Category Archives: Home & Garden

Kitchen Update and Countertop Dilemma


I am back with an update on our new kitchen. I am happy to say, that 2 weeks ago we signed on the dotted line and our cabinets went into manufacturing. Since they are custom cabinets, they will be made to order and take at least 8 weeks. We ended up going with a brand new Wood-Mode finish called Vintage Bright White. The Vintage finish is a distinctive glaze that is applied over the base color and adds a brushed appearance to the surface while highlighting the details of the door style and architectural elements. It also tones done the bright white and is just beautiful. The cabinets below are in Vintage Bright White. This is not the door I picked but I wanted to share the color with you.

We are also really excited about the integrated Häfele LED lighting matched to custom-fabricated Wood-Mode cabinetry. This lighting is brand new and we are the first kitchen that has it. I cannot wait because, I love light and I was forever saying I needed better lighting in the kitchen. This lighting will be in every cabinet and every drawer.

An industry-first, the Wood-Mode Integrated Lighting Program featuring Häfele LED solutions is a collaboration between two industry leaders to meet and drive the growing demand for integrated lighting design. The program utilizes the very best 12 volt, 3rd generation Loox LED options from Hafele. LED lighting is specified in 80% of kitchen projects overall (according to the NKBA) and offers energy-efficient, controllable, and discrete illumination with unlimited creative possibilities. You can read more about it HERE.

Beyond that, I have all the tile at the house and ready to be installed. I still need to pick the tile for the backsplash and that is where I am conflicted. The kitchen designer I am working with told me that it did not matter if I was having second thoughts on the color/pattern of the quartz now, because we have a lot of time. She said they will not  be coming to do the template until the cabinets are installed. That made me breathe a bit easier because I have been going back and forth with my choice. I selected Cambria Quartz in Nevern. I have a very large sample piece and I love it!

The problem is that Cambria Quartz does not photograph well. At least the Nevern does not. In almost every photo I see of it online, it looks like a dull, flat, ugly laminate countertop. The picture below is the one I hate the most, it does nothing to sell this countertop.

That frightens me beyond belief. I know, I like Cambria Quartz, because I had it in my kitchen for almost 10 years. It is just that they need to do a better job in showing the beauty I see in this sample. I have heard other people complain about the same thing. Most said that they had second thoughts based on photos, but were happy in the end when it was installed. They said that the photos did not do it justice at all.

So I was thinking, I should play it safe and go with something like Ella.

On my way to sign the contracts, I kept thinking about it, but my heart and my head were not sold on it at all. I was so glad that when I told my kitchen designer  I was thinking about Ella, she said, “Oh no, you do not want to go with Ella. You want something to make things pop!” I thanked her so much! It was the advice I needed! So Ella got kicked to the curb but I still am second guessing my choice.

I went on the Cambria Facebook page and asked them about my dilemma, but received as Verizon would say, a “half fast” answer. It was like they did not even read my question because they responded that I should look for a larger sample. I guess they missed what I wrote about having a large sample and the photos not looking at all like what I see in front of me.

I don’t know, I know I have time, but until I decide on the countertop, it halts the selection of the backsplash tile. Speaking of being halted, we have been halted for weeks with the demo crew. They should have completed everything by now. We have been held up for over 3 months, but let’s not even go there. Hopefully, work is going to begin next week. I feel like we are behind the 8-ball in getting everything done before the cabinets are ready.

Anyway, I guess this is not much of an update, but I wanted to let you know that things are still moving along slowly. The bathroom renovation has been halted a bit by this whole situation as well. I will have a post up about the faucet we chose for the bathroom in the next few days.

If you made it this far, thank you. If you would like to add any insight on the countertops, please do so in the comments. I would like to hear your thoughts. I will tell you one thing, if I do go for the Nevern and I love it, I will do everything in my power to get great photos of what it really looks like. I don’t want anyone else to have this uncertainty due to poor photos.



