Monday, September 21, 2009

beating the sniffles

on saturday my friend and i got together and made a TON of chicken noodle soup. it was a lot of fun getting together and catching up, and cooking is always more fun when it's with a friend!
the most important food ingredient in a good traditional chicken soup is the broth. many of us know that broth is good for us when we are sick, but does anyone know why? and did you know that the broth you are drinking is probably use less if it's not homemade? let me elaborate by taking some cues from "Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats" by Sally Fallon.
'Properly prepared, meat stocks are extremely nutritious, containing the minerals of bone, cartilage, marrow and vegetables as electrolytes, a form that is easy to assimilate. Acidic wine or vinegar added during cooking helps to draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, into the broth.'
she goes on to list other important benefits of bone broth such as protein content (great any time, healthy or sick, but especially when you are ill and not eating a whole lot of protein rich foods) and gelatin which is a proven intestine healer and digestive aid. It is important to note that natural gelatin is good for you, but commerically produced gelatin can contain MSG which could be bad for those with sensitivities.
there are side benefits of drinking a warm broth as well when you are sick. first, you are taking in fluids. secondly the steam from the stock will open your sinuses, and some say that the sodium in it will raise your blood pressure a little and help you have a bit of energy.
stock can be made from chicken, beef, fish or game bones and tissue. i will briefly outline how i made chicken stock (according to the Nourishing Traditions recipe):
roast a whole chicken, let cool
take most of the meat off carcass, reserve for soup or sandwiches, etc
place carcass and any giblets that may have been included in the chicken in a stock pot with 4 quarts of water
add 2 tablespoons of vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped
let stand 30 to 60 minutes, then bring to a boil removing 'scum' as it floats to the top. reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6-24 hours. the longer you cook the stock the richer and more flavorful it will be. about 10 min before finishing the stock, add 1 bunch chopped parsley (this will impart additional mineral ions to the broth)
remove carcass and vegetables with a slotted spoon. pour the stock through a fine strainer into a pot or large bowl to further remove left over 'stuff'.
pour stock into jars or plastic freezer containers. let cool, then strain off the fat. clear stock will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.
so there you have it, my method for making a tasty, nutritious, healing meat stock. the vitamins and minerals that are readily available in the liquid are good anytime of year but especially when you are feeling like you want to die :)
chicken soup: good for the soul and good for your health!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

'tis so sweet

to trust in Jesus!!!

i am so happy to have had an upbriging where christian music was played and (even though i didn't particularly like it at the time) hymns were sung and listed to on tv or radio. it is these songs that come to my mind when i am struggling, evoking memories of scriptures through their words. the truths written in songs of the faith are encouraging and sweet.
as i have shared before on this blog my health is a major source of 'strife' to say the least. it seems like every time i go to the doctor or have some test done it doesn't turn out well. it gets really discouraging sometimes and i would be lying if i said that i had never prayed for a new body :) even as i think of my health woes, i am getting teared up. it is hard for me to remain positive when there are so many unknowns. as i fight my human nature and strive to trust my ultimate Physician, i remember the hymn below. lately, singing it has helped me to remember that i don't need to know what is happening...i just need to trust the One who does!
Trust the Lord your God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Psalm 3:5-6

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Refrain:Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me ’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,Wilt be with me to the end.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

i promise it's not about food

friday night becky and i went out to eat and then went and saw 'julie and julia'. we had a great dinner at olive garden and were excited to see the movie cause it just looked so darn cute on previews. let me tell you, i really enjoyed the movie!

i really found myself seeing my stage in life reflected in julie's. at the time that julie was blogging and cooking her way through julia child's mastering the art of french cooking, she was: 29, not loving her job, in a rut and looking for inspiration. oh how i relate! i am even the same age! recently i have been trying to make sure that i stay inspired in my daily life. by this i mean, keeping something special to look forward to. whether it's cooking sunday dinner, taking a doula training class, getting my camera gear out and shooting somewhere, or making sure to keep an active social life i NEED something to get me through the day, because everydayaveragelife can get, well, average.

it was encouraging to see these women take a risk and follow through even though they got really discouraged. it took years for julia child to get her first cookbook published. draft after draft, she never gave up. julie even got discouraged when recipes were a flop, and when she and her husband suffered a brief separation. anyone who knows me knows that i am not a tenacious person. i rarely finish anything i start. knowing this about myself discourages me from the get-go when i want to start a project or venture. however, i am trying to change this!! i hate being a person who gives up. it is a character trait that i do not find attractive in others yet i seem to be so adept at it :) even the thought of trying to become a more committed person is a little intimidating. but i have to stick to it. so many people have faced more adversity than i have and have come through with a smile on their the finish line.

