Sunday, November 28, 2010

The House

We've had a busy November. I'm really quite appalled that it will be over this week. It seems like it just got here. Of course, I don't mind - I'm really excited for the Christmas holiday season. It just amazes me how fast it went. So, what have we been doing? Well, our Thanksgiving week deserves a post all its own that will come in due time, so in other news, our house has been keeping us very busy. We've been working on another project. Our second ceiling project, to be more specific. With the living room ceiling done, it was time to move on to the entry/hall/spare bedroom ceilings. I lump all of these ceilings into the same project because we were doing the same thing on all of them, so it was one big project. Fortunately, we decided to have someone else come do this project for us. Here's the low down:

I forgot to take pictures before the project got underway, so you may have to use your visualization skills a little bit. Here is our entryway and hall ceiling just as the project was getting started. We decided after scraping off the popcorn that we would just texture it to match the kitchen ceiling. The spare bedroom essentially looks the same, I just didn't take pictures. Now just picture the ceiling without the recessed light can on the left side of the picture and that's pretty much how our ceiling has looked since we moved in.

Not too bad. Really, it just needs some texture. But, here's where things got fun. This is the gaping hole in our hall ceiling. The gaping hole served two purposes. One, it was the access to our attic. Two, it housed a large, ugly fluorescent light. Yes, you read that right. Our attic access was through the light fixture. Not ideal and ugly to boot. It had to go (again, please visualize the ceiling without the recessed light can on the bottom of the photo and picture an ugly fluorescent beast in the gaping hole in our ceiling. I really should have taken pictures).

So, how would we fix the nastiness? Here's what we came up with:
1. Rip out the ugly fluorescent beast
2. Replace with three recessed lights to illuminate the hallway
3. Install a ladder in the attic access
4. Cover the gaping hole with a door
5. Texture the ceiling
6. Paint

And, in addition, we decided to add a ceiling light in the spare bedroom to augment the severely inadequate existing wall sconce. So, that was our plan. And what a relief that someone else was going to come do the work for us. The only parts of the project we had to do ourselves were to paint and to construct and install the attic door. All in all, it went well. We just ended up with a bit of a time crunch when my brother asked if he could stay with us, therefore necessitating the use of our spare bedroom right around the time the project would be completed. Here's the project in pictures:

Out with the fluorescent beast, in with the recessed lights

Fast forward through all of the other work because we didn't have to do it, and here's the painting. The little "hood/mask" I'm wearing was Home Depot's only option for a head covering while painting. Really? You're supposed to be a home improvement warehouse and that's all you got? Oh well. I didn't get any paint in my hair and that was the point.

Ta da! The finished product

We even got it mostly done before my brother arrived. The only thing that wasn't done was the attic door and he arrived just in time to help Mr. Frisby construct it. It turned out to be a little tricky, so we were grateful for his help. And, it turned out great. Now, we have a proper attic access with the gaping hole covered by something other than a gross fluorescent light

Of course, the house business didn't just include ceiling project #2. In the midst of all of that fun, we had to replace our furnace. It seems our AC would come on whenever the furnace came on. We had it looked at and something on the furnace wasn't working, which apparently was causing a short somewhere that would turn the AC on. Because the furnace was the original furnace (from 1978), we decided to fork over lots of money for a newer, more efficient model rather than fork over lots of money to have the old one repaired. Imagine our frustration when, after getting the new furnace installed and turned on, the AC still came on with it. The furnace man is coming back to figure out the problem at no extra cost to us, but it's still frustrating. Our only consolation is that with the new furnace, our heating bill should be significantly lower. Of course, since we've only had one heating bill since we moved in, we won't know how much we're saving and will just have to trust that it's a lot.

And, that's all the fun we've been having with our "new" house that constantly likes to remind us of how old it actually is. But, next up is Thanksgiving week and that really was good times - mostly.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I LOVE Disneyland. And, when it comes to Disneyland, I have two dreams that I must fulfill before I die.

1. Visit Disneyland at Christmas time.

The Halloween decorations are pretty awesome, so I can't even imagine how spectacular Disneyland would be at Christmas. In my Disney Christmas dream, I will go in the middle of December when kids are still in school, so the crowds aren't bad, but the park is all decked out in full Christmas glory. The other day I saw an ad for Disneyland, promoting the Disney Christmas time fun. For a split second, I thought about finding flights and getting tickets. Then I remembered that we just bought a house and property taxes are due and we just had to have the termite guy come and we just had to replace the furnace (that I have yet to post about). So, this will not be the year for Disneyland Christmas. But, it will happen some day.