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8 of My Favorite Bird Feeders

I love watching the birds at my feeders during the day, at night we have the pleasure of seeing southern flying squirrels, which is really cool! I have used a lot of bird feeders over the years. I want to share some of my favorites that have stood the test of time and can be found all around my yard.

Watching the birds brings me a lot of joy and provides me with thousands of photo opportunities which is something this hobby photographer loves. These are my 8 favorite bird feeders:

The No/No Red Ball Feeder by Perky Pet

This fun-shaped feeder comes in red and green. I use the red but red and green would be perfect for Christmas since they look like ornaments. They are low maintenance and supposed to be squirrel and small animal proof. They are better, but not foolproof. I have some pretty smart squirrels and frankly, as long as they do not break the feeders, I don’t mind them coming in for a snack. Even if they do manage the tough task of removing the top,  this feeder has not broken. That is a huge plus as plastic feeders don’t stand a chance!

It is easy to fill and holds 6 cups of black oiled sunflowers very well. I have a few of these and they are out all year-long in the frigid, snowy winters of Upstate New York and hold up well. The birds really like them and they are one of my most flocked to feeders in my yard. I just noticed Amazon has the green feeder on a super sale now  for only $5.98. I am picking up a few more because I like color and I can always find more places to use them on my property. I think they would make a nice gift for teachers at the end of the school year. I guess I should get a few more.

 

Ladybug Mesh No/No Feeder by Perky Pet

This feeder is one I bought when shopping with my young sons in our local garden center. It adds a whimsical touch to our yard. It does not hold as much as the ball feeders and it is a little harder to fill, but not terrible. The birds really like this feeder and I think it might be the contrasting colors that make it stand out. The little legs add a perching area for the birds coming in for a snack.

No/No Bronze Tray Bird Feeder by Perky Pet

This is a feeder with a huge capacity of 2.5 lbs. I like this feeder because of its large capacity, if I have to be away for a day or two, I know the birds can count on this feeder. It can feed many birds at once which is great, because we have many birds that dine at our house.

Perky Pet Metal Tube Feeders

I love these metal feeders almost as much as the birds do. I like the colors, they remind of colorful houses in the Caribbean. I hang them off my porch which may occur for my only issue. The squirrels can, with a lot of work, pop out the plastic seed guard and perch. They are very tough and I have been able to pop them right back, but I think if they were not in such an easy area for the squirrels to reach them, it would not be an issue.

They are so easy to fill,  the red and blue hold a nice amount of seed. I just love the look of the bright colors among my home and gardens. Red is the largest, then blue and yellow is the smallest.

 

Wildbird Care Vertical Cedar Bird Feeder

I like this feeder because the seed guards and perches are screwed in Even though we have squirrels dropping or flying by for a treat, they cannot remove them and happily snack from the tray on the bottom. It is very attractive and is a beautiful addition to our yard. This is another feeder I will be buying a few more of.

Droll Yankees New Generation Finch Flocker

Along with black oiled sunflower seeds, I like to put out Nyjer or thistle seed and since they are so tiny, they need a special feeder. I have used sock feeders, but they are hard to refill and  can get moldy. I wanted something better. I found the Droll Yankees New Generation 8″ Finch Flocker  fit my needs.

This feeder is very well made and allows for several of our colorful finches to eat at the same time. An internal seed baffle  directs seed to an additional seed port located at the lowest level of seed to ensure that the feeder empties completely without allowing seed build-up. It is easy to fill and holds 1/2 lb. of seed. It has a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty against squirrel damage.

Kaytee Mesh Feeder

This feeder is perfect for filling with dried mealworms that our Bluebirds love!

Stokes Select Double Suet Bird Feeder with Metal Roof

If one is good, two is better, right? My birds seem to think so! The Stokes Select Double Suet Bird Feeder has a metal roof and room for two suet cakes. It looks nice and gets a lot of traffic. Stokes also makes a larger cylinder style that I may give a try. If you feed suet, check these out!

I will not get into hummingbird or oriole feeders now, I will let you know about those in an upcoming post. Let me know what your favorite bird feeders are.

