Tuesday, April 5, 2016

New House Before & After: Kids Rooms

This weekend Mark put the finishing touches on the kids' rooms!  As I mentioned previously, painting their rooms was actually the first thing I did in the house, but other than that we didn't do much more than move their furniture in until recently.  A couple of weeks ago I shifted focus to finishing up their rooms!

First up: Jack's room.


Ugh.  There was a good bit of work to be done in here.  Obviously, no self-respecting Columbusite would live in a *ichigan themed room :P

Those yellow stripes were bordered by pieces of trim, so first I removed all the decals, then had to rip off all the pieces of trim, of course wall came with it so thhhhheeen the walls had to be patched and smoothed where the trim was.  -_-


The kids look so much smaller!  I guess this was nearly a year ago now... 


Fresh paint (color: Valspar Schoolboy Blue), the canvas, rug, bedding, bookshelf, letters (I added spray paint so they would look better in his new room), and curtains all came from his old room.  The growth chart was a gift, and we recently added the headboard and shelf for his Hot Wheels cars.

He's been asking for a shelf for his cars since he knew he would get input into his new room a year ago and this was the finishing touch we added this past weekend, he's pretty excited about it!  Me too (decor + storage/function = win!)

Ahhh, so much better!

Next up: Molly's room


Luckily, Molly's room was in better shape other than being (poorly) painted a very pink, pink.  Of course her favorite color is purple, so that's what she chose to paint her room.  I patched a few dings and holes here and there and we were ready to go!


I was definitely laying on the floor, hot and exhausted, and the kids joined me.  The three of us spent a very long spring/summer together in this house last year.  They had a lot of "picnic" lunches on floors of rooms in various stages of completion while watching movies on my laptop.  We'd bring food, a small bag of toys each, and my laptop + movies and spend the day working on the house.  I think we're going to have a much more fun time here this year!


New paint, new bed and bedding, and bookcase.  The growth chart was gifted, the letters, rug, and the little rainbow cloud on the wall were all from her old room.  One of the curtain panels was also from her old room, but we had to purchase a second since she had a smaller window at the old house.

Two weekends ago we finally got rid of the crib turned toddler bed, and packed up all the diapers that haven't even been used for the better part of a year, so that we could get rid of the changing table, and we moved in her new big girl bed!  I kind of love her bedding and secretly wish it was mine :D (Target!)  We'll definitely be adding something more to her room, probably a real dresser or something along those lines as she has plenty of room and will probably need the storage (she's a mini-fashionista!), or a toy box that we actually already have on hand...  But, it's feeling pretty done for the most part!

It feels GREAT to have two more rooms checked off the list!  Next up: we'll be working on our downstairs half bath, and the 3rd upstairs bedroom, which is currently storing a bunch of stuff I'm pretending doesn't need to be unpacked, but is destined to be an office.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

New House Before & After: Master Bedroom

I've shared our family room and kitchen transformations, now it's time for the master bedroom!

Painting all the things was of priority when we moved.  Empty rooms are easiest to paint for obvious reasons, but knowing that all the walls needed painted meant that we couldn't really settle in to any of the rooms in the house before the walls were painted as furniture would just need moved around again for painting purposes so painting was a task that I tackled as quickly as possible both before and after move-in day.

Painting the kids rooms were the first tasks I accomplished once we took ownership of the house. Because they're smaller it's harder to move the furniture around to get to the walls so I really wanted to get it done ASAP.  I know this from experience as I had to paint their rooms in our old house with furniture in them.  What ends up happening is having to shift the furniture around as you paint unless you have the ability to move it out completely.  It's just not fun.  So, their bedrooms were painted early and first.

After their bedrooms I tackled the kitchen project because it was very important to me to have a functional kitchen, call me crazy!  We moved in late June, I was painting the family room, on my birthday (happy birthday to me...), about 2 weeks after that, and theeeen it was time to shift attention to our bedroom.  I was hoping to get it done before we moved in, which obviously didn't happen, but I also knew that it was large enough that I could move furniture to the center of the room and work around it if necessary, which is what I ended up doing.  2015: the summer I was perpetually covered in paint.


Paint samples on the wall :) 
As you can see we had a good space to work with, all that needed addressed was the ugly 90s sponge paint, which was clearly very intentionally and professionally done O.o

Prior to taking possession of the house we were under the impression that these walls were actually wallpapered and I was dreeeaaaaading dealing with wallpaper removal (Been there. Done that. Don't want to do it again.)  It was a huge victory when we realized it was just paint!


New paint (color: Sherwin Williams Sensuous Gray, it's gray with heavy plum undertones), curtains, headboard (I love LOVE our new headboard, pictures definitely don't do it justice.  It's so pretty in person!), bedding, wall decor (the sconces were from our old house, the canvases are new), and the final item we just picked up this weekend is that pretty, oversized leaner mirror, which I love! Although we painted the room and hung curtains more than 6 months ago, it's only been in recent weeks that we really finished up the decor.

