Sunday, February 28, 2010

Grout Repair

Some of the grout in our guest bathroom had been cracking.  We had the tile installed less than a year ago, so needless to say, I'm not happy at all that it is already in need of repair. Here are a couple of pictures of the cracked grout.  What you're looking at is where the tile on the floor meets the tile on the wall.
The crack is more obvious in the top picture.  In the lower pic there is a crack in the grout near the door frame.
Here are the supplies that I needed.  At Lowes, I bought sanded caulk (AKA grout caulk) and a little tool to smooth the caulk out.  A got a piece of chipped grout from the bathroom and put it in a ziplock bag and took that to Lowe's with me.  The sanded caulk comes in different colors, and I wanted to get the closest color match that I could.  The sanded caulk feels a lot like grout when it dries, but it is kida rubbery like regular caulk.  We already had the caulk gun and screwdriver pictured.
I used the screwdriver to chip the damaged grout away, then I got a hand vac to clean up the mess.  Then I applied the sanded grout.  It was a messy job.  I kept two old washcloths and and old towel within reach to clean up mistakes as I went.  I used nail polish remover to clean up any smudged caulk, and it worked nicely. Here's the finished product:
I had to remove the air vent while I worked, but it just slips in and out.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Basement #1

I mentioned in some older posts that I has started painting our basement. Here is a "before" picture.  It was pretty plain.  White walls and no artwork.

These were taken after I had been painting around the trim and outlets for a couple of days.  That is our dog, Daisy in the picture.  I was hesitant to let the dogs in the basement with me while I was painting because I was afraid they would make a mess.  I could just see red paw prints all over the carpet.  However, they were very good - as long as I was painting by myself.  Last Saturday, James spent a few hours helping me paint.  The little dog (Lily) did not like it when we talked to each other from across the room.  It made her very antsy, and she almost stepped in the paint.  She was banished after that.  Daisy was too.

These last two pictures were taken after we called it quits on Saturday last week.  I ran out of the tan colored paint.  I'm using Valspar paint.  The red is called "Rare Sienna" and the tan color is called "Mediterranean Caramel."  I have another darker brown called "Chestnut Beach" that I'm also going use.

We still have a lot to do, but we're off to a nice start.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

While we wait

The last six months we were pretty busy with adoption stuff.  A few months ago, someone asked me what I liked to do with my free time.  The first answer that came into my mind was, "I fill out adoption paperwork."  Ha!  I did manage to say something about spending time with my dogs, but I had to think about it!  After we turned everything into our social worker, it took me a few weeks to feel like I wasn't forgetting to do something when I found free time.  After rushing to get the paperwork done, it's kinda hard to just wait.  It feels like there something you ought to be doing to help your child come home faster.  I have a few projects that are going to keep me busy for a while, and hopefully they will help this time of waiting go by faster.
1.  Finally painting our basement.  It needed to be painted when we moved into this house - almost two years ago.  I started last week.  Pics coming soon, although I'm not finished painting.

2.  Repairing some messy grout work in two of our bathrooms.  We had ceramic tile installed in our bathrooms last year, and the "professionals" that did it, didn't do a good job with the grout.  I blogged about our frustrations.  If you click on the label "home renovations" you will find the posts.  I'm going to see if I can fix it myself.

3.  Moving our office downstairs.  Then we will turn the room that had been the office into a kid's room.  I'm not going to start this right away.  We're still months away from having our kids home.  When I am ready to start decorating, I'm going to use a Dr. Seuss theme.  That will do for a boy or girl.

4.  Take a photography class.  One of the camera stores near us offers a lot of classes, and I'm going to take at least a couple them.  Some of them last a whole day, and some of them are just for a few hours.  Speaking of photography, I'm kinda bummed that the main lens I use has reached the end of it's life span.  It's 8 years old, and I've taken thousands of pictures with it.  It had a good run.  I'm looking for a new one that doesn't cost $$$$.

5. Lay ceramic tile in the half-bath in our basement.  After watching the "professionals" put tile in our other bathrooms and being disgruntled with the quality of work, I decided that I'm going to give this a try myself.  I'm going to take a class at Home Depot and borrow and wet saw from one of my coworkers.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slightly discouraging news

Our dossier (adoption paperwork) should have been on it's way to Africa by now.  The dossier has to pass through several offices before it gets sent to Africa.  When we finished everything, we gave it to our social worker.
So it goes from us
local social worker
Agency's National Office
Washington, DC
Agency's National Office

A dossier should be ready to leave the country about a month after it is turned into the social worker.  Yesterday, we found out that it was left in our agency's national office for 3 weeks.  The person that usually handles the dossiers was out of the country for three weeks, and her assistant was unable to keep up with the extra work.  It should have been sent to DC a couple of weeks ago, but instead it was sent a few days ago.  Our sweet social worker was VERY apologetic, and I will admit that I was upset when I first learned of it, but after thinking about it for a few minutes I realized that it is not that big of a deal.  Even if it had been sent on time to DC, it still might not have gotten there much faster.  The severe snow storm that hit DC caused a delay in the delivery of mail, and I had started to worry that it would get lost in the mail with the backlog of deliveries.  Now I'm just glad that it's not lost.  Late is way better than lost!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Art for the Master Bath

This is what had been hanging in our bathroom since we moved in.  It is a puzzle that I glued and framed.  It is cute, but I was ready for something different.  We'd had that hanging in one of our bathrooms for at least 5 years.   Here's what I replaced it with:
It is a photo that I took last summer at the St. Louis Botanical Garden.  I don't know what kind of flower it is, but I thought it was pretty.  James put a new towel rack too.

These frogs are hanging above the bathtub.  I got them on the same day we went to the botanical garden.  There is a junk shop near the garden, and that's where we got them.  I don't know what the name of the store was, but there was stuff crammed everywhere.  They had a lot of interesting things, but they certainly didn't take the time to neatly display everything.