even though it was 'just a movie' it was the retelling of two true stories of two women who did not give up. i hope to tell my own story of tenacity and commitment some day. soon.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

cheap dinner ideas

since moving back in with my parents i have been the chief meal planner/preparer. at first i was making meal plans that were great menus, but after a while i just felt like i was trying to out-do myself and it was a lot of effort just to get dinner done. after reading a post on the nourishing gourmet about keeping weekday meals simple and having a sunday meal be special, i was a changed woman :) one of the comments on the post was that a woman felt like she had to make a 'rachel ray' dinner every night and that it was a lot of pressure, the thought of doing it once a week was very freeing. i totally agree. this post along with the thought of heating up the kitchen in hot weather (and the hot weather making me not want to go full on grocery shopping) has lead me to make some very creative, cheap, delicious and easy meals the past week. drawing on ideas from the happy housewife and menu plan monday, i have been able to organize my meals better and make the most of my time and resources.
most of the ingredients are things i already had on hand and were not purchased specifically for the meal they turned into :) i posted the other day about the sloppy joes, and today i will share a few more recipes with you:

open-faced salmon melts

1 large can of canned alaska salmon (i used bumble bee in the tall can, there were a lot of bones since it is from the center of the fish, but it didn't take long to remove them)
1/2 cup sour cream
1T dijon mustard
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions chopped (green and white parts)
mix it all together and spread over bread, buns or in our case beer bread (recipe for that coming soon!)
i also topped mine with tomato slice, tillamook cheddar cheese and alfalfa sprouts.
cost: about $3 for 4 servings

pantry pasta

i'm going to tell you what i put in my pantry pasta today, but use this as a guideline. the idea and goal here is to use up random leftovers and small remnants of things you have in your fridge or pantry. i throw almost everything in, and it always turns out great. be creative and courageous as you make up your ever changing meal of pantry pasta! :)
remnant leftover pastas (i had about 1/4 box of penne, and 1/2 box of mostaccioli)
left over sloppy joe sauce
1/2 medium green bell pepper (the left over from making sloppy joes the other day)
artichoke hearts
roasted red bell peppers
butternut squash soup (i needed a little more 'sauciness' so i added the soup. it added great flavor and of course more vegetables!)
garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste
cook the pasta till al dente,drain. in the same pot as you cooked the pasta in, add the rest of the ingredients. top with your choice of cheeses ( i had a little bit of swiss, mozzarella and cheddar)pour into a 9x13 and cook at 400 for about 20 minutes.

cost: basically free since i didn't plan on this meal, and everything was 'leftovers'! this makes a good 9x13 sized casserole so you can figure on 6-8 helpings. i have also found that this type of casserole freezes well and is great the next day for even more leftovers :)
this was the side dish to my pantry pasta today. TOTALLY FREE! one of my dad's customers gave him some walla walla sweet onions and a coworker of mine gave me the squash. i fried them up in the cast iron skillet with some bacon grease and it was delicious!

fancy chicken cordon bleu

sunday dinner this week!

raise your hand if you have ever tried to make chicken cordon bleu and gave up because you couldn't roll it!!! i love regular chicken cordon bleu, but i do not appreciate the rolling...also, i like to add my own spice to things :) the way i make the dish now is to do it casserole style and layer all of the ingredients. it makes for a much more enjoyable experience and tastes just the same.
4 butterflied and flattened chicken breasts
1 lb sliced ham
10 (or so) slices of swiss cheese
1 cup seasoned bread crumbs ( i use oregano, salt and pepper, garlic, paprika, onion powder and sage as my seasoning)
place two chicken breasts on the bottom of a 9x13 pan. sprinkle 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs over chicken. top with ham (use as much or little as you like) and cheese.
**this is where i added some left over asparagus and sun dried tomatoes. if you want to add a little something special to yours, look for something with a distinct flavor but that is not overpowering. traditional chicken cordon bleu is supposed to be more mild in flavor, but you can do whatever you feel like :)
repeat the layers. bake at 425 for about 30-45 minutes. after removing it from the oven i also drizzled some pesto over the top for added 'oomph'. it worked!
cost: about $10, serves 4-6

