Saturday, April 19, 2014

From vacation relaxation to a complete kitchen overhaul in 24 hours!

It's amazing how quickly the relaxing feeling from a fabulous vacation can fade when you come home to finishing boxing up an entire kitchen and the next day a crew basically demoing it! Yikes! What was I thinking??? I know it will be fabulous and all worth it in the end though.

Tommy and I have wanted to redo our kitchen for the longest time. With life in football you never know how long you're going to live where you are so we waited and waited and waited thinking maybe we will move and build or find the perfect house. Well it's looking more and more like we are here for awhile so we decided... no time like the present! So we headed out to McDaniel's kitchen and bath and started our new kitchen design with a fantastic kitchen designer there. The process started on Monday with covering the floor and tearing out the existing island. We aren't doing an entire kitchen remodel but rather changing out the appliances to my dream appliances, Sub Zero and Wolf Range and making the island HUGE for real workable counter space for me. Lots of cool additions in that with 2 levels of seating at the island, granite, bamboo butcher block in the island, etc.

I will update every week as we progress and hope to have it finished for a kitchen party in May! I will post the pics in order from start to finish. Starting with the kitchen as it was before we packed anything up.

not much counter space and tiny little island with range 

microwave sits in the little cubby on the side with unused shelves next to it

kitchen table eating area

from the corner behind the eating area looking into kitchen, dining and bar area

this little cabinet is a junk holder for the kids and has got to go!

little island and Jenn-Air range with downdraft. Love the range but the downdraft
doesn't really cut it when lots of smoke comes off the range. We will be installing a huge hood over the Wolf Range

This was Monday! Covered the floor (replacing and patching some of the Brazilian cherry hardwood floor will be a challenge...) and took out the island and appliances

Bye kitchen table! This window will come out and a Bay window will go in

The perimeter of the kitchen will stay intact. We will replace the current granite sink with a new one
and new granite countertops. The marble tile backsplash will go all the way down to the countertop. My fabulous KitchenAid dishwasher will stay as well. Love that thing - Consumer Reports was right,
it's quiet as hell and a fabulous dishwasher! I've had it for about 8 years and it's still going strong!

moving the big pantry cabinet over to make room for the Sub Zero

bringing in the cabinets for the island Tuesday

this thing is going to be...uhhhh.... BIG

The cabinet with the four slots is actually where the convection microwave oven
will go. Have to retool the cabinet a bit

This is where the Mac Daddy range will live! :-)

Fabulous bamboo butcher block from Teragren! The remainder will be used for the benchtops for our
bench and locker area by the garage door. Hopefully the kids will dump backpacks and shoes
there so I don't have to see them all over my kitchen!

the island has a lot of cabinets and storage space for me as well as tons of usable counter
and prep space

it extends into the eating area where the kitchen table was. This will seat 4 at the island

raised area is larger and very similar to what we had before

YAYYYY!!!! Never so happy to see a truck back into my driveway!
The new appliances are here! The new appliances are here!!

Mr. Wolf will have to stay in the garage for a little while still.

Giant hole in ceiling for the GINORMOUS hood that
will be installed next week!

Three new holes in the ceiling for our fabulous new pendant lights
that I think some little old Italian man is hand blowing in Venice or something like that
given how long it appears to be taking for them to ship out!

That's pretty much week one in the books. Can't even believe how much they've gotten done
in such a short time!

Stay tuned for week two updates next week!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Belize Spring Break Fun! The last days of a great vacation!

Well all good things eventually must come to an end and our fabulous vacation was no exception. What a fantastic, fun and adventure filled week we had! Can't beat a vacation that starts out at an amazing Eco lodge in the jungle followed by cave tubing and zip lining and ending with scuba diving that included an up close and personal experience with dolphins! Well one of us got that experience while the rest of us got massages on the beach. Choices...

Early morning view from the patio of our beautiful condo at Grand Colony island villas.
We own the timeshare here and come back almost every year and love it!

Heading to the dive shop for Jenny's last check out dives for her certification. Molly is just a day behind her. New Saga puppy Oliver enjoys some fun golf cart time before heading to the US and Michigan!

