Colours Make Me Happy

Last night, my wife and I prepared dinner together. She had already done a bunch of the preparation work prior to my arrival home. As we worked in the kitchen- we created a beautiful ballet of coordinated movements. Not once did we get in each other’s way, or bump into one another.

Dinner was a flavorful udon noodle soup. With a soft boiled egg, sautéed mushrooms, garlic steamed carrots, seared pork, seaweed and spinach. A delicious medley of tastes that all came together in a large soup bowl.

After dinner was done, the sun was putting on a dazzling show for us in the sky. The colours mimicking the pleasure we experienced from creating and enjoying our meal. The different hues and tones shone into our kitchen creating a sense of wonderment.

Sometimes experiencing the world is akin to admiring a great painting. The views last night were absolutely awe inspiring and tranquil. A true treasure to behold.

I love the colours of the world.

Shelved

Our kitchen is larger than our last one. There is great use of space in most of it, and a beautiful flow making it easy to navigate. There are a couple of down sides however.

The first one is that the pantry is far smaller than we are used to. It’s basically a broom closet with shelves. This will take us some getting used to, but is completely manageable. The second was an empty space with just a countertop. It looks like the space was originally created a decade ago for a phone or computer. So it was time to do something with the empty space and make it functional.

My wife and I were trying to find cabinets that we would like. But with the world being what it is, most products were on back order or not what we wanted to match our home. Since we have a certain style, it was time to get creative. I love a good diy.

Since we love dark woods and the industrial look, we came up with a plan over brunch while out in Fort Langley. Why not reclaim some wood we have and build our own shelves? I made a farm table once before. This should be easier.

A quick stop at Home Depot for some iron pipes and connectors- and voilá- shelf brackets. I went with ten inch wide pipe and twelve inch for height, with a small bar at the top to finish it off.

I needed some help to measure the anchor holes prior to hanging it up. My wife also suggested that we measure from where the coffee maker opens to so we don’t have issues trying to make our favorite beverage. What a smart lady. It’s always good to have a second set of eyes on a project.

Oh and those wood slats? They came from an old IKEA bed frame. Soon I will stain the pine wood a darker colour to match the other stuff we have. With the cost of lumber these days, I’m glad we didn’t throw them away.

So that was my quick project for our coffee bar and cookbook shelves. I like the openness of the shelves and the industrial look that matches our tastes. Let me know what you think in the comments.

Vibrant Mediocrity

If I’m not taking pictures of my family and friends, I am usually taking pictures of food or nature. Skylines and trees are my personal favorites.

Sometimes I take a photo “just because.” It could be a picture of a movie title or a unique object. (Sorry… side quest… is it “a” or “an” before the word “unique”? Let me know in the comments if I was correct, and why.) The other day I took the following picture:

It is not one of my better pictures. But the colours and shapes on the kitchen counter bring me joy. Here are the reasons why:

The green glass bowl– I have always loved shaped and coloured glass. The wavyness of this bowl is fun. There’s even a little matching bowl inside.

The red apples– Apples are my favorite fruit. These were nearly perfect apples as well.

The blue canister– It holds fresh ground coffee. Need I say more?

The silver canister– Holds our sugar for coffee and baking. For the little sweetness needed in our lives.

All of them lined up in our kitchen awaiting their turn to be used. To me, the colours just pop. I could’ve used a filter, or adjusted my angle. Each item is as vibrant in their emotional impact for me as are the colours. I ended up overlooking the art aspect of how to take a good photo.

This picture is a Vibrant Mediocrity. And that’s okay as well. Giving it a title like that turns it into art.

Another New Stovetop

Yesterday I replaced our island cooktop, again. This time we spent a bit more money on it than the previous cooking surface. And I’m okay with that.

When we first bought our home, we had a really old, but reliable cast iron stovetop. We lived with it for seven years before replacing it. Honestly, if it worked and cooked- why replace it? We only replaced it because my wife found a great deal on a “new to us” stovetop.

On November 25th, 2014- my wife found a $1000 stovetop on Facebook for the price of $50. SCORE! So out with the old and in with the new. Once I installed the new cooktop, the first thing I made was grilled cheese sandwiches. What better way to test how well it works than with a traditional melted sandwich?

The stove worked well for a few years until the large burner stopped working. Parts for the stovetop were not readily available for this model. However, I was able to do a quick fix that worked for quite some time. I had to do this fix twice more over the past year until the burner finally gave up. It was time to bite the bullet and get a new stovetop.

After some online research, I found one that had good reviews and was of average price… average price being just under $1000! The Home Depot had one on display, so I went to talk to an associate about it.

Did you know that Home Depot will beat any advertised price on the same item by 10%? I saved nearly $100 because I found it advertised for 1¢ cheaper elsewhere. One cent saved my one hundred dollars. (Do your research people- it pays off!)

I installed the new stove quickly and you know the first thing I cooked?

A grilled cheese sandwich. Which my son promptly wanted. So I made a second sandwich. Which my daughter then wanted. Finally I got to enjoy the third grilled cheese sandwich I made.

It’s a pretty good stovetop and I look forward to using it. That must be a grown up thing. Looking forward to using new appliances. Oh yeah, it also plays a little tune when it gets turned on and off. Cute but unnecessary. Just like our washing machine.

The songs do bring me joy…

…for now.

Death Of Our Maker

Yesterday one of the worst things that could’ve happened, happened. It was so sudden that it surprised my wife and I. We were quite distraught to say the least.

Our coffee maker stopped working after five years of daily use. Every morning a full pot of coffee awaited us. Like a friendly greeting by a neighbor that made you smile. A hot cup of coffee was the best way to start our day. (Or end my night shift.) Our reliance on this machine was substantial. Even our children had begun to benefit from the joy a cup o’ java brought them.