Thankfully it's feeling pretty done now!  Mark still has a couple boxes that need unpacked (side eye) and then we'll have a pretty good sized open space/corner so maybe we'll add a fun chair or something down the road, but feeling pretty good about the space for now.

We also made a quick update to the kitchen and added some blinds to the bay window.  We've known for a while that we wanted to add some.  Now that it's staying light out later we needed to make a move.  Due to the level of the sun when I'm making dinner it was practically blinding me on sunny days, and it was starting to bother us while we were actually eating now that it's light out even later! Not that I'm complaining about the sun shining in the evenings, but it added motivation for us to get this task accomplished!

Kind of hard to take pictures of blinds, but you get the idea.  Also, as you can see on the center pendant light above, an unnamed child recently decided while not being watched for 3 seconds that it would be a good idea to try swinging those pendant lights, which then crashed into one another, which shattered one of the shades.  Now all of them are going to need replaced so that we have a matching set.  The light was one of the few things in the kitchen we didn't need to do anything with when we moved in.  One step forward, two back -_-  But the blinds are up!

It's crazy to think that this time last year we were in the process of finalizing the purchase of our house.  Right about now we were scrambling to try to get the necessary things done so the house could be somewhat inspected and in required condition for closing.  It was a very stressful time to say the least.  All worth it, but things are much more enjoyable this year!

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!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week of November 15th

Last week was a pretty low-key week, which is always nice.

I'm doing my best to ignore all of the pictures I've seen all over social media of people moving right on into Christmas and bypassing Thanksgiving completely.  Or, I guess they still celebrate it, but surrounded by Christmas stuff?  I don't know.  So weird.  I choose to live in a world where each holiday is celebrated in its own special time.  #waronthanksgiving

I'm super pumped that Thanksgiving is next week.  Everyone knows it's the best holiday and I'm ready to eat all the things and give all the thanks!

I've been Instagramming and I totally love it.  I realize I'm like 5 years late to the party and the cool kids are probably already post-Instagram, but I loves it!  I love seeing pictures from friends and strangers that capture everything from the special to the mundane.  I love that you can browse different topics depending on what your interest is at that moment and it's fun to see what different people share.  After all, a picture speaks a thousand words, eh?

In other random news, I've perfected homemade coconut oil kettle corn so it made an appearance for snack twice this weekend.  Nothing beats freshly made salty sweet popcorn!

Here's what we're eating this week:

Sunday:  Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Panini

Monday:  Sweet Potato Nachos

Tuesday:  Shepherd's Pie

Wednesday:  Mom's night out for me, Homemade Pizza for the fam!

Thursday:  Leftovers

Friday & Saturday:  Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Week of November 8th

So, let's see, last week...

My car went for a little spa visit and came back looking beauteous.  When we purchased it the car had *just* become available and when we test drove it literally hadn't even been vacuumed out. While we were dealing with paperwork they did a quick once over and washed, wiped down, and vacuumed, but it was in need of a full detail and a few miscellaneous things like a good wax and buffing out some surface scratches, basically everything a dealership typically does before selling a car.

I had to drive a Chevy Cruze for a day and... that was sad.  Glad to have her back!

Tuesday was chicken day!

^That's 40lbs of quality chicken, purchased at an awesome price, trimmed and ready for the freezer!  Well worth the hour or so it takes to get it freezer ready.  This will last us for about a year!

Know what's nice when you have to deal with 40lbs of chicken?  Having adequate workspace to do so.  I used to have to do this on a little ~3ft x 3ft (that's probably a generous measurement) square of counter space that wasn't even dedicated and still had some things sitting on it.  Doing anything feels so much easier when you have more room to do it in!

I'm still feeling the effects of the time change.  That^ was taken at about 4:30pm.  When the sun was going down.  ::facepalm::  I dislike that it's completely dark out by the time dinner rolls around at 6pm.  It's going to be a long winter.

At my nieces' birthday party over the weekend Molly played stand-in for her slightly older cousin who had enough of birthday partying by the time cake time rolled around.

Somebody had to do it.  Molly's just practicing for her own 3rd birthday in just over 2 months (say what?!?)

And I got this full of awesome shirt, which pretty much made my life.

This is a phrase I use on the reg so I'm pretty sure Target designed this shirt just for me.

Also: I'm Instagramming now.  Apparently this is where all the cool kids hang out so obviously I need to be there jump on this trend about 5 years after everyone else.


Sunday:  Meatloaf with Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Broccoli

Monday: Teriyaki Chicken Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

Tuesday:  Leftovers

Wednesday:  Leftovers/Freezer Meal

Thursday:  Homemade Pizza with Salad

Friday & Saturday: Out

I'm linked at Menu Plan Monday hosted by OrgJunkie.com

The above link to Zaycon Foods is a referral link.  I'm in no way affiliated with that company other than loving them for quality bulk meat purchases at a good price.  I've been a regular customer for several years now.