Monday, February 20, 2017

A Dilemna, Emma

Our neighborhood development centered around a golf course is around 700 homes.  It is not a 55+ designated area, but it is predominately retirees.  The earliest "settlers" moved here in the early 1980s and many are now in their 80s and 90s.  So, we are often losing our older friends.  It is depressing and it also reinforces that we are getting to that end point in life sooner than what we think.

So.  We talk about the direction of our daily lives.  We talk about it often. Are we living our lives to the fullest?  We are happy and comfortable, but our daily life has become routine and a little lackluster.  You can tell by the absence of blog posts that there is not really anything exciting going on right now.

Still in our early 60s and healthy.  What should we do? 

There are options to consider.  Maybe they are just fun topics of conversation, maybe they can amount to something. 

(1)  Do the big dream we have had for 40+ years--buy the live aboard boat.  Nordhavn 46 full displacement trawler.  Gain more experience in Puget Sound.  (We have had a 24 foot cabin cruiser before and explored Puget Sound--loved it.)  Maybe head off for the open sea if we feel confident and competent.  The boat can go anywhere only limited by the skill of the operator.
(2) Move overseas.  Portugal.  Cost of living is very reasonable.  The climate in southern and mid-Portugal is ideal.  A good home base to explore the rest of Europe.  New people.  New culture.  Good golf courses.  Good fishing.  Can be stressful, but the rewards would be great and exciting.
(3) Stay put on the Olympic Peninsula.  We love our friends and our new home.  Buy a small boat to fish and explore Puget Sound and on up to Alaska.  Comfortable choice and beautiful location.  Blog worthy?  Maybe.

It is a dilemma, Emma.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

2017 Off and Running

Our typical winters on the Peninsula are relatively mild compared to the rest of the country.  This winter is not the norm.  Only a dusting of snow one day and gone the next, but it has been cold.  Hanging for weeks with daytime temperatures in the low 30s.  Too cold to get outdoors and we are feeling cabin fever, for sure.  Focusing on indoor projects and finishing up the home projects is our aim until things warm up.

The year of 2016 was the year of fixing up our new home.  The last week of the year we installed a new foyer light and it looks fabulous.  Just a few more updates in 2017 for the home  (1) pull out overgrown shrubs along the driveway (they are huge!), (2) exterior paint for the house, and (3) refinish the back deck and install railing.  Mostly, we are going to indulge in more hiking, art workshops (Me), wood sculpture (Hubby), golf, healthy living and spiffing up this blog a bit. 
Out with the Old - In with the New!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Christmas Past

I read a comment on a zero waste website I follow that dealt with their family's approach to gift giving and gift opening.  It reminded me of many a past Christmas I enjoyed growing up.

My family was zero waste and frugal at Christmas long before it was fashionable.  Our Christmas gift opening happened on Christmas Eve.  The Christmas tree went up shortly after Thanksgiving and the wrapped presents started to pile up throughout the month of December. 

During the day leading up to Christmas Eve, both my Dad and Mom would prepare a table full of goodies, spiked punch (we were allowed) and a few "healthy" items for some resemblance to a dinner.  At 6 p.m. (why it had to be 6 on the dot, I have no idea), we would gather around the tree with five children and two adults to open one present at a time.  Everyone would always oh and ah over each one.  The evening lasted well into the night.

The gifts were far from extravagant.  We got all our essential clothing for the upcoming year at Christmas (underwear, pajamas, socks, a pair of pants or skirt, top) and usually one toy.  The one toy was often something my Mom found at a yard sale during the year.  After opening each gift the wrapping paper was carefully folded to be used next year and the bows collected and placed in a bag.

At the end of the evening, each of us picked a place in the living room to stage our newly unwrapped gifts.  During the night Santa would arrive and leave a couple more gifts in our designated area that were unwrapped.  This was an item that was a little more special.  A Barbie doll (Mom made all of Barbie's clothing) at a young age.  Older, it was a knitted scarf or scented lotion.

I know a lot of families rush in to the tree and rip up the wrapping and everyone starts playing with their gifts.  But, I think our approach made a very special evening for our family and helped my parents live within a very challenging budget.  It felt like we got a lot and I am not talking about just the gifts.  Good memories.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Benefits of 62

A few days ago I turned 62.  Not excited to get older, but very excited to be finally be eligible for the National Park and Recreational Area lifetime senior pass (known as the "America the Beautiful - Senior Pass).  What a bargain!  Only $10 and you have access to all U.S. National Parks and Recreation areas and, in some cases, it also includes a 50% discount on camping, swimming, boat launch, and specialized interpretive services.  You read right--Lifetime! 

Only living 14 miles from the Olympic National Park and only two miles from the Dungeness Spit Wildlife Refuge, we visit often.  Previously, we paid $80 for an annual pass.

Interagency Senior Pass
We drove to the visitor center last Sunday and paid $10 cash (must be cash) and showed my driver's license.

This is so great!