By the way, our walls are not really this weird pea soup green.  The middle pic is a more accurate representation of the color.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Valentine's Day 2010

Our Valentine's day this year started off with a nice quiet morning.  I had to work, and it was about 7 AM when I got home.  James was up, which was unusual.  He's usually still asleep when I got home after working on Sundays.  I had picked up breakfast at McDonald's on my home, so we had breakfast and snuggled up on the couch to watch Crocodile Dundee.  That's right - nothing much romantic about that, but it was funny.  It just happened to be TV.  We watched it until it was time to get dressed for church.  For lunch we went to a small Italian restaurant near our house.  It was good.  We exchanged gifts when we got back home. 
James gave me this oddly shaped package, that he wrapped himself.  He said he couldn't find a box that it would fit in, so he just wrapped it up without one.  He asked me what I thought it was before I opened it.  I told him that I thought it was an elephant.  And I was right!

The dogs had to check it out.  It is a wooden hand carved elephant.  We saw it while we were shopping together in Branson just before Christmas.  I admired it, but didn't buy it.  James went back to that store without me knowing and bought it!  You may be wondering why I wanted it in the first place.  Well, we are finally getting around to decorating our basement.  We hope to use it as a playroom for our kids, and we thought a safari theme would be fun.  The elephant will be part of the decor in the basement.

I gave a cookbook called The Soul of a New Cuisine: a Discovery of the Foods and Flavors of Africa
The author was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden.  He is currently a chef in NYC.  We were looking forward to trying some of these recipes.

Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sometimes I wonder why we pay for cable

We are not big TV watchers.  We do not watch American Idol, Lost, 24, Desperate Housewifes, Biggest Looser, The Bachelor, Grey's Anatomy, House. . .I could keep going.  So what do we do with our time?  When we do watch TV it's usually reruns of NCIS or The Simpsons.

Sometimes I wonder why we spend the money on cable, but then I remember why we have it.  Baseball Season.  53 days until opening day!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The new stove is installed!

The plumbers come on Friday afternoon, right on time!  They actually beat me home.  I just had to stop by the mall on my way home from work and get Saints t-shirts for us.  I'm glad I stopped because the store was down to the bottom of the barrel, as far as Saints apparel went.  I apologized twice for making them wait on me.  At least they had not been there long.  They got the new gas line installed in about 2 hours time, and they did at decent job cleaning up after themselves.

Just in case you are interested, the new microwave is a Samsung and the stove is a Frigidaire.  The microwave is the quietest one we've ever used.  You can even turn the sound off so it will not beep when the food is done.  I like that feature because sometimes our smaller dog get agitated when things beep.

Here's a closer picture of the stove.  It has a large central burner that is oval shaped, and you can use either the griddle that is shown or a regular burner like the ones on the side.

Here's the first thing that I cooked on it. 

This is the recipe that I used for the pancakes:

prep time: 5 min  Cook time: 15 minutes  Servings: 8

    1 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    3 & 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon white sugar
    1 & 1/4 cups milk
    1 egg
    3 tablespoons butter, melted

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

This is the first time in a long time that I've made pancakes.  More honestly, this is the first time since I've been married (8 years) that I've successfully made pancakes. . .and I still threw three of them in the trash because I burned them!  Oh well.  That's how I've learned how to cook - learning from the mistakes.  These were good and very fluffy.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The so-called "missionaries"

I watched part of Anderson Cooper's show on CNN last night about the "missionaries" that attempted to illegally transport children out of Haiti.  What they did is appalling.  As someone who is the in the process of adopting from overseas, I am outraged at the complete disregard for the law that these people had.  I don't know what their motivation was, but I really doubt that it had anything to do with caring for children.  The amount of paperwork that is involved in lawful international adoption will blow your mind away.  These "missionaries" thought they could ignore the need for passports, home studies, medical exams, drug tests, reference letters, proof of income, and getting registered as a non-profit organization.  All of that is necessary to either adopt or serve as an adoption worker.  It doesn't even look like they had much experience caring for children.  They were told by a number of people that what they were doing was illegal.  They were fully aware of the fact that they were breaking the law, and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

You may be asking yourself, it is better to follow God's law or man's law.  Suppose these people really did want to help those kids. . .but they know they don't have the necessary documents to proceed.  The bible says to care for orphans. . .

James 1:27 (NIV)  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

However, the bible also says to submit to those in authority. . .

Romans 13:1 (NIV)  Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 

God is sovereign over all things, including the authority given to government leaders.  There are ways to help kids in Haiti that are in need.  Here's one organization that is going about the task the right way:  Bethany Christian Services

Happy Friday!

The past few weeks have been busy with some things that were fun and somethings that were not so fun.  One of the not so fun things was our microwave dying last Wednesday.  We were heating up left overs for dinner and the food just wasn't getting hot.  Well, the turntable in the microwave had stopped turning and it was just blowing air.  We went shopping on Saturday for a new one.  We decided to replace our old electric stove with a gas range while we were at it.  We looked at Best Buy and Lowes, and we found a better deal at Best Buy.  James was able to install the microwave himself, but we need a plumber to install the gas line for the new stove.  Last week we called a plumber that we had used before, and he was supposed to come yesterday sometime after 1:30 pm.  At 3 pm I still hadn't heard from him.  James tried to call him, but he had to leave a message.  James tried to call him again at 4:00.  Still no answer.  He called us back about 15 minutes later.  He was sick with a fever and could not come. Well, a phone call would have been nice!

We rescheduled him again for Saturday, and called another plumber to come today - just in case one of them falls thru!

I'm really hoping we get the line installed today.  We've got some cooking to do for our Superbowl party!