Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Those of you that know me, know that bathtime is not my favorite.  I don't know why.  I just don't like giving baths.  I guess it's the chaos.  The water going everywhere.  Managing all the humanity in the bathtub.  Then getting them dry and pajamas on amid the dawdling.

Can't they just bathe themselves?

Enter stage left, my husband.

All 3 in the tub
Henry's lovin it
George just got doused

At least they all love the water.  Including little George.  He even cries when we take him out because he wants to SPLASH.

My role is post-bath - which I'll gladly take.

Neighborhood watch

Jake sharing a secret...or trying to eat George
Steve's mini-me and mini-me 2
Um, just cute

Enough said.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Kitchen Progress. Sorta.

I am the luckiest woman in the world.  My mom (and biggest blog fan) comes tomorrow and stays for a week...with the sole purpose of managing kids so I can get crackin' on the kitchen.  Yessssss.  That alone makes this blog worth way more than I ever thought it would be.

To refresh your memory - and mine - the plan is to spend little to no money on giving the kitchen a facelift.  The emphasis on no money.  So instead of anything being replaced or removed or majorly changed, a nice coat of paint will have to do.  Except my cupboards are made out of plywood.  Poorly.

more seams

Ick.  Not to mention the incredibly visible knots in the plywood that dot the doors randomly.  And the itty bitty moulding on top that really isn't big enough to call moulding.

Oh, hello.

This is my after picture.  Yep, I pulled the "moulding" off because it looks so hideous running down and under the bulkhead.  And, yep, that's a gap between the cabinet and bulkhead which the "moulding" was hiding.  I'll have to keep thinking about how to close that corner...

If anything, I figure whatever I do to the cabinets - putty, sand, prime, paint - they couldn't possibly look any worse than they do now.  At least, that's the hope.

So I started puttying yesterday.

Oy vey

This is my "Oh my God" moment where I freak out and think...  Ok, look what I've done - there's no turning back.  How the heck am I going to do all this?

Well, I didn't get a chance to continue worrying about that because swim and gymnastics got in the way yesterday.  Further puttying put on hold.

But I did get a chance to test drive the new hardware.

Old handles
New knobs

The positioning is wrong (I just stuck them in the bottom hole from the old knobs), but the hardware is right.  I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I open a cabinet door.  Yup, they're keepers.

So until next crack at puttying, here's a before of the next 4 doors of upper cabinets. 

Get ready

I just hope I have enough mom time scheduled to get at all 23 of these babies!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Last week I lost my Auntie Pam. 

Anyone who knew her loved her.  And anyone who loved her is mourning her courageous and heroic fight against cancer.

We traveled south to be with my dad's family in Florida for her funeral.  Steve is my hero for staying home with the boys while I was away.  And my mother-in-law is a saint for taking George for a couple nights. 

While it was a heartbreaking reason for our side of the family to be all together again, it felt good to support each other by just being there. 

Mom & Dad - Nokomis Beach, Venice, FL

On our last night together, we brought wine to the beach, watched the sunset and toasted Pam.  I can't think of a better way to celebrate and say goodbye.

Auntie Pam, I love you.  I'll miss you more than I can say.  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Good, The Bad and The Getting Better

Ok, let's get the Bad out of the way.  The Packers lost their playoff game on Sunday.

Go Packers!?

It wouldn't have been so bad had they not had such a great season.  A great quarterback.  And a great chance at winning the Superbowl again this year.  They just played sooooo badly on Sunday.

Being the lone Wisconsin-born fan that I am up here in Toronto, I can't even commiserate with fellow local fans.  Instead, I have my Minnesota-born Vikings fan mommy friend gloating at school drop-off and pick-up :)

The Good?  We got snow on Friday!

What's going on out there?

Henry was home from school finishing up his cold, so he got to go outside and play in it.  Lucky for George, he's just the right height to stand at the back storm door and watch out the window.

Then he got to check it out for himself...from the inside.

Curious George

I wish I had gotten a picture of his face when he put some in his mouth.  Clean snow - I grabbed some fresh from outside, not this floor stuff, Mom.  It was shock and horror all at the same time.  But since the snow melted on impact, a smile appeared instantly.

Drippy nose

That's kind of a bad picture...he looks funny.  But you get the idea.  I blame his everlasting runny nose & chest cough that won't end. 

Now for the Getting Better...

Ta Da!

Ok, it doesn't look terribly amazing, but believe me, it is.  We got Project Clean Out The Cupboards done.  I'm so glad it's over.  So is Steve.  Yesterday, he said to me, "I can't believe how good it feels to open the cupboards and not see such a dirty mess anymore."  A man after my own heart.

I even found some perfectly fitting baskets from Pier One that were ON SALE.  Oh yes, those are caps.  I am literally selling items on Craigslist to fund this slow-going kitchen facelift, so...sale = amazing.

Also of note, our toaster used to have a permanent spot on the counter.  I'm currently testing out a lower cabinet home which is going well.  I'm loving the less crowded look.

Come chop here

For me, de-cluttering = de-stressing.  I love it.  I see more Craigslist and Goodwill donations in my future...

Up next, a plan to get this kitchen facelift in gear.  For Real.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Quick and Easy Backsplash Fix

All this dreaming and planning to change up my kitchen (on the DIY cheap) has me back to loathing the awful backsplash.  Actually, it's not all bad.  Just 12 tiles of it.


Yup, I've got 3 of these lovelies spaced out along the backsplash of the long counter.  This one's smack dab above the sink, so I see it all.  the.  time. 

Since replacing the backsplash is NOT in the budget for giving my kitchen a little facelift this winter, nor have thousands of google searches provided a quick and easy way to remove these, I decided to figure out how to live with them. 

Or not.

