Kim’s French Toast

Good morning!  I’d like to share a french toast recipe that my mother-in-law game to me.

Unfortunately it’s one of those recipes where the exact amounts are not written anywhere so I’ll do my best to explain.

The secret ingredient is pepper which seems sort of weird (in my opinion) for a breakfast item but it tastes great!

Ingredients (enough for 2-3 people)

  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 6 slices of bread
  • 4 eggs
  • pepper

Directions

Crack the eggs in a large bowl.  Whip until scrambled.  Mix in the milk.  Then, sprinkle the desired amount of pepper in to egg/milk mixture.  I usually use enough pepper to cover the entire top of the egg/milk mixture and then I stir it in.  Mine looks like this when finished:

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Then, using your fingers or tongs, dip both sides each slice of bread in the mixture and cook on a pre-heated skillet set to medium heat (I cook at 325F on an electric skillet).  When the bottoms start to brown, flip each piece of bread and cook on the other side.

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When finished, transfer to a plate and top with syrup, powdered sugar, or whatever you’d like!

 

Have a great weekend.

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DIY – Installing Hardwood Floors

I mentioned in my previous post that my husband and I have been working on a project since September.  Back then, we decided to rip out the old carpet and replace it with hardwood floors.  Just the two of us.  With no prior experience with such things.

Now, my husband is the type of person who can really do anything he puts his mind to.  He spent months beforehand reading directions for installing hardwood floors and watching how-to videos.  So when it came time to do all of this, I just did what he told me to.

After finally agreeing on the type of hardwood we’d buy (I wanted thick, dark planks; he wanted thinner, lighter ones), we compromised and went with a 3 inch hickory plank by Bruce in the color Oxford Brown.  Honestly, at first I wasn’t thrilled with this selection because the samples we had didn’t show much character and that’s something I wanted.  But when we received our order and started looking through the boxes, I was happy with variation of color and the interesting marks on some of the planks.

After we pulled up the carpet and the carpet padding, we had to remove the baseboards and tack strips from the subfloor.  Then we had to remove any staples that held down the carpet padding.

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tack strip and staples

We started in the hallway that leads to the bedrooms and everything was going fine.  We then moved to the entry room and found out things were not fine. When we pulled up the carpet and padding at the front door, we found this underneath:

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The tiles came up pretty easily but we found concrete underneath.  We can’t staple wood floors to concrete so it had to come out.

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We bought the necessary tools, fashioned a plastic curtain, and got to work. Actually, all I did was fashion the plastic curtain. My husband did the rest while I worked on removing staples from the subfloor.

He worked on removing the concrete for 3 evenings in a row. Then we bought a sheet of plywood and used it to cover the hole.  Success!

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The subfloor was finally free of staples and tack strips and we went over it with the shop vac to make sure it was free of debris.  After that, we laid down a layer of rosin paper (which acts as a barrier between the subfloor and hardwood floor and minimizes squeaks that can sometimes occur with wood flooring) and we were ready to start laying our floors.

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We were thrilled with the first few rows we installed during the second week of the project.  My job was to pick out each wood plank to make sure we had variation with color and size.  There are also “rules” you have to follow when installing hardwood floors, for example, you should keep joints between two rows at least 6 inches apart and you should try to avoid creating patterns, like a stair-step pattern that can occur between several rows.  I also inspected each plank to make sure we weren’t installing something that was scratched or damaged in some way.  So I was in charge of the design part of the installation and my husband did the physical installation.  We made a good team.

Working mostly on the weekends, we finished the entry room, dining room, and hallway leading to the bedrooms in about a month.  I also painted the ceilings before the hardwood was installed in each room.

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The dining room being torn up was the biggest pain for me.  For some reason, the subfloor was really grimy despite vacuuming so we always had to put shoes on – even when getting up in the middle of the night for water.  After we pulled up the carpet, we didn’t install the hardwood for about a month because it took longer than expected to work on the entry room and hallway so we had to live with it for a few weeks.

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This is our sad attempt to have a normal dinner amidst the mess

When the dining room floors were finally installed, we couldn’t wait to get everything cleaned up and back to normal.

We moved on to the living room the following weekend.  We pulled up the carpet on a Tuesday so that we could have it out for trash pick-up by Thursday (yes, they will pick up old carpet as long as you follow their guidelines and give them a heads-up) and then we painted the ceiling on Saturday.  On Sunday, we started installing the floors and, because we wanted the planks to line up with what was installed in the entry room, we started with a runway sort of look.

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The “runway” which took forever to start laying because we had to make sure whatever we laid down was square with the walls and the rest of the house.

Here are before and after pictures of the living room

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Before (taken right before we pulled up the carpet)

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After

We are really close to being finished.  We are waiting for the weather to warm up because we need to be outside when cutting wood to the right length. We have about 2 rows left to install in the hallway leading to the back door and then we are going to install the hardwood floors in the stairway leading down to the basement.

But in the middle of all of this, we decided to give ourselves even more work by replacing all of our wood trim with white trim.  This was my husband’s idea which I was initially not on-board with but after looking at the state of both the baseboards and the trim around the doors, it’s clear it all needs replaced because they are scratched and dirty from almost 50 years of use.  We’ve barely started this but here is a picture I took today with the trim we are planning to install.

IMG_5432I think it’s going to make our house look cleaner and more modern.  I will post more before and after pictures after we are completely finished later this year.

In case you are wondering why we did this ourselves – we did it because it saved us about $5,000 in installation fees.  I am glad we did because now I have a new set of skills (want me to remove your baseboards or paint your ceilings? No problem, buddy!) and we are really appreciative of our new floors because we know how much work it took.

Thanks for reading!

Spring Cleaning

SpringCleaning

Today I have been catching up on some much-needed cleaning.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I let things go longer than I should (cleaning out the refrigerator, for example) because other things like laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning out the cat’s litter box, etc. take priority.

Usually when I clean on the weekends, I try to cover the entire house in one day.  I do the obvious things like dusting and cleaning the floors.  But I have decided I need to make the time to really focus on one room at a time and clean each one from top to bottom.

Today was the kitchen.  I worked on it for about 3 hours which included:

  • cleaning out the oven as much as I could.  I think I need something stronger for the rest
  • cleaning out the pantry, which included wiping the shelves and throwing out expired food
  • wiping down the cabinet doors and drawers
  • cleaning out the freezer and wiping it down
  • wiping the trash can clean
  • cleaning the inside of the microwave
  • wiping down all appliances
  • cleaning the stainless steel appliances to make them shine
  • wiping the countertops
  • dusting the baseboards
  • sweeping and mopping the floor
  • wiping the toaster down and cleaning out all the crumbs
  • cleaning the sink

Here are some of the after pictures:

I am glad it is done.  Honestly, cleaning out the freezer has been on my to-do list for an embarrassingly long time.

This is my first post in a few months. My husband and I have been working on a big house project so I have been busy with that. I had intended to post about it here once we were far enough along but it’s taking much longer than both of us had expected (when we first started working on it in September we joked about it possibly not being done by Christmas and we thought the idea of it not being done then was hilarious. Now it’s March…)

I will post about that project and what we have so far in a few days.

If you are planning some spring cleaning, what are your goals?  Where do you start?