanted.  It took me forever, but totally worth it. I really love how the layout ended up - it is everything I envisioned. 



Here it is.  As you can see, our Master Bedroom opens up to our bathroom with french doors.  Because neither room is too too big, the french doors will make each room feel bigger.  I wanted the french doors to be perfectly aligned with the tub under a big window that would draw your eye in - all the way from the bedroom.   I feel like this will also make the rooms feel more generous.  I had a vision for a furniture looking vanity that was not butted up next to anything else, but centered along the wall with windows on each side.   Mike has always wanted a big, glass door shower for as long as I can remember, so that was also on our list. 

Here are some inspiration photos that helped me communicate my vision to our architect and finally helped us to get on the same page : 

I also love the wood floors in this photo... am I crazy?  I really want wood floors, but have been told that they won't hold up.  I've seen them in several lovely homes and love the look and warmth they provide.  Does anyone have any feedback on living with a wood floor bathroom?


I'm so tempted to do a cute wallpaper with a small print...  I love how charming it makes this bathroom look.

 

I love the subway tile and glass door of the shower.  I also love the wood paneling - that will be a decision made later in the process once we see how the rest of the budget is holding up during construction.


Here is a very elegant wood vanity with marble top - ours wouldn't be this fancy, but I like the colors of the wood + marble.



The other floor material I am considering (if I'm convinced that wood is a bad option) is a 2" hexagon marble tile.  I like the slightly enlarged scale of the classic 1" hex and think it would be a charming addition of natural stone.


I like the honed (unpolished/tumbled) versions best to give it a less flashy appearance.  




I'm also fan of a little black accent in the tiles, like this one with a basket weave.  It is very classic for an older home and I think the contrast would be nice...


Really love this look.  But we won't have a fancy chandelier, but a brass lantern instead.



So, here is what I need your help with :

Wood Floor?
Marble Hexagon?
Basket Weave Marble?

*Links and sources to photos can be found, here, on my Pinterest Master Bathroom & Bedroom Board.

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Week's Menu | Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Braised Cabbage with Goat Cheese & Homemade Applesauce

Well, this is the week.  The last week of living in our house, that is.  We will be packing up ev-er-y-thing we own, putting it in a Pod (hoping it fits...) and moving out for the next six months.  Trying to explain the process to Emma has been a little difficult - I keep telling her that Mr. John is going to come build us a new house.  In the next couple of weeks I'll share how we finally picked and hired a contractor and some of the lessons we've learned along the way.

For now, after I post this weekly menu, I'm going to finish up a couple of posts for the rest of the week (Bathroom Inspiration board included!) and some recipes... then, I'll be in the basement.  For the rest of the week.  Don't think I'm crazy, but I love packing.  I love cleaning out, donating and neatly packing everything up - fresh start.  I've resolved to keep only things that I love and know exactly where they will go in the new house.  Everything else will be given away.  I've noticed in this process, that I get a little more lenient with this rule as we go on, and have to keep reminding myself.  For those of you that have emailed - the Acorn Cookie Cutters should be back in stock by the end of the week!  Hope your week is off to a great start!

Jenny

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Homemade Applesauce & Braised Cabbage with Goat Cheese

Oh my gosh, is this good.  It is more of a Sunday Supper type of meal, but this week, I'll be making it tonight, on a Monday.  It makes great sandwiches for the rest of the week for Mike's lunch.

Chorizo & Vegetable Soup with Fancy Grilled Cheese

We try to do soup once a week, especially now that the weather is cooling down.  This is a great soup that has so much flavor!

Tomato & Goat Cheese Salad

Even though the weather is turning colder, it is prime tomato season.  I'll probably serve this salad with a grilled Flank Steak or piece of Fish.

Butternut & Beef Chili

I'm making this on Thursday afternoon, because it will a great thing to have for leftovers the rest of the weekend while we finish the packing.  It will be great to have a filling meal that is just a microwave away.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New Fall Products | Copper Cookie Cutters, Apple Baskets, Indigo Linens & Gold Ribbons

New Fall Products

In the first round of Fall Products three weeks ago, I focused on neutralizing our homes with warm hues in cozy throws, candles and linens.  This time I am focusing on Fall Baking and my favorite packing essentials and gifts of the season.

To see all of the Fall products, click here.

All About Acorns

There is something so simple and almost stately about acorns.  They are curious little things that can be found everywhere and are popular as a motif this time of year.  Maybe it is our love of taking something so humble (that is found in piles all over my yard!) and making it really beautiful.

I've included an Acorn in my Copper Cookie Cutter collection this season, as well as Chocolate Sprinkles to make them easy to decorate.  Acorn Tags and Folded Cards ($6) will look darling on any gift or baked treat for months to come - all the way through the holidays.



 Apple Baskets with Handles
set of 4 for $12

I'm always on the hunt for simple, classic packaging to make gifts look great... after all, presentation is everything.  I filled this apple basket with apples (of course) and a jar of salted caramel - all of the fixin's for Caramel Apples, one of my favorite treats for Fall.  One of my other favorite gifts is a breakfast filled with Banana Bread and Whipped Honey Butter.  They are great to keep around to make any basic ingredients into a beautiful gift.  

Other products used : 


Autumn Copper Cookie Cutters, $15

Each season I feature a collection of copper cookie cutters.  This season of I'm using the same shapes I've been using for years and years every Fall - Acorns, Oak Leaves & Pumpkins.  Not only do I love to bake with them, but I love how the classic copper cutters look displayed in my kitchen - an easy way to add a warm metal accent to your home.  The cookies look great when just simply decorated in muted tones of the season.   Instead of my regular royal icing that looks shiny and professional, I opted for really creamy butter icing... sooooo good.