 


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10 Reasons to Dehydrate Food

Preserving foods by drying has been done since ancient times. For many centuries, it was the only way to ensure foods didn’t go bad for long trips or during warm weather. It’s still done today, only it’s more of a useful, pleasant hobby than a necessity. We now have electric dehydrators that remove moisture to create stable, nutritious snacks that some people prefer to the original food. Here you’ll find some of the many benefits of a food dehydrator.

Portable

When your food has been dried, you can bring healthy snacks along wherever you go. Whether you’re driving or seeing the sites, putting a bag of dried foods in your purse or pocket gives you something healthy to snack on and keep up your energy. When in the outdoors, you can even take along dried soup ingredients and add hot water for a tasty meal.

Replace salty snacks

It’s now well-known that most store-bought snacks like chips and crackers contain a high amount of salt. They will also contain unhealthy preservatives that add toxins to the body. By drying fruits or vegetables, you can create a nutritious snack. Weaning your family off potato chips and cookies might be easier than you think if you’re offering delicious banana or apricot chips.

No chemicals

There is no need to worry about preservatives, dyes, or other chemicals. The only thing you need is a dehydrator and almost any food. Cutting your favorite fruits or meats into bite-sized slices creates a chewy dried snack that will retain its natural taste, vitamins, and minerals for months to come.

Efficient storage

Drying food can decrease its size to as little as one sixth of its original volume. Nor is there any need to make room in the freezer or refrigerator. After dehydrating, a few pounds of apples will easily fit into a sandwich bag. You can seal it up and tuck it away in a corner of the pantry to snack on long after fresh apples have spoiled.

Raw foods

Diets based on eating a majority of foods in the raw state are very popular. It makes perfect sense, since boiling and other means of cooking tends to destroy a good percentage of vitamins. This begins to happen as low as 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Dehydrators can preserve your food at even lower temperatures, which means you’re also preserving all the natural fiber and nutrition.

Reduction of waste

The ability to preserve excessive grocery purchases and even leftovers not only save you money but can save time. Dehydrated meals can be easily warmed up again with water, broths, or soup stock. Reducing waste also means lower demand, lower commercial production, and less stress on the environment. You can even go as far as growing your favorite herbs or vegetables in your own garden. You’ll never have to buy them again if you dry and preserve the overage.

Save on costs

Dehydration eliminates spoilage and waste so that you save money over time on every perishable food item you buy. You can also save money in other ways:
* Buy in bulk and dry the excess for storage.
* Purchase your own fresh herbs and dry them for flavoring.
* Provide dried fruits for delicious snacks instead of sugary commercial items.
* Make healthy snack mixes to put out at gatherings or give as gifts.

Consistent quality

With your own dehydrator, you have control over what foods you choose to dry, how much, and how often. You can cut and separate them into any portion sizes you like, or add some lemon juice or cinnamon for a little zest. You can serve your own dried foods to guests and family with the confidence that they are perfectly healthy treats with no hidden ingredients.

Buy during peak seasons

You can save more money and reduce waste even more by stocking up on fresh local produce. During the harvest season, pick up staples like tomatoes, blueberries, or even melons at roadside stands. These are generally fresher and healthier than the big chain grocery store produce that’s trucked in from all over the country. Dry them and you’ll have a delicious food source all winter long.

Fun family projects

Dehydrating and saving healthy snacks is something the whole family can get behind. It’s not hard to do with a little supervision. Everyone in the household can pick their favorite foods and take part in preparing, drying, and storing them right in the kitchen on those cold or rainy days. You might even come up with a new mouth-watering recipe for beef jerky.

Dehydrators are a convenient and simple way of preserving natural foods. In modern times it’s become the best and cheapest option. You can repurpose dried ingredients any way you like. Dehydrating food can easily become part of a healthier new lifestyle.