Wait one hour

I had some family pictures laying around, waiting to find a home.  What better place than the one room I spend the majority of my life in?


The other side:



Simply standing at the sink is pleasant now.

Hello family

Yes, there's a boy missing in that picture.  I was pregnant with George when it was taken.  So technically, he's "there," you just can't see him ;)

I'll miss those crazy pears.  I think they were the jumping off point for the colors in this kitchen when they reno'd and staged this house when we bought it.  The yellow of the pears on the walls, the blue of the berries on the cabinets and the green of the leaves on the tiled countertop.  Why not?...!!!

Not bad for a day's work...and 3 of the 5 of us sick with a nasty cold.


Now that I see this picture, I think the middle one should scoot up a bit so the pictures are level instead of the frames. 

That must be why they give you two adhesive strips with each hook...

Monday, January 09, 2012

This Will Be Boring To You

But it's so exciting to me!!

This weekend, Steve started cleaning out the kitchen cupboards.  That's right.  Steve.

This might have been my biggest challenge to continue the kitchen transformation.  Such a daunting task.  Especially since we haven't gone through them since moving in 8 years (and 3 kids in the last 5 of those years) ago.  Then add major basement renovation dust & dirt still sitting on every square inch of shelving. 

But without any warning, he did it.  He promised to start out small.  But when I got back from grocery shopping, he was still going.  Love that man. 

I don't have a before shot, but here's an after:

I can breathe!

For a before, picture twice the amount of dishes, bowls, cups, mugs, appliances, vases and kid plastic.  Instead I get to open the doors and see this.

Order on the shelves

I'm telling you, it was the best feeling this morning.  Waking up to make a coffee and seeing this.

This little shelf had the highest traffic in the kitchen.  Before, it was chalk full of medicine, kid toothbrushes, toothpaste, tempra, band-aids, coffee cartridges, sugar, nail clippers...not to mention bags and boxes of random things.  Anything and everything landed here.

Now everything has it's place.  We moved the mugs to be with the coffee (duh!) and threw out all the expired half-full boxes and bottles of medicine.  Phew!  My worst shelf is now my favorite.

Steve's favorite?  This one.

The cookbooks have a home

It looks better in person.  Well, ok, it doesn't.  It's not pretty.  But now it works.  We collected the sorry stack of amazing cookbooks and finally found a place for them. 

Eventually, I want to put an over the range microwave here.  But since that's way down the road, we're enjoying the new home for Steve's well-used prized possessions. 

Sadly, I can't show after pictures of the whole kitchen.  We ran out of time...and our will to live.  This project was indeed a vampire.  It sucked the energy right out of us.  Now I know why it took 8 years, 3 kids and a lovely layer of dust to git 'r done.

So we have two upper cabinets to go.  At least now I get to show a before picture:


Oh - that's bad.  But by showing it's ugly face here, I'll take care of it right away.  Promise.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Three Boys

This one's for you, mom.  All three after bathtime.

Nothing but trouble here

Kitchen Inspiration = Motivation

Can't keep myself busy enough while the older boys are at full-time camp this week.

I was looking around online and finally came across my kitchen inspiration.

That's IT!

Having gone through the basement renovation last year, I realized I'm extremely visual when it comes to conceptualizing a space.  I can talk through what I like or want.  But in order to wrap my head around it, I have to see it.  Tape it out on the floor (did that a lot) or on the wall (did that more)...but when I find a picture of everything together - my heart skips a beat.

I'm overjoyed!

These pictures are perfect because of many things on my "have to live with" or "want to do" in my kitchen:
- cabinet color and hardware (doing)
- thicker moulding on cabinet uppers (plan to do)
- faucet (want)
- undermount sink (want)
- countertop & color (want)
- flooring (have - sort of, just not as nice as here)
- backsplash (have - well, it's not subway but it's white & tile)

Now just picture it with white appliances and bad overhead lights that (are K&T) won't be upgraded.

Good thing I love my $basement$.

So...after painting the front door, I figured why not keep painting...the kitchen's now calling my name.


Still only in it's primed glory, I used the leftover Cloud White from the mudroom and got 'er done.  Kinda hard to see the difference between the primer and paint.  (I only got halfway done yesterday and Steve didn't even notice half the kitchen was unfinished) 

But since I completed the whole first coat this morning (at naptime), I can see a big difference.  Like this:

White walls with...

...awful trim

Aaaack!  Yes, the string continues to unravel itself.  The beat up, crusty, peel-y, gouged, now-yellow-looking trim must be addressed.  So that's next.  It will be tricky given the amount of TLC needed in here.

Milk (?) Window

This adorable window with the old latch needs tons of help.  Might have to strip the painted-over hardware.

Big Window

Again, love the old moulding around the window.  But it has about 18 coats of paint and countless wounds.  I figure anything I do to help smooth it out will be better than what we've got now. 

Looking around the room, I feel like I can totally tackle the trim in here.  That's not a problem.  It's just that the trim in the REST OF THE ENTIRE HOUSE looks just like this.  Three floors.  It's overwhelming.

So excuse me while I block that out of my mind and stare at my kitchen inspiration, instead...

*Inspiration pictures found at remodelaholic.com, post: "Charcoal Grey Kitchen Cabinets"

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Door done

Third coat finished during naptime this morning.

I walk by it and get a warm fuzzy feeling.

I'm in love!

Here's the transformation by coat:

One Coat
Two Coats
Three coats = DONE

Streaks are gone.  It's a deep, rich, velvety brick red.  

With the bell cover back on, I'm kinda thinking that needs to be painted red, too.  But don't worry.  That red paint will be making a reappearance.  Now that I've put three coats on the back of the door, I decided I need to add one to the front this spring.  It's lookin' a little pink on the outside compared to the true red on the inside....

...which, did I say, I LOVE!