Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Kitchen Redo

Remember when I used to blog?  For the better part of last year and this one I actually forgot I even HAD a blog.  But I have come out of blogging hibernation to document our kitchen overhaul because it was a lot of work and it looks so different now.

When we first moved we planned to redo the cabinets at some point, just because I wanted white ones.  Soon after moving in we realized the cabinets had been stained and the workmanship was very poor indeed--streaky and incomplete.  Also the counter was painted.  Not nicely painted, just slapped on and it soon began to chip. The hardware was cheap and flimsy.  So the kitchen grew uglier, but with Babycakes on the way we knew a redo wasn't going to happen anytime soon.  

But cast your minds back to last October.  I whined about how we didn't redo our kitchen still and so we wouldn't do it until next summer and Drew said, "Let's do it this weekend!"  Which is the reaction I was fishing for, to be honest, evvvvvven though I proceeded to complain about all the reasons it wouldn't work before saying okayyyyyy.  

Our original plan was just to start with the cabinets but then we said, why don't we just paint the whole room too?  It seemed the moment.  So that Friday we bought a lot of paint stuff and once the smaller set was in bed we got to work.  

(I spent a lot of Friday taking doors and curtains downs and putting up tape.)

(We wound up doing three coats)

(The inspector came out in the morning and approved of our work.  Yes, he has a whale inside his jammies.)
With stage one complete, we started the long process of doing the cabinets on Saturday afternoon.  We used this kit (which for some reason was IMPOSSIBLE to get at Lowe's but readily available at Home Depot?) and did the Frost color.  I have two tips for this kit: watch the instructional DVD and buy a pack of green scrub pads.  Oh, and get some plastic cups to stand them on and keep hinges in.  Maybe that one is obvious.

Anyway, we set up shop in the garage and got to work scrubbing.

We scrubbed all afternoon and for hours after bedtime.  I won't say it wasn't hard.  I won't say that I didn't want to give up and cry at one point.  And I won't say that it was easy to lift my arms the next day.  BUT we got the scrubbing DONE.


The painting took some time, just because it was coat one side, coat on the other side, coat inside...repeat, repeat.  We tried the antique effect, but it didn't really work with our color so that saved us a step.  So then we sealed everything.  After they dried and set for a while we got to put them back together and the kitchen regained some order.  Plus, new hardware!

I wish I had a picture of the old handles.  Just know that they were cheap and very shiny and annoying.  We got these pewter-ish ones and I love them.  Instead of painting the sides of the big cabinet I decided to do chalkboard paint on them.  I thought it would be fun and I could, you know, write stuff on them.

Turns out I like them better clean looking so...don't tell the kids it's a chalkboard...  I added the clothespins, which are handy.  Kind of wish I'd painted them too though.  (Anyone need any chalkboard paint?)

SO.  The cabinets and the walls were done.  We had a big goal of clearing off the counters so we got an undercabinet CD player, installed some hooks for bananas and got a smaller fruit bowl.  Eventually we hung a wire basket on the cabinet by the sink to put soap and stuff in.  Then we were finally ready to do the counters!  We used this kit, which we had to order.  

First went on the primer coat.  We were pretty pleased just with this change:

The process is basically layering colors over the primer.  It's easy to customize and didn't even take that long either, though we don't have THAT much counterspace.  Plus it's easy enough that certain toddlers can try it out.   

(I should say we plan to get new countertops at some point, but, in the meanwhile, we figured painting them couldn't possibly look worse than their previous paint job.)

And it turned out great!

Like four months later I finally did some art to hang over the window and we called it done!  So now here are the final after pictures:

(New butter dish!)

(New curtains!)

(How'd this get in here?)

Ta da!  Credit for the accessories on the cabinet and the whale hook goes to Hobby Lobby. Side story: one reason we got that red buoy is because if you ask Mr C what those are called, he'll say, "A GUH!" for some reason.  He knows the real term, but he still says that anyway and Miss A probably thinks that's what they're called.  We'll set her straight before college.  

On a semi-related note, here are three food things I am really excited about lately:

This tomato soup, which has replaced all other recipes as my favorite.

These pickled red onions, which are so good I was eating them out of the jar.

Making hard boiled eggs in the oven--WHAT.  This is life changing, people!  I can't find a good link so I will just tell you:
1) Eggs in a muffin tin
2) Muffin tin in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes
3) Eggs straight into an ice bath
4) Eat all the eggs (which are SO easy to peel!)

Best thing ever.

And now I can make all these things in a kitchen that isn't hideous!

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

CAG at 3

Once upon a time there was a teensy weensy little fellow formerly referred to as the Speck.  Look at his funny little elf face:

And now that teensy weensy baby has achieved the illustrious age of 3!  I know I said this last year, but it's amazing the difference a year makes.  He's grown so much in basically every direction, and is such a little person now. 

(Sometimes he rides the bike and wears the helmet at the same time.)

Of course not everything has changed.  He still loves everything with wheels, though he can identify more of them by name now.  Loves his bike and scooter and gets better at riding them all the time.  He likes to be outside exploring, digging in the dirt, going on walks, jumping on the trampoline, antagonizing bugs or daredevil swinging. 

Just a little stitious.

Generally he has a great appetite, and he particularly loves cheese, peanut butter, fruits, and mac and cheese (who doesn't?).  He's still not a big fan of meat, but pepperoni has won him over.  Occasionally he'll tell me chicken is yucky.