Heading out on the dive boat! 3 scuba divas!

Kris, Jenny and Oliver stay back while we are diving and hold down the beach chairs for us! :-)

We decided to grab lunch at our favorite restaurant and my Saga pups namesake Wild Mango's!
This restaurant NEVER disappoints! A must stop on every trip for us.

Off we go on our dives!

This is Molly's last checkout dive for her certification! Look out for the shark Molly!!

He's right below you Molly!!

I think I'm saying "Molly! Swim THIS way!!!" Haha!

Apparently she doesn't have enough meat on her bones and he's off looking for something tastier.

Got a great pic of all of us after the girls finished their Padi certification and Drew is now an official Padi Rescue Diver! He is now starting on his DiveMaster certification which is awesome!

We celebrated all of the kids diving success at Roadkill Bar for Wade's famous Gringo burgers!
They are famous and delicious so don't miss them if you travel here!

It has really been an amazing trip with great fun and great friends! I hope we can all do it again someday soon!

Our final pic is after we got home taken yesterday in my backyard. Two Belizean island dogs from the same fantastic place, Saga Humane Society are now neighbors and friends!

If you travel to Belize and fall in love with an island dog, please know how absolutely EASY it is to take one home! No major hassles or quarantines whatsoever. Just a health certificate, a crate, an airline ticket and a lifetime of love!

Bye for now Belize! See you next year in March!!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Belize Spring Break! Adventures of Moms and Teens Days 5 and 6

Day Five:

So our adventures continue on our island paradise! The wind was howling and the sea was pretty rough on Monday so our diving was canceled. Tuesday it was unbelievably calm and out we went. Jenny J. had her first open water dive while Drew, Jennifer and I dove. Kris, Jenny B. and Molly all snorkeled with us. The pool work didn't go too well for Molly so she decided to try snorkeling to get her "sea legs" first. (pun intended haha!)

early morning in Belize... beautiful

Couple of errands first - gotta stop at Maria's fruit stand and get the islands best fruit, produce and her fresh squeezed juices! She will make whatever kind of juice you want to order!

Off we go to the dock to load up, check equipment and head out for our dive!

Junior Tillet - the island's most fabulous instructor giving Jenny her lesson and dive brief

Getting ready to go

Drew is a working man this week working for Junior during his Rescue course and to get some free diving!

Venancio (Junior) Tillet - Maya God of Scuba Divers!

Heading to the dive site

snorkelers getting ready to go in

Nice hair Jennifer!

These little fishes like to bite!

There's a flounder in there... see it?

Here's Jenny on her first open water dive!
She did great!

The kids and me!

little stingray

Ancient Mayan artifact found???

Hmmmm.... maybe not

Off we went later in the day to walk Saga doggies! Pilot LOVES to go swimming!

They are SO happy to get out of the kennels, get some attention and go for a walk on the beach and a swim!

After the walk we ended up with an unexpected addition to our little travelers group! Meet Oliver Johnstone, the sweet little Saga puppy headed home with us on Saturday! Who can resist this face?! Certainly not any of us!

After the dog walking Jen, Kris, the three girls and I all had massages in a cabana over the water while Drew went diving in the afternoon. Did we miss anything opting out of diving???


check out this amazing video!

Aaaaack! Drew's amazing footage diving with dolphins! 20 years of diving and I've never experienced anything like this. I'm sick with jealousy!!

Day Six!

With day six came a few more adventures starting with a morning dive for Drew, Jenny and me. Jenny was doing dives two and three of her open water course!

Dolphins??? Yeah right. I think I saw a rock.

Back on the beach in the afternoon and helping the local economy via
purchases from this lovely Guatemalan woman!

Had to do the required beach feet pic! Drew had to use a panorama to get us all in!

View from my beach chair - doesn't suck!

Kris and little Oliver who was SO happy to see her after his bath and doggie day care at Pampered Paws!

Stopped for an afternoon snack of Pupusas - a Belizean fave! You can have them stuffed with chicken and cheese, beans and cheese, pork, seafood... you name it!


Back home for some more puppy playtime!

Sunset is early here and it is dark by 6 pm!

Another tough day in Belize!