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…


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:




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!

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.


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!


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)


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 

Nursery Reveal

“So, whatcha doing this week, Ellen?”

Oh I don’t know, just having a BABY.

Our buddy’s eviction date is set for this Friday, so that means I have t-3 days left of being pregnant.  And I’ve been such a good girl this time around that I’m just letting myself be pregnant and eat ice cream sandwiches and pop tarts when I feel like it.  People, I’ve been craving pop tarts for almost the entire pregnancy and I only just caved and bought a box yesterday.  That’s self control!

It’s high time I showed you his nursery in all it’s (mostly finished) glory, huh?  I also have a mostly finished kitchen to show you as well, but I have all week, so patience y’all!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWay back in the awful never ending winter, I looked for boy nursery inspiration on pinterest and I was so taken by this nursery with the blue gingham curtains.  I just had to have them!  I’m also a big fan of crib skirts because then I can stash sleeves of diapers and other stuff under the crib and nobody’s the wiser.  So I picked up enough fabric (way more than enough fabric because I’m really bad at measurements) at Ikea for both curtains and skirt.  I also picked up this play rug at Ikea.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThus solidifying (along with the awesome lamp on loan from cousin Jude!) the nursery’s unofficial and vague theme of vehicles.  Also, blue and green.  I know it seems to be too small for the space, but ultimately, the nursing chair will go back into the room so all that will be visible on the floor after that will be the rug.  I was pretty excited when I got the idea to use the car rug for the nursery because 1. it was super cheap ($13!) and 2. It will be played with by more than one kid.  SK is already a big fan!


Here’s a better shot of the crib and the picture above the crib.  I know it just looks like a cute watercolor of an elephant pushing a rock, but it’s actually way cooler and nerdier than that.  It adorably illustrates Newton’s 3 laws of motion.  Don’t believe me?  Check out this Etsy listing.   Our friend Pat bought it for SK back in the day.  He’s an engineer and Dave’s a physicist so they both thought it was coolest thing ever.  It’s pretty fun, isn’t it?

I have to brag that I got the bumpers at Savers for $3!! I had very girlie bumpers for SK so I knew I needed to get new ones for this baby.  Is it gross that I got them used?  They’re nice Carter bumpers and they were in good condition and I washed and dried them on really high heat.  Whatever, I’m proud of my occasional thriftiness. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I totally have to eat my words in a former post when I complained that chevron stresses me out.  It’s still not my favorite, but I really wanted a changing pad cover this time around and this one was inexpensive on Amazon.  It does clash a bit with the curtains, but I liked how the gray went with the gray of the mobile clouds.  To the left of the changing station…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I actually have his name up there too in stainless steel cookie cutter letters, but I took it down for the picture so it can remain a surprise for some of you. 🙂 I’m not done decorating the shelf; I’d like one or both of his patron saints represented up there.  Spoiler alert: St. Joe up there is not one of this namesakes, but I like him a lot and want my son to be like him, so his presence on the shelf is very much welcome.  I think my favorite part of the whole nursery is that sweet pennant.  I whipped it up last night and I’m very pleased with how it turned out.

Turning around on the other side of the room…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI kept up the curtain with the ball fringe because it works color-wise.  And because, ball-fringe! The fun tire mirror is another loaner from Jude.  And yes, little brother’s closet is filled with his big sister’s clothes still.  He might as well get used it it.  And speaking of SK…


I’m pretty sure she’s telling me “It’s mies bed.” She’s still a little possessive of her former crib, but she does love her new room and big girl bed.  And she still owns the closet in this room, so she kinda wins. 😉

So there it is!  I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I purposely made things simpler in the nursery this time around.  It’s such a small room that too much stuff just makes for clutter and mess and stress. I’m no minimalist by any stretch, but I’m starting to see the benefit of paring down all the stuff.  [For comparison, here’s SK’s nursery.]

I really will try to get a kitchen post up this week!  Please keep me and my littlest kiddo in your prayers this week too?


SK’s Nursery That Was

Apologies to our 5 readers for the blog-silence in recent weeks.  We have been pretty busy around here lately, but really I haven’t been blogging because I’m so pregnant and I don’t want to subject you all to my 24/7 train of emotions.  Besides, everyone else writes so eloquently about pregnancy and motherhood and waiting and pregnancy essentials and labor tips all that stuff.  I literally have nothing to say about anything, so…  I won’t.

