Sunday, April 29, 2012

Mmmmm Morels!!!

Yesterday we visited my parents in Wisconsin and we were treated to some delicious morel mushrooms!
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My Mom LOVES morels and goes out hunting for them every single year during “mushroom season”. As a kid, she always took me with. I know there was a time that I thought it was really fun and exciting to go looking for mushrooms, but then I think we had a few years where we didn’t find very many and I completely lost interest in the “hunt”. Maybe it was the years of “road hunting” for mushrooms with my Mom and her best friend?!? Road hunting basically meant that they would drive around looking for dead elm trees, and then have me (and sometimes her friend’s son) jump out of the car and check out the tree. This often meant climbing over/under a barbed wire fence onto someone’s farm land, dodging piles of cow poop, possibly jumping a little creek, and climbing up a hillside in hopes of MAYBE finding a few of these delicious morels. Did I mention it was often cold and raining? Oh, and then you need to check yourself over for wood ticks after you get home. Does this sound like fun to you???
We lucked out yesterday, since my Mom and her best friend (yes, the same one all these years later!) had already done the dirty work. The mushrooms were found, and waiting in the refrigerator to be cooked. She offered to cook us up a pan of “Sonic Morels” for us to enjoy and we couldn’t turn them down! Anthony does not like mushrooms (or at least the idea of mushrooms), so we tried to make them more interesting by calling them “Sonic Morels”. He did eat a few before declaring they were gross!
Before cooking:
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Yes, that’s butter bubbling in the pan…
On my plate waiting for me to eat them:
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It’s been years since I have eaten any morels and these tasted AMAZING!
How are they cooked? After you pick them, you wash them off, cut them in half down the middle, and soak in some salt water for awhile. Then you just coat them with flour, and fry them in a pan with a TON of butter. Like a LOT of butter. The REAL stuff. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper while they are cooking, and cook to your desired consistency. I like them a little crunchy, so I tend to cook them longer than most people do.
After eating up about half of my Mom’s stash of mushrooms, she wanted to take us up into the woods behind her house to look for a few more. My Mom walked up into the woods alone first, and came back down to the house to get my hubby and son so that they could go “find” their very first mushroom in the woods. By “find” I mean play a game of hot/cold with my Mom in an attempt to lead him to the mushroom she had already found and left waiting patiently in the woods.
So hubby, Anthony, my Mom and I headed up through the backyard to go mushroom hunting. Once we got into the woods, my Mom was calling out “getting warmer” to me, when I found one. I don’t think she really believed me at first (she had years of my trickery in the woods when I was a kid!) but when I turned and yelled that I had found a few more they all came over to check them out. Anthony and hubby got to pick their very first mushrooms! We did go over and pick the one she had originally found, as well as a few more. After about 20 minutes in the woods, we ended up with about 18 fresh mushrooms! Bless my Mom, she sent them all home with us!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Elton John

Last weekend I took my parents to see Elton John and it was AWESOME!!! He played for about 2 hours and 45 minutes and played all of his hits. Our seats weren’t great, which was a bummer considering how expensive they were, but we still had fun. The picture below was taken from my seat with my point and shoot camera.
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Elton John can really play the piano! It was crazy to watch the screen when the cameras would zoom in on his hands playing. I was able to take some pretty good video during the concert too. Even though I only ended up with 3 hours of sleep before starting the work week, it was definitely worth it to see Elton John in concert!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Almost Inspection Time

