"I do not claim that I can tell a story as it ought to be told. I only claim to know how a story ought to be told." -Mark Twain


National Dessert Day!!!

It's National Dessert Day. I cannot believe I do not have this day marked in red on my calendar. I cannot believe it is not the leading headline. I cannot believe that bells and whistles did not go off at midnight!
So I am posting a recipe I have posted before. These are pumpkin whoopie pies (or so named by me!). I actually made these in mini muffin pans. Easy to do! Just enjoy and celebrate this great, great day!


2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1 tablespoon pumpkin spice 
1 teaspoon salt 
½ cup of unsalted butter, softened 
¼ cups granulated sugar 
¾ cups dark brown sugar 
2 large eggs 
1 cup of pure solid pumpkin 
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz of cream cheese, softened 
4 ounces of unsaled bitter, softened 
2 cups of powdered sugar 
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla 
1 tablespoon of milk

To Make the Cakes:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
 Mix together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until thoroughly combined and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, until they are mixed well. Add vanilla and pumpkin until combined.

 In a separate bowl, combine flour, pumpkin spice, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
Sift and stir into the pumpkin mixture until combined.

Put two large tablespoons of mixture in each of the places on the whoopie pan OR
 On a parchment lined baking sheet, drop two rounded tablespoons of the pumpkin mixture. OR
use a mini muffin pan!! 
 Bake for 11-13 minutes until cake bounces back to the touch.
 Cool on baking sheets for 3 minutes and move to cooling rack to cool completely.

To Make the Frosting: 

 Beat together cream cheese, vanilla, and butter until mixed completely.
 Slowly add powdered sugar until incorporated with cream cheese mixture.
 Mix in cinnamon and slowly add the milk until filling is light and fluffy.

Put the filling in on the bottom of one whoopie pie and put another whoopie
on top for a whoopie pie!
split your mini muffins and do the frosting overload!
That cinnamon in the frosting is SO good!

Come back tonight to see the progress on the house!

T Minus 5 Days....