Instead, before the world has turned a little more and completely shut the door on my first baby’s babyhood, I thought I’d do a little post about Sara’s nursery that was.  It’s now almost completely transformed into a little dude’s room for baby brother who, of course, will not use it until a few months down the road but preggo mama gots ta nest!  Once it’s done, I’ll share it with you but for now won’t you take a long, rambly, picture-heavy walk down memory lane with me?

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100We start with the basics, and very poor picture quality, of course.  Our nursery is our very tiny third bedroom which could only be a nursery or an office.  Pretty much all we could fit in it was the crib, chair, dresser and tiny rug.  From here I picked up some fabric for a crib skirt and curtain…

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

And I made a mobile based on this pin.  I really like how it turned out and it has added sentimental value because one of the doilies I used was crotched by my late Grandma Ross.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100The room filled up pretty quickly after that.  I tried to stick to a pink and green theme, but I’m not a big color coordinated theme-y person so it’s not perfect.  But I liked it. 🙂

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

The tissue paper poofs are so fun, but they didn’t stay for long. Dave is too tall and the ceiling is too low for things like that. Plus, it really make the room feel a little smaller, unfortunately.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

I’m a sucker for ball fringe.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

Rose did this with grandparent pictures in Margot’s nursery and I loved it, so I copied it. SK loves saying goodnight to her grandparents  every night, so I’m moving them to her new big girl room so she can keep it up.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100 VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100SK loved her room too!  I remember excitedly putting the nursery together but having novice mom fears that she would never sleep in it. Luckily we never had a problem; hopefully her brother takes after her in that respect!



Fake It Till Ya Grow Up

Well, the inevitable happened.  As of yesterday, I stopped wearing my wedding rings.  I’d like to think that this sudden swelling of all my appendages has everything to do with the mercury rising and nothing to do with the ice cream in the freezer, but! It is what it is.

I find myself desperately wishing myself into the future.  The obvious one is wishing it were 7 weeks from now and my little guy is here. The delivery, however it’s going to happen, happened and pregnancy is over.  But it’s not just that.  I wish I was 10 years older, maybe even 20, and the little vain things that I worry about are not a big deal anymore.  My varicose veins are just a fact of life and I don’t give them a second thought.  I’m established in my community and I no longer have that pit in my stomach when it comes to making or maintaining friendships.  I no longer feel defensive when it comes to the things I do and don’t do in comparison to my peers.

I want to be that mature mother and wife, who knows all the things and has been there done that and doesn’t freak out and refuse to post Mother’s Day pictures because my arms were too pale and beefy and my face was too pregnant-puffy.  I want to be the mother who doesn’t pass those insecurities on to her daughter(s).

The thing is, I’m beginning to wonder if/fear that we never get over our insecurities.  Maybe everyone else is just faking it?  Sure, women who are 10 or 20 years older than I am have experienced more and they’ve done their time, but maybe they do still angst about their friendships and their varicose veins?  But maybe they just don’t let on like they do.  Maybe they’ve learned to ignore those nagging insecure voices in their heads and just move on and live.

So that’s my new motto: fake it till ya make it. And in my case, make it = grow up. Maybe if I just pretend that all these things don’t bother me, eventually they won’t.  I’m about to have my second child and I know I won’t have as much time to worry about this stuff.  God willing, this is a pattern that will repeat itself as I enter my 30’s: more babies, more on my plate, less time to worry about silly things.  I think the silly things will always bother me to a degree, but if I start faking it and pretending that they’re no big deal, maybe they will indeed become no big deal.

My first attempt at faking it is sharing this picture against my vainer judgement.

My first attempt at faking it is sharing this picture against my vainer judgement.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On a loosely related note, Dave is slowly working on our kitchen facelift.  Right now, things are looking pretty crappy.  The walls and trim require a lot of prep work and sanding before he can actually paint and in the meantime they look awful and there’s a thick layer of dust over everything and we track it all throughout the house.  Ordinarily, I think, this would be an annoying process but I’m usually pretty chill about living with chaos.  Being at the end of pregnancy, though, means everything is bothering me.  EVERYTHING. I know that I just need to be patient and it will be finished.  Dave reminded me that it’s going to look a lot worse before it looks better.  That’s just how life is, right?

The awesome thing about this picture is our new kitchen table and chairs that fit the space sooooo much better than our last set.  And! The chairs are not wobbly death traps! Everything else is looking pretty awful, especially the floor.

The awesome thing about this picture is our new kitchen table and chairs that fit the space sooooo much better than our last set. And! The chairs are not wobbly death traps! Everything else is looking pretty awful though, especially the floor.