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Beginning July 1 and then every other week, we started receiving a box of fresh vegetables and organic food from our local organic farm, Nash's Produce, and I pick up the last box of the season tomorrow.  This is part of their CSA (community supported agriculture) program which you pay for upfront in the early spring.  This type of program has been around for quite a while, but it is the first time for us.

Trying all kinds of vegetables--some were completely unknown to me.  Celery Root--love it.  Chard (several kinds)--love it.  Collard Greens-love it.  Had no idea there were so many different types of cabbage.  Made fresh kraut, made salads, cabbage rolls, cabbage soup.  Had a lot of cabbage over the last few months!  Nash's is well-known for their organic carrots which are sweet and crisp.  I loved the red and golden beets, but the hubby did not.  Well, you can't win them all.

Fresh organic fruit including apricots, pears, and apples.  Newly pressed apple cider--very, very good! Wonderful cilantro, parsley, and onions.  The onions are a close second to the Eastern Washington onion, Walla Walla Sweet.

Nash's also grinds their own organic flour--very good.  Produces organic rolled oats--didn't know there was such a thing--very good.

The kitchen remodel threw a monkey wrench into the whole thing, so had to give away some.  Will try again next summer, for sure.  Support your local farm!  Sign up for your CSA program!!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Kitchen Remodel - Complete!

We had our first dinner party using our newly remodeled kitchen.  Love it!  The mixed color scheme with natural wood (cherry) and painted sage green cabinets seem to fit this house.  The cheery tiled wall with mosaic and cream colored quartz counters really adds a spark to this cottage meets northwest home.

Removing the corner kitchen appliance garage and centering the stove top really opens up the counter space.  New large 30-inch oven and a microwave/convection oven adds to the function of the kitchen.  Previously there was a counter-top microwave and 27-inch oven.  It is no longer a problem fitting large dishes for baking and getting the microwave off the counter adds even more counter.

Replaced the kitchen desk area with a big open counter and unobstructed upper wall making a great place to arrange platters of food when you want a buffet-style dinner (like our dinner with guests last evening).  By eliminating some of the upper cabinets we are able to take in the great view of the living room.  The mosaic climbs all the way to the ceiling here and really adds interest.  Pull outs in all the base cabinets provides lots of storage--helping to keep our counters free of clutter.

The centered induction stove (love cooking on this--almost instant heat and easy to clean--nothing bakes on) has pull-outs on either side storing spices on the left and oils/vinegars on the right.   The large hood has lighting covering all the cooking area.  I love the modern stainless steel hoods that are out now in many kitchens, but we felt the wood added to the character of the kitchen.
Over the years and experiencing a few different kitchens, we found the under-counter stainless steel sink works best for us.  Lots of counter in this area too.  There was a Bosch dishwasher in the old kitchen and we re-installed it into the new kitchen.  Best dishwasher we have owned.  Quiet and washes all the dishes squeaky clean.

And finally a panoramic view from the kitchen into the dining room and out to the outdoors.  (You can see little Miss Heddie the Havanese.  She is confused about all this picture-taking.)  Really happy with the outcome of the kitchen!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Et Voila! A New Kitchen, Madame

The kitchen remodel is almost...almost done.  I am waiting here this morning for the carpenter to arrive with the last panel.  Maybe, it will be installed today.  We will see.  The kitchen was started mid-July.  Eleven weeks.  Anyway.  Here are the cabinets, counters and tile we selected.  If/when the remodel is finally complete, will post pictures of the entire kitchen.  May not enjoy the length of time taken, but love the results.

Cabinets are by Medallion, shaker style and two finishes.  Some cabinets are a natural light stain on cherry (above) and other cabinets are maple with a sage green paint (left).

Counters are quartz and they are a joy to keep clean.  They are Caesarstone Bianco Drift. A cream, mottled with gray.  Kept this neutral to avoid chaos with the mosiac tile on the wall.

The mosiac brings it all together and adds that color and spark the kitchen was missing before.  It is a mixture of copper, glass, and slate.  In one spot, we tiled all the way up to the ceiling.  The wall has become an art focal point all on its own.  This is Bedrosians Elume Ruby Silk.

To break up the mosiac, there is linear tile a quarter of the way up (runs through the outlets) and about 6 - 8 inches wide.

Much more to describe, but it will be easier once I get the photos of the complete kitchen taken and uploaded.

We are calling it quits on new projects for the rest of the year.   After installing new tile in both bathrooms and the laundry, new vanities in both bathrooms, painting the entire interior of the house, new shades in the dining room, redoing the master closet, refinishing and staining the front porch (it is large), new carpet in the master bedroom, new lighting in the laundry room, adding a workshop/room in the garage, the old kitchen cabinets installed in the garage, ripped out overgrown shrubs and trees and put down new bark, and loads of repairs and finally the kitchen.  We need some downtime!

The bathrooms have been described previously, but the other changes are fun to see and describe.  I will post on the blog this winter.

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