'pulled' turkey sandwiches
earlier this month my mom bought a roasted turkey from the deli section of the grocery store (same place you get rotisserie chickens) and we had it in the freezer for a while just waiting for an occasion to use it. with the weather this last week, we took it out so that it could thaw and we would have cooked meat without having to cook (read: heat up the house). i pulled some of the turkey apart and made delicious sandwiches!
shredded turkey
spices: chili powder, paprika, onion powder, garlic, pepper, cumin
shredded pepper jack cheese
dressing: 1/2 cup sour cream, minced: onion, roasted red pepper, dijon mustard, pepper
mix the spices with the turkey, then heat in your microwave or on the stove. spread the dressing on the bun, top with turkey, avocado and cheese. you can put this under the broiler or heat in the microwave to melt the cheese.
cost: about $6 and served 4
i hope that you are 'inspired' by the recipes i have listed above. not because i think i'm a great inspiring chef but because i rarely follow a recipe although i am always looking for new ones. i use the recipes i see on other blogs, magazines and tv shows as the basis for making my own creations. my suggestion when you are in a rut is to look in your freezer, fridge and pantry to see what you have 'laying around'. be creative and have fun! if it doesn't turn out, then it's not the end of the world.
do you have any creative, cheap dinner ideas? is there anything that gets your creative juices flowing in the kitchen?

Friday, July 31, 2009

'cooking' in a heat wave

this week it has been HOT here in the pacific northwest. we have experienced record in 107 degrees...and since it's the great northwest, not many people have air conditioning. we sort of have air conditioning which has made the temperatures technically livable but let's face it, nothing compares to whole house a/c.

when the weather gets this hot, i usually don't like to cook. i really don't like to eat much either but definitely no heating up the kitchen. since we had already had salads and cold sandwiches earlier in the week, i decided to try an experiment with cooking in the microwave. of course i have made frozen dinners in the microwave but have never done anything else. some people don't like to use the microwave because of fears over radiation and nutritional loss. to this i say, sometimes it's about survival! :)

thursday night i made sloppy joes with a small side salad and it was great! i think i made up for the cheating methods of preparation by making my sauce from scratch. at least that's what i like to believe.
normally i would saute all of the ingredients for my sauce but this time i tried doing it in the microwave to great results. once my peppers and onions were 'sauteed' i warmed up the ground beef (this had been cooked earlier in the week when it was a cooler part of the day. time saving tip: if you know you are going to be using a product twice in one week, prepare it all at once then refrigerate the remainder. this beef for example was 2 lbs that had been browned, then 1 lb was seasoned for taco salad and the other left plain for sloppy joes.) then added the tomato products to the peppers and onions and heated it through. once that was all done i combined the two bowls and voila! sloppy joe sauce. also, to avoid heating my oven i popped the buns into the toaster to get them nice and crisp. take a look at the pics below, and i have included my 'recipe' for the sauce (a very rough recipe since i make it all up in my head as i go along!)

1/2 of a medium white onion, diced; 1/2 medium green bell pepper diced; about 2 T rice vinegar (you can also use apple cider vinegar for more sweetness); salt, pepper, garlic to taste; 2t chili powder; 1t mustard powder (you could use prepared mustard also, probably 1T); 2t cumin; 1T dried oregano, 2T olive oil. combine in glass bowl (don't use plastic if at all possible). cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes, stir, cook 1 1/2 minutes longer.

heat your ground beef for 3 minutes on high

6oz can tomato paste, 14.5 oz can stewed or crushed tomatoes, 3/4-1 cup ketchup, 2T brown sugar. combine ingredients in food processor and whirl till the tomatoes are smooth. combine with vegetables and meat. heat in microwave for about 3-5 minutes.

my spice arsenal

toasty buns!!

do you have any ideas for 'cooking' without heating up the house? i'd love to hear your ideas!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

mt hood railroad

there was homemade rootbeer at the pub we ate at. i looooove rootbeer!

i guess it's not THAT bad of a view to live with every day :)

a view of the dome car

glamor shots by katie

the day after sand in the city becky and i went to parksdale, oregon on the mt hood railroad western train robbery excursion. she had gotten free passes from a customer of hers, and invited me to go along. it was so nice! we rode in the dome car which was very nice. the seats were comfy (important for a 4 hour ride) and the a/c was nice too (also important for a 4 hour ride). the tracks went through forresty areas, pastures and fruit orchards finally making it's destination in parksdale. there was a great pub in town that we ate dinner in, even though we brought our own picnic lunch, and got delicious ice cream cones from a little parlor.