 

This is a sponsored guest post and may or may not represent the views of Mommy Ramblings

 

 

 


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Almondina Toastees-The Perfect Baked Snack To Enjoy With My Tea! #Giveaway

I drink a lot of tea and sometimes I want a little something sweet to go along with it. The problem is that sometimes that “little something” can do big things to my waistline. So does that mean I have to deprive myself? Not at all, not since I discovered Almondina Toastees, this baked snack has no added fat, no added salt, no preservatives and is dairy free.

Best part, they are delicious! How delicious? My 8-year-old loves them delicious! Seriously, he tells me I better not eat them all on him!

They come in great flavors like Sesame Almond, Cranberry Orange, Coconut Orange Almond and Lemon Poppy Almond. I just love them and they are the perfect pairing with my tea. They are also great with cheese, crunched up over yogurt or ice cream, with coffee and more. Perfect snack to take along on road trips, keep in your desk at work or send off to school with your child.

Crunchy with just the right amount of sweet and only 67 calories per serving with 2 grams of protein and no cholesterol. Check out my unboxing video below.

I would love to know if you have tried these and what you think. Please let me know in the comments. Don’t forget to enter our giveaway where you can win an assortment of these delicious Almondina Toastees!

Giveaway:

Almondina is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win an assortment of 6 bags of Almondina Toastees. Thank you Almondina for the delicious sampler and for sponsoring this fantastic giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Almondina Toastees (6 Bag Assortment) Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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My Top 11 Kitchen Essentials

I am in the middle of a huge home renovation including a new kitchen, 2 bathrooms, flooring throughout and more. It is a bit chaotic to say the least but I am trying to focus on the end result. I was thinking about what I would consider my top 11 kitchen essentials. I have a lot more than that, believe me, but let’s start with 11.

KitchenAid Mixer

My first would be my KitchenAid Mixer, it is actually my second one. My first was a classic and is still great but when we redid our kitchen almost 10 years ago, my husband bought me a bigger, badder one that matched our stainless steel appliances. I have the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series Bowl Lift Mixer in liquid graphite.

I never use anything else to mix up dough, cookie batters, cakes, frosting and so much more. It is definitely at top of my kitchen essentials list. 

Number 2 would be a good set of knives. I have a Wusthof Knife Set with Knife Block. However, in our new kitchen we have a knife block that is built into a cabinet and a drawer with knife storage so we will be storing our knives there. With or without the block they are a great set of knives and tools.

 VitaMix Blender

Number 3 is my VitaMix Blender. I did a lot of research before getting this blender and I have not regretted the purchase once. I have both the wet and dry container and just love it. I used to have to keep it on my island as it was so tall with the container, but in the new kitchen design we created a special area for it. The cabinets will be raised up so that my VitaMix can fit underneath the counter even with the tall 64 oz container on. Imagine designing our kitchen around our VitaMix! That is how much we love it!

I use it to make all kinds of smoothies, soups, frozen treats and more. It works so well and I love the retro look. If you are considering one, just go for it, you will not regret it. I just found out they now make a low profile VitaMix with a wider 64 oz container that fits under most cabinets. I am still confident I did the right thing because these blenders are workhorses that last forever. I also like the retro appearance of mine better that the low profile models.

Cast Iron Cookware

Number 4 is our cast iron pans. I no long like to cook in non-stick cookware due to the potential health effects. We have our stainless steel pots and pans but also invested in several pieces of cast iron cookware. I really like that it releases iron into the food which is important to women like myself, who need to supplement their iron.

 Emile Henry Bread Pans (Number 5,6 & 7)

Another favorite is my Emile Henry Bread Loaf Baker, Bread Cloche and Baguette Baker. I never knew I could make bread like this constantly from the first time. I adore these and would not dream of baking bread any other way.

 Emile Henry Butter Jar

With fresh bread you need to have butter and that brings us to number 8 in the top kitchen essentials list, the Emile Henry Butter Jar. I love how I never need to deal with hard butter and have spreadable butter all the time.

 Vita Clay Smart Organic Multicooker

Next up, my Smart Organic Multicooker by Vita Clay. With all the news about crock pots leaching lead into food, I love this healthier option to slow cook my food. Not only that, this is a rice cooker and yogurt maker. Best of all no lead leaching in our food.

