Tuesday, May 18, 2010

We're Cooking with Gas!

Yes, it's true, the gas line is fully installed and functional. The cooktop is installed and everything passed inspection!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Thinking about Drawer Pulls and Knobs

We need to pick hardware for the kitchen or once we have drawers and doors we won't be able to open them!

Here are some I like. The big question is do we match the other metal in the kitchen (all stainless steel) or go with something lower contrast? The finish on the wood is pretty dark... and stainless is hard to keep clean (at least the front of our refrigerator is turning out to be my nemesis in that department).

I like this antique nickel knob
but am not a fan of the matching pull:

Here's a Brushed Nickel pull I do like:
Check it out here.
Overall Length: 5-3/8 in. (136mm)Projection: 7/8 in. (22mm)
It echoes the handles on the appliances.

Similar one that is rounder/smoother:
Overall Length: 5 in. (127mm)
Projection: 1 in. (25mm)

Bar Stools

After much discussion (including here and here), the bar stools are ordered. Check them out here.

  • Thick padded 15 in. diameter high quality vinyl seat in many colors
  • 360° swivel & non-marring foot glides
  • Seat Height: 26-30 in.
  • 17 in. W x 17 in. D x 30 in. H

They don’t come any tougher than this Chrome Frame Classic Retro Swivel Stool with Double Foot Ring. Two rings encircle the chrome-finished steel tube metal base for added stability. The swiveling vinyl seat is available in your choice of colors. 

with this color (garnet) on the seat.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thinking Aloud about Rugs for the Kitchen

Not entirely sure exactly where we'll need/want rugs in the kitchen but here are some I like.

I like the colors in this one from Overstock.com and at 8x10 it's probably big enough to go under the table but it has a 1/2 inch pile so it might be harder to clean. It also comes in a 5x8 size so it might be good for a side area

This rug is in a similar color palette (also from Overstock):

For inside the back doors and in front of the refrigerator, we need heavy duty rugs that can stand getting wet (and dirty, especially coming in from outside). Here are some indoor/outdoor options:

This one comes in a set of three 2'4x4'4 rugs (and also in a little bit larger size 3'6x5'6)

This set is the little sister of the set above:

This 3'11x5'7 rug is a little more subdued but I like the pattern:

This one has lots of pattern and is (although it doesn't look it) also indoor/outdoor. It's 3'x5'

What do you think?

Our Island Is Now Pretty!

Friday we got the first three of our drawers (not much to see there!) and the panels installed on the island.

The lighting in this photo is not great but doesn't it look great?

Here's another angle:

The shine on the finish is making it look like the color isn't solid but in real life it is. I'll try to take some photos today in natural light (the ones above were taken with the flash).

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Volunteer of the Month

Since I am the volunteer of the month at DeSoto Trail Elementary School for the month of May I thought I'd share a little bit about the things I do at school and share the fun prizes that go along with the bragging rights.

There are 4 main things I do at school: Mile Club, Monday Mom, Popcorn and chaperoning field trips.

Mile Club is from 8-8:30am each morning before school. Before school, kids who want to can walk laps around the soccer field. Each lap is 1/6 of a mile. Each child has a big index card that's marked each time he/she completes a lap. When they complete 30 laps (5 miles), they get a little prize; then another at 15 miles. At 26 miles they earn a Marathon t-shirt, then another prize at 35 miles and at 50 miles. Every day, weather permitting, Thomas and I pick up two kids from the ESE classroom and take them with us to Mile Club. We walk for half an hour, take the kids back to class, and then I sort all the kids' cards back into the box for the PE coaches. I feel like they are giving up their time each morning to make this great activity available at the school, and it's the least I can do to help out.

Almost every class at school has a Monday Mom (or parent) who sorts all the work the kids did in the last week and then puts it in each child's Monday folder along with any handouts that need to go home that week.

Every fourth Wednesday I help the Red and Gold Club with their popcorn sales. Mostly this involves supervising the kids (while they make, bag and sell the popcorn) and then cleaning up the popcorn machines and the whole area. It's a pretty messy enterprise!

Chaperoning field trips is always fun, even if it is a little exhausting. This year the 4th grade has had 3 trips - in February we went to Goodwood Museum & Gardens and the Riley House Museum as part of the Blended Lives program; in April to St. Augustine; and this Thursday we're going to the Florida Historic Capitol and the Museum of Florida History. I also help out at school functions, like manning a booth at the Book Character Festival, helping out at the Book Fair, etc.

