Catching Up and a Headboard and Nightstand Pair

The months fly by, seemingly faster as I get older. When I started this post, it was a March round up and I was asking, “where did March go?” I’m wondering the same about April! Now that yard/garden work is in the mix, I’ve been keeping ridiculously busy. I’ve actually started posting a few times and just haven’t finished. Today is the day though!

I do want to share one of the highlights of March, which was seeing the eldest, who was on the East Coast for work and was able to hop a bus to spend two days with us.

Another highlight was the youngest having her artwork selected for a second gallery show in Pasadena. It’s bitter-sweet for us as we are super duper proud and would so love to be able to attend these events. We are grateful the kiddos are nearby-ish to each other and can be supportive in person.

Tim and I bought new wedding bands from Groove Life and I posted about them on Instagram. We’ve been wearing them for a few weeks now and we are both really pleased.

I’ve been logging a few miles 3-4 times/week since January. I ran outside a few weeks ago for the first time in WAY TOO long. I’m slower than the slow I already was before, but I’m proud of myself for getting back into the swing of some weekly miles.

Fargo has really taken to his role as driveway workshop dog. He doesn’t always opt for the bed, but he enjoys being outside with me when it’s sunny. It’s hard to see in this picture, but I’m getting quite the silver streaks going on both sides of my hair. I started using a new hashtag on Instagram: #silverhairandsawdust.

Okay, now on to the headboard and nightstand. A friend asked me to build these for her son’s room, with the understanding that I would be learning through the process. I learned a TON through both of these, as they each had elements (such as drawer slides) that I had never done before. I will show some end result pictures here, and hopefully do a more in depth post about the builds.

Both were Ana White plans. Both are finished with two coats of Weatherwash Rusted Stain and Satin Varnish. I know I need to expand beyond Weatherwash at some point, but I really love their results.

We’ve also done so much in the shop (garage) and I will get a post up with all of those pictures/descriptions as well. Hope Spring is treating you all well!

February ’19 Wrap-Up

We are updating our kitchen and dining room lighting after almost fourteen years. Up until now, we’ve used the lights that were here when we bought the house. First up was the kitchen fan light. The others are purchased and are on the to-do list to get installed.

Here is a quick, mostly picture post to share the rest of the empty nest goings on around here.

I tried a new recipe, which we really enjoyed. We still have butternut squash to use, so I found a recipe called Butternut Squash Chickpea Coconut Curry. Really quite yummy (I also added some potato that needed to be used up).

We are making some good progress on the shop (garage)! Tim installed a heater, which we’ve had running to keep the shop comfortable and which is allowing us to do drywall work in Winter. Our electric bill was definitely on the higher side this month.

All of the new drywall is primed and painted. Unfortunately, the folks who taped/mudded the ceiling and wall adjoining the house, did not cover the tape. The tape and mud have been falling off and crumbling for years, so Tim is re-doing all of it. This is taking a lot of time, and requires constant shifting of the HUGE PILES OF STUFF. I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, though, which is exciting.

Same wall, next day.

Previous ceiling mud.

I got my first ever work boots a few months ago, and they are getting a workout, and I love them!

I opted for a compromise on the kiddos’ bedrooms. Although they will likely only be home once a year, I still always want them to feel like their rooms. The eldest’s has a queen sized bed (our old one) and is our default guest room. I’ve now moved sewing machines, fabric and all other related items into the youngest’s room. She is the one who sews, so it made sense. It doesn’t change the character of the space so it still feels like it’s her room.

Although I’m not doing yoga every day, I am still making sure to include it 2-3 days/week. I’ve actually been putting in some treadmill miles since the beginning of the year. It’s been a long time since I’ve been consistently logging miles 4-5 times/week. I never thought I could be even more of a “back of the packer” than I was, but it’s possible.

Fargo and I take a moment to pause now and again and reflect on our empty nest life. In this moment, we were pondering the increasing number of gray hairs we both have.

There’s so much more, but I’ll leave on a fun note. One of the many amazing woodworkers I follow on Instagram, The Awesome Orange, came up with a shirt idea that I fell in love with. I couldn’t resist getting it and I was extra excited when I found the sticker she enclosed with the shirt. Trading stickers seems to be a big thing in the woodworking community and I now have my first one.

Happy 2019!

Writing a blog post has been on the to-do list for way too long. Although I’ve spent time watching woodworking youtube and Instagram videos, I’ve really kept pretty busy with projects that pushed the blog further and further down the list. Today seems like a good day to cross “blog post” off the list…til I add it back on there tomorrow.

The kiddos were just home for a week+ visit, which was so very wonderful. It was a year since they had been home, and it will likely be a year til their next trip back, so we all tried hard to appreciate squeezing each other. Hopefully we’ll see them somewhere on the West Coast during the year. Saying goodbye NEVER gets easier and I’ve allowed myself a few sad days since they left. We kept forgetting to take a really nice family picture while they were here, so here are our “smile through the tears” goodbye airport selfies.