 Keurig 2.0

The strangest thing happened, I used to be a major coffee drinker but my friend told me about bullet proof coffee, you know that coffee you make with grass-fed butter and coconut oil or MCT oil. I hated it, but drank it to see if it would give me the crazy energy it promised.
It did not, I am high energy anyway and it did nothing to boost that. I will tell you what it did do, it made me hate coffee! Coffee was something I used to savor and look forward to. The short time that I was drinking the bullet proof coffee, it totally killed my taste for coffee. Even when I went back to drinking it like I wanted, I could barely finish a cup. Anyway, I totally cannot drink it now and drink only tea.
My husband on the other hand is a coffee addict and so my next kitchen essential is our Keurig 2.0. We have been Keurig users since 2010 and have 2 larger Keurigs and one mini. However he has full use of it now that I am not drinking coffee.
 

 Electric Tea Kettle

My Electric Tea Kettle as a tea drinker is my best friend. I can bring it almost anywhere like in my office and have my tea without any hassle. There are all kinds of electric kettles, my daughter loves her Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle and has it at her desk at work. She says it is the best and can have her tea at the perfect temperature any time.

Well, that is my top 11. It was hard to pick and I could go on for at least another 11 that I feel are essential to the well performing kitchen. I will do that another time.

In the meantime, tell me what some of your top kitchen essentials are? I would love for you to share your answers in the comments.

 


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Filed under Cooking, Home & Garden, Kitchen, Mommy Ramblings

Find Out How a TOTO Washlet can Make You Feel Shiny and New Every Day of the New Year

Happy New Year everyone! I hope it is off to a great start for you. You have probably heard people use the adjectives shiny and new to describe the new year. Feeling shiny and new is exactly what I want to share with you today. I bet you don’t know where this is going. We are going to take this into the bathroom. I don’t want to talk about spring cleaning but do want to tell you about another kind of cleaning. Let’s call it personal cleaning.

I am not talking about a bidet. Quite frankly, I think bidets scare a lot of Americans who do not know what they are or how to use them. Not to mention, they take up a good footprint of space in your bathroom. So is there a better way to get that shiny and new feeling that is easier and faster than taking a shower every time you use the bathroom?

There is, it is called a Washlet. The Washlet was introduced in Japan by TOTO back in 1980 and has become one of their signature products. The first Washlet had 3 functions: rear cleansing, dryer and a heated seat. 10 years and numerous innovations later the Washlet came to America. In 2016 a milestone was reached when 40 million Washlets were sold worldwide.

So what is a Washlet and what’s in it for you? A Washlet is a bidet seat and you will be amazed at everything it can do for you. Do you get upset if the male members of your household do not close the lid after using the toilet? That is one of the first ways a Washlet will help you. The Washlet lid opens and closes automatically, so no more unpleasant surprises. If you worry about chilly seats, the Washlet has that covered too with a cozy, heated seat.

I love that it has an eWater+ system, that uses electrolyzed water, a proven, chemical free disinfectant to mist the bowl after every use. No need for harsh chemicals which are already banned in my home.

The wand of the Washlet is automatically cleaned before and after each use.
Eliminating waste effectively is easier when you are not starting with a dry bowl surface, the premist feature uses the incoming water supply to mist the surface which is 80% more efficient.

 

Next, let’s talk about rear cleansing, I know you are chuckling but also intrigued. The rear spray is designed to provide your derriere with a targeted, pleasant yet strong water stream to get you squeaky clean. The front wash feature provides cleaning in the way of large, soft drops for a comfortable wash that leaves you feeling clean as a daisy.

TOTO is not going to make you drip dry, they have thought of everything! The warm air dryer will make sure you are nice and dry before you go on your way.

Finally, there is an effective deodorizer that cleans the air around the toilet using powerful filters. Air is drawn in, passing through a catalytic deodorizer to eliminate unpleasant odors.