I’m getting more puffy and veiny (and whiny) each day, but soon there will be a baby!  Amazing!  Afterwards, I’ll probably still have veins and scars and more belly flab, and all these things will get more pronounced as I age and as we add to our family.  But we’re building a beautiful thing, right?  I need to let go of my superficial woes and embrace the bigger picture of what we’re doing here.  I know it’s so worth it.

She makes construction look adorable, doesn't she?

She makes construction look adorable, doesn’t she?

Sara Kate’s Birthday Kitchen

This past Sunday was SK’s 2nd birthday! I can’t believe it’s only been two years… or is it only two weeks?  As Christy put it recently, “the time bending paradox of parenthood” is a beautiful thing.  It seems like SK has been around forever, and I can’t imagine life without her, but at the same time it’s gone so fast.  Every day she wakes up she’s less of a baby, and I’m more of a baby over the whole thing!  Gah! But I promise this isn’t a weepy, sentimental steaming heap of a post. No, this is a much more obnoxious braggy post about my husband’s amazing skills.

This post is about THE KITCHEN.

Ta-da! Oh wait, turn those knobs...

Ta-da! Oh wait, turn those knobs…



[Before I forget to give credit where credit is due, I was aesthetically inspired by these two DIY play kitchens I found through pinterest.  The rest of the construction, though, was all Dave.  He came up with and executed the plans all by himself.]

Sorry about the picture quality.  That’s from Saturday night when we set it up in the living room; don’t worry, there’s more pictures!  On Sunday morning, we went into SK’s room with a special #2 balloon.  Really, we didn’t have to make her a kitchen, the balloon was enough!  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And then we brought her downstairs for the big reveal…

I think she likes it!

I think she likes it!



Thank you Mimi and Nana for providing all the accessories for the kitchen!

Later we had a little party with friends.  I didn’t get any party detail pictures, because I’m lame, but I did get a picture of the cake because I’m an Instagram addict in the worst way. photo (21)

The party’s loose theme was strawberries because SK loves her some strawberries and because the little curtain on the kitchen (my one and only proud contribution) is covered in strawberries.  So we had strawberry cake (the yummy pink from-the-box kind), strawberry and blueberry salad, spinach strawberry salad, and strawberry lemonade.  And hamburgers and hot dogs!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


It looks like it was a miserable day weather-wise in these pictures, but it was actually a really beautiful day and just got a little chilly there at the end.


Our big birthday girl.

Dave will be penning a massive (maybe more than one part) how-to post about how he made the kitchen in case anyone else is crazy enough to attempt this!  But really, it was such a labor of love for us (most him) and it was so fun to give it to her and see her excitement and joy.  Plus, this makes me very excited about my own future kitchen reno projects; if this is what we can do for a play kitchen, imagine the potential for our actual kitchen! [And by we, I mean Dave.]OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

7QT: Whole Lotta Randoms

Linking up for 7 Quick Takes Friday with Jen & the gang.

1. A song for your weekend (and childhood nostalgia trip for me :))

2. Now that we’re a few hours away from his ETA, I guess it’s ok to share that Dave’s been out of town this week.  It’s not a big deal and travel (specifically British travel lucky duck!) is a common thing for Dave with his job and current project.  The hard thing about this trip was it was very last minute so I didn’t have time to get used to the idea and make plans (ideally to visit my mom) to distract us.  It’s actually been a good week, though, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to face my discomfort with being at home alone with the kiddo and I survived!  It helped to have playdates and friends visit, and of course, the farm trip really boosted our moods too!  It really makes me feel for you ladies out there who are single moms, or who deal with deployment or demanding work hours in your husband’s jobs.  We were not meant to do this alone!  And if you have a minute, can you please say a quick prayer for Dave’s flight back today?  The whole Malaysian flight disappearance last week has made me a Nervous Nelly about this trip.

3. When Dave gets home he’s going to need to sleep but I’m afraid he’s going fight it because he’s got some projects he’s feverishly working on here.  One of them is his seedlings and garden prep.  Check out this set-up he’s made for the seedlings in the basement!

photo (18)


Yes that’s a heat lamp AND a heating pad.  I’m surprised the neighbors haven’t called the cops on us yet as it clearly looks like we’re trying to grow a special type of garden if you know what I mean.

4. He’s also working on making a play kitchen for SK for her birthday at the beginning of April. In typical Dave fashion, he’s taking this project to the next level of nerdiness, but consequently the end result is going to be amazing.  Here’s some sneak peek pictures.

Yup, those are some light up burners!

