Thursday, November 27, 2008

"Before" and "After"

All right Stephanie, I'm finally posting "before" and "after" photos! This isn't just for Stephanie actually (I just like to give her a hard time)...I've had a lot of people commenting that I never got around to posting "after" pictures since I started showing all our projects.

So, without further is the kitchen when we purchased the house. Phase one of the demolition...we ripped out the ceiling and I don't think either one of us slept that night, we were both a little overwhelmed at what we had got ourselves into. There was a lot of electrical and duct issues that we hadn't anticipated...but we were committed at this point.
Ripping out the floor...a few layers of linoleum, nails, staples, and glue.
Working on rerouting the electrical and the copper piping for the refrigerator (we moved it to a new wall)...amongst other things.
And, skipping ahead to the after pictures...I'll forgo the inbetween steps. Here is the (almost) finished product.

We were able to raise the ceiling over a foot which opened up the room a lot. We changed all the electrical as a result and were also able to install taller kitchen cabinets. Moving the refrigerator also allowed us to create a "home office" area on the one wall and changing the "U" shaped counter allowed us to put in a large island that opens to the eating area.

The family room "before"...we had rotted drywall around the fireplace so we had to rip it out and reframe the wall. This actually allowed us to prep the wall for the TV with studs, electrical, and speakers.
The "after"...we're still working out a few electrical kinks. There is one wire remaining out of the TV that Brad has promised me will eventually be hidden in the wall. In the meantime I have a plant hiding the wires.
We went into the crawl space above the family room and added lights in the family room ceiling.
Here is the "before" of the lovely 1987 Waverly themed master bedroom. It had a coordinating border and then a large print paper in the "bonus area" (now the laundry) and the coordinating small print paper is in the master bath.
Here is the "after" master bedroom. I absolutely love how the blue/grey paint turned out...the room is very warm and relaxing.
This was a bonus area off the master bedroom.
...we ripped out the wallpaper, removed the lovely brass chandelier (one of 10 in the house), had plumbing run from the master bath, built a wall and upstairs laundry room!
Here is the view from the bedroom, the doors on the tan wall are new (as is the wall) and they lead into the laundry room. The master bath doorway is on the other side of the laundry (through the door you can barely see in the distance). Essentially we created a hallway to our mastbath. But it's about 10 feet wide and on the left hand side (across from the laundry room doors) are two sets of double doors, like you see in these pictures, that have two closets in addition to the one in the actual bedroom which is in this picture on the right hand side.
These are the double doors on the tan wall in the previous picture with the washer and dryer now on the previously flowered wall. The room goes equally far to the right where Brad is installing a rod to hang clothes as well as some linen closet type shelving.
The dining room was really just cosmetic changes. New paint, new drapes, fresh paint on the crown and chair and a new chandelier.
The "after" dining room. We christened it last night with Thanksgiving dinner!
I already posted the 1/2 bath photos earlier this month. Our large remaining projects are building a wall downstairs to create a guest bedroom and the two upstairs bathrooms. I think we're going to tackle either the wall downstairs or the kid's bathroom and perhaps next summer work on the master bathroom which will probably take a month...I think we need some down time before then so we're just wrapping up small projects during the holidays and trying to relax before the baby arrives in March!
So that is the tour, via photos. Thanks for all the interest and encouragement over the past months. It has been a lot of work (especially for Brad!) but I think we're glad we tackled it all up front instead of waiting until we've lived here a few years. We've done 90% of the work ourselves, so hopefully if we ride out the housing market a few years we'll see some appreciation for all our hard work when it is time to move.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast

I haven't blogged in awhile...for me! Things have been so busy. I will never think any future Thanksgivings are busy compared to hosting dinner this year since we're not only working on preparations for a houseful of guests on Thursday but also trying to complete a ton of various projects throughout the house.

In addition I was scheduled to work at the girl's preschool yesterday and then I had signed up to work their Thanksgiving Feast back at the start of the school year. Thankfully my mom is in town and while I worked at school she got a few things done at the house.

The girl's school hosts an impressive feast for the holidays. All the food is provided by the school. The kids ate nuggets, mac n cheese, carrots, grapes, jello, cheese and cookies. The teachers and workers ate the more traditional meal with turkey and sweet potatoes and some yummy desserts!

