Friday, December 11, 2015

New House Before & After: Kitchen

I already shared our family room transformation, now it's time for the kitchen!

Our two biggest complaints about our old house were lack of living space and lack of kitchen space. Our old kitchen wasn't awful, but it was pretty small.  No pantry, and a very small amount of usable counter space posed challenges for me, which was frustrating because I cook all the time and spend a lot of time in the kitchen!

When we moved one of our major sticking points was a kitchen upgrade. We didn't have a lot of specifications as to what that would look like, we just needed more space, more storage, and better function, which wasn't that hard to do considering what we had before.  I'm super happy with what we ended up with.  


The picture is actually pretty kind.  The cabinet finish was pretty worn in many places, especially on the most used cabinets. The exhaust hood was disgusting, and the pantry doors hung askew when opened. Dark cabinets aren't my preference, but if the finish was in better shape I probably would have left them for a while instead of refinishing them myself right before we moved in O.o 


I spent a week painting the cabinets white, by myself, while caring for 2 kids, with the pressure to get it done ASAP because I didn't want the kitchen to be torn up when we moved. We have 20 cabinet doors + a pie cut cabinet* + 5 drawers.  I ended up doing 4 coats of white on the fronts (2 more than the product claimed), 3 on the back, then 3 coats of protective coating on the front, 2 on the back + all of this had to be done on the actual cabinet frames as well.

I cannot strongly enough convey how badly this project sucked. I very realistically estimate that I spent 50+ hours over the course of 7 days to complete this project.  That's a lot of very tedious work and stressssssful while also having to care for kids. I thought I was going to lose my mind many a time.  By far the single worst DIY project I've ever completed.

BUT!  I finished it and I'm happy with the results and so SOOOOO (*SOOOOOOO*) glad this project is done!  

Oooooh, ahhhhhh!

Refinished the cabinets white (obviously, per my PTSD-esque flashback above), all new hardware, new refrigerator and over-range microwave, and fresh, happy paint (color: Drizzle by Sherwin Williams).

Much improved, I think!  

Still to come: very soon we will be adding blinds to the windows and we're also on the lookout for a bigger and/or expanding kitchen table now that we have more space.  Depending on how that ends up I might want to add some shelving or a hutch/cabinet/some such as well.

*So, apparently these are called pie cut cabinets?  I've more frequently heard them referred to as lazy susans.  I just call it a turner, which is probably completely made up.  ::shrug:: 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Week of December 6th

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Saturday we went to Mark's big holiday event, which is always lots of fun.

The kids got to visit with Santa.

Jack knows what's up and hopped right up on Santa's lap to make his request - a car transporter that carries LOTS of cars!  Molly was much more wary, but I give this girl credit.  Even though she was scared (warranted) she still timidly walked right up to Santa to make her request - Elsa and Anna on a bike. Pretty impressive for a scared 2 year old.

Because we that wasn't enough Christmas fun for us we then went to buy our Christmas tree!

There were A LOT of Christmas trees.  This is not good for me, who goes about everything as if there is ONE RIGHT CHOICE, even when I sometimes understand logically that this method doesn't always apply.  So... two hours (and one pretty annoyed husband) later, I found the perfect tree :D

Surprisingly I was drawn to the mid-sized trees, which I thought were so cute, but because in year's past we've had a mini-tree and we actually have room for a full-sized tree now I figured we'd better go big or go home!

Ooooh, ahhhhh!

And we continued decorating...

We even have a mistletoe!  Cute, huh?

So, now we're all decorated inside. We still need to get the outdoor stuff done, which will be a larger undertaking this year for sure.

Yesterday evening was my annual cookie exchange with friends and was all sorts of fun!  We all bring cookies and an app to share, wear comfy clothes, and have a nice relaxed evening.  I look forward to it every year!  This was my first year hosting.  It was nice, but also a lot of work to try to bake, cook, AND clean, while caring for kids that go right behind you and make a mess again and need you to stop whatever you're doing every 3 minutes.  It was a long day, but worth it!

These are the Molasses Cookies I made. I also whipped up some quick fudge.