 On the very real chance that you did not read yesterday's post, let me tell you that I am on a countdown to Saturday. I am on that countdown, because I am throwing a shower that day. And for some reason, we began so many projects all at once Some of them have nothing to do with the shower. Some of them were because we were waiting on cooler weather so we could get started.  Realistically, I would like for things to be done by Saturday. Did I mention that the Hubs and I both work full time?  And that we commute two hours per day?  Gluttons for punishment is what we are!
It may not seem like a lot, but we got a lot done today. I painted the part over the new door that had to be patched up, since our door was not as enormous as our window. When I got through and it was dry, you couldn't even tell that it wasn't part of the original wall. 
The Hubs and our son Luke got a lot of the new (to us) cabinets put back in. There are more to still put in, but we have decided this kitchen reno is going to be a three-part reno. We will get Phase 1 done by the shower. Phase 2 will involve buying some more cabinets, and we will do that soon. Phase 3 involves moving the sink and the stove and installing a set of double-ovens I bought, as well as electrical work. It's a big job, so we will probably not even start that until after the first of the year. It would be nice to get it all done at once, but we pay as we go, so we will have to save back up. 
By the end of the evening, the kitchen looked like this. I think we are getting our countertops on Wednesday or Thursday. We already have the new sink. We are still debating about the freshly stripped kitchen floor. It got the final coat of stripping today, then we had to take a hand sander around all the edges. We can't decide whether to stain the floor like the rest of the house ( a dark mahogany) or to checkerboard it. I'm leaning towards checkerboard. Of course. Because it is labor-intensive and all I have is time! ha! 
If you look closely, you can see that I got all the hinges on the cabinet doors. That was not hard to do, it just took a while. So when I was resting my feet, I was putting on hinges! 
This has nothing to do with anything. I just found this knot-thing in the wood and I thought it looked like an owl. What do you think? (Regardless, he is getting either stained or painted over soon!!) 
OK. Here is one of the other issues we are dealing with. I bought a huge (16-12.5) all wool carpet on Craigslist. It was in very good condition and even came with a thick pad. It had been rolled up for a little while and wrapped tightly in plastic. We rolled it out and put our furniture on it. Then during the week we started to get "bubbles" in the rug. (Our dog Abe, INSISTS on taking his toys to the middle of the living room each and every day. We take them back to his box and he brings them out one-by-one every day.)
So we moved all the furniture back off of the carpet, so the rug could "breath". That's what I read on the internet to do. So far, I don't see much difference. In the meantime, all the furniture is crammed on both ends of the room. 
Can you see the bubble in this picture?  Do you think we need to take the pad out from under the rug? Good grief. Nothing is ever easy! 
Like my kitchen table in the middle of the yard? That's where it sat while we were stripping down the floor. At least now it has made its way to the carport. See that giant piece of wood platform? In reality it is a deck that will hook on to the house so that we can use our new kitchen door. The Hubs has been working on it little by little in the back yard over the last month or so. He tore out an ugly deck we had and completely remade this new deck using the salvaged wood. 
It is so heavy we had to have two sons and the Hubs move it around to the new door. And even then, they just dragged it. By the end of the evening, it was standing, although it had not been cemented in yet. 
Plus, the Hubs will still have to make the railing and the stairs. I will stain it when it is all through. It will certainly help getting out our new kitchen door! 
Then in the meantime this week, my sister VERY GENEROUSLY gave us her children's playset. Believe me when I tell you it came with every piece imaginable. Some of the pieces we don't even have connected yet, because our (grand)babies are only 19 months and 7 months. So we put on the swings we thought they would enjoy. It has a fireman's pole still to attach and all kinds of other swings. It also has a climbing wall, a sandbox (with cover) a rope ladder, and a telescope in the fort. Is that a kids dream or what? Yes, that ball attaches somewhere too, but that is for later. I just have it sitting in the for for now. That is our neighbors orange treehouse you can see in the background. 
In addition to building a new deck, the Hubs also built this huge table out of the salvaged wood. I am going to paint and distress it, but it is not on my pre-shower agenda. The table is big enough to seat our entire family.....And takes most of the males to move it! We need to get some chairs for it too. (Notice the old fence we saved from the original yard landscaping?) 
My ever-generous sister also sent this cute picnic table for the (grand)babies as well. Her children could actually still fit at this table, but when she is ready to get rid of things, she does not waste time. We are the very lucky recipients of many of her hand-me-downs!
Then my son gathered all the rocks we had from an old wall (that was doing nothing but weirdly sitting in the middle of the yard) that we tore down. For now he put them around the magnolia tree. He has plans on how he is going to make them in to a patio. We'll see. But he moved each one himself and they are beastly rocks. I do appreciate that, so that they are all in one place now. 
Speaking of the magnolia tree, while they are beautiful and oh-so-Southern, they can also be a pain. All those red seeds are from the tree. They also shed huge leaves and their pods. That's part of having the beautiful trees. 
So my same son that moved all those rocks and helped with the deck and the cabinets and the stripping and everything else we ask him to do, raked up and cleaned up the entire backyard. With all the new amenities in the back yard, he thought it needed some sprucing up as well. Those sacks are mainly twigs and leaves and pods from the magnolia. The yard looks good now, although we need to sod it now. I Facebooked that it was probably too late to do that, and my oldest son text me back what to plant and how to do it in the fall! ha! I wish he would come do it for me! 
Now moving on from the yard we worked on today, we also took everything out of the laundry room and tried (again) to strip those floors. This is the third time we have tried. What you see above is glue remnants (and a little linoleum). It must have been some kind of massive glue. We have tried everything and can not get it up. I caved today and said we will have to cover these floors. I had wanted to checkerboard the laundry room since we moved here, but it looks like that will never happen. 
While we had everything outside, I repainted this storage piece that one of my sons's made in high school
Then I started in on this dresser that is also in the laundry room. It is the only piece of anything that I tried to paint that will not hold chalk paint. I worked on painting it a little today, but still need to finish it. It is a giant, and I mean GIANT pain. 
I took these pics at midnight, so I had to use the flash. The freshly painted storage piece was put back in the laundry room. It looks much better. 
Because it is supposed to storm tonight, the sawhorses and work table that we had outside came in to the middle of the laundry room as well. That is only temporary though. There is that dresser mocking me, waiting on the rest of its paint job. 
I took the chicken coops off from above the washer and dryer and put them on the storage piece my son made (for the time being). I am going to put one of the old kitchen cabinets above the washer and dryer. Right now it is sitting in the middle of the kitchen. 
Let me leave you with how the dining room still looks. The stove and the cabinets around the stove are still in there. The dishes that go in the new (to use) cabinets need put up. The wall to the left still needs bead board. The rest of the bead board has been caulked and is ready for its final coat of paint. I plan to do that when I get home from school tomorrow. In the meantime I have to be out the door in 5 hours and I still have laundry to fold. T Minus 5 days and counting was a successful day, but man oh man, I still have a long way to go


T-Minus Six Days.......