Yup, those are some light up burners!


Oven door

5. I’m so excited for SK’s birthday because I think she’s really going to like her kitchen.  She loves helping in the kitchen and her growing vocabulary reflects that.

Deeyishious! – Just yesterday she started saying that about her play cookies.

Mixin-mixin – That’s what we do with everything we cook.

Other cute words and phrases:

Cuse me, toots – her very polite, but hysterical phrase for when she’s suffering some flatulence.  This phrase was basically the theme of daily Mass yesterday… it’s a good thing it’s mostly elderly folks at daily Mass!

Naaaamie, e aaaaaaaaa yoooouu? – SK has to search for her favorite buddy every day before nap and bedtime.

Oh, and remember how waffels used to have a mysterious h in front of it in SK’s pronunciation?  Well, she recently changed the h to a y so it was “yaffels” but this morning it changed again to just “affels” which doesn’t at all reflect SK’s opinion of that particular breakfast bread product.

Wearing her "sun gasses"

Wearing her “sun gasses”

6. I had a First Communion meeting this week and there I found out for the first time how the First Communion day is going to go.  Well, it was a bit of a rude awakening to discover that because it’s split into two Masses, I’m going to be there and working from about 9am till 3pm.  Of course, this wouldn’t be a big deal except that I’m going to be 32 weeks at that point and probably looking a feeling a little worse for the wear.  It’s a good thing I ordered this leg-hiding dress (taking advantage of Old Navy’s 40% off dresses this week):

7. Obviously, the dress will be paired with my most comfortable arch-supporting shoes, which might end up being my sneakers… You know you’ve really hit adulthood (especially in my family!) when you’re seriously considering taking the plunge and investing in a trusty pair of Birkenstocks to wear with EVERYTHING.

Have a great weekend, everyone!  Despite our crazy wintery day yesterday, we’re supposed to get temps into the 50’s tomorrow!  I can’t wait!  I hope your weekend weather is shaping up nicely too.

Five Favorites: House goodies

Joining up with for Five Faves. We continue to make sssslllloooowww progress on our house. The previous owners actually built the house in the 60s and changed very, very little since then. When we moved in, the dishwasher was original (no, really) and the washer, while not quite that old was sporting some wood paneling so that dates it to at least the end of the Reagan administration if not before.

Of course, every time we complete one little project (or even one big one) we are already planning the next one! Of course, by “we” I mean just me because DJ isn’t like this but i like to spread the blame and shame around. Some things catching our (okay, my) interest as possible projects:

1. All the outlets in this house need to be replaced, and we’d like to replace some of them with these:

It’s a wall outlet with built-in USB chargers! So. Cool.

2) All the doors on the second floor of our house are the fabulous, hollow-core doors popular with cheap builders everywhere until the 90s, when fabulous six-panel hollow-core doors became the fashion. We thought about replacing them, but may take a stab at this first:


Photo from Design Sponge.

What is it? It’s a slab door painted and with molding added. These tutorials are all over the inter webs and I think the afters are pretty uniformly awesome. Also, some DIY sites call this door “augmentation,” which makes me laugh like a 12-year-old kid for some reason.

3) We’d like to jump on the board-and-batten bandwagon, but we live in a 60s side-hall colonial. One of my pet peeves is when I walk into a house where updates on the inside are not in keeping with the style of the house’s exterior. But still, I really like the way this dining room looks:


Image from here.

4) Soon the exterior of our home will have to be repainted. Actually, there is a pretty large section of unpainted siding on the rear of the house that we have to slap some color on. Currently, our house is a sort of bright blue, but I really like the idea of going darker.


This house (from here) is actually similar to ours because the bottom half of the house shown is brick, like ours.

5) The outside of our house, besides paint, needs some landscaping attention. I’d really, really like a weeping cherry with a small statue of the Holy Family beneath it surrounded by some sort if ivy or other ground cover like that. I keep thinking if I include the Holy Family in my landscaping ideas, they’ll somehow find the money for me to do it. I’m aware of how awful that thought process is.

Of course, none of these projects that cost more than $50 will be done anytime in the foreseeable future since the kids continue to suck up any and all “extra” money I seem to have. I just can’t believe how much and how often they all need to eat!

Shoes! {wiws}


Does anybody else think these out of focus “test” shots are often more flattering than the posed, intended to be flattering shots? Or is it just me?

Joining Fine Linen and Purple on this fine sunny Sunday to share what I thought was a blog post-worthy outfit.  I guess you all will be the judge of that!