2. Go to Disneyland and stay in the Disneyland Hotel.

This could happen in conjunction with dream number one. Or they could be separate visits. Either way, it's gonna happen. The thought of leaving the hotel, getting on the monorail, and being in the park in a matter of minutes is SOO appealing. The Disneyland Hotel is expensive, though, so because of the reasons stated above, this dream will also not be fulfilled in the near future. But, these have been dreams of mine for quite some time now, so I can handle waiting a little longer. And when these dreams are fulfilled, I expect it to be glorious!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Vegetable Supreme

My last post sparked the question, "What is Vegetable Supreme?" Let me enlighten those not familiar with this lovely seasoning blend from McCormick (BTW, Lenessa, I'm surprised you don't know what it is. Your husband knows of Vegetable Supreme and declared his love for it). This, my lovely readers, is Vegetable Supreme:

A tasty seasoning blend for virtually any kind of vegetable. I grew up with the taste of Vegetable Supreme and, shamefully, I probably don't use it as much as it deserves to be used. It is tasty and so easy to just sprinkle on veggies. If you see it in the store, snatch it up and start sprinkling. Unfortunately, I searched the McCormick website high and low for information on this beloved vegetable seasoning. I found nothing. This leads me to believe that McCormick has discontinued the product and replaced it with this imposter seasoning blend:

I checked the ingredient lists. They aren't the same. I've never had this particular seasoning blend, so I can't vouch for it's flavor and I can't say how tasty it will make Brussels Sprouts. But, if indeed Vegetable Supreme is gone, this may be the only option. Fortunately, my bottle of Vegetable Supreme is fairly new and I still have a lot left. But, when the bottle is empty, I can only hope this "Perfect Pinch Vegetable Seasoning" proves a worthy successor.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Won't You Be My Neighbor and How I Make Brussels Sprouts

Mr. Frisby and I are liking Morgan Hill. It's a nice place to live. The people are very friendly, the commute isn't too bad, and our new ward is great. Lately, while out walking Scout, I've noticed several houses for sale along our walking route. So, who wants to move to Morgan Hill and be our neighbors? It would be great fun. And, we live in a neighborhood that has lots of houses like ours and also houses that are much bigger and nicer than ours. So, there's something for everyone. Who's in?

Okay, some people want to know how I make Brussels Sprouts in an edible manner. First, let me give credit where credit is due. I learned to make Brussels Sprouts from my sister. I would never have come up with this on my own. Okay, here's what you do. Rinse the Brussels Sprouts and then slice off the very end of the stem. Boil them for 8-10 minutes until tender. Take them out of the water and quarter them lengthwise as soon as they are cool enough to touch. Saute them in Olive Oil. When the Brussels Sprouts start to brown, add some pine nuts. Saute for a couple more minutes, then remove from heat and toss with Vegetable Supreme and Parmesan Cheese if you want. They're delicious!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Scout's New Friend

Meet Myrtle:

Myrtle is the Box Turtle that lives in my parents' backyard. Myrtle was originally acquired as a pet for my sister, but she has had free roaming privileges in the backyard since the day she arrived at our house. When my sister got older and went away to school and then later got married, it was determined that it would be best for Myrtle to stay in the warm California climate. So, Myrtle has remained, free-roaming, for years. She is elusive, though, and only comes out from hiding on rare occasions. One of those occasions was the other day while Scout was out exploring. The encounter was pretty funny.

I heard Scout start barking like crazy in the backyard at my parents' house, so I went out to investigate. This is what I saw:

Scout is super curious and really wanted to check Myrtle out. But, she wasn't sure what to make of Myrtle, so she was pretty cautious as well. She was a little more bold once I got out there and started sniffing Myrtle like crazy. Myrtle, of course, stayed safely tucked in her shell. I tried to explain to Scout that Myrtle is okay and she should just leave her alone. She didn't seem to care. She sat there sniffing and barking for a few more minutes, but finally lost interest when Myrtle wouldn't come back out of her shell. Smart turtle. Hopefully Scout will realize that Myrtle is a friend and not an enemy. She does eat the snails after all, so we like having her around.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mary, Mary Quite Contrary

One of the things I noticed when Mr. Frisby and I looked at our house for the first time was that it has a perfect, built-in spot for a vegetable garden:

This is one side of the house and the area is totally gated off. It's perfect. Unfortunately, in the time it took us to decide we wanted the house, put an offer on it, negotiate, close and move in, the spring/summer planting season was over. As it turns out, we've been busy getting settled in and working on things around the house, so planting things has taken a backseat anyway. But, I have big dreams for next spring. And, in the meantime, I have managed to plant a few things for a winter garden.

Brussels Sprouts:

These plants I bought at the nursery and I'm pretty excited for homegrown Brussels Sprouts. I know Brussels Sprouts are not a popular or well-liked vegetable, but here in the Frisby home, we eat them often and we love them! It's all about how you make them.

Redleaf Lettuce:

These I planted from seeds and they're just sprouting. I've never grown lettuce before (of course, I've never grown a lot of things), so it will be interesting to see how they turn out. It could be fun to be eating salad with homegrown lettuce. Or it could be totally not worth it. We'll see what the verdict is when these babies are full grown.


Okay, I know that Raspberries are neither a winter-bearing plant nor a vegetable. So, technically, this is not part of my winter vegetable garden. But, the plant was on sale at the nursery and I LOVE raspberries, so I'm excited to pick these bad boys and enjoy them next spring/summer along with the other things I will be planting then.

So, it's a small winter vegetable garden, but at least it's something. And, I'm busy getting some flowers in the ground, too. One of the benefits of house-sitting for my parents was that Mr. Frisby and I quickly became familiar with the yard work that comes with owning a home. I have lots of plans and lots of things to plant. But, I will save that post for another time (like, when I actually have time to do the planting). For now, I'll be rooting for my Brussels Sprouts and Lettuce. Go Vegetables!