i highly recommend the mt hood railroad. if you take kids, definitely take some toys and coloring books cause it is a long ride. BUT it's not like being in a car because they can move around and walk down the isle and around the cars.
check out their website for more events!

sand in the city 2009

well, one of my summer of fun ideas was to go to the sand in the city event at pioneer courthouse square, and i went! becky had never been to the event so i dragged her along too :) we started off at the square, then headed over to the mall for lunch and window shopping. FYI there is a moonstruck chocolates kiosk at poineer square mall. consider yourself forewarned :)

bart simpson...cowabunga dude :)

this was a cute display. you may not notice the big sasquatch footprint in the sand where 'he' and the smart car are placed. this display was done by an energy conservation group, i think.

the two pics above were of my favorite display. it is called 'family game night' and was all different boardgames families can play. the pic directly above is of hungry hungry hippo :) i loved that game when i was little!! then notice the life car in the top picture too. :)

me and my boyfriend

yeah, becky tried to creep in, but ended up keeping her distance. good idea, girlie :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

a post of blogs

some of my friends have been asking me lately what blogs i stalk on a regular basis. these questions usually come around because i am quoting yet ANOTHER blog post i read, or raving about a new blog i found in the blogosphere. i am a bit nerdy now about finding interesting blogs and after a while these complete strangers start to become your 'friends'.
i wanted to dedicate a post to introducing my friends to some of the blogs i follow so they too can be nerdy blog stalkers :)

lindsay,the passionate homemaker
the mennonite ladies
toni,the happy housewife
kimi,the nourishing gourmet
kristen, the harried homemaker
carrie, at it's frugal being green
laura, the organizing junkie
rachel, at the high chair

at passionate homemaking you will find frugal, delicious meals that are healthy and natural. lindsay has great ideas for organizing, simplifying and maintaining your home; child care; gardening and natural, frugal living. she is a great christian woman whom i have had the pleasure of meeting recently (!) and provides really great insight on the high calling of womanhood.

i have just found mennonitegirlscancook! i love it! the recipes are mouthwatering and very down home. they remind me a lot of church potlucks :) and the kind of food i l-o-v-e to eat. i also really appreciate the occasional devotional post, as they are so encouraging!

toni is the happy housewife. please, before you start in on her posts, read her story! the Lord has transformed her heart, her marriage and subsequently her life and it makes her posts so much more meaningful, i think, knowing that she is so sincere in her striving to serve her family. she has great parenting tips, money management ideas, and as a long-time military wife lots of insight into base living. i really like her recipe posts also!

the nourishing gourmet is a site i found a couple of weeks ago while trolling for blogs that supported nourishing traditions methods. kimi has a great repertoire of healthful recipes and kitchen tips. i don't know about you, but i am ALWAYS looking for a new recipe to try :) she is also a strong christian and approaches her food and family care from a Biblical perspective.

the frugal antics of a harried homemaker is a great site. kristen gives advise and ideas that fall totally in line with the title of her site. dinners are quick and cheap, money and time saving tips, and need i say it :)

since i also like to visit sites that aren't food-based..haha..i follow the goings on of carrie at it's frugal being green. many frugal ideas are also green ones, because making your laundry detergent is cheap and earthfriendly for example. if you are new to the green scene i really suggest heading over to the blog site to get acquainted with natural, earthfriendly living.

laura is THE organizing junkie! she has great tips on organizing your house room by room, learning to purge, and doing 'life' organization too. her posts are very motivating, and if you read my post on the urge to purge, you will know where i got my inspiration! :)

last but not least is my friend rachel who maintains the high chair. i akin stalking rachels blog to being a fly on the walls of her house :) she's a gifted and funny writer who's stories will make you laugh hysterically :) rachel posts recipes, home organization tips, gardening ideas and parenting tips like cloth diapering. it helps that i know rachel personally and have met her husband and children, but i think you will connect with her posts as well!