As a quick substitute for this morning’s drinks, I pulled out our French Press that we take camping. It makes a great cup of coffee but requires more effort and I can’t set it the night before. The convenience of “Set it and forget it” was gone today. A tear ran down my cheek as I pressed the knob down on my fresh pressed coffee.

As our former coffee maker barely has a chance to hit the recycling bin, I am already on the hunt for it’s replacement. Tomorrow we shall bring home a new maker all set for our weekend wake ups. I don’t have the patience to wait for an Amazon delivery of this magnitude. Perhaps it’s time to up our coffee game with an espresso maker for only $3300… Naw. I’ll stick with the same brand and almost identical coffee maker we once had for $60. Our Oster lasted a long time and the value is there.

Freezer Food

I really don’t like having a freezer in our kitchen fridge. It becomes this frozen wasteland of food left to die a miserable death. The worst food that ends up in there?

Freezer Bananas.

Our plantation of uneaten brown bananas are being “saved” in order to make banana bread at a “later date”. When is that day you may ask? Later. Time to pack them back up, this time not just shoved into the freezer.

I pulled all of the food product items out and gave our freezer a wipe down. We had about a dozen unlabeled containers of soups, sauces, fruit(I think it’s fruit…), and freezer burnt meats. Time to figure out what to keep.

Ice Cubes- Zero

Ice crystals surrounding meat- at least a pound.

I found some chicken patties and an orange sliced in half squished at the back of the freezer. I don’t remember the last time we bought either of those items. Off to the food waste bin they go.

I re-organized the freezer with foods that we will use before Christmas. This should help over the next month or so. I still need to make ice cubes though. Or not. I don’t have any room for the trays at the moment.

But at least the bananas won’t fall and hit my toes like a brick any more.

Spice Purge 2018

Today we decided to extensively clean the kitchen and bathrooms. That meant bleaching everything and gathering up items for give away. I am astonished at how much stuff we collected over the years that we just don’t use. But we tend to hold onto because of memories or the chance we “may” need it in the future. Both of which are not good reasons to keep stuff. The big question of the day:

Do spices expire?

I found spices and food additives from my childhood back in the early 80’s that have been packed from house to house for no better reason than the fact we always did. Wow! 33¢ for a shaker of tarragon!? What do you use tarragon for??? We also found some unlabeled jars and tried to guess at when it was from or what it was. We have gone through each item and started to dump them.

No idea if spices last forever or not. But our spice cupboard is finally more manageable than ever before. I think we will pick up some more uniform shakers to make the kitchen feel less cluttered. We also found some old gelatin and flavor packets from the 1980’s. Off they went… sorry for the desserts that never were.

We did something similar to our Spice Purge 2018 when we went though our tea cupboard last year. Does tea expire? 🤔

Do you have any idea if spices expire? What spices have you bought to use once and now it sits in your cupboard?

Quick Kitchen Makeover

Our kitchen is stuck in the early 90’s. It needs a revitalization. Badly. But we can’t afford it.

It has oak cabinets and white appliances. All still very functional. So forking over a few thousand to upgrade isn’t in the budge at this point in time. I painted the handles on the cupboards black a few years ago. So there’s that.

About 8 years ago, I had inserted new pot lights into the drop down ceiling. I am also really into steampunk, so I spray painted our ceiling tiles copper with black trim. It looked cool, but the kitchen was so dark even with new lights we had to do something about it. I tried adding more lights, but that didn’t help.

Over the course of the past couple days, I have been pulling off the ceiling tiles and painting them white. Suddenly our kitchen is brighter and looks bigger. All it cost me was a can of paint and a few hours labor. I’m happy with the results.

It’ll keep me from spending a few thousand dollars for at least another 5 years.

A Day Off Means Home Repairs

Being a homeowner is both wonderful and a pain in the butt.  Is owning a little piece of property a wise investment?  Maybe.  For us it makes sense.  Instead of paying rent we are paying a mortgage.  Building equity up for future use.  However, in the current housing market, we can barely afford luxuries.  Like a new kitchen.  Today I had a honey-do list.  I wrote it for myself and added to it as I went.  


I headed into our furnace room to grab my tools and multimeter to check my stovetop only to discover yet another leak. It seems this house won’t stop dripping.  Good thing that the last time I had to make repairs on our pipes- I had bought some spare connections and pipes.  The fix took all of two minutes.  Now back to the first project.

The outer ring is heating up again, now to clean the stovetop.


It started with a broken element on our stovetop.  I disassembled the stovetop and was going to use my knowledge of circuitry to test the continuity.  As soon as I took it apart, I could see the problem. The coil had a small break.  I made some phone calls to find a replacement part, but it seems that the stovetop is no longer made or parts are available.  Next best thing for a temporary fix?  Move the burner coil so it touches again just past the split.  No idea how long this fix will last, but so far so good.


Since I was in the kitchen and had my drill out, I decided to do a temporary fix on our fridge door.  The metal bar across the bottom shelf had snapped at the clip.  Zip ties to the rescue.  Two holes drilled and another quick fix is completed.  Before putting away the drill, I remembered that we had a loose outlet and tightened it up.

I really wish we could go out and buy a new fridge and stovetop, perhaps some new cabinets or remodel the entire kitchen.  Our finances just don’t have it in the budget at the moment.  We have many other things we want to spend our money on.  Travel and education are top of the list.  (As well as paying down some debt.  But that’s not fun.)


Wisdom shared from Red Green:  “If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”  

Luckily for my wife- I’m both.