Prizes: In honor of my service, the PTO donated this book to the school's Media Center. It's great because I love baseball. Louis Sockalexis was the first Native American to play major league baseball - and he played for the Cleveland Spiders. Enjoyed it a lot.

I also got this pretty plant and a nice certificate! 

Friday morning, as long as T cooperates, he and I will be on WDTS, the school TV station, during morning announcements when Ms. Kelly, the Media Specialist announces the PTO's book donation to library. She wants the kids to all understand why some books have special stickers inside their covers, which is great. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cabinet Shelves

Oh the little things make me happy... and today the little things are shelves in the cabinets!

And these are the doors that will go on the buffet (after they're stained and have glass). Hard to tell in this picture, but they look really great!!

for Kathy

When we were next door neighbors and fellow engineering students (yes, me, go figure) on the Alpha Chi Omega floor (no, we didn't have a house back then), Kathy and I used to rewrite popular songs with our own lyrics. This one (which we kept hearing before leaving for class in the morning) became Hammer* Gives Dynamics a Bad Name after a classmate who monopolized the professor's time asking questions that even we knew the answers to:

Our other favorite was our "Only the Geeks Get Good Grades" (That study carrel you're hiding behind never lets in the sun"). I still hold the phone up to the radio and call K when I hear it on the radio!

* name changed to protect the annoying but otherwise innocent

Who Are Your Stars?

I'm looking forward to Alpha Chi Omega Convention in July and one of the reasons is the Star Booth. If you're not familiar with Star Booth, learn more about it from my post last week.

I love giving stars. It's just such a great way to tell someone how much they mean to you. Here are some of the women I honor with stars:

First (always first), Sus and I buy stars for the wonderful woman who was our Chapter Advisor when we were collegians. Barb was Pledge Advisor when I joined the sorority, and then became CA. She took me on my first AXO road trip (to Denison, where her chapter (Delta Xi) was recolonizing). She took us to our first alumnae meetings, and to our first Founders' Days. She thought nothing of preparing a meal for the Exec Board, or dessert for the entire chapter. It is because of her influence that we are active alumnae.

Next, I like to make the collegians from my chapters (my home chapter Zeta Upsilon, CWRU and my adopted chapter in Tallahassee, Beta Eta, FSU) feel welcome. It'll be their first Convention, and nothing says "I'm glad you're here" like a star! Candace, Chelsea, and Liz, I'm looking forward to seeing you and your chapter advisors, Amy B. and Britain!

I have two people to thank for all the help they give me and my alumnae chapters during the year: Megan H, Assistant Director of Lifetime Engagement at Alpha Chi Omega National Headquarters keeps us all informed and answers thousands of queries and questions; and Sylvia, our outgoing Province Alumnae Chair, has provided five years of on-point guidance, friendship and support.

Who would you honor with a star? It's easy to order them, right online! I hope you'll do it today!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers' Day!

On Mother's Day, I'm sending out some love to my Mom and to the little guy who made me a Mom. He's not so little anymore... this photo is from March 2000, four months before he turned 2.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Half Way to Cooking with Gas

I feel like I should be singing Bon Jovi... I'll include them at the end, because we are half way there...

The guys came today and dug up the yard. Here's their big trailer for the equipment. They even brought sod to fix the sections of the lawn where the big holes were. First they made a deep hole out on the tree lawn (for those of you not from Cleveland, the tree lawn is that space between the sidewalk and the street).

Then they made 2 more holes just like it. This one where the front walk meets the driveway and the other where the meter will be, between the house and the driveway toward the back of the house.

They bored through the soil from hole to hole which meant we didn't have a big 4 foot deep trench through the whole yard. They were here when Thomas and I left for school at 7:45 and finished about noon. 

Next we need a meter. The pipe comes up out of the ground and is capped there. Then the gas plumber will come and run the pipes in the house and install the new cooktop! Can't wait to be "cooking with gas."

My Favorite Kindle Books

Happy Kindleversary to me! 1 year ago today, May 7, 2009, my Kindle arrived. 146 items later, here are some of the best things I've read on this miraculous device:

Best Never Ending Series
My college bff & Alpha Chi pledge sister, Maura, recommended Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series as a good read that wouldn't go by too quickly. Wow, she wasn't kidding. Each of these books is at least 800 pages and filled with all kinds of excitement - time travel, wars, pillage, you name it. I've read Outlander, the first in the series (896 pages); book two, Dragonfly in Amber (906 pages); book three, Voyager (1062 pages); and just finished book 4 Drums of Autumn (1088 pages). Let's face it, after that much of one story, I needed a break! When I'm ready there are two (maybe three?) more books to tackle.

