Category: Home

Adventures in Home Ownership

The fun thing about owning a home is making it your own.  The not so fun things are the unexpected expenses and repairs that happen to pop up.  Actually, those are things I dread about owning a home.  I don’t deal well with the unexpected.

We knew that we were going to have to get a new refrigerator and had been putting it off for about a year.  The freezer had a coat of ice on the bottom and was also leaking water into the fridge.  No good.  So we decided to finally bite the bullet and bring this beauty home πŸ™‚

Kitchen-Renovations-Fridge-2Look at all the space!!!


I know it seems silly, but it makes cooking so much more enjoyable!

While we were in the market for new appliances, I decided that I FINALLY needed a dishwasher.  We’ve lived in this house for 4.5 years and have had a portable dishwasher.  It was better than NO dishwasher, but it took up a lot of space and you couldn’t do anything else in the kitchen while it was running.  An installed dishwasher involved moving some cabinets around and running a water line.  Not a big deal, but a disruption I never wanted to deal with.  But now that I’m working from home, it was time since I could be here while the work was going on.

So we hired a carpenter that specializes in kitchens, had a plumber on call and bought the dishwasher.  The whole job was going to take a day and all would be right in the world kitchen.  Remember when I mentioned those unexpected situations…well this small project was just FULL of them!

So here’s how the cabinet project went.  Things were going well in the morning and everything was on schedule.  Then around noon things started to take a turn for the worse…  The carpenter’s girlfriend showed up to bring him lunch and she walks in my house WITH HER DOG!  I’m sorry, what?!?  You just walk in someone’s house and don’t ask if it’s ok to bring a dog in??  Who does that??  Needless to say I sternly told her to remove the dog, but the kicker is, when she returned she didn’t apologize but proceeded to tell me how she brings the dog everywhere and it would’ve been respectful of my cats.  Really?  Is that why it picked up one of their toys as soon as it walked in the door?  Plus, my cats have never been around dogs and I’m sure would not appreciate one in their house.  

Next, he washed his hands to eat his lunch and then went outside.  I come into the kitchen to find water ALL OVER THE FLOOR!  Apparently while moving all the cabinets around, the drain became loose and was draining right into the cabinet below and onto the kitchen floor.  As I frantically grabbed towels and moved everything, he stood behind me eating his sandwich.  Awesome.

Then to finish the day, I hear him calling my name and saying that he cut himself.  I grab some peroxide and band-aids and put them on the bathroom counter.  He proceeds to tell me that he can’t remove the pressure because he has IMPALED HIS HAND WITH A CHISEL!  Ok that’s a little different from a cut.  If you know me, you will know that I am NOT good with blood.  So now I need to go in his toolbox and grab some giant band-aids (apparently this happens often because he comes prepared) and help him put them on while holding back the gags. 

He went to the hospital to get stitched up and said he would be back.  I would hope so because the kitchen looked like this…


I quickly bleached down the bathroom and took a look outside where the incident happened…it was like a crime scene…



Thankfully it was scheduled to rain that night, so I just left that.  But really, he was doing this on my garbage cans???

Needless to say, by the time he returned it was late so he cleaned up and came back the next morning.  Thankfully there were no issues on day 2, but after he left I found a HUGE stain on our walkway into the house.  Apparently he spilled the wood stain and didn’t think it was necessary to tell me.  Awesome 2.0.  No, I will not be recommending this “Kitchen Magician” to anyone.

The dishwasher was installed the next day and it is a beautiful thing…made all that craziness worthwhile πŸ™‚


Well that was until 2 days later when we noticed WATER DRIPPING INTO OUR BASEMENT!!!  The ceiling was soaked and so was the carpet below it.  The ceiling now looks like this…


Am I on Candid Camera?  Installing a dishwasher can’t possibly be this hard!  Thankfully the plumber was around the corner and came right over.  Apparently one of the internal hoses wasn’t tightened and was dripping.  Who knew a small drip could cause so much destruction?!

Good news is that the leak is fixed, the basement is dry (after 3 days of fans and dehumidifiers) and I have an installed dishwasher.  There were a few other things we were thinking of doing around the house, but I think I’m going to wait a bit on that.  I can only take so much chaos at a time!!

Do you have any home repair horror stories?? 

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Comfort Food! Guinness Beef Stew

I don’t know about you but when I’m going through tough times, I turn to food…well, food AND cocktails.  I love to eat and I love experiencing life through food.  

One of the recipes that I think I wooed B with when we were first dating about 9 years ago was Guinness Beef Stew.  I remember having this craving for something slow cooked and “homey”…for some reason Guinness popped in my head.  So I searched Food Network and found this awesome recipe.  


I’ve mades some tweaks along the way, but I can basically make this recipe with my eyes closed at this point.  It’s the perfect meal for these cold winter nights that seem to never end and also to warm the heart in times of need.  Slow cooked love makes everything better πŸ™‚  Serve it with some potatoes or egg noodles…anything to soak up all that yummy sauce.


Then sit back, relax and all will be good…at least for the time being.  Nothing warms the soul like a full belly and a food coma nap πŸ™‚


Guinness Beef Stew
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
3 hr
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
  1. 2 pounds grass fed stew beef
  2. 2 Tbsp flour
  3. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  4. Pinch of cayenne
  5. 2 Tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 large onions, coarsely chopped
  7. 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  8. 2 tablespoons tomato puree, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water - or 1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  9. 1 12 oz bottle Guinness Extra Stout
  10. 2 cups carrots, cut into rounds
  11. Sprig of fresh thyme - or 1 Tbsp dried thyme
  1. In a small bowl, toss the beef with flour, salt, pepper and cayenne.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large dutch oven pot over high heat.
  3. Brown the meat on all sides and remove to a bowl.
  4. Reduce the heat, add the onions, crushed garlic and tomato puree to the pot, cover, and cook gently for 5 minutes.
  5. Pour half of the Guinness into the pot, bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the caramelized meat juices on the pan.
  6. Add the meat, along with the remaining Guinness, carrots and thyme.
  7. Stir and adjust seasonings.
  8. Cover the casserole and simmer over low heat, or in a 300 degree F oven until the meat is tender, 2 1/2 hours.
  9. Cook for up to 30 minutes with the lid off to thicken the sauce.
  10. Adjust seasonings (you WILL need more salt!)
  1. This is SO much better the next day!
Adapted from Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger
RAD Living
What is your favorite comfort food?  Share the recipe in the comments…I’d LOVE to try it!

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