Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Five Favorites Volume 5


Joining Hallie over at Moxie Wife for her Five Favorites link party!



Curves.  I’ve been going here for about 5 months now, and I just love it.  I don’t get there often enough (they recommend 3 times a week or more) and I usually average twice, but still I can really tell a difference in my energy, endurance, and mood.  I always come home energized and happy!  And it totally  helps that I’m almost back to my pre-pregnancy weight and I can fit in all my clothes again.  Yay!  I have belonged to other gyms before and I just hate running on a treadmill or using the stair-stepper, etc.  This gym is fun!  Women actually visit with each other while working out…for me it is kind of a social outlet actually as the owner is super chatty (and nice) and the other women are too.  Win win!


Freecycle Logo


I’m on kind of a Freecycle kick lately as I’ve been spring cleaning and purging our house of things we no longer need.  If you live in a larger city, it is great…you put an ad up (free), get emails from people who want your free stuff, and they come pick it up!  Sure, it’s not always quite that simple…but nearly so.  So far all of the people who have come to get stuff are super nice.  Of course one must always be aware and safe but I would highly recommend Freecycle to anyone!


Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Powerberries


Trader Joe’s Powerberries!!!  So good!  I am so addicted.  I also buy the similar treats that you can get that are made by a division of Hershey’s (I believe) in the Acai flavor at regular grocery stores.  I will neither deny nor confirm that I have polished off a whole bag in one sitting.  (Hence the need for #1!!)


Chocolate Shop


Again on a chocolate theme here…Chocolate Shop wine!!  I discovered this delightful treasure while I was in my husband’s backwoods hometown…not sure why that was the first place we found it as we live in the largest metropolis in our state…but nevertheless there it was!  And I love it.  Most specifically the Creme de Cacao version…I’ve only tried that and the mint and didn’t care for the mint all that much.  The logo is lovely, which in my book is super super important in wine selection.  Just my sommelier expertise showing a little there.  Smirk.


The Classical Kids Collection 4-CD Set

The Classical Kids cd collection.  We have most of them and the ones we have are great!  The kids love them!  They go to sleep listening to them at night, and really have developed a love for classical music (at least superficially).  Our oldest (5 years) can recognize songs from the cds when she hears them other places and says, “Mom, that’s from the Mr. Beethoven cd!.  Our two year old requests “Uncle Bach” every night.  So sweet. 

That’s all, folks!  Go see Hallie and others for more Five Favorites!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What is going on...

No comments:
Whew.  It has been a whirlwind around here.  I  know, we probably aren't as busy as most people, but I feel like the last couple of weeks have been crazy...and no end in sight.  Here's my weekly progress report:

  • Bathroom: almost done!!!  So so close, and who knew such a small room could take so long!  It is looking totally different.  I can't wait to show you the finished product.  Hubby is installing the sink right now.  
  • Boxes, boxes everywhere.  Piles of empty boxes, stacks of full boxes.  It seems daunting!  More on that later...
  • The littlest guy is working on his top teeth (after getting his bottom ones a few weeks ago).  He  has rather suddenly gotten more mobile, and with this newfound freedom he has become a pretty happy-go-lucky guy.  I find his little fat self wedged in places and it makes me giggle.  
  • We just got about 4 inches of snow, and it is still falling.  It is April, right?  My husband is happy because he is a north woods guy at heart but I am ready for spring!!!  
  • The house is chaotic.  I've been working on the bathroom every spare minute I get ( which isn't many with 3 kids) so I have been super slacking on the dishes, laundry, you name it.  I am not including any pictures in this post as I'm sparing you the gruesome details but it is not pretty around here.  We are all happy and healthy however, and ready for a little more routine in our lives!  :)

Hopefully I'll have a bit more to offer in a few days!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Lessons Learned in DIY Kitchen Remodeling—Part One


I introduced you to our “new” kitchen a while back. 


Before we remodeled the kitchen, I did a LOT of research.  I googled, read blogs, checked out books from the library, and asked people questions.  I’m definitely not trying to give the impression that I know it all about this subject, but I did want to pass on to others what we did and how it worked for us. 

