Sunday, March 9, 2014

More Window Face-Lift

We had an idea kicking around for awhile, but were never really sure we wanted to commit. When we went to the store to get the paint for our windows, we decided then and there to go with it and do something different. So instead of getting just white paint, we got black as well! We decided to paint the sashes of the windows black, and keep the frames white.

We've loved it on so many houses we've seen, but weren't sure it would be right for ours. But, after deciding to take that step, we are so happy we did. The windows are still the original windows from 1910, and the black around the edges really makes them stand out.

So after a LOT of taping, we went to work and painted away.

Definitely adds some character to the house, and gives it more curb appeal. We are very happy with the way it turned out, and plan on painting all the windows of the house that way. Eventually, we will probably upgrade our windows and get new ones (that aren't as drafty). When we do that, we'll stick with the black sashes. We really love them!

I don't have a finished picture without all the tape off, but you get the idea. Once we finished painting them, we put the shutters back up and called it a day and a job well done. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Window Face-Lift

After painting the door we decided to make another small improvement to our curb appeal: paint the windows. Its amazing how much of a difference cleaning up things like trim will make. When we were painting the sides of the house it felt like painting the window and door frames really made our work pop. So, we got to work on bringing that clean, just painted white look to the front of the house.

The front windows really needed some attention, not just for the curb appeal, but for maintenance purposes as well. Most of them had paint stripped off so lots of bare wood was showing. If left this way, we could have been looking at some serious wood damage - and a lot more work than just painting.


See what I mean? Gross. So we started with the fun filled job of prep work - taking down the shutters and then scraping the windows. Taking down the shutters ended up being more of a task than we originally anticipated. Most of the screws were stripped bare, so we had to get creative and use some vice grips to get them off.

Once we (finally) got all the shutters off, we removed the storms and finished some other basic prep work. The windows were finally ready for some paint, so off we went to the store.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Birthday Brunch

Jon's sister's birthday is in February, and this year we decided to have her over for a birthday brunch. We were so happy with the way it turned out, we had to share!

There is something to be said about a really good brunch. Nothing fancy, just some breakfast staples, strong coffee, great company, and excellent champagne.

Jon tried out a new way to make home fries (boiling then baking, usually we just pan fry) and then made an open-faced egg sandwich with fig, prosciutto, and arugula on a toasted french baguette.
Egg Sandwich:
Eggs (1 per person)
French Baguette, halved lengthwise
Fig Jam
Fresh Arugula
Prosciutto, pan fried
Pan fry the prosciutto by putting a slice in a pan on the stove top over medium heat. Keep an eye on it, as it will crisp up rather fast. Toast the french baguette, then spread the Fig Jam on it. Top with fresh arugula, the fried prosciutto, and a fried egg.
We also made a dutch baby and a breakfast spinach pie. There are a thousand recipes of dutch pancakes around, but ours is very simple:
Dutch Baby
2 Tbs. butter
2 Eggs
1/2 C. Flour
1/2 C. Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the butter in a cast iron pan and put in the oven to melt as the oven preheats. In a bowl, mix together the other ingredients until they are combined. Once the butter is melted, swirl it around the pan to coat evenly. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until puffed and golden, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with fresh fruit.

The brunch was a success and left us full for hours. We were so happy to have Jon's sister over to celebrate with her. I can't wait to find another excuse to cook all of this again!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Holidays

Merry Christmas!
and Happy New Year!
Love, Jon and Kate


Friday, November 29, 2013

It was a One Eyed, One Horned, Flying...

You know the song, and I think it was written for our front door. The thing was a purple monster. An ugly purple monster.

It was seriously one of the worst color purple's I've ever seen, and not in the best of shape either (nicks all over it, paint and dried glue on the windows, etc.) So, we decided to fix that. Initially we wanted to refinish the door to natural wood. So we took it off the hinges and used some chemical stripper to start. It got rid of a lot of the paint and peeled back a few layers of different colors. But the stuff that got left behind was a gooey mess. It would clump in the details of the door and would not scrape off easily.

We decided we needed to resort to the hard way. We sanded, sanded, sanded, scraped, and sanded. Finally we were left with a semi-smooth surface. Since it didn't look like we were going to remove everything, we decided to re-paint the door instead of re-finishing it. We used an oil based primer recommended by our local Sherwin-Williams guy (he was much more helpful on this project than the depot was) and got to work.

A few divots and scrapes required caulking after the priming, so we fixed those and then got to painting.

Yep! Yellow! We wanted something bright and inviting. Since we already had the pineapple doorknocker, we decided to go with a bright yellow to somewhat match. Also, have you tried to look for front door colors? There are like 8 colors you can use. Not very exciting.

We love the final product and think it looks a MILLION times better than it did when we started!

Oh! And a fun fact! The Sherwin-Williams guy told us that yellow paint fades the fastest out of any color. Significantly faster. Who knew? It obviously didn't deter us from going forward and using yellow... but interesting nevertheless.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Munich, Germany (Part II)

Day 4: Salzburg, Austria

Sunday of our trip we woke up early and drove to Salzburg, Austria. Located about an hour and half outside of Munich, Salzburg is where the composer Mozart was born and also where scenes from the movie The Sound of Music was filmed (!!!!). The city is absolutely breathtaking, with an old fort/castle up on a hill overlooking the city center, a river, and the Alps. Since tourism is one of the towns main sources of income, the whole place is clean, safe, and well maintained.

We decided to walk around all day, visiting everything we could. We started by going to a beautiful courtyard in the back of a church where Mozart was buried. Well, we thought he was buried there. It turns out it is his family plot, and no one is really sure where THE Mozart is buried. Either way, the courtyard was eerily gorgeous with lots of trees and greenery, along with very elaborate tombstones and catacombes.