When your kiddos live on the other side of the country, and you only see them three times/year, it’s hard. 2018 is when it really hit me that they’re not coming back. I’ve been blogging about empty nest for three years, but this is the year it really hit me, hard. They love where they live, they love the people who surround them. Unfortunately, where they live is not a place where Tim and I could ever see ourselves living. A lot of the past year (and probably the next few years) will be spent trying to figure out what this means for us.

I am proud of myself for the fact that through this tough realization, I was able to keep moving forward with my Hobby Adventures. Under the “better late than never” category, I found woodworking. I love it! If you’ve followed along here, you’ll know that with Tim’s help/knowledge, youtube/Instagram tutorials and inspiration, websites like Shanty-2-Chic, Ana White, Rogue Engineer, and more, there is a new workbench, miter saw cart, lumber storage cart, bed, nightstands, corbel lights, and more in the house.

This new found passion has led to the garage insulation project. Yesterday, we finished the ceiling insulation which was a HUGE accomplishment. We even managed to do it in one day!! Tim was amazing with how he maneuvered around in that tight space, something I tried to do and had small space anxiety.

I was in my protective gear the entire time.

The garage door insulation is done.

And one of two exterior walls.

Unfortunately, everything we moved is along the remaining wall, so it will take time to clear it all away and finish. Then we still need to mud/tape and organize EVERYTHING. After yesterday’s accomplishment though, I’m feeling really excited about it all. Can’t wait to finish because (as previously mentioned) I want to make SO MANY THINGS!!

Lots of changes are happening in 2019 which I’m really excited about. I will definitely try hard to take you along on this journey of learning. Thank you to everyone, especially my family and friends, who have supported me with words and actions, along the way.

Happy New Year to all, and best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019. Hoping we all have a year of fun, adventure, opportunity, achievement and education.

Smaller Pieces Out of Wood

As promised, late, but getting done, I wanted to share pictures of some of the smaller pieces I’ve been working on. I had a bunch of leftover 1x4s from the bed, and some leftover 1×12 from the nightstands since I didn’t use it for the bottom shelves. I used it for the following, using inspiration from some of the AMAZING woodworkers I follow online and on Instagram.

Completely unrelated is that my phone died. I lost some pictures, unfortunately, and I’m not quite over the learning hump with the new phone. I’m figuring out that some of the pictures I took with the new phone are on a super small setting and are blurring a little when I make them larger. Sorry, it’s not your eyes, it’s the pictures.

Here are pieces ready to be Weatherwashed for two trays, a centerpiece box, a wine tote and a beer tote.

Below is one of the many display ideas I tried in a tray photo shoot.

Here is the centerpiece box. I have battery operated pillar candles that I can picture in there with seasonal additions.

I also built a Shanty-2-Chic inspired wine rack. I used the Weatherwash Pined and Clear Maintenance Oil (I used it on the box above and the Rusted stain on the tray). I woodburned two designs, three of one and two of the the other.

Lots of pocket hole action using the Kreg jig.

Final product (with a very rare blue sky background)!

And something really, really exciting is my early Hanukkah, Christmas, Anniversary present. After a TON of research and review reading, I now own pretty RIDGID Power Tools! Still a few I want to add to the collection, but woooooooot!!!

 

 

Hobby Adventures on the Water

Many years ago, we bought the kids a kayak to go with our canoe. They went out a few times for floats, but the kayak wasn’t highly used. I usually declined going along for the opportunity to have some quiet time. Since the nest has been empty, the kayak has had even less activity.

We’ve had the neighbors’ kayak at our house for a while as Tim has used it a number of times for fishing. One morning, we decided to take both the kayaks to the lake a few minutes from our house. It was a most fantastic decision.

We went at 6:00am, because we’re morning people, and we only stayed for about an hour, but it started off our day with some much needed zen.

We went out two more times. I’m hoping we’ll go many more. No chance I’m taking the fancy camera out on the water. I was nervous about dropping the cell, but I’m glad I got a few pictures from that first morning.

 

Belated Big Anniversary Trip

It was almost a year late, but we planned and went on a trip to celebrate our 25th anniversary. A lifetime ago we lived in the Pacific Northwest, and have wanted to get back out there again for a while. What better excuse for a trip back to where we started out our lives together?

We arranged to meet the kids for the first weekend, and then we had four more days on our own. It was an amazing week all around. I am grateful I was able to squeeze my babies and take them on a nostalgia tour. I am grateful to have had great catch up visits with three former co-workers. I am super grateful to have a partner whom I love, and love spending time with, after so many years.

The weather started out rainy, but we did fine, and ended up perfect for the last few days. We saw some incredible scenery and I’ll let the pictures speak from here with a VERY small sampling (of the 500+ pics we took).

We’re ready to go back.

Where Does The Time Go??

It appears that blogging is a lot like running/exercising, once you get out of the routine of doing it, it’s easy to continue to not do it. I actually have quite a bit to share, but now I’m feeling a little overwhelmed about getting to it all. In addition, there’s been a lot going on in life. Some good, some stressful, some neutral, but just a lot.

I had begun a post about food, but we just had a very amazing weekend in NYC and I decided that should come first. The hubster and I recently celebrated a milestone anniversary. My parents, who are incredibly wonderful people, got us tickets to see Come From Away on Broadway. It’s been years since we were in NYC, and we’re not city people, so it was a big deal.

