7QT: Homeowner Headaches

Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum to share this week’s dramatic novella. Seems like Kelly has had an eventful week too!

1. This week has been one of those homeowner headache weeks.  Last weekend, it seemed like our washing machine, which we bought used and refurbished 4 years ago, had finally kicked the can, because every time I did a wash, the floor in front of the washer and dryer was a big puddle.  We played around with it a bit; Dave made sure the washing machine was level, since the floor is very much not, but that didn’t seem to help.  Every time we went downstairs there was more water. We were pretty sure it was the washing machine’s fault.  We looked behind the machines to try to find the leak and while there was some water on the walls, it was mostly on the floor.  We pulled the machine out a bit and from how much it sloshed when we did that we concluded it must be the machine.

2.  By Monday, we decided that it must be broken, so we decided to bite the bullet and buy a new washer and a dryer while we were at it since it was only a matter of time before the dryer went too, right?  That’s when we discovered that there’s no middle of the line when it comes to washers and dryers.  There’s bottom of the line and top of the line; bottom of the line is expensive and top of the line is outrageous.  We ordered this bottom-ish washer and the dryer that goes with it, but it was only after we ordered it that I read the reviews.  “Do not buy this washing machine!” “This machine doesn’t get your clothes clean.” Blerg.

3. Immediately, I had buyers remorse and told Dave we should probably cancel the order and do more research.  Dave just wanted to fix the problem and was irritated by the fact that he apparently made another problem by buying new machines.  My sister Jane talked me off the ledge by telling me that all these new energy efficient washers do a crappy job washing because they don’t use enough water.  Ordinarily, I’m 100% on board with new shiny things, but now I was mourning the loss of my ancient Whirlpool with the old fashioned agitator and inefficient water usage.  At least my clothes were always clean!

4. On Tuesday, I wanted to use the treadmill which is right next to the washer and dryer.  I texted Dave at work and asked him if it was dangerous to use the treadmill what with the puddles always seeping out.  He said no as long as there wasn’t water near the treadmill plug.

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Never mind.

5. Wednesday: it’s still leaking and I’m still second guessing our washer and dryer order.  And I’m freaking the freak out.  Mystery leaks make me paranoid and panicy.  I blame Dave for making me watch Holmes on Homes with him.

6.  Yesterday I went downstairs to find this.

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I don’t know why this picture is coming out sideways in the final post. I guess it figures though, right?

Oh come on! It can’t be the washing machine, I haven’t used it since last weekend!  Last night we pulled it all the way out and mopped up all the water and then waited.  We came back down a couple hours later and there was more water where the washing machine used to be, but where was it coming from?  Dave tried turning the valve off that goes to our hose outside, and then we went to bed.  We woke up this morning and it’s dry.

7. I’m still skeptical.  But at least this means our washing machine is off the hook and we don’t have to spend an outrageous amount of money for crappy new machines.  Is the saga of the mystery leak over?  Let’s hope so, but I’m not counting on it!

WIWS & Flag Day

Linking up with Fine Linen and Purple for What I Wore Sunday.

Hellooooo What I wore Sunday! I’ve missed you.

Dress: Gap Shoes: Famous Footwear Belt: Super old H&M

Dress: Gap
Shoes: Famous Footwear
Belt: Super old H&M

If I could only wear navy and cognac for the rest of my life, I would do so happily.  I’m just a big fan of that combo, and I think it looks good no matter what the season.

This dress is pretty much perfect in every way.  The material is light but not see-through, and the waist is gathered and elasticized in a flattering way and the length is just below the knee.  And it has pockets!  I don’t know why pockets make a dress, but they just do.

And my shoes are also a recent purchase and I’m so in love with them.  Remember in the fall when I said I was on the hunt for cognac flats?  Well I never found them and I eventually gave up the hunt because winter descended and I lived in boots for several months.  I pinned these almost identical Frye flats sometime over the winter, but I never thought I’d find something similar that would fit my big wide feet comfortably. When I found these at Famous Footwear, for a fraction of the price of the Fryes but still decent quality and so comfortable, I pounced.

.        .        .       .       .       .       .

