Blessings from the Riggenbach family
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Until we added the bathroom in the basement this summer, this bathroom near the bedrooms served as our primary bathing facility. Sadly, it had not received a lot of attention when we remodeled several other rooms before moving in four years ago.
In this view you can see the can lights in the ceiling where the soffit used to be. The light fixture on the wall in this view was only temporarily mounted for construction lighting. Construction has progressed since these photos were taken, but that will have to wait for another blog post.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
I've been waiting for the perfect sunset this fall, so I could photograph it and enjoy it indefinitely. Alas, you won't find that image in this post, as the sunsets that I would rate even more beautiful than these were enjoyed without my camera at my side. I'll keep my eyes open and camera handy for the rest of this fall and winter, but for now I hope these will suffice.
November 18, 4:51 PM
November 18, 4:56 PM
(aka beautiful sunsets #17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and 23)
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
It's hard to believe that Construction update #37 was over a year ago, but it is appropriate that this project follows that post from last year. Just as I had sympathy for my guests last year, my sympathy stretches to another section of the yard this year.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
In case you couldn't tell, I'm seldom impulsive. I view pouring concrete as a fairly permanent action that one undertakes only after one is sure he won't want to reverse that action. Since I've got several conduits under this section of sidewalk that was removed three years ago, I've been hesitant to bury them "permanently" until I was sure everything was installed in this area that we intend to install. The inconvenience of not having this section of sidewalk finally outweighed my reluctance to commit to concrete.
Unfortunately, I don't have photos of the removal of the top layer. After waiting a couple hours, I used a light spray of water and a plastic brush to gingerly remove the concrete while trying not to disturb the gravel underneath. It didn't take long before I brushed too hard in one spot and removed more gravel than I desired. Having learned that lesson, I tried to be more careful on the remaining areas and felt pretty good about the result. Twenty four hours later, I used a light spray of water to rinse off the gravel that was no longer attached to the concrete and gradually increased the intensity of the spray to do a more vigorous cleaning. Mistake. The retardant was evidently still effective on some of the later concrete, so the water jet created a few more pock marks where the exposed aggregate had been curing nicely. Even after reading several warnings not to be too aggressive in removing the concrete, I had to learn the hard way how aggressive was too aggressive.
Krud Kutter Concrete Clean & Etch which is supposed to be a safer cleaning alternative. I found the product cleaned the new concrete well after I learned to rinse the concrete quickly after cleaning. The photo above shows the sealing process in progress using a lacquer-based semi-gloss sealant.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Karen was intrigued by this soup when she saw it in Family Circle magazine, and we all gave it a thumbs up after our maiden voyage. You can find more information at Recipe.com, and while they garnish their version of the soup beautifully for their studio photo, we present here the ungarnished, photographed-in-the-dining-room, made-in-Illinois version. As always, we made some modifications to the recipe, which are noted at the end of this post. We found this soup to be very tasty, and unmistakably Thai, with just enough spicy heat to make your nose run.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 piece fresh ginger (1 to 2 inches), peeled and grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp red curry paste
1 can (14.5 ounces) coconut milk
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 pounds butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lime, juiced (about 3 tablespoons)
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts, chopped
1/3 cup sliced scallions
3 whole wheat pitas or flatbreads, halved
Heat oil in a large, lidded pot over medium heat. Add onion and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in curry paste and cook another minute.
Pour in coconut milk and chicken broth; stir well to break up the curry paste. Add squash, bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover partially and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.
Puree soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in lime juice and salt. Serve with peanuts, scallions, and bread.
Riggenbach alterations to the recipe: (1) Karen sauteed the onions in a dry pan without the olive oil; (2) she also omitted the lime juice, and (3) used a regular blender instead of an immersion blender for the puree step. (4) The peanuts and scallions are simply a garnish, so we omitted those, and (5) we substituted bread we had in the house for the pitas they list at the bottom of the ingredient list.
Thanks LauraLee for the motivation to try new recipes!
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Although I didn't capture every aspect of our church's Reformation Day Faire with a photo, here's a sampling of the activities. As you can see, we all enjoyed the beautiful, sunny, 70 degree weather this year, especially since we had our share of clouds and rain last year.
Elder Price was busy sketching portraits again this year, and he seemed to never lack a subject.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The basement bathroom project has progressed enough that we are now using the facilities, and getting rather used to the addition to our home. Instead of immediately showing you what the room looks like today, we can appreciate the progress by observing the stages through which the room has passed.
Friday, September 30, 2011
I have a poor memory. I don't think I'm alone in my deficiency, especially among my contemporaries. In fact, I think people in general have had bad memories throughout most of history (with a possible exception during a short period in the Garden of Eden). Marshall Foster said as much at the Providential History Festival a couple weeks ago when he talked about God's commandment to Joshua to set up twelve stones near the Jordan River. God had just cut off the waters of the Jordan River so the nation of Israel could pass through, and God commanded a memorial to be built at the spot before the river returned to its normal state. Why did God give that edict? Because people forget.
Joshua explained the purpose of the stones at Gilgal:
"When your children ask their fathers in times to come, 'What do these stones mean?' then you shall let your children know, 'Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.' For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan for you until you passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red Sea, which he dried up for us until we passed over, so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever." -- Joshua 4:21-24
God knew that people forget. God knew there would be some in Israel that would forget to tell their children about the Jordan River crossing, so he gave them a reminder. I find that I remember a lot more when I have reminders. Photos help me remember. Taking notes helps me remember. Writing blog posts helps me remember too. In fact, this blog was started several years ago as a way to document some of my activities, but I think its value has grown beyond that. Not that everything I need to remember is documented here, or that everything documented here is worth remembering, but God has helped me remember more through these posts than I would have remembered otherwise. I'm grateful for that, because it's good to remember.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
We have a strange room in our basement. It has two windows, one door, and is about 17 feet long and 5 and a half feet wide. I'm not sure what it was intended for, but I think it's location and size are simply a function of the shape of the house, and the need to support floor joists with basement walls. Although it has served as useful storage for the first few years we've lived here, it always impressed me as wasted space. Until now. Given our desire to add another full bathroom to the house, this awkward little room looked like the perfect location.
This is the way the room looked when we started tearing into it. In this image the floor has been removed where the plumbing needs to be located, including a sewage ejector pit, and drain for a tub, toilet, and sink. Note the conveniently placed drain pipe on the back wall that runs out into the septic tank in the front yard. What better spot for a sewage ejector pit than right under the drain pipe?
The tub successfully fit where it was intended.
Meanwhile, behind the tub, the sewage ejector was partially plumbed to pump into the existing drain. At this point, the project was starting to resemble a bathroom, and our hope of eventually enjoying its conveniences was growing stronger. Next time we'll lay out more of the subsequent steps in this project -- you won't want to miss it!