Dirty Gumbo

This weekend was lovely. It was productive and relaxing. Here are a few pics of what went down.

Nick working on a bathroom vanity. Sure is coming along!



Bread baking. I haven’t baked a hearty loaf of bread in a while. My mom shared a recipe for “Sunflower Seed and Honey Wheat Bread”. It was yummy! Served it with what we now call “Dirty Gumbo”. Nick started calling it that because the gist of the gumbo was a roux (olive oil and whole wheat flour mixture) that simmers and slowly turns a deep mahogany color. It interestingly develops a unique flavor, but looks dirty. Some daring friends joined us in the “Dirty Gumbo” dinner. No one died.


Actually one thing did die. My favorite cookbook.

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I’m sure you can guess what happened.

Cookbook resting. Flat stove. Wrong burner on. Cookbook on fire. Hanna sad. Chicken burning too. Fire out. Chicken saved. Hanna happy. Cookbook stinky. Oh the joy of cooking…



The Peninsula

Here’s another peek back into the blur of home remodel in November. We wanted to open up the connection between the living room and kitchen. It’s not completely finished, but that will come in good time.

To finish: Maple butcher block countertop (or possibly concrete). Stools to perch on. Three light pendants light to brighten it up.

1. Before


2. Nick’s proposed rendering before we bought the house. (To convince me it would work…)

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3. New header on the structural wall opening.


4. Sheetrock time.


5. 90% finished!



FLOR Stools and Couch

I like these stools.


::via Apartment Therapy

And this couch:FLOR bench couch

via Apartment Therapy



Still snowing. What a great day to stay inside and work on projects! I’m refinishing a stool and Nick is building a bathroom vanity for some friends. A day full of progress and snow.


We went Ice Skating last night with some friends. Great fun and no one fell. (Thanks Jacque for hosting a great time! If anyone is looking for a realtor, she’s a great one and helped find our home!)


Enjoy the snow!


Spice Rack

Organizing the kitchen is always an adventure. It takes time to think about functionality of where to put things and how make make it “work”. I love my spices and I hate having to search and messy the rest of the spice stash just to find the right one. I used to keep all my spices laying horizontal in a drawer, but with this kitchen…drawers are limited. So are the cabinets, but I just had to donate one shelf to spices alone.

I know you can buy spice organizers at the store – always way more expensive than I think they should be. So I rigged up my own using leftover 2x4’s from the demo of walls. To make all the spice labels visible, I stacked 3 – 2x4’s in the back and one in the front. Cost - $0.00.

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Spice rack. Done.


The Living Room

We are so excited about our new house and the potential is has to be a fun and hospitable home. It needed a lot of work (and cleaning!)…so we jumped right in!
Closed on November 3, 2009 and had 2 1/2 weeks to work on it before the big move. With much help from family and friends, we got a lot done!
First of all, we wanted to open up the living room to the rest of the house. Our plan was to:
  • Punch a hole in the wall that is covered in wood paneling and create a large opening to a bedroom. (Turning the bedroom into an office.) We eventually hope to build a large sliding barn door for the opening.
  • Put in a small closet near the front door to make somewhat of an entrance. This will be an open closet with a high shelf, a coat rack with hooks, and a bench.
  • Remove an awkward closet over the stairwell separating the kitchen from the living room and create a peninsula counter. Move a structural wall and replace a header.
  • Build a bump out (for a closet in the kitchen) and carry the lines across the living room as a soffit.
  • Install recessed and dimmable ceiling lights.
  • Refinish the hardwood floors.
Here are a few pics of the process:
1. Before. The white box/fake wood paneling living room.
2. The demo and framing begins…
3.  Done! (Well almost…) Painted and floors refinished!

I have to laugh as I look back at when we were deciding to buy this house. Nick kept saying, “Just trust me…we can change it.” He was right! It is amazing how cleaning, painting, and opening up space can change the feel of the whole house. I am blessed to have married an architect who knows how to make it happen! I learned so much during this whole process.
More to come later on the rest of the house!


Looking Back

2009 was filled with many challenges and many many blessings. Looking back, I am humbled by God’s provision and goodness. Here are a few key highlights:

  • Nick laid off in Seattle
  • 5 months of job searching
  • Employment! Destination Montana!
  • The big move
  • Fun summer with family and friends
  • Youth group leaders
  • Became homeowners!!!
  • Remodel rendezvous
  • Another move
  • Enjoying life in our new home!

My heart that is so grateful for all the blessings throughout the last year. It has brought us closer together in our marriage and has         reminded us to trust the Lord in all circumstances. He does  have a good plan in mind. We just need to be patient and willing to move where He leads. The door to Seattle was closed and the door to come back to MT was opened. We are now closer to family, involved in a great church, and reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Life if good. God is good.

2010. Bring it on.

1250512_old_dutch_farm_house<Photo courtesy of Stock.XCHNG>