The Pantry!

As I mentioned in the previous post, we’ve been firing through our to-do list. It took about three weeks to finish the project, mostly because things always take longer than I plan.

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The annoying part of our pantry was that the California closet style wire shelving was bending under the weight of our couponing. To compensate, we put all of our cans on the floor – and as we bought more and more they expanded outward and consumed the pantry.

Our plan was to take these out and put in some stronger, better supported Melanine shelves. While we were at it we’d paint and add some pizazz.

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Fun fact: shelving like this is held in entirely with anchors. And tearing them out will destroy your wall. I was surprised at how much wall repair was necessary with this project – but in retrospect, I shouldn’t have been.

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The wall is fixed!

For stylins, we decided to paint the wall a nice grayish/slate blue and then use a white stencil for a cool pattern. Why stencil? Affordability and easy make-over-ness compared to wallpaper if we wanted to change it in the future.

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The Stencil (from THIS site)
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Let’s talk Stencils. On a simple flat accent wall? AMAZING! So easy! So quick! So beautiful! On walls that have corners and edges? MISERABLE. The stencil instructions from Royal Design Studio were pretty good for corners, but it was tough and didn’t work that well in our application.

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With the walls complete I started in on the shelves. I was METICULOUS with my methods and tried very hard to be as precise as possible. The problem, was that I had foolishly assumed that the corner of the pantry was 90 degrees. Ohhhhh… so foolish. The angle was actually about 100 degrees, so I’ll have to do some trim fix ups.

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The bottom three shelves have a reinforcing beam right down the center. I intend to add front faces as well, but haven’t cut the pieces yet. That, however, didn’t prevent us from filling the pantry!


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BOOM! Project complete!!*

*Complete enough that I can move on to the next one…

Electric Pneumatic Fantasic

It’s been a race against the clock for home rennovations at the House of D. As soon as Baby D rolls in time is expected to be in short short supply, so we best clean up our to-do list ASAP.

We’ve had four goals for the year:

  1. Shed. DONE
  2. Basement electric work. JUST FINISHED
  3. Pantry renovation
  4. Utility Sink

Today’s post discusses #2 with its extra bonus pneumatic system.

The problem: Ain’t no outlets in the basement.

When our house was built there were only two outlets put in the basement. This makes having a little workshop extremely inconvenient. In fact, for these first two years of living, the workshop has been running off the outlet for the water heater fan. Further, the lighting was terrible: a single bulb lit up each quadrant of the basement. No bueno. Admittedly, I am not very familiar with electric work but figured its something that every dad should know how to do. So after some quick conversations with Dad D, Sander, and a few of my electrical peers I got to work.

The solution: Add in a 15amp and a 20amp circuit, spotlights, and a bonus pneumatic line to the garage. Check it out:


I added two outlets on the right wall, one on the rear, and two on the left. There are also now beautiful spotlights above each workbench blasting extra light to the workspaces. Here’s the air compressor:


Note the small manifold on the right with black pipe that goes up and to the left. This busts through the wall to the garage. The compressor is plugged into an outlet controlled by a switch in the same gang box. That’s a three-way switch with one switch in the basement and the other in the garage…

air hose

where we have a reeled air hose! DANG! So now I can quick turn on the air compressor from the garage if I need to refill tires or do some autowork. It’s beautiful!

I feel extremely accomplished. Next up, the pantry and the Utility sink!

New Games and an Idea

This week Jen and I acquired two new games: Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride. Both are considered classics in the gaming community and after playing a few times I’m surprised that they weren’t already in our collection. These are top tier gateways into boardgaming that I now heartily agree should be in everyone’s closet. Seriously, go buy these right away definitely. Right now. Do it.

While we were playing the other night, we came up with an idea for Baby D. Every game comes with three quick stats: number of players, time to play, and appropriate ages. For example, Ticket to Ride is 2-5 players, 30-60min play time, for ages 8 and up.

The idea: If we purchase the right combination of games, we could have a board game for every age of Baby D. We could then celebrate each birthday with an inaugural introductory game… It’s like a gaming graduation each year! I LOVE THIS.

The problem is that certain ages are less common, probably because of marketing purposes. Games for ages 9+ and 11+ are much more rare than 10+; probably because everybody just rounds it off. FiveThirtyEight has a fun list HERE of kid-friendly games and their recommended ages. This will be a good start.

BTDubs, here are a few favorites of our collection with a quick pro/con

Dominion – Exceptional replay value, easy to learn/some strategies are annoying and slow the game down big time
Power Grid – Incredible depth, lots of strategy options/long game and long setup
Pandemic – Clever Co-operative play/prone to quarterbacking if one player is more experienced
Acquire – DEEP and immersive/can’t really be played with two people

If you have other gaming recommendations, please throw them into the comments

Last and not least: no board game post should exist without a link to


Baby D.

Baby D has not yet been born… yet I’m fairly certain he already owns more clothes than I do.

That said, I don’t think the ratio of his “Clothes with dinosaurs on them”/ “Clothes without dinosaurs on them” is as high as mine.


Jen noticed yesterday that ‘sub-par’ is typically a bad thing. Unless it’s golf. If you’re sub-par you’re actually doing pretty great.

An entire bag of potatoes.

Is there ANYTHING more adult than using all the potatoes in a bag of potatoes before they sprout? I’m not talking about a single event sort of thing like buying a small bag of potatoes before a giant Mashed Potato fest. I’m not talking about purposefully doing everything you can to not waste the last potato. I’m talking about slowly, naturally emptying a bag over the course of a few weeks through normal meal planning.

Quick non-scientific comparisons:

  • Successfully completing your own taxes – Easier than meal planning a bag of potatoes
  • Having children – more common than not throwing out old potatoes
  • Onset of joint aches and back spasms – Likely to occur while there are half grown potato plants in your pantry

I think the reason for this challenge is because eating a potato is not a spur of the moment thing. It means that you are planning real full meals each night of each week. As soon as a hasty order of Chinese food ends up on the meal-plan you’re about 900x more likely to ruin a potato.

This week, for I the first time in my life, we accidentally ate all our potatoes.