If you want a Washlet with all those features, the S350E is the way to go. It is available in round or elongated and comes in cotton white or Sedona beige. If you would like to see videos of all the features, visit TOTO on YouTube.

We are putting one of these awesome Washlets on our Guinevere Toilet. I will show you more on both as we are further along in the renovation of our bathroom. You have to love constructions delays. In the meantime, if you want to see more about the toilet we chose or some things to consider when choosing a toilet, you can check it out on our post HERE.

To learn more about Washlets and all their fabulous features click HERE. Do you have one of these in your home? Have you been thinking about getting one? Is this the first time you have heard of it? Let me know what you think or about your experience.

Special thanks to TOTO for all their help and for providing us with a Washlet S350e for our project. As always all my words and opinions are 100% my own.

 


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You May Never Need To Clean Your Toilet Again!

When you ask people what their least favorite household chore is, at the top of the list of most people is cleaning the toilet. Can you imagine if there was a toilet that would take care of that dreaded task for you? Well, you can stop dreaming about it because American Standard’s ActiClean toilet is real! This toilet cleans and removes stains at the touch of a button.

I will admit, I was very shocked to learn about this toilet a few months ago. We actually have one and cannot wait to install it. Our “little leak” in our kitchen that caused extensive damage to our home, has delayed our bathroom renovation projects just a tad. We will update with all the details as soon as we are ready to resume that project. I thought I would share my joy with you in the meantime about this amazing toilet.

How does the ActiClean System work?

American Standard provided us with an ActiClean Toilet for our project. As always my words and views are 100% my own.

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New Kitchen Update

Happy New Year everyone! Hope everyone’s year is off to a great start. I have some updates on our new kitchen. While the demo and everything in the house is going to take another 8 weeks at least, we are making headway with our kitchen decisions.

I believe, I shared our choice of Wood-Mode Custom Cabinetry for our kitchen. We are going with their Brookhaven line and our door style is Winter Haven Raised.

The first time I went into the kitchen design center and started working with Regina, our kitchen designer, I was sure I was going with Antique White. Yesterday, when my husband and I were there together making final decisions, I changed my color choice. I am going with Vintage Lace.

Wood-Mode’s Vintage Opaque is a distinctive glaze applied over the base color which in our case is Lace and adds a brushed appearance to the surface while highlighting the details of the door style and architectural elements.

It is funny because the first time I was there, I was sure I did not want that look and yet, the second time, I was sold on it. I feel that is why it is so important to meet with your kitchen designer multiple times in the planning stages of your project. So far, we have been to the kitchen showroom 2 times and Regina has been out to our house once to take measurements.

Now, that we are getting closer to putting the order in, she will come out again to make sure everything is correct. It is so nice to work with a kitchen designer who has experience and guides you along through the process. Yesterday, I remember clearly  saying to myself, “Wow, I am so glad she thought of that!”

The other thing is, they can give you great advice that can save you money and headaches. For instance, since my cooktop is mounted against an outside wall, she advised me not to go with a pot filler. I was not sold on one either, you may remember my earlier post.

The reason is, living in upstate New York, there is a danger of the pipes freezing which would cause extensive damage to our kitchen. Dealing with the damage from a leak is something we are familiar with and do not wish to deal with again if we can help it.

I know you can mount them on deck but I don’t want that sticking out of the counter top. Truthfully, the more I read about them, the more I am glad to have that reason for not putting one in. You still need to carry the water back to your sink. We decided to add an island prep sink which is behind the stove area. This will allow us to fill pots even if someone is at the kitchen sink.  I am good with that.

I am really excited about how I was able to utilize a lot of what I considered dead space in my old kitchen. My kitchen did have a lot of bells and whistles but there were some things  I wanted to change. We have so many baking trays, cookie sheets, cutting boards, cooling racks etc. In my old kitchen, I did have a tray cabinet but it was not large enough for everything we had.

It is not a matter of getting rid of some of it because we cook and bake all the time and use it all. So we added more slotted storage to our kitchen. The cabinet above the refrigerator is one that we hardly used. It contained some light bulbs and a container of glue. We  added tray storage up there and I think it is going to be great.