We were grateful to have a good friend not only put us up for the night, but spend her entire day with us on Saturday. After I told her what we were hoping to do, besides the show, she planned out all of the logistics. It was such a bonus to be able to spend the day with her (and her brother and their friend) and to not worry about getting around.THANK YOU JENNIFER!!!

First stop was the Brooklyn Bridge. Hubby had read The Great Bridge by David McCullough and was excited to see the subject of the book. It didn’t sound as exciting a destination to me, but it really was fascinating. I loved all of the different shapes and structures and signs and views.

 

From the bridge, we walked to the 9/11 Memorial. We didn’t have time for the museum this visit, but we took a few minutes to pay our respects.

It was so very moving, and it felt important to visit before the show, as the show is also about that day. We really don’t have strong enough words to describe how amazing this show is. The music and choreography and writing and songs were so incredible that we’re still walking around singing, “I’m an islander, I am an islander, I’m an islander, I am an islander….”

GO. SEE. THIS. SHOW!!!!!!!!!

Almond Butter Cups

I follow a few food blogs on Instagram. I have to admit, I LOVE the little food videos they post and I have been motivated to try quite a few recipes after watching. One of the recent videos was for Almond Butter Cups, posted by Pinch of Yum. It looked fairly simple, and it definitely looked very yummy.

Yesterday was a gross, foggy, rainy, cold day….so, perfect to try this out. I made one adjustment in that I split the 1/2 cup cocoa between dark and regular.

 

Pinch of Yum suggests 2-4 Tablespoons of maple syrup, so I went with 3. The coconut oil thickened back up quickly once I added the other ingredients, so I put the mixture in the microwave for just a few seconds. It was much easier to work with in a thinner state.

 

There was enough for 14 cups. By the time I got to the last two, the coconut oil was thickening up again. The original 12 looked pretty darn great, but these two were definitely seconds.

 

Hubby and I ate these two bloopers without freezing them, and his comment was, “these are evil!” They were so darn amazingly good. I froze the rest as directed and was super proud of how pretty they turned out. I posted this pic on Instagram and got the most comments ever in my Instagram history.

Hubby and I split this one, right from the freezer, and I have a suggestion. If you make these, although the recommendation is to store them in the refrigerator or freezer, let them come closer to room temp before eating them. When frozen, hubby and I agreed that the overwhelming flavor is the coconut oil, the chocolate and almond flavors just couldn’t compete.

 

For a first go at making a candy type dessert, I label this a success. And given that there is only 3T of maple syrup, and no sugar, I think it’s an even bigger success. There is, however, PLENTY of coconut oil, so I’m not sure how it really ranks on the healthy scale.

 

Picture Post

There hasn’t been much baking, or new recipe experimenting, or new creating lately. Pretty much just creating the same things I was before, beer totes and cross stitch. I did see a chocolate almond butter cup recipe on Pinch of Yum that I intend to work on in the near future.

I’m still having a lot of fun with the fancy camera, so I thought I’d share some recent pictures. Still mostly automatic settings, but I’m watching video tutorials and maybe some of it is starting to sink in. Maybe.

Apologies to those of you on Instagram, as some of these are repeats.

 

 

 

 

 

Fargo humors me and doesn’t complain…too much.

Blooper.

 

 

Sometimes it’s nice to have boring, even though I’d rather have full nest boring than empty nest boring. Boring doesn’t lend itself to interesting blogging. I’ve got some things in mind over the next few weeks that should be more fun.

Molly’s Mac N Cheese Adventures

We decided to have a cooking day on Sunday. I wrote about the Chocolate Coconut Almond Tart, in the previous post. This time I’m talking about our mac n cheese adventures as we followed the Molly on the Range flowchart. We followed the right side, doubled the recipe and ended up with one baked dish and a batch of deep fried cubes.

Making the sauce took longer than expected, though Molly doesn’t really indicate how long it should take. We ended up using less milk because it never seemed to want to thicken up. It finally did though.

This was Fargo, the whole time we were grating/adding cheese.He can sure concentrate when he wants to.

In order to go for the deep fried mac, you need to do all of the steps but the baking. We made the two batches of mac in the morning and stuck it in the fridge for a few hours. I didn’t get a finished picture of the baked version, but it looked like this, with bread crumbs on top. YUM!

 

When it was time to fry, we dug out the VERY rarely used deep fryer and set up the flour, egg and bread crumb bowls.

It was quite a messy process, cutting the mac up into cubes, then rolling each one in flour, egg and breadcrumbs.

We could only put four into the fryer at a time, so four batches of four. It took about $4 worth of oil to fill the fryer. So, it was a lot of work, and a little on the spendy side when all of the butter and cheese is added. They sure turned out pretty! They were really good, needed some salt/pepper, but good.

Both versions were excellent. Our conclusion was that we’ll stick with the baked, since it was as good as the fried, and a whole lot less work. Chalk up another round of kitchen adventures to the empty nesters.

Pictures (except for the flowchart) taken with the fancy camera!