 OK, here's the rub. I cannot get any of my Iphone pics to go thru when I try to email them to myself. I can email them to everyone else, but I have tried all three of my email accounts and they will not go through. I have looked in the spam and trash and they are not there. Rrrrrrr. So I will try to tell you this story without those pics. I will get the phones off my phone tomorrow by emailing them to my daughters, then I'll be able to tell you more of the background on this crazy story. For tonight, we'll start with the above picture. This is how our kitchen looked when we moved in two years ago. That is all the cabinets there were. They were horrible. Really. There was not a single appliance and only the very very shallow sink.  
 I took the doors off of one set of the cabinets and kept them seasonally decorated, hoping that people would look at that little set of cabinets and not anything else. Then about two or three weeks ago, I found a half-used can of chalkboard paint. (You'll get a pic of this tomorrow.) I took the can and began spraying the ugly backsplash in my kitchen. It's not like I could ruin it, so I wasn't too worried. 
 In the picture above you can see where I spray painted the backsplash. I am not kidding you when I say that simple act made things look better. So, I told the Hubs I was going to paint the top of our (10 ft.) walls and asked him if he would put beadboard on the bottom party. Surprisingly he agreed without a lot of coaxing. So I bought a can of gray paint  and painted the top of the walls. 
 Just so you know, all the pictures you are looking at were taken today except for the first two pics. OK, back to the story. The beige/taupe/khaki paint that had been in the ugly kitchen was fine. It's not like it was a horrible color. But they did use the same paint to paint the three or four cabinets too. That was a big ugh. So anyway, I painted the walls with the new paint and we began putting beadboard up. Then the Hubs decided to install the new kitchen door that we had had just propped in the kitchen for over a year. (It is the black door in the pic a few up). If you scroll back to the top, you will notice that there had been a window there previously. So we had to tear out part of the wall to make it a door. Plus the windows at our house are huge, so we (the Hubs did it, but I offered "kind" advice), had to fill in above the door. Then I decided to paint the door black. Good grief. I didn't know it would take 4 or 5 coats. 
 See that old kitchen door above? Tomorrow it will be no longer. It is getting taken out and walled in. We will have the new kitchen door that is on a totally different wall. Now we will be able to either put more cabinets where the old door was, or move that fridge over there. Yes, that is correctly. I am not sure yet which we will do. 
 Well there is even more to this story. Out in our garage, we had been hoarding some new (to us) kitchen cabinets we had bought on Craigslist. Ummmmm, let's see. They were only sitting out there for almost two years. Yes, we get in a hurry here! Also in that garage was a brand new paint gun that we had bought two (or more) years ago. So two weeks ago, (just a day or two after I spray-painted the backsplash) we took the cabinets out to the carport, took the spray gun out and used the paint we had bought (yes, you know what's coming) almost two years ago. Miracle of all miracles, it was a beautiful day in Oklahoma, and there was not a speck of wind. We (again, the Hubs with my kind advice) painted all afternoon and got them all done. I do want to say here, that I (kindly) suggested he paint the sides as well since he was painting the inside and outside and he (ohsokindly) assured me the sides wouldn't matter. Wrongo!! See the lower cabinet with the black knobs? We had also bought that in a previous Craigslist purchase, and I actually did paint that two years ago and we had moved it inside and were using it. You can see the old upper cabinets still in place. We placed the new ones on top, so that no one would kick or knock them over and ruin the new paint job. And that is how my kitchen looked at about 4 this afternoon (Saturday). 
 Then suddenly, after our beloved Sooners lost to texas, the Hubs needed to work off some stress (from the game). What I failed to mention was a couple of nights ago at 8 in the evening, for no reason the Hubs took up one of the tiles on the kitchen floor. He found a wood floor under it. So he took up another. More wood. Then before I knew it we had ripped up the whole floor to discover fairly decent wood. So today at 4ish, the Hubs rented a belt sander and began sanding the floors. The pic above is our crazy dining room now because we had to empty all the lower cabinets so that we could sand the entire floor. I am not sure (still) why we needed to sand and stain under the cabinets, but the Hubs said we had to. (You'll notice a couple of black cabinets in the pic above). Those were also from the big set we bought two years ago and I actually had done them a couple of summers ago and we have used them around the stove. 
 Were you wondering what all that plastic was about everywhere? It was because we were covering as much as we could to keep the dust to a minimum. But really, when things are this much of a disaster, what's a little more dust? ha!
 Here is the floor after the first pass-through. Not bad. 
 Here is the floor after we had (spontaneously) taken the tiles up the other night. We have wood floors throughout the rest of the house, so this will be better. When they're done. 
 Then about 6ish, our son Luke had a cabinet dropped on his foot. That was inside a shoe. And it hurt. I mean it really hurt. He was brave though. 
 He did not want to go and have it looked at. But really, there is not much you can do to a broken toe. With no toe nail. That keeps bleeding. But to add insult to injury (literally) the only bandaids I had were OU bandaids. OUch. I kid, I kid. We still love our Sooners, despite their (poor) game. 
 So this is what my house looks like tonight. D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R!!!  New(to us) and freshly painted cabinets everywhere and the contents of the old cabinets everywhere. Oh my word. (The clothes actually go to the clothing-for-the-needy-dropbox tomorrow.) 
 Notice there are no lower cabinets in the pic above? Including that huge piece you saw earlier that I had painted a couple of years ago. I'm telling you, the Hubs insisted on getting every inch of that floor stripped. Then he decided to take down the old upper cabinets and install the new (to us) cabinets in place of the old ones. (Notice above the door where he patched in from the old window. I still need to paint that. Since we decided to do that AFTER I had painted the walls. Are you digging the color of the old walls? Hey, look at that chalkboard backsplash...It's still looking good!  It had better, since it set off this whole entire domino affect