We also have a bottom tray cabinet next to the stove as we did before and over the ovens we put more slotted storage. We have an oven drawer under the double ovens as we did before to handle frequently used pans and sheets.

Something else I am super excited about, are the great pull out cabinets we put on the other side of our cooktop. If you think our tray situation was excessive, our collection of spatulas, ladles, cooking spoons and other cooking tools rivals it. Currently, we had two large utensil drawers and 2 large crocks on the counter. I wanted to find a more useful and out-of-sight way to store what we needed.

Browsing Pinterest, I found these great pull out cabinets with crocks built-in. I showed them to my kitchen designer who incorporated them into the design. Next to that we have another pull out cabinet that can handle our cooking oils, sprays etc. In an upper cabinet to the right of the cook top we have a swing out spice cabinet.

Being tall, I hate having to stoop down to see all the way to the back of lower cabinets. In my current kitchen, there are only three cabinets I had to do that. The rest all had roll outs or were drawer units. In this kitchen we made sure that there are no cabinets that would cause me to lay on the floor or crawl into to see what is in the back.

I eliminated the desk area and glass door cabinet that was above it from my current kitchen. We did not use the desk and it was a catch-all for everything as were the glass door cabinets. In its place we added some more pull out pantry storage which I am crazy about.

The new refrigerator is being set into cabinets to give it a built-in look. On the side of my fridge in my other kitchen, I had decorative raised panels that matched the cabinets. In our new kitchen design we added some useful storage.  We are putting in a functioning cabinet that will have lower storage for our broom, dust pan etc and upper storage for cleaning supplies, garbage bags etc. Something similar to this design I saw on Pinterest.

In the new kitchen we have extended all our upper cabinets to 42″. This extra cabinet space will give us the room we need to store appliances that we don’t use every day. We are removing the extended sofits to make room for the taller cabinets. On top of the cabinets we will add a very nice crown molding.

We are in the process of picking out our new quartz counters. In my old kitchen I had quartz counters and I love them. However, I want a little more movement in the new ones. I think I have found my countertop but not 100% sure.

Regina had me bring home my door sample and a large sample of the counter to look at it in the kitchen to make it easier for me to decide.

We are putting in a Farmhouse sink from Nantucket sinks and it has a really nice drain that we also chose from their website that never lets your hands touch the mess in the drain. Really cool and that is not all!

The sink has two front sides so you can choose what design you want. The smooth front of the Hyannis or the decorative side of the Chatham. I still have to pick the faucet. Oh, all the decisions!

We love the built-in butcher block we have in our old kitchen and so we went with one in this design also. It will be built into the side of the island to the right of the prep sink. We placed the pull out waste and recycling underneath so you can peel and chop and then just shove scraps right into the trash. To the side of the cutting board we put a large knife storage drawer and next to that, we put our utensil storage.

Another big change we are making is using one of the large island drawers to hold our dishes with a peg drawer insert. This will make it easier to set the table and for the kids to get dishes themselves without having to climb up to reach them in upper cabinets. We added about 9 inches to the length of our island and this allowed us to put a 12 inch cabinet on the end with doors to store serving pieces, dishes and glasses.

Over the cooktop we have an English Country Elliptical Range Hood that matches the cabinets. I am not certain we are going with this style but I am leaning toward it.

The microwave will be hung over the counter next to the double ovens.

All of the cabinet doors and drawers are soft close and the doors are the full overlay style. We picked out our hardware too and I really like the way it looks and feels. The drawer pulls are nice and large and can accommodate hands of all sizes.

We have a large storage pantry in the same spot we did before but instead of having those wooden racks that pull and slide out to hold cans, we have added slide out shelf pull outs that our designer tells me I will find much more useful.

We are using commercial style appliances and I will update you on those in another post. For the flooring we are going to do a wood look porcelain tile. It is someone like the one I have but darker which I think will make the cabinets pop!

