Knock on Wood…Floors

In our continued efforts to update the Fetch Ranch, we decided to install wood floors (well, laminate that looks like wood) in the main living areas.  We got to work measuring, purchasing, sawing, cutting, and laying the floors last weekend.  In just two short days we made major progress!

Allow me to digress a moment.  This is what the floors looked like when we moved in.
old tile laminate flooringThey were 12″ tiles-slash-laminate-slash-faux wood squares that were glued to the cement slab.  Probably okay at the time the home was built, but not the look we were going for today.  During the kitchen demo we started their removal by chipping away with a chisel and a hammer.  That lasted for a total of about 8 of the tiles when we realized we’d be working on floor removal for a month if we didn’t come up with a better plan.  Off we went to Home Depot where we rented a machine that vibrates, shakes, scrapes and shimmies the heck out of the glued on tiles and removes any trace of them.  It still took the better part of day to remove them all, but the investment in that tool rental was well worth the savings on our patience and sanity.  We also removed the carpet in one of the front rooms and family room/eating area near the kitchen, along with all the trim in the soon-to-be-renovated zones.
office cementWe were finally able to start installing the wood flooring!  We first put down a moisture barrier and had to trim some of the door frames so the wood fit under it nicely.  Then we snapped, pushed, pulled, and cut our way to happiness.
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IMG_2761What we didn’t realize at this point was that we forgot to stagger the slats before installing them.  We got a little over midway through the foyer when we noticed something wasn’t quite right.  Fortunately, we didn’t get any further along than that because we had to pull up the slats and start over.  Minor set back.  Knock on wood (pun intended) that’s the only one.
IMG_2765Jessa was in the next room trying to get caught up on some homework.  When I looked in to check on her, this is what I saw…
IMG_2758Apparently the saw was a tad loud.  Here’s a little sneak peak of the floors taken with our phone that we sent to a couple family members.
wood floors diningWe are more than half-way finished with the installation!  Oh, and our counter tops were installed in the kitchen this week!  Not much longer until some before and after kitchen photos will make their grand appearance!  The transformation is pretty amazing if we do say so ourselves.

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We Picked Up Some Chicks

The Fetch Ranch has just grown by eight!  We got eight chicks last weekend–four Rhode Island Reds and four Black Sex Links.  We are looking forward to some egg production later in the year.  For now, these chicks are very similar to human babies….they are super cute but all they really do right now is eat and poop.  A lot.

Take a look at the newest members of our clan.
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The Valentine Fairy

The kids woke up on Valentine’s Day morning to find bags of goodies on the table for them.  When they asked who they were from I told them the Valentine Fairy came over night!  They were very excited about their treats.  And when we got ready to have dinner last night, I quietly placed a tiered plate of delicious, homemade cupcakes on the table.  I was asked, “Who made those!?”  Again I told them the Valentine Fairy delivered them.
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IMG_2710While the Valentine Fairy was really good to the kiddos, my Valentine surprised me with a gorgeous flower arrangement.  The colors were incredible, and this picture does not depict their true beauty.
IMG_2723Now, knowing that my husband has one heck of a sweet tooth, I surprised him with some salted caramels from Fran’s Chocolates.  I searched around for recommendations for the best salted caramels and found that Fran’s Chocolates came with top ratings.  They did not disappoint!  We dove right into the box (notice the empty spots!) before I could snap a quick photo.  These are some of the best salted caramels we have ever tasted…and we have sampled more than a few!
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IMG_2715We were a little late getting dinner on the table since we had to complete a few kitchen projects before cooking.  Yes, we can actually cook on our NEW STOVE!  It’s in place now and ready for action.  After two weeks of sandwiches, pizza, and attempting to cook somewhat healthy meals in our microwave/convection oven, we were ready for something fantastic!  Just the day before, my sweet mom-in-love sent me a new soup recipe.  Since it was cold and rainy out, it was a perfect soup night!
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RUSTIC ITALIAN TORTELLINI SOUP

4-5 Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
1 med onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
4 c chicken broth
2 c water
14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large package refrigerated tortellini
6 oz package fresh spinach
2 1/4 tsp chopped fresh basil or 3/4 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp pepper (I added a little salt too)
a few red pepper flakes if you like a little kick
parmesan cheese for garnish

This is really easy…not to mention a great way to get kids to eat spinach!  Heat large pot or Dutch oven to med high heat.  Crumble in turkey sausage and brown.  (I added a little olive oil first since turkey sticks pretty easily.)  Once turkey is cooked through, add in onions and cook until translucent then add in garlic and cook about a minute more.  Add broth, water, and tomatoes and bring to a boil.  Add tortellini and return to boil.  Cook for about 10 minutes until tortellini is cooked.  Reduce heat and add spinach, basil, and pepper.  Cook 2-3 minutes longer.  Place in bowls and top with a little parm.  This made enough for 6-8 servings.  Quick and easy soup for a chilly night!

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Valentine Fairy!