So! Did you know that today is Flag Day? If you live in my town you do because my town takes Flag Day very seriously.

We have a parade.

Sara has always loved the parade because she loves vehicles, and she loves waving to people.  This year it was even more exciting because we let her eat the candy that they threw from the floats.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGus enjoyed the parade too. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is Gus’ first ex-utero flag day parade.  Last year his view was a little obstructed.

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Whew! What a difference a year makes!

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7QT: Terrorists, Dentists and Better Homes and Gardens

Linking up with This Ain’t the Lyceum and Clan Donaldson so I can dump all my thoughts and fears and pictures into one big post. You’re welcome!

1.  It’s been a crazy week.  I’m generally a pretty upbeat person, but everything going on in the world lately has me feeling a little depressed.  The Duggars (I liked Laura’s take that whole thing), Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, and then to top it all off, on Tuesday morning, the Boston police along with the FBI killed a terrorist wielding a giant knife which he was intending to use to behead someone, 2 miles from my house.  That last one literally hit too close to home for me.  Pray, pray, pray.

2. I’ve also been in the process of getting a crown. 

This actually has not been as traumatic as I thought it would be.  I’ve needed this crown for years, but I’ve been putting it off because $$$ and *scared*.  But now it seems like it’s the perfect time for me to get extensive dental work done.  For starters, after having 2 kids nothing much scares me anymore when it comes to medical things (famous last words).  But also, it’s been really nice to have little breaks from the kids.  My babysitter is back from college and Sara has been loving having her over to play.  It’s a win-win. And I get a crown. 😉

3.  Poor Gus has been having teeth issues too, so we’ve not been getting much sleep lately.  At 11 months, he still only has his bottom two teeth and from the way he’s been carrying on, you’d think he was about to pop another 10 teeth any minute.  I hope that’s what happens!  But in reality, it’ll probably be a couple more weeks of misery and then he’ll pop one measly tooth.  Gah!  I feel for the dude, I really do.

4.  I really shouldn’t be complaining because Dave and I both had a nice little break from the monsters this past Sunday.  Our wonderful babysitter came over mid-morning and we got to go out for brunch (best meal of the day!) and then we did the historical homes tour in our town.  More like, Better Homes and Gardens tour!  These houses were amazing! I guess I was expecting historical homes, you know, old and charming, but with sloping floors and maybe a little chipping paint? No, these houses were magazine perfect.  Every inch of each of the 5 houses was flawlessly updated and their yards and gardens were meticulous.  It was really fun, albeit a little overwhelming.  We felt like such schlumps! If only these people knew what part of town we live in!IMG_4348 IMG_4350

5. I didn’t take too many pictures because I thought that would be a little creepy, but one of the houses is for sale, in case you’re in the market and have 1.8 million dollars burning a hole in your pocket.

6. But wait, do you want lots of pictures? I thought since Cari started a link-up, I’d share some pictures of our garden so far.  We are the worst at weeding, which is why we mulch like crazy, but there’s still grass and weeds poking up.  Just keepin’ it real. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe big net thing in the back is our trellis for the cantaloup, cucumbers and green beans.  Hopefully it holds up! We have two rows of broccoli there on the left side of the garden.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There’s squash in the middle there, and under the mesh canopy, there are peppers and basil.  Every year our basil and peppers are eaten by beetles in July, so Dave got this canopy.  But, we’re thinking we need to take it off soon so the peppers can be pollinated.  We’ll see what happens with this set-up.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are two tomato plants in the back there and then rows of onions, carrots and lettuce.  Clearly we need to be eating more salads!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the far right side of the garden is our strawberry patch.  We have them covered with netting and that seems to be keeping many of the pests away.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey’re doing really well so far! We’ve been getting about 5-10 strawberries a day since Monday.  Sara loves it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, we have these monster snap peas in the front.  They’ve grown way taller than the fence but they’re finally started blossoming, so peas should come soon!