Because the food is provided by the school this event isn't open to all the parents and extended family. Because I was working I was able to see the girls and join them for lunch. Each classroom had made their own centerpieces and decorated their tables.

Such a sad little Indian...I think she was protesting eating dinner before dessert. Brooke is my extremely expressive one and this is a classic pouty face she makes!

After a morning of being on my feet all day and working in the churches industrial kitchen, then eating a big lunch...I was ready for a nap! Too bad I came home and have to mop my own floors and make my own meal!

Brooke looks nothing like her sisters. I can't really even say that they look like siblings. It makes me wonder if #4 will look like the older two or like Brooke.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Read This!

These books are fascinating and totally disturbing! They aren't a diet...but they offer the best choices at various restaurants and reveal some of the worst and best meals to order.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Before and After

We're wrapping up our 1/2 bath remodel on the main floor. Here are the before pictures...
We gutted it down to the studs in sections and ripped out the floor last weekend. We also moved the electrical from the ceiling to the wall so we could move the light fixture.
I just don't understand this towel was so high and so far from the sink...made no sense to me.
Fixing some mildew damage from a leaky pipe and moving electrical...Drum roll...the mostly finished product. I turned off the lights in this picture so you could see the color accurately. It looks really orange in pictures when I turn the light on.
We put in 12x12 Travertine that matches our 18x18 tiles in the kitchen. We also added a high baseboard, new vanity, lighting and fixtures and new toilet.
I'm still decorating and looking for new towels. I love how it turned out though! It's amazing how much bigger it feels since we removed the wall to wall cabinet that was previously there and put in something smaller that looks like furniture.
The former "sunlamps" are gone (they seriously produced a lot of heat and were ugly!) and now we have a nice light fixture on the wall. Ever since we finished the project Brooke has started going #2 on the potty...something we've been working on for months! I think she likes the new bathroom enough to sit and do her business.
As is true with the rest of the house...nice job by my hubby and all my appreciation for his hard work! One bathroom down, two to go!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Rough Day

Yesterday was rough for one of the girls in our house. Growing pains, perhaps. There were a lot of tears shed throughout the day. I think there were a lot of pent up feelings that finally surfaced and once the floodgate opened the crying went on, and on, and on. For the most part she is doing okay, but there are days when she just isn't feeling like this is home or like she is finding a place for herself.

I try to remind her that it has only been three months since we moved here and these things take time. We pray about it and ask God for peace and contentment and guidance. I think in her heart she knows that eventually she'll make some connections, but I don't know if she believes it in her head. She is getting plugged in with her peers and they seem very nice, but for whatever reason it just isn't feeling natural to her. It is hard for her to not have any history with anyone, to not feel known by anyone. A few friends, that is all she wants. To not feel alone in a crowd. That is what I'm praying. And in the meantime, I pray she'll be content and that perhaps God could open her eyes to someone around her that may be feeling the same way and looking for a friend, too.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll have a better day.

Home Made Playdough

In an effort to curb the energy of my girls on this rainy Saturday I decided to make some playdough. This is pretty ironic because I hate the mess of playdough and I'm always thrilled to hear that the girls had an opportunity to play with it at church or other places so I'm off the hook.

I'm not sure what possessed me today but I suggested we make playdough to double their enthusiasm and the time of our project. I found a ton of various recipes online that required cooking the playdough. The obvious cons were the fact that the girls would be around the hot stove and the fact that the dough would be hot for awhile afterwards.

I found the following recipe and it was fast and simple and required no cooking. It also made decent dough and the girls are happily entertained. I also read a few sites that suggested you add a little vanilla extract to your mixture to keep it softer a few days longer.

Uncooked Playdough:

1 cup cold water
1 cup salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
Tempera paint or food coloring
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch

In bowl, mix water, salt, oil, and enough tempera paint or food coloring to make a bright color. Gradually add flour and cornstarch until the mixture reaches the consistency of bread dough. Store covered.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Spanish Red

We're hoping to finish our half bath this weekend. Projects are so slow when you can only work on them a few hours a night...and Brad found out he has to work this weekend for an exercise so we won't make as much progress.