I think this is a long enough update for now. We have some exciting things to share regarding lighting with you soon. Let me know what you think of what we have picked out so far.

 


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Filed under Cooking, Curb Appeal, DIY, Home, Home & Garden, Kitchen

Do You Really Need a Pot Filler in Your Kitchen?

If you are designing a new kitchen, you probably know all about pot fillers. You might be wondering how we lived all these years filling our pots at the kitchen sink and carrying them over to the stove. Maybe you are thinking, it makes no sense because you still have to carry that pot of boiling hot water over to the sink to drain or empty at some point. There is also a point to be made that it is  another source of a potential leak, problem and of course expense in what already is a very expensive project. So, let’s take a look at the reasons why they are becoming so popular.

Less Strain on Your Body

Water has a weight of about 8 pounds per gallon. If you are filling up a large stock pot with water at the sink it can put a strain on your back as you carry it. However I don’t sit my pot in my sink and fill it, I usually set it up at counter height and fill it with my extended spray arm. If you are setting a large pot down in a deep sink and then hoisting it up and out, that could strain your back, especially if you have issues. However, most people have been doing this for years and are just fine.

Saves Time

The other point that is made to the advantage of a pot filler is that it saves time. I like to save time and work more efficiently but really, I doubt I am saving that much time to really make a difference. It is true you can turn it on and fill your pot on the stove and then go back to your sink to wash veggies or prep other foods. That could save you a few minutes, as long as you remember to keep watching the pot and run over and turn the water off before it overflows. I can see the advantage that you can easily be sauteing or cooking another part of the meal while you have a pot filling up on the stove. Not sure if this really is enough of a reason to convince people they need a pot filler.

Adds Style

I think this is the biggest reason you see them in more new kitchens today. It adds a touch of style and sophistication to your kitchen. I think many would say it adds a certain status to your project. I was speaking with a woman a couple of weeks ago and she was telling me about her son and how well he was doing. She went on to describe his house and said, “You know he even has one of those pot fillers in his kitchen.”

 

The facts remain that you need to carry that pot of water back to the stove which can strain your back as can hoisting it and pouring over a colander to drain pasta or other foods. That kind of negates the first reason. Sure, it may save a few seconds to minutes but does that truly justify the additional cost and of course potential source of a problem like a leak? I think the reason people put them in is based heavily on the third reason. Pot fillers look nice and they add a wow factor to your kitchen.

Some other cons are that they collect grease from cooking and it is another thing to clean. Cleaning the pot filler is something you would not have to do if you did not have one. Cleaning the pot filler will actually take longer than the time you saved in filling the pots on the stove. For those that like clean lines, having a pot filler extending from the backsplash may be an eyesore. There are deck mounted pot fillers as well but that is another permanent fixture protruding from your counter top.

I am still deciding if I am going to put one in my new kitchen. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 


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Filed under Curb Appeal, Decorating, Home & Garden, Home Improvement

The Faster, Easier Way to Scrape Ice and Snow From Your Windows.

We are getting blasted with cold temperatures, snow and ice. It is not pleasant to be outside and yet after every storm comes the task of cleaning the windows on your vehicle. That was why I was so glad to find the Scrape-A-Round, this scraper is made of a softer plastic allowing it to conform to the curvature of your windows. It is comfortable to hold even if you have issues like arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.
I can clean my windows faster and get out of the cold quicker. The Scrape-A-Round has 18″ of ice scraping surface that lets me scrape the frost and ice off my windows faster than other scrapers. It also doubles as a funnel when you remove the cap! Watch a video of it in action HERE!
The Scrape-A-Round makes a very useful and practical gift this holiday season. We have added it to our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide at Mommy Ramblings! Learn more HERE.
Mommy Ramblings’ readers get to save! Get FREE Shipping when you check out at the Scrape-A-Round Website and  Use code LU8FBEZREU2 at checkout. Hurry and order, this winter is supposed to be brutal!


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Filed under Holiday Gift Guide, Home & Garden, Review, Travel, USFG