Best Free Book
Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson, recommended by Niki Black (another of my CWRU AXO sisters). Is free becoming a new business model? Can businesses give things away and still make a profit? Chris Anderson argues that they can and he argues it well. It changed my thinking and made me aware of how (especially online) the world is changing.

Best Memoirs
Orange Is the New Black: One Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman was recommended by Malena Lott of BookEnd Babes. Malena is also an Alpha Chi Omega. She went to U of Oklahoma. (Not everyone can be a Case alum!)

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (with the long subtitle "Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun"). Seriously if I'd have known the subtitle I might not have read the book!

These two books hit a similar note with me. Though they could not have taken place in more different locations, each author finds her way to make the best of her current condition and find happiness (or at least greater contentment). Thought-provoking reads, in their own way each book makes you think about the world and how you move through it.

Best Nostalgia
You Couldn't Ignore Me If You Tried: The Brat Pack, John Hughes, and Their Impact on a Generation. by Susannah Gora. Another Book End Babes selection, this one is chock full of details and fun facts about the John Hughes movies (plus a few others, like my favorite Say Anything). It was a trip down memory lane that improves your memory. I kept wondering, "Did I know this at the time?" I'm sure I knew some of it, but certainly not all of it. I especially enjoyed the stories about the music in the films. Can you imagine if Peter Gabriel hadn't given permission for "In Your Eyes" to be used in Say Anything? Wow. If you love the movies or grew up with them, give this book a read.

If you haven't checked out Book End Babes, it's worth a visit. I've yet to read a book recommended there that I haven't enjoyed.

P.S. I think without Alpha Chi and Twitter I would have had much less to read!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Alpha Chi Omega Star Booth

Alpha Chi Omega Convention is coming up July 9-12 in Washington, D.C. This will be my 6th time attending and my 4th consecutive rooming with my CWRU travel-buddy and fellow Zeta Upsilon initiate Susan. We always have such a good time seeing old friends, making new friends, attending events, learning new things and in general getting excited about being Alpha Chi Omegas. I thought as we approach the event I'd share some of my favorite Convention traditions. And what better place to start than with the Star Booth!

Star Booth is a fundraiser for the Alpha Chi Omega Foundation, but more importantly it is a wonderful opportunity to recognize the sisters (and others) who are important in your life. At Convention, the Star Booth sits in a prominent spot (usually outside one of the main meeting rooms) and is staffed by a team of friendly volunteers. For each person you honor with your $10 contribution, you get a paper star on which to write the name of your recipient (and a note if you like). These stars are all hung on a big back drop in the back of the booth. (it's very impressive to see by the end of the weekend!) If your recipient is at Convention, you will receive a star sticker to give her to put on her name tag. If he or she is not present, Foundation will send them an email or a postcard letting them know you have recognized him or her.

Starting in 2006, I began placing my star order in advance (you can do this online this year!). When you do this, your recipient gets a card from you in her registration packet. She can go to the Star Booth to pick up her star for her name tag.

The items pictured here are all from 2006 Convention in Chicago. On the left are the cards I received from sisters who pre-ordered stars in my honor. In the center is my name tag with the stars I received. On the right are paper stars I received from sisters at a luncheon. Each attendee was given 3 stars and asked to choose 3 sisters who inspire her. I was really humbled by the lovely things people wrote, and by the generosity of the sisters who recognized me with stars.

And here is my name badge with stars from Convention in 2008, which was held in Scottsdale, Arizona.

As you can see, my stars are pretty important to me. And while I love to receive them, I love to give them even more! So much so that I'm going to write a separate post about it. In the meantime, who would you buy stars for? Star Booth is for everyone, whether you can attend Convention or not. Think how much it would mean to someone you love to get an email or postcard saying they are a star in your life!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cabinet Installation

Two more sections of cabinets are now installed! We still need the section by the ovens and fridge. Also we need drawers and doors but they should be ready by the end of next week or beginning of the following week... and trim and crown molding... but hey, we're making progress!

Here's the section by the sink. The cabinets on the left will have glass doors (that's why they are stained on the inside).

Here's the same section with the panel installed between the two sections:

And here are the cabinets in the baking section:

Again the stained cabinets will have glass doors and the others solid doors. The open space there in the middle is where the microwave will be installed (it's an under-mount model).
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