so there you have it, my top blogs!! i hope you will check these ladies out and start stalking too :) if you have any sites you visit regularly, please leave a comment and let us know. i'm always up for more reading material!! :)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

packrat reformed::urge to purge

i have been reading a lot lately on several blogs about simplifying the household in order to make it easier to live in/with and clean. simple is my friend. i love to have things organized, and in the last several years really worked on being able to determine 'must haves' from 'junk' in my personal belongings.
you must understand something about me though if you are really going to appreciate this facet of my life. i was raised a complete and total pack rat. both of my parents are pack rats. their parents are/were pack rats. it is a genetic trait, i think!! but see, men and women keep things for different reasons. my dad keeps things because 'i may be able to use that for something later' or 'i can turn that into something else and it will be great'. my mom keeps things because ' so and so made that 40 years ago' or 'i like it' (even though she may have forgotten she even had it). this is how i was, possessing BOTH of my parents traits until a few years ago. i started cutting the sentamental ties with things i never used/wanted, and realized that if i needed something in the future, i could just go to the store and buy the thing instead of hanging on to this piece of junk for 23 years.
all that to say, i have a deep appreciation for organization now and have reaped the benefits of de-cluttering my own household while i had one. now that i am living with my parents again, their clutter was getting on my nerves. i knew it was on their nerves too, but neither one of them was going to tackle it.

i did.

starting at about 9:30 friday night and continuing to about 11 this morning (nope, i didn't sleep!! i couldn't risk loosing my mojo) i cleaned out the cupboards in the kitchen and the linen closet in the hallway. unfortunately i wasn't thinking ahead and didn't take 'before' shots of the kitchen, but i did get afters, and b & a's of the hall closet.

three boxes of junk to take to goodwill. glasses, a toaster oven, baby bottles, sippy cups, mugs, bowls and lots of duplicate items (how many pie pans does one kitchen need? certainly not 5!)
there were also two garbage bags!!

then i cleared out the junk drawer. every house has one!

i cleaned up the cook books and loose recipes we had in the cupboard. also, i went through all of the medication in the medicine cabinet and threw out all the expired stuff. i HIGHLY recommend doing this! you would not believe how much expired medicine i threw away, and that stuff can be very dangerous! i organized our meds by person, and then the 'general' stuff went on the lazy susan.

i tackled the freezer too! anything that was unidentifyable because of lack of ID or freezer burn was tossed.
here's the newly organized small appliance cupboard...all of the casserole dishes were organized as well, so that everything can be found easily
this starts the 'before' pics of the hall linen closet. so much clutter!! so many towels that are not needed anymore, enough lightbulbs to light the eifel tower till Jesus comes again, candles, vhs tapes, medical supplies and junk.
and the after!!!! three boxes went to goodwill, and two garbage bags for the dump.
now, everything is nicely folded and stacked. smaller, like items were grouped together and placed in new storage bins. i also bought a labeler (a dream of mine for decades :) and identified the contents of the bins so that they will be easy to locate and keep organized. there is actually an entire shelf now that is empty, and the floor space!! we are looking forward to using that extra space for the big costco shopping of toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, etc.
it is so nice to be able to look around the kitchen and not see any clutter! and it's pretty tempting to open the linen closet every time i walk by just to admire it. mom and dad are very pleased with the outcome and are hoping this will help make their next move easier too!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

summer of fun schedule

the last few summers i have tried to mark down on my calendar what events are taking place in pdx and vanc during the summer months. i check out the city of vancouver website to see what is going on downtown (mainly at the fort and esther short park), clark county fairgrounds website, and the city of portland parks and recreation. the portland website lists all of the parks and major public areas so you can search by area to see what is taking place. i really like the events at pioneer courthouse square and the japanese and chinese gardens. another place to look is the website for the oregon convention center and portland expo center. the types of events held at these two venues are going to be more 'conventiony' than entertainment based, but are still worth looking into.

below are some of the events that i have on my calendar...i may make it to all of them, or none of them but the goal is to at least have no excuse for not having fun :)

Friday 10th-Flicks on the Bricks (FOTB), Pioneer Courthouse Square (PCS), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Take a blanket, low folding chair or bean bag and watch movies presented on a screen at the Square. Cost:It's free!
Friday 17th-Saturday 18th-Yoshida's Sand in the City, PCS This is a really fun event where they fill up the Square with sand and have sand-sculpture building contests. There are a lot of really interesting sculptures, and its so neat to see the teams working together. Cost: Free
Saturday 18th-1860's Baseball at the Ft. Vancouver Historical Reserve Parade Grounds. I haven't been able to make it to this event in the past couple of years, but I hear it's really neat to watch. The game is played just like it was in 1860 (apparently the rules and regulations were different then). Cost:Free!
Sunday 19th-Southwest Washington Humane Society Open House. The new east county facility is finished! Take a tour, learn about microchipping and spaying/neutering your pets, and get information on the services that the HS offers. Cost: Free
Friday 24th-FOTB at PCS, Dirty Dancing. This is probably gonna be a really fun one to be at! Tell me you don't think there will be sing along!!! :) Cost: Free
Friday 24th-25th-Camas Days in Downtown Camas, Wa. Lots of events for the whole family! Enjoy shopping in the cute boutiques, good food and music and other vendors. Cost: Free (except of course if you buy something)
Friday 31st-Tillamook Celebration at PCS. Tillamook will be sampling cheese and ice cream in celebration of their anniversary. Cost: Free. FREE CHEESE PEOPLE :)

