edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Flip This Room, I’m Eight! June 20, 2013

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 8:15 am
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Prep Process

Prep Process

A: Activities

I’m definitely the painter in the relationship. When my 8-year-old son and I embarked on a project to upgrade his room recently, it soon became clear to me that he was the big idea man and I was the worker bee.

 

By the time I caved and we redid his room, he’d been pitching me ideas for over a year. StarWars, Legos, football and more. He definitely knows how to plant a seed. A few weeks ago, as his birthday was closing in, I recalled a talk with a friend about the most fun birthday surprise they ever gave their daughter : a room re-do. They sent her away and teamed up as a family for an intense day to give her a new room. It got me thinking, birthday present = room rehaul.

 

Then, about a week ago, about two-thirds of his toys were in the hall after a cleaning and organizing spree. “Mom, I’m done with this stuff.” Wow — no attachments to this stuff, really? Good for him. Again I wondered how I could support this new leaf he was turning over. As we hung out in his room, he pointed out what he called “baby barf green” trim and a babyish rug. I considered that. His room painted 10 years prior to accommodate our unknown firstborn, was mainly blue with green trim. His sister arrived first, so I decked it out in pink accents. When Calvin arrived on the scene two years later, she moved out. I kept most of her stuff in the room (including the rug) and swapped out pink for navy.

 

Stripes - Let's Hope They're Level

Stripes – Let’s Hope They’re Level

Yes, I agreed, the rug was in pretty tough shape. A few moments later I found the perfect rug online at PotteryBarn Teen (PBT) on sale plus another 15% online place your order by end of day discount and decided the 5×8 would work even though the previous one was an 8×10. Calvin gave it a thumbs up too. Then it all fell into place.

 

With the rug and its colors as inspiration, we headed to Home Depot for paint. I super-decisively narrowed in on two shades of Martha Stewart Living blue. We brought paint home with us on Sunday and I started the scraping process. Normally, I would just do a paint over, however, our original version included some texture we threw into the mix. That needed to come off.

 

Paint dust. Calvin scraped for awhile too, but bowed out because of this substance. After two intense hours of scrapping the texture off, I was ready to vacuum to the wall/floor edges to inhale the dust. Then I laid out newspaper as floor protector from paint specs, consolidated the remaining room furniture and threw a drop cloth over it. Then I taped everything off with my 3M blue – ceiling, window trim, wall trim. I removed all the hanging items – hook racks, shelves and name letters. Very time consuming.

 

Stripes in Blue; Wall decor in Yellow

Stripes in Blue; Wall decor in Yellow

After six hours of prep, I was ready to bring out the roller. But not yet. I did the trim and edging first for each wall, then finally following up with the big roller. I did two layers of this. Calvin came in a surveyed my work. Sure is taking you awhile. This looks like the same blue it was. I don’t get it. It’s not any different. I insisted it was way lighter. However, doubts began to nag at me. I pulled out the sample color cards when the job was complete and sure enough, instead of giving the paintmaker the Heavenly Blue, I gave him the Stratosphere. The same paint we choose ten years prior. Seriously! I could not sleep that night.

 

Morning brought clarity. I liked Stratosphere. We still had our navy stripes to add (Azurite, technically) and I would do one wall all in navy. It was a plan. Calvin pressed on, how much longer? Will this mess be cleaned up by my birthday (2 days later)? Not long now I assured him.

 

Final Flip

Final Flip

I was motivated to get this done for many reasons – his stuff cluttering the hallway, the frames, etc for painting stretched across the dining table…. and his birthday coming up. On day two I taped out the two stripes (71.25 divided by 5 = 14.25) that would get a navy coat. I used my level religiously throughout – worked like a charm. I took the mini-roller and breezed through one coat before bedtime.

 

On day three, the stripes got a second coat and I moved on to the two-coat work for the navy wall. Calvin made a case to apply Stratosphere chevron to it, but I backed him down. Instead we focused on an accent color choice for frames and shelving. Yellow it would be. I stuffed the rolled rug into the car, ran into HomeDepot for color cards, back out to the car to match the rug and back in to get the right paint – Sahara Shade. Before bedtime, I applied a layer to each item.

 

Day four. Move in day. Another coat of yellow, some navy for the vent. Wait…. more nails, more screws, more putty (for the C-A-L-V-I-N wall art project) and progress. I washed curtains and ironed them (had I ever done that?). Yes, super fresh! Calvin moved his books back in, adhered his new dry-erase map and found a home for his new guitar. We reused frames, shelving and more. Proceeds from whatever we might sell of the PotteryBarnKids MVP bedding will go to new bedding/decor. He’s thinking football.