They make a great gift or favor for a part - I've packaged them with a printed card of my cookie recipe and tied with an Everyday Occasions logo ribbon.


Gold Striped Cupcake Papers
100 for $6.50

When I came across these cupcake papers, I knew I had to include them in my Fall products.  The color is somewhere between my Edgartown Sand color with a hint of metallic - are just the thing to add a little touch of something to our favorite Fall treats.  These Spice Cupcakes topped with Cream Cheese Frosting and Toffee Bits look a little more special in these Gold Striped Cupcake Papers.  I can't wait to use them for a birthday celebration topped with the Gold Celebration Candles, too.



Indigo Tea Towels & Napkins

I've been waiting for these Indigo and Cream Linens for weeks now - I can't wait to set an Autumn table with deep orange heirloom pumpkins down the center and these at each plate.  I'll be adding lots of Indigo to our new home because I feel like it is seasonless and classic color.  It especially looks great with the oranges and golds this season.

They come in a Tea Towel and Coordinating Napkins - a great set for casually elegant entertaining this Fall.



Fall Ribbons & Twine

I love this slew of ribbons and twines.  Do you remember the extremely popular Edgartown Sand Grosgrain from last year?  I could hardly keep it in stock.  It is back with a couple of new picks, as well.  To see the entire ribbon collection, click here.

I've added a new color to my Ribbon Collection - this fabulously warm Gold.  I carried the Satin last year for the Holidays, and fell in love with this rich grosgrain, too.

Gold Satin & Grosgrain Ribbon

The ribbon looks great packaging this loaf of Pumpkin Bread baked in my disposable Kraft Loaf Pans, 10 for $12 - another favorite from last fall!



See how amazing and rich this ribbon is?  It has a subtle matte texture that makes it oh so luxurious.



I hope you enjoy browsing the new products!  I plan to post many of the recipes (like those cupcakes!) and more in the upcoming weeks as we really settle into Autumn.  My kitchen is stocked with Apples, Spices, Cider and Caramel... we're ready!  I LOVE this time of year.

Jenny

Monday, September 8, 2014

This Week's Menu | Slow-Simmered Cabernet Mushrooms with Pot Roast, Penne alla Vodka

This morning it was 58 degrees for my walk with Mr. Darcy.  Ahhh.  Finally.  We were spoiled with a mild summer, but just as we were ready for Fall, it has been 98 degrees for the last couple of weeks.  I feel like we've really earned it now.  Our week's menu reflects the chill in the air - lots of comfort food.  Emma and I + some friends will be decorating Fall Sugar Cookies this week and sipping on apple cider to put us in full on Fall mode.  I'll be sharing more fall baking products later in the week including fall copper cookie cutters, sprinkles, and baskets perfect for hostess gifts and treats.

What are the first fall-ish foods that you like to make?  I have apples and salted caramel all ready for after school snacks this week!

Pot Roast with Slow-Simmered Cabernet & Thyme Mushrooms, Chive Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Carrots

I'll be using this recipe but adding a chuck roast to the simmering mixture.  I haven't tried it before, but I'll let you know how it goes!
















Barefoot Contessa's Penne alla Vodka Sauce

I've been really craving this lately - a favorite that I haven't made in a while!  Sometimes I add sliced chicken and mushrooms to add a little protein and heft without it being all pasta... but it is good all on its own, too.


















Soup Night / Leftovers : Italian Vegetable & Beef Stew

You might remember that I made this soup, but without beef, a couple of weeks ago.  This time, I'll use some of the left over beef from Pot Roast on Monday to add to this Italian Vegetable Soup.  Sorry, you might see this on repeat a little bit - it is my very favorite for Fall.

















Brown Sugar & Sesame Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables

This is a little bit lighter than the rest of the week - basically, roasted pork tenderloin with vegetables.  I'll probably do something very simple for the sides like sauteed green beans and maybe some steamed rice... or mac n'cheese depending on how many walks I go on this week or how many fall sugar cookies we eat while decorating on Tuesday ; )

Friday, September 5, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies & Ice Cream Petite Pies



The Cookie Monster

Happy Friday!  I thought I'd share some photos from our after school snack a couple of days ago.  I had intended to take some really pretty photos of this cookie topped with ice cream, but as you can see, there was no stopping Emma.  She was so funny and sneaky - didn't even look back at me to check to see if I was going to tell her "no."  Just grabbed it and ran.  The entire swipe happened in about 3 seconds - I didn't have the heart to stop her : )


To make these yummy individual Chocolate Chip Cookies & Cream Pies, we put cookie dough in these Petite Tart Pans ($6 for 10) and baked for 10-12 minutes.  Yum!  The middle was gooey, the outside was chewy and edges were crunchy - such a treat!











As you can see, she is counting out and savoring each one of her allotted 4 chocolate chips.



Devouring and enjoying each and every one!



Now, hot out of the oven, she helped me put a scoop of ice cream on top.  As I was getting my camera set up, I didn't realize she was planning her attack.  When I looked through my lens for a test shot, I see this.


And then, in a matter of seconds...



Swiped it.  As you can see the ice cream didn't even have a minute to start getting melty, as I had planned for the photos.  


Literally ran out of the kitchen with it.  I guess she's got her Dad's love of chocolate chip cookies!

Happy Friday!  

m38

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