7.  We have a fun weekend ahead of us! My sisters Mary and Joanie are coming in tomorrow and on Sunday, Mary and I are running a 5K.  And guys! It’s Donut Day, so when Gus wakes up from his morning nap, we’re walking to the neighborhood Dunkies for our free donuts. If you walk there and back, the calories don’t count, right? Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Almost to the Finish Line

I’ve run across several good blog posts lately about nursing (this one from Like Mother Like Daughter and this one from Call Her Happy are at the top of my head right now) that have helped me reflect now that I’m nearing the finish line with Gus.  He’s 11 months old today, and things seem to be winding down a bit in the nursing department.  I’m sure we have a few more months to go, but we’re close enough to the end that I think I can finally see the forest for the trees. 

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No breastmilk for you, baby birds.

I am so grateful to my mom and my older sisters for being my “collective memory” as Auntie Leila puts it, and for making nursing normal to me.  I think that, more than anything else, was the driving force behind my sticking it out with SK.  I struggled so much with nursing her.  After experiencing a long, painful labor ending in a c-section (and then some other very trying times right after she was born) I ended up being totally dependent on a nipple shield that a helpful nurse at the hospital provided us with.  And I was so humiliated! I already felt like such a failure after having that first c-section, and then to be dependent on the shield was such a blow.  I tried to get her off of it but eventually I just let go and accepted the fact everything was working fine with the darn thing.  Now looking back, I can see that the shield really wasn’t a big deal.

The bigger deal for me with nursing was being blindsided by the all-consuming nature of it. I had just finished 9 plus months of being pregnant and then a traumatic birth, and now I was supposed to somehow recover mentally and physically whilst still being attached to this needy little baby 24-7?  I was not prepared for that.  I was not prepared for the fact that you are on call all the time, there are no subs, baby wants and needs you! And then to add insult to injury, you lose half your hair! That motherhood 101 course… it’s a doozy.

So, this time around with Gus, I was more prepared in some ways.  I was determined to do things without a shield this time, and I succeeded! … after 2 and a half painful months.  Gus has a bit of a tongue tie, which we had checked out by the pediatrician and a specialist who both told us that it was minor enough that he would grow out of it.  And they were right, he has, but those first couple of months were incredibly painful.  Between that and the fact that he would nurse every 2 hours on the nose, all through the night for the first couple of months, Dave was ready to hop in the car and buy some formula.  I was a mess.

Nursing can be so tough! I have friends who don’t struggle much with it at all, and I have friends who struggle greatly and are not able to nurse for long, if at all.  I try to be encouraging to women who are nursing because it’s so worth it, it’s worth a try, it’s worth the pain and the sleepless nights.  Like Rosie said in her post this morning, just wait a few weeks and things will be better.  But also, it’s okay to get help.  It’s okay to use a nipple shield, or a pacifier, or to pump or to supplement.  These aren’t moral issues; you have to figure out how to make it work for you.

Now here I am almost to the finish line of my second nursing marathon.  This is my sweet spot emotionally and physically with nursing.  He’s not nursing a ton anymore, so I can get out for hours at a time without him, but we still have our sweet moments together after naps and at night.  I don’t take for granted the fact that Dave and I will have more kids; Gus might be my last baby, so I’m soaking up his babyhood.  But at the same time, I’m ready and I’m grateful for the break coming soon.  And he’s getting ready to take off on those chubby legs of his!

I wish I could tell myself back in those stressful early nursing days with Sara, “Nursing is hard but you’ll come to like it one day. And the best part is, it doesn’t last forever!”
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[A certain fluffy towhead interrupted the writing of this post to, you guessed it, nurse.]

7QT: Blog Angst, Goals and Some Happenings

Here’s hoping that hopping on the 7 Quick Takes train will help me out of my blogging rut!

1. I’ve started and thrown out several posts over the past few weeks.  I lost my groove! First I tried to write about my quest for cute summer sandals, but the quest came to an abrupt end when I succumbed to the siren call of Target’s shoe department.

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Gus is unimpressed.

They’re cute, I like them.  I just always do this.  I cave for the cheapest, easiest buy because the nicer, better made and probably more comfortable pair is so much more expensive! No doubt I will pine over this pair for the rest of the summer. But I made my choice. (Aren’t you glad I saved you all from a post full of this nonsense?)