Earrings: Anthropologie
Top: Old Navy
Pants: Gap (old and altered)
Shoes: India

Apart from the shoes (which are my fav) the exciting part of this outfit for me is the pants.  I’ve had them since before I was married (ie, skinny days!) and they used to be wide legged trousers.  I was inspired by all those diy clothes alterations that Grace and Ana do so I thought I’d try my hand at it.  They didn’t turn out half bad, I think! Granted, I don’t know if skinny white pants are as flattering on me as wide leg white trousers… oh my lovely “athletic legs”. Welp, they’re definitely more trendy this way!

As an aside, I don’t usually wear pants to Mass, but it’s not for any deep theological reason.  I just feel prettier and more feminine in skirts and dresses.  You know what I mean?  The problem is, I still have really nasty bruises and scabs on my knees from last week’s post 5K wipeout, so it would have been uncharitable to my fellow Mass-goers and unseemly to showcase that nastiness.  I guess I could have worn a maxi skirt though.  Sorry, I’m not trying to say anything profound here or to put down pants wearing, I’m just oversharing. Isn’t that what blogs are for?


Hmmm, is this picture indicative of Sara Kate’s Mass behavior? Well, no, she actually did pretty well this week. I’d give her a solid B+.  We didn’t have to leave the pew, so that’s an improvement on the past few weeks! Toddler shenanigans have begun in ernest around here.


How about these beauties?  They’re handmade in India and I wear them sparingly and only on the driest of dry days so that they’ll last forever. They were a gift from a former co-worker of mine who is Indian.

And speaking of shoes, that’s SK’s newest word!  It’s pretty adorable and just goes to show what a Mama’s girl she is… Poor Dave(‘s wallet).

Anyway, that’s more than enough rambling for one day.  Head back to FL&P for more lovely Mass-wear and maybe Camp Patton if she does her Sunday Best link-up again.  I’m completely confused and out of the loop about that one.  Mindy and I are all

It’s a major award!

I won, I won, I won!
No, not a leg lamp, just a second place ribbon in the category of “other media” in my local Art Society annual Spring Juried Show at our library. Big time, people.
A little background on how I ended up here: After being “the artist” in the family all my young life, I wasn’t ready or interested enough when I graduated from high school to invest full-time in studying art in college, and I was torn between being an art major and an English major, so I chose to be an art major at a small Catholic liberal arts college where the art program was pretty negligible and I’d get a very broad liberal arts education. I had fun drawing and painting for four years and won awards in every student art show, but I never really got down to making art my life or anything.
I never seriously pursued a career in art after graduation, either; instead, I became an English teacher at a liberal arts high school and loved it for seven years. During that time I didn’t do much painting other than on the walls of my house and a couple of gifts for people. After I stopped teaching a did an illustration project for a friend who was self-publishing a series of books, and that was a really good experience in meeting deadlines and drawing what other people want but making it my own. It was also a chance to practice and hone my pen-and ink techniques, which I used again in one of the works I entered into this most recent art show.
Anyway, to the present. We moved to this area two years ago and I started to notice that there was a local art society that had shows twice a year at the library, as well as a regular tent at the weekly Farmers’ Market in town, and when I expressed interest my mother encouraged me to join. I finally did so this winter and in the beginning of May I got to enter two pieces into the juried art show. One was a watercolor of Margot, with some colored pencil detailing, and the other was a pen and ink drawing of Ruthie. Sorry for the bad photos.artshow

Both works are done from photos taken by my talented husband — in fact, I’m pretty sure every other painting I’ve done from a photo in recent years has been one of his photos as well. He has bragging rights for getting a higher grade than I did in the photography class we took together in college. I totally stink at photography, as you can see. He does not; here is the original of Ruthie, and it’s a work of art in itself:


So, we’re a good team!

In any case, the reception for the art show was this past Thursday, and when I heard that one of my pieces had won, I and everyone else assumed it was the pen and ink, but it was actually the watercolor of Margot. Once I saw the rest of this guy’s choices it made more sense, but several people stopped me about the drawing of Ruthie, and one even said he would’ve chosen it for best in show!

It’s been good to get back into things, but I don’t think the Art Association is the path to a career; the members are mostly older and have come to art as a hobby in retirement. So far I’m the only person I know of with an art degree, and I’m pretty sure if I want to get serious about this I’ll have to go to grad school, which isn’t in the cards with babies at home. For now it’s a good way to keep me in the game and stop me from getting too rusty, and I’m glad I joined. ribbon                                                                                                                Ruthie is proud!