Sunday, April 26, 2015

Project Sunday 4-26-15

I know it's been a long time since I've done a Project Sunday (grad school will do that to you), but now that we're home owners, expect to see more of them coming your way! Let's start with this one...

Railings, pt. 1

Okay, if I were to be 100% honest, this would really be "Railings, pt. 2", since this is actually the second day that we've been working on this project.  After work this part Thursday, we decided we had time to instal a railing on our front porch. Long story short, we really only had time to go to the Home Store and get all of our supplies before it got too dark and too cold and too tired to really get any work done.

The lovely hubs.

So, we got up early this morning and decided that we were going to get the railings done before we had to leave for a concert at 3pm. Long story short, we didn't. But we did make a lot of progress, and I wanted to share that with you. Here's the before picture, so that you can see what we have to work with:


We're installing a railing along the side of the stairs to make it easier to get in and out of the house. It's not super high up, but some of our relatives have had issues with it, and when it was covered in ice... ugh, forget it. Nightmare city. We're also installing a piece of railing on the other side of the porch, where there is a 2'+ drop to the drive-way. Right now it's a nice place to hand things up from the car, but I can see myself tripping and falling, and I really don't want that to happen. So yeah, railing.

We've installed railings before, and I don't remember it taking an extremely long time, so I figured we'd be able to finish the whole thing in a few hours. Turns out, I was wrong. The first step to installing railings is to put up the posts (newel columns). In order to do that, you need some of these funny looking feet-things to anchor them into. And in order to do that, you need to drill holes into the concrete, with a special masonry bit and a hammer-drill. Not a quick process.

Trust hammer, gets the job done.

After we drilled the holes, we need to pound in some masonry anchors, which are basically special screws that expand when you hit them, so they stay in place in the concrete. Pretty nifty, if you can get them to work. It took a lot of finagling, but finally we got all four holes drilled, and all four anchors in... for our first post. Then came placing the footing on, and tightening the nuts down so that everything stayed in place. Here's a joke for you: How many vice-grips does it take to instal a masonry anchor?

That's my father-in-law's foot! He helped!

The answer is: At least two (which was all we had on hand). Once all of the nuts were tightened down, we had our first footing installed. Just two more to go! Luckily the next two didn't take quite as long as the first one. We got into a rythem, and it actually went pretty quickly. All in all, installing three footings took about 3 hours, with one quick trip to the harware store and a break to mow the lawn. Not too bad. Still, we spent all morning on the railings, and I feel like we don't have too much to show for it. At least we got to use our giant shop-vac!

It came with the house, honest.
Anyway, I'm not sure when we'll have time to get back to work on these, probably Wednesday. You see, we're not actually moved in to the house yet. We're waiting to get all of the painting and flooring done before we start putting our stuff in the house, so we're still in the apartment. So we can only work on projects after work and on weekends and such, and have to allow time for schlepping everything there and back. Fun, right? Anyway, stay tuned next week for Part two! (I hope)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Mock" & Cheese

Every year on Passover, I face the same challenge: what to feed my picky husband. He won't eat fish, or eggs, or veggies, or... grown-up foods, really. He mostly lives on pasta & pizza and bread, and on a holiday when we can't have any of those, not eating the same thing 10 nights in a row becomes... difficult. So my plan is to try to collect a list of easy go-to recipes that I can make any night of the week with little or no prep. This is the first one in my new collection. A friend gave me the recipe just two days ago, and I already love it. So, here it is:

Tova's "Mock" & Cheese


3 eggs
3 1/2 cups matzah farfel (I made my own with regular matzah, a plastic baggie & a hammer)
1/2 lb. (or more) of cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1/2 pint sour cream
1/2 pint cottage cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Grease an 8x8 baking pan, pre-heat oven to 350. Beat the eggs with the milk & seasonings, and add in the matzah farfel, to soak. Cut or shred the cheese into small bits.

2. Mix in the cheese, sour cream & cottage cheese. Pour the mix into the baking pan and try to make it look all even and pretty.

3. Bake covered for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 30 minutes, or until golden-brown and delicious.

4. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Bought a house!

We're still more than a week out from our original closing date (for the house), but because of circumstances we moved the closing up, and as of last week... we're home-owners!

Yup, you read that right. We closed on the house last week, and have actually owned it for 8 whole days now! Though it doesn't really feel like we own a house, since I never get to see it. Sadface. We closed on Monday the 30th, and my husband and I camped out there over-night (after cleaning it up a bit). We have two twin size air-mattresses borrowed from my best friend (who lives right down the street) and four chairs that the seller left us.
Or rather, we have four chairs that we asked the seller to get rid of before the closing. He dragged them out to the curb and called that good enough. The city however, disagreed, and we had to move them or get a ticket, as we found out once we came home after the closing. So, we took them back into the house, and now we have bonus chairs.

Anyway, I haven't even seen my house in a week because I've been so busy with school, work and of course, Passover. Hopefully I'll get to go out there tomorrow afternoon sometime and you know, make sure its still standing? Then I probably won't see it again until Sunday night, when it'll be time to start assessing how much work needs to be done, and what we have to finish up before we can move in.

Stay tuned next time for: The House Saga: Part 1