All the cookies.

And all of the cookies that I get to keep :D

Aren't these cookie tins adorable?  Target!
Jack is Star Student of the week this week, which means he gets to kick off the week sharing a poster about his family, which will be on display all week.

Super adorable, right?!

Each day he gets to bring in something else to share: hobby (he brought a truck and talked about how much he likes playing with trucks, reading about trucks, drawing trucks, etc. :D ), favorite book (he brought in The Big Book of Mighty Machines, which... is probably not what every 5 year old is currently reading non-stop), and tomorrow he will bring in a favorite toy, and Friday he gets to share someone special so Mark is coming in for Show-and-Tell.

He's so excited about being Star Student.  He's been counting down to his turn all year!

I also *FINALLY* got the results of my lactation counselor certification exam in the mail and I PASSED!  I'm officially a certified lactation counselor!

It was a longer than usual journey amidst a crazy summer so I'm feeling very accomplished and relieved to have certification in hand!  Woot!

Here's what we're eating this week!

Sunday:  Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Parmesan Drop Biscuits

Monday:  Beef & Noodles (made with leftover beef from French Dips that I had stashed in the freezer) with Roasted Brussels Sprouts (I can't tell you how excited I am to have finally got my hands on some brussels sprouts!)

Tuesday:  Leftovers for the kids, Mark had a work party, and I hosted a cookie exchange with friends. I made Molasses Cookies (so good!  I made these last year too) and Spinach & Artichoke dip as well as some Pomegrante Sangria, yum!

Wednesday:  Leftovers

Thursday: Baked Chicken Fajitas with Guacamole

Friday & Saturday: Out

Friday, December 4, 2015

New House Before & After: Family Room

It's kind of crazy to think about but our whole house journey started right around this time last year. It's been a long year and and even LONGER 6 months, but it was all worth it. We're very happy in our new house, especially now that the big immediate projects have been finished and we're feeling more settled.

This time last year we had our first showing of this house and made an offer. We didn't actually get the house the first time around, but a few weeks later the deal fell through with the original buyers (probably because they got an inspection and realized the house needed a little more than just cosmetic work) and we had the opportunity to make another offer and in late February (I think?) we got news that we had in fact gotten the house the second time around.  We closed in late April and moved in in June.

I figured that it's about time that I shared a few before and after pics.  I only wish that I had more pics, but a lot of the initial work that was done is unimpressive.

Between closing and moving a lot of unexciting things happened: repairs to the siding, new A/C, new hot water heater, repairs to the furnace, and fixing a lot of busted pipes.

Water pouring from your ceiling is just generally not a good thing.

Oh, and the mailbox.  Let's not forget about the fact that sometime between our walk through of the house and purchase someone ran over (I assume?) our mailbox so that had to be replaced.

A lot of functional things.

One of the bigger projects we have accomplished is cosmetic improvements in the family room.

Some before pics:

(I wish I had taken before pics... instead of having to use screen shots. In my defense during the "before" time period things were just a wee bit hectic.)

Stained, worn, outdated carpet, outdated entry tile, dinged up walls and old paint. The pictures are actually pretty kind, it looked much more sad in person.


And after:

Ooooh, ahhhhh...

Fresh paint (I was painting on my birthday.  Oh, the memories that we made this summer O_O ) and a lot of new flooring (so pretty), our furniture, and some new accessories (including the cute little entryway rug that I adore, and pretty, bright curtains, and the area rug that was way harder than it should have been to decide on.) and I pretty much love it!

It's a big space, which is good, but it's also looking a little bare.  I think it needs a few more accessories, definitely some sort of entry table, and maybe at least one more piece of furniture, we'll see, but we're finally to the point where it's feeling homey around here.  I mean, there are decorative touches and everything.

You see this mantle?

It didn't decorate itself, ya know.

In addition to a few little accent pieces and decorative touches that I'm sure are yet to come we still need to replace both ceiling fans and the entryway light (they're a little outdated and not our style) and we'll also be replacing the front door (can that count as part of the family room?) because it's not in great shape.  Exciting things, of course.

I'll share more updates soon!