2. I thought about and even started writing a What I Wore Sunday post about how more often than not, my Mass outfits are not nursing friendly because I’m a heartless mom because Sundays are the only days that I have an excuse to get dressed up nicely and it’s only for an hour, so I don’t see what the big deal is.  And then I decided that, indeed, it is not a big deal, so I trashed that post!

3. I guess I’m having a bit of a blogging existential crisis.

Moving on!

4. Last week was Dave’s birthday, and I made him this cheesecake.IMG_4247

I don’t know which good deed earned me best wife award: making the cake or selflessly leaving the last piece for him.  Anyway, I dun good.

5. The month of May so far has been positively magical.  The garden is thriving, my lilacs are starting to bloom and we’re all beginning to shed our pale ghostly gray complexions and don our summer glows.IMG_4219 IMG_4244IMG_4234 IMG_4261_2

Or, in my case, my first sunspots on my forehead.  Hello sunspots, you go well with my prescription sunglasses and forehead creases. 😉

6. This month I set a fitness goal for myself: run 40 miles in the month of May.  I got my 10 miles done in this first week, so I’m feeling optimistic that I can hit my 40 mile goal.  I’d been plateauing a bit with running because my hamstrings have been killing me. I think my lower back is a mess in general and that’s making my hamstrings tight, but I also have never been the best at stretching, so this week I really focused on stretching after running. I also started drinking coconut water again, since it helped my leg cramps and soreness significantly at the end of my pregnancy last year.  Anyway, if any of you seasoned runners/fit people have any tips about stretches, etc., please let me know! I’m a complete hack at this running thing.

7. What I really need to do is set some housekeeping goals for myself! Gus is almost a year old, which means I don’t really have an excuse any more, huh? I mean, I figured once Gus was sleeping through the night, then I could really get my rear in gear and tackle more than the basics.  Are you laughing yet? Have you figured out the punchline? Gus isn’t sleeping through the night. And the rare nights he does sleep all night, Sara wakes up screaming about losing Minnie or her blankets.  As Jenny brilliantly wrote last week, when it comes to sleep training, there are no victors.  Har har.

Anyway, don’t pity me, I’m not dying from lack of sleep. But I might die from lack of dusting in my bedroom.  Oy! I finally deep cleaned my bedroom this morning and it. was. shameful.  No more! Once a month (hey, maybe the Saturday that I go to confession since I actually have stuck to that New Year’s resolution!) I need to dust and swiffer the bedrooms.  No more neglecting the upstairs since nobody sees it. As the internet is my witness, the dustbunnies will never get that bad again!

Happy Mother’s Day weekend, everyone! And don’t forget to click back to Kelly’s place for more Quick Takes!

 

{PFHR} Spring has sprung!

Anyone who used to watch Sesame Street in the 80’s might remember this one:

(That’s about the screen quality I saw it in at the time, too.) Anyway, that song has been in my head all week as we finally have been doing some earth-turning, week pulling, worm-finding, and seed-planting!

PRETTY

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Not garden-related, but spring-themed: Look at my pretty door! I’ve been scowling at my ugly storm door all winter and now it’s off and I can see my nice shiny black door and forsythia wreath. And my hubby got me that hanging basket of petunias.

FUNNY

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Petey is fun to watch outside in his very element, with so many new things to poke around in. He NEVER wants to come back inside these days.

HAPPY

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I’m very happy to be out in the garden again and getting onions, peas, broccoli, and lettuce into the ground!

This also makes me happy — how adorable is my Paul’s hand-drawn garden plan, composed back in January? We’ll have to compare and contrast his efforts to Dave’s spreadsheets I’ve heard about!

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REAL

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For real, people, those are tiny strawberries. Already! Hooray!

Other not-so-hot “real” things: Allergies  hitting big time for me and the kids, ugh; deer eating my tulips; and bunnies eating my parsley and squirrels attacking the bird feeder. Oh well, it’s all part of spring, and I welcome it!

Head over to Like Mother Like Daughter to check out some more captured contentment!

Mom Pictures

(or, I’m ready for my closeup!)