We knew we wanted to completely overhaul the kitchen soon after we moved in.  It was obviously extremely dated and that carpet on the floor was a no-go.  We didn’t have the time and money then to tackle the whole project, so we ripped out the carpet and installed ceramic tile.  We also painted the paneling after filling the grooves with drywall compound.  It was lighter and brighter and we were so happy to have tile on the floor.  Fast forward a couple years, and we decided that it was time to go in and do a more thorough job. 

My husband’s parents were doing their own kitchen remodel and asked if we would like their old cabinets.  Now, these cabinets are a good 25-30 years old themselves, but they were solid wood and in good shape.  Our existing cabinets were thin wood and the drawers themselves were plastic with a wood look.  The drawer slides were also plastic and had broken before we owned the home.  Knowing that new cabinets are a huge chunk of change, we jumped on this offer.  Solid wood cabinets for free, yes please!  We knew that we would have to modify the cabinets to fit our space but that was pretty minimal in the end and my carpenter brother was able to make it look seamless. 

One drawback to the cabinets was that they would have to be re-finished.  My in-laws had tested re-staining the cabinets already and it had not worked well.  This was actually a positive for me because I already was in love with white cabinets and this meant painting them was virtually our only choice.  Yay!!


One of the tutorials I read/watched for painting cabinets was by Miss Mustard Seed.  She painted her cabinets a while back and used Benjamin Moore’s Impervo paint and highly recommended it.  I believe she used the oil-based version but I didn’t want to deal with the clean-up and I used the water-based version.  I have to say I agree with her.  It takes a while to cure but it is super tough and after 6 months is looking as good as new.  I used that paint on all the cabinets and trim in the kitchen and it has held up great.  It is very washable too which is a must in a white kitchen with kids.  Sure, it is a more expensive paint (and I always buy the $25/gallon or cheaper paints so to me it seemed really expensive!) but I wanted something that was a very high quality since it was going to have to take a lot of abuse.  In my opinion it was well worth it. 

Painting kitchen cabinets is a lot of work.  Cleaning, sanding, priming, sanding, and painting a few coats takes a very long time.  Especially the doors!  I don’t have the luxury of painting for hours at a time (hello, I had 2 small children and was 8 mos pregnant!) so I just did a little at a time.  I painted outdoors for the most part so that meant the weather further limited the amount of time I could paint.  Let’s just say it took for-ev-er and leave it at that!!

Another tip:  check ebay for cabinet knobs and pulls!  I really liked these from Amerock:

Amerock Mulholland 3 in. Satin Nickel Finish Rectangular Pull


(In case you are wondering, they are Amerock Mulholland pulls in satin nickel.)

They are $3.97 each at Home Depot.  I found them on ebay for $1.99 a piece.  A substantial savings when you have lots of cabinet doors!!  They came in the original bags marked Amerock too.  I have only good things to say about them. 

We would have loved to re-organize the kitchen by moving walls and cabinets to make a work triangle, but in our case that just wasn’t practical or within the budget.  We have a powder room right off the kitchen and one of the walls contains the main plumbing line from the upstairs bathroom (cast iron, no less!)  so it would have been way more than we could have handled to change the layout significantly.  It was one of those situations in which we had to work with what we had.  Ideally, would we have done it this way?  No.  But within the parameters we had to work with, we are happy with how it turned out.  So we still have a galley-style kitchen although it is much more workable now that we moved the refrigerator out of its corner to a much more usable location near the sink. 


I have more to share but that will have to be another post!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A little Easter joy, baby-style




A scene at our house this morning:

5 year old Daughter:  Oh noooooooooooo!!!  Johnnnnnnnnn!

Me rushing over:  What happened??

Daughter:  Looooook!!  He has chocolate everywhere!!

And that is how our 7 month old breastfeeding baby was introduced to a chocolate bunny.  (Apparently our 2 year old just leaves pieces of chocolate bunny laying around on the floor??!!)

It was NOT like taking candy from a baby.