To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Update: Kitchen Remodel Day 2

After Day 2 of The Great Lowe Kitchen Remodel, we've made lots of progress! The cabinets and appliances are gone, except for the refrigerator which they graciously left for the time being. There's framing for a new raised bar. The electricians have come and done their thing providing wiring for new under-cabinet lights, moving a switch, getting rid of my unsightly wall phone jack, and installing 10 new can lights. The plumbers have done their thing - our sink will move slightly to the left, and our dishwasher will be moving from the left to the right of the sink. The air conditioner vent has been rerouted so it will come out of the toe-kick under the cabinet instead of out of the soffit overhead. (Dear Original Contractor:  what were you thinking?) Best of all, the cottage cheese ceiling is gone! It actually came down much easier than I thought it would, and the mess was not as bad as I expected. The key to less mess was this fantastic tool - a ceiling texture scraper.

I'm going to get one of these puppies and scrape every ceiling in the house! You attach a bag to it, and the stuff falls into the bag - not all over the floor. You do have to go around the edges of the ceiling with a putty knife, and that does make a mess, but it's not nearly as bad as it would be without this tool.The process was simple. They sprayed water on the ceiling with a spray bottle, let it soak in good, then the stuff just scraped off very easily. A couple of swipes was all it took.

So far, we're having no real troubles with eating and cooking. It's inconvenient, but possible. The most inventive thing I've done really wasn't a big deal - scrambling eggs on a flat electric griddle in the garage. Today, a pot roast will cook in the crock pot out there. With the 100-degree heat, I could probably just put it in a pot on my driveway and get the same results!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Goodbye, Old Kitchen!

As I write this, my kitchen is being demolished! Woo-hoo! Here are some before photos.

Goodbye, white cabinets and that ugly air-conditioning vent in the soffit. Goodbye deep refrigerator that stuck out into the room. Goodbye nasty old microwave. Goodbye corroded sink.

Goodbye, white laminate countertops that show every spill and crumb, even when you just cleaned it.

Goodbye, overhead florescent light and popcorn ceiling.

Goodbye, make-shift under-cabinet lighting whose cord we could never keep hidden.

Goodbye, shiny brass hardware and exposed hinges. Goodbye non-adjustable shelves that didn't allow for tall items.

Goodbye corner cabinets with no pull-outs. I won't miss looking for items lost in your far reaches.

Update:  Click here to see the transformation!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Probably Not Compliant With Food Safety Regulations...

Things are about to get VERY INTERESTING in the Lowe household. For the next month, this is my kitchen.

Yep, you're looking at two crockpots, a toaster, and a microwave sitting on a counter in my garage. The box on top of the microwave holds some cooking utensils. The rest of my necessities-only cooking paraphernalia is in this small cabinet next to that counter.

The coffee maker is set up in the downstairs powder room.

 And THIS would be my kitchen sink, my garden hose kitchen faucet, and my grill oven.

Can you guess what's happening? If you guessed kitchen renovation, you're right! Everything but the floor is slated for demolition tomorrow! Stay tuned for some before photos, some during photos, and undoubtedly, lots of microwave and grill recipes. It's going to be quite an adventure!

Huge Zhu Zhu Pet Sale at CVS

If you have a child who is as much of a Zhu Zhu pet freak as mine is, RUN, don't walk to your nearest CVS! Zhu Zhu pets and accessories are on sale 5/$10, and this includes the accessories that are usually $25 and up. The munchkin had been saving her money to buy more Zhu Zhu stuff, so she was very excited! We hit one store and bought everything the munchkin didn't have, and then hurried to another store. The 2nd store was sold out!

UPDATE: This turns out to be a "your mileage may vary" sort of thing. My mother tells me that this sale is not going on in her store in another town. I have seen it on other blogs today, though, so it might be worth a quick call to your store.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hall of Shame: Submarine's Ad Campaign for Girls' Swimwear

My latest Hall of Shame award goes to (drumroll, please) the current ad campaign from Submarine for girls' swimsuits. (My Hall of Shame awards go to anyone or anything that I deem to be disrespectful to girls or harmful to the healthy self-image of girls, especially tween girls like my own munchkin.) These COULD be cute suits but the sexualized presentation ruins them for me. Little girls in heavy makeup, wigs, dangling earrings, and insouciant pouts? Seriously? These girls don't look like sweet and innocent children out to have fun at the pool or beach. They look like sexy adult-wannabes.

Another blogger, Nancy at Parent Girls (part of New Moon Girls Network), puts it very well when she says Submarine is playing up the pending sexuality of these girls to sell a product, and that's repulsive. If you agree, you can let Submarine know. Both Nancy and Melissa posted examples of letters you can send to Submarine owner Deborah Soriano at I sent one.

The American Psychological Association also agrees that this type of imposed sexualization is harmful to children. It contributes to an inability to concentrate, anxiety about appearance, eating disorders, low self-esteem, depression, and poor sexual well-being.  A publication from 2007 by the APA Task Force addresses the sexual objectification of girls, and is worth taking the time to read if you are a parent or a manufacturer or distributor of kids' products. Be sure to read pages two and three which contain suggestions on what parents and kids can do. Think about the girls in that Submarine ad when you read this quote from the APA:
Girls get this message repeatedly: What matters is how “hot” they look. It plays on TV and across the Internet. You hear it in song lyrics and music videos. You see it in movies, electronic games, and clothing stores. It’s a powerful message.

As parents, you are powerful too. You can teach girls to value themselves for who they are, rather than how they look. You can teach boys to value girls as friends, sisters, and girlfriends, rather than as sexual objects. And you can advocate for change with manufacturers and media producers.

In fact, Nancy has come up with a great idea for communicating with companies. It's called Girl-Caught. She's made up some printable stickers you can put on any product ad or packaging that show that you either hate it because it objectifies and disrespects women or girls, or that you like it because it is respectful. Mail the offending (or exemplary) ad or product packaging to the company with the sticker, and before you do, scan or photograph what you're sending and share it with under "My Stuff."  I'm going to do this with my munchkin to teach her how to evaluate the advertising she sees.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Piano Parent Tips

If you're the parent of a piano student, you might be interested in a series I'm writing at my piano teaching blog! I'm writing Piano Parent Tips every Monday. Today's tip is about time management. Tomorrow's post will be a review of a teaching tool that is not only great for piano teachers, but also piano families or homeschooling families. Hope you'll visit and/or follow!

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Displaying Baby Dresses In A Shadow Box

While I was at my parents' house for the fourth of July, I took lots of pictures of their vintage and antique collections. One of the more special things is this framed display of baby dresses that belonged to my grandmother, my mother, and me. I'm an only child, and my mother is an only child. I also have an only daughter, so maybe one day, I'll reframe this with four generations of baby dresses!
My mother's booties, silver spoon, and bracelet

These were mine!

Baby dresses from 1939, 1914, and 1964. Now, you know exactly how old I am! No worries. I'm proud of every year!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

My Grandfather or Don Draper?

We traveled to visit my parents for the Fourth of July, and when I walked into the guest room where the munchkin would sleep, I suddenly realized what it is that keeps bugging me about Don Draper, the main character of the fabulous AMC series Mad Men. There was the answer, hanging right on the wall! Check this out: 

My grandfather in the 1930s

Amazing, isn't it? Pretty handsome grandfather, eh?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Fourth of July Cupcakes

These cupcakes turned out just so darn cute I wanted to share!  It was probably a bit ambitious to make real buttercream for cupcakes that would be served at our family reunion on a 95+ degree day in Georgia. The icing will probably melt and slide right off. Even if it does, the cupcakes themselves are pretty special. There's a surprise inside!

Vanilla Three-Color Cupcakes
(Yields one dozen. Can be doubled.)


1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup milk
gel food coloring in red and blue

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk until batter is smooth. 
  3. Divide batter equally into 3 bowls. Using gel food colors, tint 1/3 of the batter red and 1/3 blue.
  4. You can layer the colors in any order you choose. Spoon a small amount of 1st colored batter in the cupcake liners and spread so that it covers the bottom. Spoon a small amount of the 2nd color on top, gently spreading it toward the edges. Finish with the third color. Cupcake liners should be filled about 2/3 to the top.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
Buttercream Icing

1 cup butter, softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
red, white, and blue sprinkles (optional)

In a bowl combine butter, sugar and salt. Beat till blended.
Add the milk and vanilla and beat for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until smooth and creamy.

Happy Fourth of July!

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