 Dishes are everywhere. I rolled up the rug so we would quick tracking floor and sheetrock dust all over it. That was about the only sane thing I did. This is our office/study that is filled with dishes and cabinets. 
 This is the dining room filled with dishes, cabinets and appliances. 
 I forgot to mention all the extra help we had. Or maybe he was just trying to hide since his name is Boomer Sooner. Again, I jest. Those are the old cabinets he is in by the way. 
 Look!  At 10ish, we had totally bare walls and totally bare floors. Who would have ever guessed that when we woke up this morning? 
 Did I mention there are cabinet doors, dishes and tools in our den, as well? 
 Apparently I can't show you this view enough. Scary, huh? 
 So by 11ish, the big base cabinet that I had painted two years ago was back in place. Two of the new(to us) uppers were in place. The sink by this time had even been dismantled. And again, look at that chalkboard painted backsplash. Gotta love what one little can of spray paint can do....or cause! 
Those are the old cabinets on the left. Part of the new on the right. I need to paint behind where the icebox had previously been. I promise the old cabinets are not half as good as they look. I had given the uppers a coat of white paint and that helped them, but they still need work. And this is how the kitchen looks as I type this after midnight. It has a long way to go. Not to mention cleaning up everything and putting it back in the new (to us) cabinets. And I did not even mention that we did something in the living room today. And that I totally emptied the laundry room (hence the goodwill clothes), and are doing something in there too. More pics to come (probably at midnight or later) over the next five days.
And why five days you ask? Well were you wondering about the title of this post, "T-minus 6 Days?"  Because in 6 days I am hosting a shower for my nephew and his soon-to-be-bride. Not. Even. Kidding. Did you fall out of your chair? Well, you read it correctly. I am hosting a shower at my house next Saturday.
I agree.
Let's say it again.
So you can follow along for the next six days to see how I get this done. This should be interesting!
I've got a few jobs to do, then I need to get some shut-eye for another big day tomorrow.
Come back and see what else we do! 


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