Here is what we've done so far...the before...
We found mildew damage around the pipes behind the vanity so we decided to rip out the sheetrock down to the studs. This also allowed us to move the electrical around easier.
A small tile casualty...Brad was actually completely unaware that he had a tiny piece of tile in his forehead or that he was bleeding.
We moved the canister lights from the ceiling so we could have a wall mounted fixture over the mirror.
Here is the beginning of the new bathroom with the new light fixture installed. I painted it Spanish Red...this is the same color that is in our library. It is the one color that I like in this house and that I'm keeping...the rest of our main floor is various shades of brown and red is my accent color, so in the library and bathroom I decided to paint red and accent with browns.
We're currently sealing the floor and then grouting, but here is the travertine that is a 12x12 version of the 18x18 tiles we used in our kitchen.
This weekend we'll put white baseboards in around the bottom and then install the toilet and the vanity and the new towel bars. I'm still debating on mirrors...but hopefully we'll wrap this project up in the next few days.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Third Time...A Charm?

We are making our third attempt at fish! We had a rough start and the result was several dead fish. We've discovered the PH in our tank is really high. We've spent the past week trying various things to bring it down with no success.

I've made a buddy at the Pet Store (a new store...w/out the fish Nazi) and he also has high PH issues in his tank at home. The solution was to find fish that prefer a PH level above meet our Molly Fish. We have two species of Molly fish, the Black Molly and the Dalmatian Molly. We didn't have a lot of color choices at this pet store, but the kids were happy with our selection. I had prepared them all week that we were going to get the fish that the salesman said would work...they may not be their favorites but it would be more fun to have fish that live longer then 3 days then perhaps their favorite colored fish. The girls actually thought it was pretty cool to have a fish that looks like a Dalmatian and everyone was happy.

Brooke just realized a few days ago that Dorothy had "returned to the sea" so she was happy to get another Dorothy. In fact she ran up to the tanks at the store and yelled to all 1,000 plus fish "HI DOROTHY!" Apparently small fish = Dorothy. Baileigh named her fish Tres (as in, her third fish...proceeded by Uno and Dos) and Mckenna gave her fish the creative name of...Molly!
These fish are a little bigger then our previous species and I think they can hold their own against our snails. In fact, I saw Dorothy pecking at one of the snails which made it retreat inside it's shell. The snails were pretty inactive this past week while we didn't have any fish in the tank, but now they are back to their crazy selves. They are probably preparing their attack plans! I've been keeping an eye on them, but feeling optimistic about our fish.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Snowing Leaves

This is the view from our deck this morning. All my hard work of raking leaves yesterday looks like it was pointless. It's beautiful, but frustrating.

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's Never Easy!

This has become our mantra in regards to our house projects...there are always complications. We've come to expect it, we've come to anticipate it, but we haven't come to like it! This weekend we're tackling our half bath on the main floor. New paint, new floor, new toilet, new vanity, new light fixtures and new essentially a completely new bathroom.

We were aware of some mildew damage on the drywall so we have to cut out the sheet rock that was behind the former cabinet. The mildew was caused by a rusty and leaky pipe so we have to cut and replace the piece. I say "we" like I'm doing the work too, but Brad is the primary contractor! I exhaust myself out in the yard cleaning up leaves for hours so he can concentrate on the bathroom this weekend and not have to think about the yard. I'll probably do the painting and assist Brad by running all over the house finding him tools, making trips to Lowes and helping him clean up and making decisions, but he'll do the work!

Here are all the before pictures and our initial demolition with "after" pictures hopefully coming by the end of the week. We've invited a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving so we're on a timeline! And for those of you continually asking for photos of our kitchen (ahem, Stephanie :) they are coming. It's hard for me to post pictures until I get it all finished and decorated! I found curtains that I like the other day and we finally got all the hardware put on the cabinets. So I promise in the next week or so I'll post some goal is by Thanksgiving to have it done.


After three hours of blowing leaves into a pile I only got about 2/10 of the yard cleaned frustrating! I love our wooded setting and the colors are beautiful, but the clean up is a pain. The girls all chipped in, a little, and in the midst of our work we had some fun.