“Hey Dave, can you take a decent picture of me with the kiddos since we’re having such a nice time at the farm?”
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Never mind.

(And yes, we’re crouching next to a cow’s buttocks.  The picture was doomed from the get-go.)

Bathroom Renovation

I might have mentioned several times in my kitchen post how much more I love my kitchen now than when it was a dark, paneled dungeon.  Well.  Take that love and multiply it by a million and that’s how much I love my bathroom now.  I think you will too!

Of course, I don’t have very good before photos, so bear with me, please.  IMG_1269

First thing: Woody Woodpecker, more wood!  Also, sticky laminate tiles on the bathroom floor, like in the kitchen but not the same tiles.  Of course!IMG_3090

This picture is from when Dave put fan in the bathroom last September, a much needed fix.  The picture also displays the laminate tile in all it’s glory as well as my old shower curtain.  I do love that shower curtain.  McWomen have a genetic predisposition to loving toile, so I was and still am a big fan of that shower curtain, but it didn’t quite go with the final product and Dave (and any other male visitors to la casa) would make fun of it so… bye bye toile.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Awww. New kitchen, new Catholic Gus on his baptism day, but look behind my shoulder…

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That bathroom vanity was UGH. Let’s start at the top: that light fixture.  Need I say more about that? The cabinet was one of those awful 3-panel mirrors that makes you look thin if you stand between one pair of mirrors, but if you shimmy over between the other pair of mirrors, you’ve instantly put on 20 pounds.  THE WORST.  The cabinet was unusually high and wood of course and the top had very little counter space because the sink came up over the counter and sucked up half of it.

Like the kitchen, the bathroom was depressing to me because I would clean it and it wouldn’t look clean.  The biggest problem in there was lack of storage. We had to put things above the medicine cabinet and even the lights, as you can see in the picture.  It was always cluttered in there. All this was doubly depressing because it’s our only bathroom.  This is the bathroom our guests use and it’s our whole family’s every day, all-use bathroom.  It definitely needed a little TLC.

It took Dave a couple of weekends in October, and now the bathroom looks like this:
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Ahhhhhh. So much better, right?

Dave continued the same laminate sheet flooring from the kitchen into the bathroom. [Editorial note: Claire has informed me that it’s not laminate flooring, it’s vinyl, for what it’s worth.]  When we picked it out, I really tried to make sure the color and pattern of the flooring would work well both in the bathroom and the kitchen.  We painted the walls a soft gray and the trim bright white and I switched out my green and white Target wedding towels for dark gray towels from Costco.  I also switched out my beloved toile shower curtain for that funky number from Target.  I honestly don’t know what possessed me to buy that shower curtain.  I’m not ordinarily into psychedelic geometric patterns, however, the hexagon pattern did remind me of a beehive, and I have a thing for bees. (WHIMSY!) Also, I picked out the curtain after we painted and after I had decided on gray towels and white cabinets and gray countertop on the sink.  There was a lot of gray and white and the bathroom need a little sumpin’-sumpin’. So there you have it!

We bought two new medicine cabinets.  The one over the sink is from Ikea and it’s one whole mirror, fancy that! The one over the toilet we found on Amazon and we got that one because of the exposed shelf on the bottom.  It (usually) holds toilet paper rolls. Now we have more than enough cabinet space!

The shelves next to the sink were there, but Dave painted them white and I splurged on matching baskets for them at Target.  They don’t fit the shelves perfectly but they look good.  The biggest splurge for the bathroom was the sink and cabinet.  They’re from Lowes.  It’s actually a smaller sink than the one that was there before, but we can afford less storage below because of all the new cabinets above.  The light fixture above the medicine cabinet is also new, much better than that old marquee lighting situation before.

The other subtle change is all the new hardware.  The sink, tub fixtures, (not pictured) towel bars, cabinet knobs, toilet paper holder are all matching brushed nickel fixtures.  And speaking of things not pictured, (and I don’t know why it’s not pictured, there’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t have my act together) in the tub, Dave re-caulked the corners of the shower and the seam on the bottom between the tub and the beginning of the tile where the grout really showed some wear and tear.  Actually, come to think of it, he had to scrape out the old grout because whoever did it before used the wrong kind of grout and he then re-grouted and caulked.  It was actually more of a project than he thought it would be.