 

There’s definitely a more grown-up feel to my just-turned 8-year-old’s room (see the Vine video at jengilhoi). He’s pleased with it. I hope so because it’s only a 1 (at most 2) time occurrence to flip your room from birth to 18. Most parents I polled also agreed – one and done. Timing was just right for this change and Ava, my 10-year-old, has handled it beautifully. We were on track to redo her room in December (see the blog post), but discovered that her PB rug was in good condition, we couldn’t agree on color selections (no your walls cannot be black) and the top colors she wanted to lose were hot pink and baby pink which was everywhere, so it would be more expensive to replace. She’s waiting til age 12 she says. Thank goodness. That will buy me some time to rest up and save up!

Happy 8th Birthday, Calvin! — love, your worker bee   

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Sous Chefs: You Cannot Be Mommy! January 31, 2011

E: Eats: Boeuf Bourguignon

Sous in Training

Sous in Training

We are in comfort-food / stay-at-home mode here. Maybe it was the furnace going out, or maybe more likely my neck going out, that had got me flipping through past Martha’s for dinner inspiration this past weekend. Food that really warms the soul, makes us happy to stay inside to do prep work and finds us enjoying it fireside, encompasses the best of what my selection, Boeuf Bourguignon, has to offer.

 

Martha claims this recipe to be the merger of the oh-so-french boeuf bourguignon (the glamour and gorgeousness) and a humble pot of beef noodle soup (practicality, made from pantry and fridge basics).  Prep took at least 30 minutes with all of us working and just over 2 hours (the recipe says 3 hours, but I cut the ribs prior to step 4 to make a 6:30 dinner date). And so we began.

 

My aspiring sous chef’s (technically that means “under chef” in French), ages 5 and 7, played a big part of this classic French dish. I used to shy away from multi-ingredient recipes. This one had 15 and stated 30 minutes of active prep – many of the ingredients suitable for the sous’ (plural for sous chef’s in English?/ pronounced sues?). You’ve got your long veggies like carrots, celery and shallots and soft button mushrooms (that a regular kitchen knife can cut) along with time-consuming de-spriging of the thyme, all using the sous chef’s skills. That left this head chef in charge of the short ribs and bacon.  The kids handled the pouring (stock, water and red wine) and spreadable tasks (French bread with butter, chives and horseradish) with ease.

 

Colette, Far From Mommy

Colette, Far From Mommy

As we channeled our inner Ratatouilles — my son actually placed his hand over mine while I chopped some veggies (I drew a line at the hair pulling) — we were reminded that anyone can cook and that cooking should be enjoyable. I do the Ratatouille Colette bit“No! You waste energy and time! You think cooking is a cute job, eh? Like Mommy in the kitchen? Well, Mommy never had to face the dinner rush while the orders come flooding in, and every dish is different and none are simple, and all different cooking time, but must arrive at the customer’s table at exactly the same time, hot and perfect! Every second counts and you CANNOT be MOMMY!”  They pick out their parts to play – the lame Linguini and the Remy, the rat with the overly-sensitive taste buds.

 

Bistro Dining

Bistro Dining

Still role playing, we set up a candlelight dinner in the living room by the fire, despite the previous night’s occurrence of a half-cup of hot red candle wax jettisoned from its candle container (I will save that for a Martha homemaker challenge that I would assume involves a hot iron, a wish and a prayer).

 

I call the sous chefs who are suddenly servers, to the kitchen to get the steaming bowls of noodles and soup out to the customers. We do a half-loaf of plain bread and a half-loaf of the full-on horseradish bread for the adventurous table and the tables are set with dishes to match the ones in the Dec 2010 MS Living issue (seriously!). One customer is unsure about the combo and is allowed to have a bowl of noodles and a bowl of broth (a cop out, but bread dipping and a small tasting happen).

 

Martha's Boeuf

Martha's Boeuf

We talk about going to Paris for quite awhile. Seconds are had. When finished, the recipe for six turns out a lot of leftovers. Some go in the fridge for the week and some go in the freezer, in case the furnace goes out again and we need some comfort. I also feel like a Ratatouille viewing is in order, but it’s too late for a school night… maybe with leftovers on Friday? Or I could go solo with another viewing of Julie & Julia. Lots of options and pairings for this great dish that holds the best use of the sous chef’s skills. bon appétit, petits chefs!

 

 
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