Friday 7th-FOTB at PCS Jurassic Park. A good one to take the older kids to! I remember seeing this movie in the theater as an early teen (that dates me!) and it's just not the same on a TV screen. Might be your only chance to see it again in big projection! Cost: Free
Saturday 15th-Another installment of 1860's Baseball. Same details as above.
Sunday 16th-India Festival at PCS. Go experience Indian music, food and vendors at PCS. This would be a great learning opportunity for kids, and a perfect chance to teach them about different cultures and (if age appropriate) the persecuted church and human rights.Cost: Free
Friday 21st-FOTB at PCS Anchorman! Not one for the kids, but a fun one to take some of your friends to. Cost: Free
Friday 28th-Italian Festival at PCS. Need I say more than Italian food?? Nope. Cost: Free

there are a lot of other activities out there...please let me know if you know of anything interesting that i missed, or if you know of other sites to look at for local entertainment!!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

belated fathers day gift/surprise bathroom remodel for daddy

when my dad told my mom and me a few weeks back that he was going to florida for a work trip, we immediately began scheming to remodel the front bathroom while he was gone. the bathroom has been needing an update for several years. things just weren't coming clean anymore and no matter how hard we tried, it just never looked good. the toilet and sink were so hard water stained that they constantly looked dirty and grimy. it was kind of embarrassing to have people over...we hoped they had used the bathroom before coming over! :)
also, there has been water damage under the floor for many years. dad and i did some updating in '96 in the bathroom and the wax ring we put down at that time didn't seal properly. water had been seeping into the floor for several years before we found out what the problem was. we replaced it a few years ago so it stopped leaking but of course that was too late for the floor.
check out our pics from the whirlwind surprise project!

old pain job (circa 1996) w/ medicine cabinet and old vanity light

no matter how we scrubbed or what cleaners we used it NEVER came clean

the floor was separating from the bathtub since it was old and water damaged

yeah, it's a tiny bathroom!

we put those shower doors up in '96 and i liked them for all of one day. i HATE shower doors now because they are so hard to keep clean! they are also inconvenient if you have children or pets to bathe because you have to lean over the tracks and that's really uncomfortable! :(

thursday night after the water damaged sub-floor was ripped up, this is what we found of the floor boards

oh we were not excited to find rot in the floor boards! our friend steve was helping during this whole process, so he cut the board out and replaced it with a nice pressure treated piece. that's the toilet drain on the right, also messed up because of the water damaged floor.

cabinet doors drying in the sun

new sub floor is laid and the vanity is painted. after my mom did such a great job of painting that front panel...i leaned into it and ruined it!! good goin', me!

here i am with the trowel getting ready to put down leveling compound on the new subfloor. for the hour prior to this i had been under the sink trying to disconnect the water lines from the sink. the hot water bolt came off with a little work, but the right one never did come off for me. i wrenched on that bolt so hard that i really hurt my shoulder and joked about getting a hernia! i am actually going to urgent care tomorrow to see if it my shoulder torn or sprained!!

saturday night after we had set the new sink and i laid the floor tile, steve sat the toilet. i had done this with my dad before but still didn't feel comfortable doing it myself. i'm glad steve has such a servant's heart and was so patient to help!!!!

sunday afternoon finished product!! today i laid the cove moulding at the floor/wall joint, hung the mirror, grouted the tile backsplash around the counter and some other little things. mom hung the shower curtain and the pic above the toilet. looks pretty!

close up of the vinyl floor tile

we didn't have time to put the doors back on the vanity before dad came home, so i just set them up against it. yes, we still haven't repainted the front panel of the vanity i ruined :) please notice the tile backsplash...i have never done tile before, and i did this all by myself!! i'm pretty proud if you can't tell :)

dad was really surprised to see what we had done. he's not one to really be excited about things so we still don't really know how he feels about it all. : ) he works so hard on his business and because of that doesn't have the time or energy to tackle projects like this, so we hope he does like it and understands we did it because we appreciate him not because we thought he'd never do it.

happy belated father's day, daddy! i hope you like it and know how much love we put into this project...because WE LOVE YOU! you're the best dad i ever had! :)