All together, this is what we did to renovate the bathroom:

-Installed a bathroom fan

-New laminate sheet flooring

-Paint on trim and walls

-Caulk and grouting in tub and other seams in the bathroom

-New hardware and fixtures

-2 new medicine cabinets

-3 new baskets in shelves

-New light fixture

-New sink and cabinet

-New towels

-New shower curtain and bath mat

It’s a lot of things, but they’re all little things, so all together it didn’t take as much time as the kitchen renovation and not as much money either.  The end result is a bright, clean bathroom with enough storage space to put all the ugly odds and ends out of sight.

Quite simply, it’s my favorite room in the house. :)  That is, until we work on the living room!

Thanks for sticking with me.  I’m no home renovation blogger or expert for that matter.  Dave is the one that does all the work, I just make design choices.  But I wanted to share our little renovations just to encourage you to maybe try some little, inexpensive fixes in your own home.  They make such a big difference!

A Happy Easter & Birthday

Happy Easter, everybody!

We ended up staying home for Easter instead of traveling to New York to see the McFamily to avoid getting a stomach bug from certain cousins. I’m sure their Mommy will tell the harrowing tale of their Easter on the blog soon. 😉 And speaking of this here blog, it got a bit of a facelift over Easter.  Looking good, huh? Rose painted the header and Dave did the computer stuff.  We’re still working on a new About Us page, but otherwise it’s done.  What do you think?

We were so disappointed to miss out on family time, but we used the long weekend at home to get started on the garden.  I can hardly believe that the snow is mostly gone.  I thought the winter would never end!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADave tilled up our plot and we picked 12309234987983458938457 rocks out of it and then Dave added his compost that he’s been working on since last year.  Hopes are high for the harvest this year!

On Easter Sunday we went to the 7 am Mass (!!!!!!) so that Gus could get his morning nap before we joined our friends for brunch.  Nothing beats holidays with family, but this came very close!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd yesterday the fun continued with our Sara Kate’s birthday.  Our sweet girl had a sweet day that started with balloons and pancakes…

IMG_4082 IMG_4087 IMG_4089(Sara loves Minnie Mouse, can you tell?)

The birthday girl requested a rainbow cake.  I briefly toyed with the idea of making one of those multi-layer cakes with each layer being another color of the rainbow, but then I came to my senses and decided to get one of those tie-dye cake mixes and just make a rainbow on the top.  It turned out really cute!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI can’t believe she’s 3.  I really try to avoid over-the-top mommy gushing about my kids, but since it’s her birthday I guess it’s okay, right? I never imagined in a million years that I would have such a sweet heart of a little girl.  She’s such a joy in our lives; we’re so grateful for our girlie!

And just like that, we’re back to normal around here.  Except that it’s still Easter!  We certainly have enough sugar around this house to keep up the celebrating. Happy Easter week to all of you, friends!

 

The Long-Awaited Kitchen Post

I’ve been promising this post for a very long time… Dave finished our kitchen face-lift back in June just before Gus arrived so at first I had a valid excuse for not getting a post up here.  But then I stalled because I have no proper before pictures to do it justice.  And then I stalled because I had misgivings over whether it was even share-worthy or not.  We live in a very HGTV and Pinterest-y world, don’t we? I love a good pie-in-the-sky renovation just like any other gal, but sometimes it breeds dissatisfaction with what we have and what little improvements we are able to make.  But you know what? I’m so proud of the hard work Dave has put into this place. It’s no diamond sunbursts or marble halls[countertops] but it’s a heck of an improvement and it makes me happy!  Time to share!

BEFORE:IMG_0068 IMG_0162

The main thing you’ll notice in the inadequate before photos I have is how dark it is.  The whole bottom of the wall was dark paneling and all of the trim was dark so along with the cabinets it made for a dark, dingy looking kitchen.  I tried to brighten it up with some color but in retrospect it just added to the chaos. In the bottom picture you can see the old worn linoleum tiles.  You couldn’t tell when I had mopped, it was so gross.IMG_0173 IMG_2446

More paneling under the cabinets… The corner back there was always so dark; if I put my recipe books underneath when cooking dinner, I wasn’t able to read the directions. The paper towels were forever falling into whatever I was making.  And the dishes! I didn’t have a dishwasher so the dishes piled up fast on my minimal counter space, and even when they were washed, I had to use space on the counter for the drying rack.