Work in the basement has been continuing, but there really are not many photo worthy changes. Quite honestly, it feels like not much has changed. There is not much to see except the completion of wrapping wood around a metal support post. (unless of course you are excited to see the wiring and plumbing within the walls, which I am not)
There are a few things left to do before we have the inspector come:
  • Wire the last wall sconce
  • Run TV and Ethernet cables
  • Add air-to-air exchanger timer in bathroom
  • Finish wiring outlet in the post
  • Install wet bar circuit breaker
  • Label the circuits on the electronic panel
Once the inspector comes, we will be ready for drywall! Initially I was really excited about getting the drywall up because I thought it meant that we are almost done. Then I realized that having drywall is no where close to being done. In an effort to make it feel like we are continuing to make progress, I decided to make a list of what we still need to do before the basement is completed.
Here is what still needs to be done:
    • Electrical/Plumbing/Framing Inspection
    • Re-insulate and put up vapor barrier
    • Vapor barrier inspection
    • Hang Drywall
    • Mud and tape drywall
    • Sand walls
    • Knockdown ceilings
    • Paint (family, hall, bathroom, bedroom, closets)
    • Trim (paint, cut and install)
    • Hang doors (6 doors)
    • Wire one last wall sconce at top of stairs
    • Pick out Carpet, install
    • Install light fixtures and outlets
    • Build bathroom vanity
    • Tile by patio door
    • Tile bathroom floor
    • Frame shower niche
    • Tile shower
    • Install toilet
    • Install shower hardware
    • Install bathroom sink and faucet
    • Build lower and upper wet bar cabinets, stain and install
    • Build the TV cabinet, paint and install
    • Build the bookshelf, paint and install
    • Pick out, buy and install cabinet hardware
    • Install under cabinet lights
    • Stone on the fireplace
    • Build and install fireplace hearth
    • Build and install fireplace mantle
    • Fireplace guys return to complete fireplace set-up
    • Build and install stairway railing and stairway trim
    • Pick out and buy mini fridge
    • Pick out and buy mini microwave
    • Pick out and buy bar sink and faucet – install
    • Pick out and buy TV
    • Start saving $$$ to buy furniture and d├ęcor for the basement because we will be out of $$$….
Now that we have a list this long, I’m not so sure the list was a good idea…. More bad news is that there are many things not even included on this list – like the regular clean-up that has to occur because of our crazy kitty who likes to roll around in the sawdust on the concrete floor of the basement. Lucky for us, she has long hair, so she gracefully brings a TON of sawdust chunks upstairs with her…okay, so maybe we aren't so lucky....
Completion target date: December 2012
With a list like this, do you think we can make our goal?!?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Hunger Games

Hunger Games fever has definitely hit at our house. I’m not sure why I waited so long to give it a try, but last week during our spring break I decided to start reading The Hunger Games. Wow. I was hooked - Instantly! I finished the first book in just over 24 hours, started reading book 2, Catching Fire the next day and finished it within 48 hours. I picked up book 3, Mockingjay, just minutes after finishing book 2 and I’m almost done with it. Will probably finish it tonight. Considering I am back at work this week (and working every night from home), this has been quite the accomplishment!
Since I was enjoying The Hunger Games so much, I decided that my hubby would like it too, and encouraged him to start reading. He just read the first book faster than I have ever since him read a book in his life. The hubby has more recently started reading for pleasure (a few years ago I convinced him to give Harry Potter a try by telling him to just read the first two chapters and agreeing to never encourage him to read something again if he didn’t like it – of course he enjoyed it and read them all!). He finished The Hunger Games this morning, just in time for date night this weekend. We are going to see the movie and I can’t wait!
I have been a big reader ever since I was little, and have always preferred to read books vs watch movies. I loved the Harry Potter books but the movies just left out too much which is always disappointing to me. I read all 4 of the Twilight books in 8 days a few years ago and only watched the first 2 movies because everyone raved about them. I thought they were terrible and didn’t bother to watch the rest.
That said, I am SUPER excited to go see The Hunger Games this weekend. I sure hope I am not disappointed!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The fireplace is in!

This week was our school’s Spring Break, so the 3 of us were all “off” from school and work. Work has continued in the basement – mostly electrical so there really is not much to see. Except for the fireplace that was installed this week! Obviously it is not ready to use yet (we are months away from using it) but it’s still an exciting milestone to have passed! The electrical work has actually made it feel like we have taken a step backwards since so much of the insulation has been removed from the walls, but we truly are moving forward. They say sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. I definitely feel like we are in that stage right now.
Here are a few pics to show where we are in the basement -
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Notice the new lights in the ceiling? It’s nice and bright!
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The picture below allows for the best visualization of the final fireplace wall. The TV cabinet will be built on the right side of the fireplace in the corner at a slight angle. There will be cabinets below and either doors or open shelving above. We are planning to take the cabinet all the way to the ceiling. On the left of the fireplace will be floor to ceiling shelving with doors at the bottom. Can you picture it?
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When the inspector came to inspect the fireplace he also completed the inspection on the ductwork (all clear!). In 2-3 weeks we should be ready for the inspection of the plumbing and electrical. Then comes the drywall and everything will really start to take shape!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Time for a Haircut!

For the last couple weeks we have been talking about how Anthony has needed a haircut, but just never got around to getting the job done. With Easter this weekend, we (in this case, “we” means me!) decided that it was time. Of course he was just given a “Mommy cut” and wasn’t taken to Christy (my hairdresser, that he also prefers cuts his hair) because that would require us to plan ahead and have an appointment scheduled. With our obvious procrastination with this haircut, that just wasn’t an option this time.
BEFORE: (shaggy hat hair)
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AFTER: (Short!)
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Much improved – especially with that silly face!