I suppose you could say that in the last year his personality has simply continued to expand along with his physical dimensions.  He knows what he likes and what he wants and he's happy to tell you.  He recognizes when people are sad.  He has a sense of humor and laughs at funny faces and funny noises.  Sometimes we play a game where he says "Heyyyyyyy Mama!" and I say back something random instead of his name, like "Heyyyyyyyy bathtub!"  And he says, "Bathtub?!  Hah!"  Simple pleasures.

I will admit that we did not achieve all the goals I had set for this past year.  In fact we only hit one of them--moving into the big boy bed.  But we'll get to the others soon.  Sooooon.  And he does love his bed, though it took a few days.  

Anyway, he's just a funny and fun boy with lots of energy and lots of interests.  He loves to read books and make silly faces.  Also loves to watch Charlie and Lola and he also got to see a few movies this year (Tangled, Winnie the Pooh and Peanuts) and he still talks about all of them.  He's gotten into music lately too, asking for Lion King and Tangled ("Prepunzel") a lot, but also Princess and the Frog (Tiana) or sometimes the crab (Little Mermaid--I only have "Kiss the Girl" on my iPod...).  I love to see what he gravitates to, though you could say he just gravitates towards fun things in general.

Who needs eggs when you have golf balls?
 Like Baby:

This is a pretty good representation of their relationship actually.  Buddies, with no respect for personal space.  Lately he has been walking her around the house by the hand and trying to get her to make her own funny faces.  She has picked up a few from him as well.  If she's sad in the car he'll talk to her and say "We almost home, Baby.  It's okay, Baby."
'80s style
This was his flower sniffing stance for a while.  ??
He always pauses during a walk to sit in a "little nest."
I'm just amazed at how he's changed and the things he picks up on and understands now.  I love how enthusiastic he is when he says, "Oh!  I know what we can do!  Shall we go outside?!"  And I love when his eyes turn into half-moons with excitement.

(Still loves Kitty too.) 
Not to say that this year was without its bumps.  Like the rejection of potty training and of course the teeth incident.  He's had some epic meltdowns too.  But after all, he is still a pretty little person.  

But even during the meltdowns or when he wants me to move his water for him at bedtime (or tuck Kitty in or adjust his blankets or put his book in the right place or put his car UNDER the blankets or decides his jammies are "too hot.  Too hot, mama." etc. etc. etc.), he is just the best.  I'm looking forward to seeing what my favorite three year old has in store for the coming year.

Intrepid explorer. 
It's going to be good!

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Bedroom Overhaul

And thus we come to our May house project.  It was a big one, though it actually took less time than doing those bathrooms in February.  Go figure!  Anyway, we decided to tackle our bedroom, which I have been wanting to redo for a long while now.  I just wanted something lighter and fresher.  

Let's look at it before (please note the brassy fan):

I'm happy that our house was painted a neutral brown all over, but after a while it gets to be a lot of brown everywhere you look.  So it was time to shed the brown!  I decided to go with a nice light grey (Saxon Grey) for three walls and a plum for an accent wall (Intellectual Plum).  My explanation for this is that I like grey and I've been very taken with the idea of a plum wall lately.  My color choices are basically a gut decision, I guess. 

Maybe now is a good time to mention that I ask Drew's opinion on these things, but he generally agrees with whatever I pick.  So this is basically all my decisions with his stamp of approval.  Though of course, if it were up to him I'm sure all the rooms would still be brown, haha.  MEN.  He is very good to go along with all my schemes, color and otherwise.

ANYway, we taped things off Friday night and got to work on Saturday morning whilst the babies played at the park with Drew's parents.  Needless to say, tarps were put to use.

We got the grey done just as a new paint crew arrived:

Once that crew was put to bed, we started on the plum.

At this point I stopped taking pictures until it was done so I will just list what we did after finishing the painting: bought a new little ceiling fan, went to several stores in search of new bed stuff (Gordman's was the winner!  I'd never been there before and I will go there many, many times in the future.), got some pizza for dinner, fed babies and put them to bed.  Then Drewbles took down the bedroom fan, took down the fan in the downstairs TV room and then put THAT fan in our bedroom.  Of course by this point it was dark so he did this as I held a flashlight, sometimes in my hand and sometimes in my mouth if he needed help.  But we did it!  

Old fan, reused fan, little brand new fan.

Then we ate our pizza at 10:00 and watched some Amazing Race.  When we did our bathrooms I'm pretty sure we ate at 10:30.  So...a little better?

But anyhoo, once all was said and done, I love it!  It turned out even better than I hoped for.  I love the colors, I love how much lighter and brighter it is in there.  It's so much more cheerful.  But let's look at the evidence (AKA pictures of the babies):

(The duvet cover is from IKEA, the pillows are from Gordman's)
This next picture is notable for the fact that Mr. C is actually airborne.

Okay okay, the rest of the room (please note the fan):


Oh you two, just being all adorable and hijacking this post!  Go on then.  

Where was I?  Right, the room.  The idea is to get a canvas print/s for over the bed but we haven't picked a picture for it yet.  So for now it's just the Intellectual Plum.  I'm okay with that.  

And for our June project we will go back through all our painted rooms and do touch ups....