Recent Adventures

Corn Tortilla Soup {CPK)

Corn Tortilla Soup {CPK)

My family had the pleasure of tasting this soup for the first time while attending a potluck celebrating the end of our daughter Isabella’s soccer season. So, I know that it both travels and keeps well in a slowcooker. Until I had tasted this tortilla […]

Trader Joes Ice Cream

Trader Joes Ice Cream

UPDATE: This quickly became and remains one of our family’s favorite ice creams…             5 1/2 years later. Our family also enjoys just about every, if not, all the Trader Joe’s ice cream flavors.  I just bought this ice cream for […]

Woman Cave {Phase One}

Woman Cave {Phase One}

So…… “My Woman Cave” is actually our kitchen pantry. Our talented, clever construction crew dubbed the pantry my woman cave and I have to admit, it’s true.  I suppose my 100’s of specifications for this before tiny, now slightly larger room inside of our kitchen […]

{Baking 4 Six} Kitchen in the Making

{Baking 4 Six} Kitchen in the Making

My husband came up with the idea to install larger glass doors & windows to “visually” open up a very long & narrow family room that borders our backyard. This meant removing & reconfiguring the cabinets along the outer wall which led to our decision […]

Tortilla Soup via Vivian

Tortilla Soup via Vivian

It was definitely love at first bite with this soup. It’s warm & comforting, as spicy as you want and can definitely be described as a “soup that eats like a meal”… about as easy to make, but definitely healthier than the canned red label […]

Whip It Good

Whip It Good

This is indeed a giant wire whip. It fits an 80qt. commercial mixer. No, I’m not putting a commercial mixer in my kitchen. I can’t even imagine washing this beast, let alone the bowl or trying to fit the massive mixer in my kitchen. I do, […]


Weekly Squawk

The Excitement is Building

The Excitement is Building

I am super excited about our remodel! Can you tell?  It feels like “winning the lottery-having one of the best days of my life-pinch me because it doesn’t feel real” exciting. Well, writing the checks isn’t so exciting but it sure beats medical bills!!

http://www.citybaking.com/

Typically I get excited over little things… for example, when candy manufacturers started selling giant bags of mixed candy. The bags with a huge variety of snack size candies. Now I don’t have to wait for Halloween. I remembering the feeling of disappointment when at age 12 I felt that I was too old to go Trick-or-Treating and essentially expect people to give me free candy. I was especially sad when my 7-year-old brother came home with a giant bag of trick-or-treat candy and I had none. Another example on an even smaller scale happened this week when I discovered one of the tastiest things ever – a morning bun made out of croissant dough. Seriously made my day. So tasty I googled “Peet’s coffee morning bun” to find out who makes them. This picture popped up and I discovered they’re made by City Baking Co based out of San Francisco.

Since I mentioned it, I think Google is one of the best things ever, too.  I was born in the 70’s so I remember the days when the only way to learn stuff about the world was reading encyclopedia’s if you’re family was fortunate enough to own a set or visit the library, but that meant you also had to get there. I love libraries!! Then, there is the awesomeness of the internet and cell phones aka “hand held” computers. Combine the two and how cool is being able to look through the library card catalog from home or your cell phone and place items on hold to be delivered to a library near you as well?  I really am easily excited about so many things. Based on my typical excitement scale – this kitchen remodel is HUGE!!

It’s like a dream come true. Except that I didn’t know that I had this dream. What started out as my husband’s wish to replace a few windows and a sliding patio door became quite the undertaking –  involving removing and completely reconfiguring

  • the entire downstairs back wall to our house
  • removing a fireplace (that couldn’t be fixed and would have cost as much as one of the window doors to replace)
  • windows & doors
  • electrical wires, outlets, and light switches
  • plumbing,
  • more walls,
  • a room
  • cabinets,
  • and fixtures.

The width and length of the room is staying the same, but that’s about it; imagine a small house being completely gutted and the walls removed to the framing – that’s pretty much what ended up happening.

We were not planning on such an expansive re-model, but one thing led to another. Since I love to bake, our kitchen remodel seemed to naturally take off in that direction. The light bulb moment was when I remembered that my husband has always said that he would buy me a bakery; which until now, I always thought was one of those “dreams”. Plus, I really couldn’t imagine taking on a business, especially in the food industry, while I’m in the midst of “mom-duty” to our 3 teens living at home. Once our children are out of the house, I don’t want to be tied down to anything.

Just like some people have craft rooms, my vision is to set up my kitchen like a mini-café/small-scale bakery – located in our home instead of a store front. Two kitchens would be ideal, but who wants to clean 2 kitchens? That’s not possible anyway, so I’ve attempted to design the kitchen so that it functions as both a home kitchen & a boutique style bakery all in the same room with a café feel. Although, based on the comments we’ve received on the new kitchen window, I have a feeling it will be a cafe during the day and a bar on nights & weekends.

So far, the challenges have been working with the existing plumbing as the kitchen sits directly under the upstairs master bathroom. We had to work within the same amount of kitchen space, which meant keeping the sink, the cooktop and the almost “too-big-for-our-kitchen fridge in basically the same locations. We also had to work with the same amount of wall space for cabinets – technically less since part of that wall is now an 8ft window.

Thankfully we have lived with this kitchen for 18 years so we knew for sure what didn’t work. My husband wanted a larger island and our current pantry design has a lot of wasted space. Plus, the “menu” desk area was basically a clutter catch-all and not very functional since the interior of the cabinets were triangle-shaped. Our contractor gave us ideas from his remodeling experience, we referenced several websites such as Houzz, Google, Amazon and of course the diy pandora’s box of ideas called Pinterest. Then our contractor told us what was possible and impossible. Although technically nothing is impossible if you have millions of dollars – enough said.  Impossible in our situation means if we could somehow work around the obstacles, stay in budget and make the space more functional for our needs. We did spend a little extra money on desires – although the desires are things we’ve been waiting 18 years for. We made a lot of BIG changes both figuratively and literally. Our hope is that the changes make better use of the space functionally. If all goes as we envision, then, in essence, the usable kitchen space will double without looking like we tried to shove a bunch of stuff into too small of a space. As a bonus, the room will be custom designed to our decor taste and rather than looking dated will have more of a timeless feel.

Thankfully my husband and I are almost always on the same page with decorating & design ideas. In fact, when one of us shares their idea with the other, it typically results in the other person generating even more great ideas. Now, if only rearing children were that easy – that typically results in one of us asking “What do we do now?” and the other responding, “I have no idea”. There should be a Pinterest for that – haha.

 


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