After that we headed to Schloss Mirabell and walked around the grounds. There were multiple gardens to walk through, all of which were beautiful. The flowers were all planted to form designs, and there were some interesting statues throughout all the grounds. I could have walked around there for hours, but we only had one day, so we moved on.

Next stop was the city center, and the large cathedral that was in the middle. Words cannot describe how beautiful that cathedral was. There was so much detail everywhere you looked. From there we took the tram to the top of the Hohensalzburg Fortress and stole some great views of the city and the Alps.

Day 5: Neuschwanstein Castle and Alps Road Trip

The next day we drove to the Neuschwanstein Castle. This was built as a retreat for King Ludwig II, but was turned into a museum soon after his death. Guards came to imprison Ludwig, claiming he wasn't fit to rule anymore because of paranoia. Two days after he was taken, he mysteriously died. Coincidence? He was not able to finish the castle, but what was finished still remains in good condition. I call this the fairy tale castle since it was the model for the one at Disney. I'm so happy we took the time to visit, it was definitely a site to be seen, but the drive afterward was really the highlight of the day.

Once we left Neuschwanstein, we took a road trip through the Alps. The driving was unbelievable. UN-BE-LIEVABLE. We didn't know what to expect when we started to drive, but decided to take a "back road" instead of a major highway back toward Munich. The road brought us winding through the Alps, past a beautiful lake, and around some awesome hairpin turns. Some parts of the road were so narrow that 2 cars could barely get by; mix that with no guard rails, and it was an exciting few hours. It was one of the best drives we have ever been on and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who likes road trips or pretty mountain scenery.

Day 6: BMW Museum

We spent our last day in Munich at the BMW Museum, which ended up being perfect since it was the one day that it rained. Just like the ultimate driving machine, this place was the ultimate museum. It had some amazing cars on display as well as some really interesting background on the company and how it came to be the brand it is today. Jon loves BMW, so this was one of the highlights of the trip for him. I will say, as someone who likes BMW but is not a fanatic, this museum was still awesome! It had a ton of interesting things to look at and was a lot of fun to be in. The best room was the advertising room, which had BMW ads (tv and print) from when they first started up through today. It was extremely creative how they displayed their history and brainstorming ideas.

After we left BMW, we walked around Munich a bit more. Grabbed an afternoon beer and snack at Augustiner am Platzl (one of my favorite meals of the trip) and then headed to Hofbrauhous for our final dinner. Our trip was amazing to say the absolute least, and I already can't wait to go back.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Munich, Germany (Part I)

Last month we took some time off and went to Germany. Neither of us had been there before, but it was someplace we had always wanted to go. We flew directly to Frankfort then took a 6:45am train to Munich, where we would stay the remainder of our trip.


Once we got to Munich (at about 11am...) we were hit with horrible jet lag. Running on about 4 hours of sleep, we decided to try and push through it and explore a little bit. The first thing we did was go to the Marienplatz. This is the city's main square and where the Old and New City Halls are. The New City Hall has a giant Glockenspiel which runs a few times a day. We ended up missing it the first day, but since we frequented Marienplatz so much on our trip we were able to see it one of the other days we were there. The first day is also when we tried the best sausage of our lives from this small stand just outside the square... they were to die for.

Later that night we visited the Hofbrauhaus for dinner. We tried Weiner Schnitzel for the first time, had one too many liters of beer, and striked up conversation with a bunch of Germans in lederhosen.

DAY 2: Scloss Nymphenburg

The next day we woke up early and headed a little bit outside of the city center to Schloss Nymphenburg. This is the palace where most of the rulers of Bavaria lived during the summer; the most famous ruler being Ludwig I. The palace was huge and there were a ton of gardens open for people to walk through. We took a short tour of the inside to see the Gallery of Beauties and the grand hall, which ended up being one of my favorite rooms of all time. There were beutiful ceiling paintings, chandeleirs, and extremely large widows everywhere. I couldn't take enough pictures of this place. The whole thing (palace, gardens, fountains, etc.) were all so beautiful.



After that we visited The Rezidance, which was where the rulers lived most of the year. From there we headed to dinner at Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl Am Dom, one of the oldest restaurants in Munich. We had some really good food that night; I got a duck breast and Jon got pig belly. Both dishes were excellent and as usual, so was the beer!


While we were in Germany we really lucked out on weather, everyday was sunny and warm. The third day we were there we decided to take advantage of that good weather and rent a bike for the day and ride through the Englisher Garden. In the morning we stopped at the Viktualienmarkt and browsed the food and craft carts. There were so many delicious and fresh looking foods, we decided we had to get a few things and take them with us to the park for a picnic lunch. From there we biked to the gardens behind the Rezidance (beautiful!), then headed towards the Englisher Garden.

The Englisher Garden is a 900 acre public park starting in the center of Munich and stretching north to the city limits. There was a riving running through the whole park, and at one section there were rapids where locals would surf. Further down the river was the "swimming section" and people would jump in and float down with the current. Since the weather was so nice the banks of the river were packed with people sunbathing. After we ate and biked for awhile, we stopped at the Chinesetrum Beer Garden for a drink. There was a brass umba band playing in the tower, and a ton of people sitting at the tables enjoying themselves. It was definitely a highlight of the trip.

Later that night we went to Haxnbaur for dinner and tried their signature dish... pork knuckle. It was pretty much a heart attack on a plate, but absolutely delicious. Since the knuckle is a tough cut of meat, they slow roast it on skewers (like rotisserie chicken). Doing that made the skin so crispy, and the meat so tender. By this point, we were feeling like we were in King Arthur's palace and were eating nothing but meat and potatoes.

Our first few days in Munich were a blast. There was so much to do and see in that city! We'll share the scond half of our trip in another post, stay tuned.