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I confess, another reason I dragged my feet on getting this post up was because it’s rarely this clean.  I hosted a playdate this morning, though, so it was all spic and span for my friends.  Although, you’ll probably notice the top of my fridge is a disaster zone.  I used to have a junk drawer but then I actually needed the space in that drawer for non-junk.  Well, the junk has to go somewhere! Top of the fridge it is.  I’m not proud of this, and I’m working on figuring out a different solution.

So, you see the new floor? It’s a sheet of linoleum.  Yes, it’s the cheaper route, but it’s better that sticky linoleum tiles which is what was there before.  If this was our forever kitchen in our forever home we probably would have put down real tile or hardwood.  Maybe this will be our forever home or for a long while home; if that’s the case we have plans for a kitchen & downstairs bathroom overhaul complete with nicer finishes.  The point with this facelift was to make what was already here more livable and attractive.  So for now the linoleum sheet fit the bill. Personally, I love it.

So! What else?  The paneling is gone! It’s not actually gone though… Dave took the chair rail off and discovered that the paneling was flush with the plaster above it, so he just caulked up the seam (it took several goes) and sanded a lot. [You know what sanding results in? Dust! Everywhere! Renovations test a marriage, that’s all I’m saying.] After the sanding came the paint.  He painted the trim and the walls and the doors.  That alone made such a huge difference.  We also got a new kitchen table and chairs from Ikea.  Best purchase ever. Also from Ikea, we got the under cabinet pot lights.  Doesn’t it make such a huge difference? We also switched out the hardware on the cabinets.  Just little things! We debated painting the cabinets but Dave said it would have been such a huge project to do it correctly. He would have had to take all the fronts off and sand them down and then ideally spray paint them.  I’m glad we didn’t, I think the paint and new hardware really makes the cabinets pop in a good way.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ah! I have a dishwasher now! It meant losing precious cabinet space/drawer, but it was totally worth it.  And you know what? We haven’t really missed the cabinet space too much. (Ahem. Junk is now on top of fridge and not in a drawer.) Installing the dishwasher resulted in more counter space which is glorious!

Another little inexpensive thing that Dave did was he extended the plain white square tile backsplash under the cabinets and behind the stove.  There was backsplash just behind the sink, but you probably never noticed, did you?  Now you can’t miss it thanks to the under cabinet lights. The bottom picture displays a little set up that I’m proud of. No, not the wine! I put little hooks up for the pot holders and measuring spoons so they’re exactly where I need them! No rummaging through drawers! Also, I picked up that stainless steel canister thingy at Ikea for the big spoons, spatulas, and various sundry items that previously took up a whole drawer.  Now they’re right where I need them too!

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Oh! I almost forgot! We moved our microwave from the little butcher block island thingy to the pantry closet.  Dave just had to put a shelf in and drill a hole out so he could plug it in behind the fridge.  My pantry is clearly overstuffed and not organized.  But the door is usually closed. 😉

So, all together this is what we did:

Linoleum sheet flooring

Paint on trim, walls and doors

New fridge (this was unexpected, but when we did the floor we discovered our old fridge had been leaking into the subfloor)

Dishwasher

Extended backsplash

Under-cabinet pot lights

Cabinet hardware

New overhead light

New curtains (I made them!)

Altogether, we spent around $2000, the fridge being the biggest expense by far.

So, nothing super trendy or luxurious.  But the kitchen is such a happy place in our home now, which is wonderful because we spend so much time in there.  No granite, no stainless steel, no engineered soft-close cabinets. Those things are so nice and one day we hope to have a kitchen with all those trimmings, but for now I love the happy bright little kitchen that I have, white appliances, laminate floors and all. :)

And, a sneak peek at my next room-reveal post: the bathroom!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA