Friday, April 30, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Stuff I Love

Because I love reviews, and love hearing others' recommendations about things they have used and liked, I thought it would be fun to write about my own well-loved and well-used things. I hope this way someone will discover a new favorite of their own!

Contigo Travel Tumbler
Keeps my coffee hot for up to two hours, and warm for a few hours beyond that. This is awesome to have when you have little kids and it actually takes you two hours to finish 10 oz. of coffee. It doesn't leak no matter which way you turn it, and here's the best part: little hands aren't physically able to make it work to steal your java.

Pandora Internet Radio
I found Pandora Internet Radio a few years ago at the suggestion of a friend and I have been in love with it ever since. I have literally been listening to Pandora Radio all day, every day, since the day I discovered it. Don't laugh, but I actually have a musical soundtrack to my day: I listen to praise music early in the morning when the boys wake up, then I switch to classical for most of the day. After naptime, I turn to my Jack Johnson station, then as dinnertime and early evening approach I switch to Madeleign Peyroux (if you don't know who this is, you need to go check her out. She's a dream to listen to.)

Trader Joe's
We have four grocery stores in our little town of 35,000 people, and I've frequented all of them at one time. Trader Joe's is my favorite. And when I say favorite, I mean, I try hard not to shop anywhere else if I can help it. I love shopping here so much that if Trader Joe's doesn't have an item, I learn to live without it. And it's not because they sell grass-fed beef (which they do) or because all of items are high-fructose corn syrup- and artificial preservative-free (which they are), or because their items are cheaper than the other grocery stores in town (which sounds crazy, but that's life in Silicon Valley). Those are great reasons to shop at Trader Joe's, but they're not the real reasons I love shopping there. The #1 reason I shop at Trader Joe's is: I can get everything on my grocery list in fifteen minutes, twenty-five if I have kids with me. The last time I went shopping at a 'normal' grocery store, it took me an hour to get out of that place, and I still didn't find everything I was looking for.

Chaco Sandals
Anyone who knows me at all knows that I love wearing sandals. As long as it's above 50°, they're on my feet. I came across this particular brand because I was looking for a replacement for my Birkenstocks. I wanted to find something that was durable and comfortable for walking, and versatile with my wardrobe. I hate having multiple pairs of shoes for every occasion and outfit, so love it when I can simplify to one pair that goes with everything. I also wanted shoes I didn't have to worry about replacing or resoling every two years, like I did with my Birkies. After much research, I discovered Chaco sandals. I love them and have stuck with them ever since. I have a pair of Chaco thongs that have lasted me two-and-a-half years with barely a sign of wear, and then a pair similar to the one pictured above. (Note: these sandals are on the pricey side, so I waited until the end of the summer season to look for clearance sales for the following year. Even if you pay full price, though, it's worth it.)

Pioneer Woman
Here's a woman bold enough to do what no one else dares: cook with butter, and lots of it. I'm not even going to try to say her recipes are healthy, though they can be if you tweak the ingredients a bit. But what they are is GOOD. The old-fashioned, make-your-tummy-rumble-and-your-mouth-water, make-you-not-care-if-your-pants-fit-tomorrow good. And with her step-by-step photos posted with every recipe, they're foolproof.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More Painting

Now we know who has really been doing all the hard work around here...

I love how Tommy sticks his tongue out when he's concentrating. 

This is Ben's mischievous look. Take note of it, and watch out for it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home Improvement

As you can see, we're all working hard around here trying to fix up the house. Things are progressing well with house repairs. The hardwood floors are all laid down, and will be ready for sanding (and then polyurethane) later this week or early next week. We're all trying to get lots of things done while the floors are waiting for their next stage of work, when we won't be able to be in the house for a few weeks. We think we'll be ready to move in in three more weeks.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Paint Weekend

Just a few photos from this weekend's paint work. Unfortunately I didn't take many pictures because I was too busy doing the painting to take pictures of it. We had the perfect amount of friends and family come over to help us and we all got everything painted this weekend. I think we all had had special satisfaction painting over these walls. More pictures to come once the sun comes back out. The house currently has very poor lighting, so I wasn't able to take good pictures of the finished rooms on this rainy day.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Floors in Transition

Exciting things are happening at the new Knapp house! The floor installers arrived today and started tearing up the floors. It was fun to see what they found underneath the flooring in each room. One room has particle board, one concrete, one tile, one linoleum (a bedroom, of all places), and some of them actually have hardwood, like our living room.  It's fascinating to watch the process of installing and finishing floors.

Living Room, Before

Living Room, Currently

Entry way, during demo

Entry way, Currently

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Snips & Snails...

This little guy was Tommy's playmate for a good thirty minutes yesterday. He experimented with different objects to see which ones the snail would like to climb on (success with the broom handle and sand shovel, not so much with Tommy's hand at first). Finally, he got the snail to crawl on his hand and he carried him around until I finally convinced him that the snail was hungry and would like to find some lunch in the bushes. Then I bathed him in Purell. Tommy, that is. Not the snail.

Tommy's relationship with crawly things has blossomed over the past year. At first, he didn't want anything to do bugs, snails, or other members of the family of Icky. I've made a conscious effort to pick up crawly things and put them in his hand and make it seem like fun. He still gets a bit green when I try to put things like frogs in his hand, but I think that's just because they move in ways that he doesn't expect. Now some of his best friends are snails and pill bugs. In fact, there's a playground in town that has a ton of pill bugs and we can't even get Tommy to go play because he's playing with the bugs! He gives them names like Ripist and Bob the Builder and lets them crawl all over his hands and arms. I'd say he's a nature-lovin' boy now. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Best

What parent, when at their wit's end trying to get a decent photo of the kids before church, hasn't said, "Hey kids, I have a new game you can play!  It's called, 'Let's see who can keep their hands folded the longest!'" C'mon, you know you have.

Flashback: Easter 2009

Friday, April 2, 2010

High-rise Parking Lot

This is what happens when we only have five types of toys in the house and no TV: Tommy has learned to integrate his toys and find new ways to play with them. Case in point: this high-rise parking lot, or as he called it, his "tall, tall building and parking lot!" He worked on it for about thirty minutes while I was making dinner, and then it was demolished by little brother. Was Tommy upset that all his hard work was destroyed by Ben? Hardly. For the next fifteen minutes, they took turns rebuilding the skyscraper and knocking it down again, all the while giggling madly. Boys.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New House, New Photos

Our new house closed escrow yesterday (yay!) and the previous owners cleared out all of their personal effects, so now we're finally able to show photos of the house. Mark, his mom, and a team of four workmen labored for about ten hours yesterday to clear the house of debris and to prepare it to be tented for termites. Even so, these should be viewed as "Before" photos, since we will be making major repairs in the next two weeks, including installing hardwood floors and painting all the rooms. We'll be able to move in in about two weeks. I can't wait!

Outside, Front

Living room

Part of kitchen

Dining Room

Outside Dining Room (that window on the right is the same window in the above photo)

Back deck

Other side of deck