Thursday, April 5, 2018

A Wonderful Art Resource

Hey guys,
The kitchen is coming along. It’s really close. But just can’t quite show you yet….sorry!

So for today, I wanted to show you something we’ve been using for school. Its a really cool online art class called Artventure.
(This is not a sponsored post, FYI. Just something we love.)

This is an amazing resource for anyone who’s hoping to give their kids some art opportunities at home, but isn’t set up to teach that skill. So clearly, it’s a wonderful resource for homeschool situations. But it’s definitely great for anyone who wants extra art instruction. (I believe it’s even used in some school settings.) And I can definitely see it being a wonderful addition to long summer days, when they kids are getting bored.

It’s put out by a women named Kirsty, who's from Australia. (I love her accent!) She’s an art teacher who walks you through learning to draw. The lessons are set up in groups of difficulty levels (My kids are still mainly using the easiest level, sometimes my 7 year old wants to try the second level.) (But if I wanted to, I’m sure I could benefit from spending some time with the higher levels on my own time.)
     So you pick out a picture, and Kirsty will show you each step of drawing it, and painting it. It’s made so that you watch it through once seeing what see does. And then you watch it a second time doing it along with her, pausing at the pause cues, so you can do that step along side her.

My girls have SO MUCH fun doing these. One lesson will occupy them for somewhere between 15-25 minutes. And often they ask to do more than one. So far we just use crayola crayons and watercolor paints.
    My seven year old can do it 100% on her own. And my five year old can do it on her own about 85% of the time -- but depending on her mood, sometimes she can get overwhelmed by something she finds hard, and then needs some support through that step.

Here’s some examples of our projects:

5 Year Old’s. (Notice the Moana reference that she added?)
5 Year old's
5 Year Old's
5 Year Old's

7 Year Old's
5 Year Old's
7 Year Old's
7 Year Old's
7 Year Old's

I have seen a HUGE improvement in their overall art skills since we started this. They love to draw in their spare time (without Artventure, in notebooks and things) and their drawings are getting much more advanced than they would have otherwise.

In my opinion --The biggest part of anything creative is learning to see. And then it’s just understanding the process of bringing it outside of you. Artventure is a wonderful way to give that to kids. I’m so happy we started this. It’s WELL worth the price.
It might seem like it’s just teaching them to copy something so that it’s not really teaching creativity. But that’s not the case -- it’s giving them the skills to implement all the creativity they already have inside.

This is a dragon my seven year old recently drew in her bed the other night (there is no Artventure lesson on this kind of drawing.) I don’t think she would have been able to create at this level before we started Artventure. She may be more naturally inclined to drawing, but this is an explosion of skill since she started. I know I never drew anything like that from my imagination when I was seven (...or older.)

Artventure is a website subscription, which you can buy in varying amounts of time. (3 months, 6 month, or 12 months.)
The price is really reasonable. Our year subscription equals out to costing $5 a month. That’s a single Starbucks! I say that’s worth it. (But FYI you do pay for the year all at once.)
(Since it’s from Australia the price is listed as AU , but that means it’s a bit cheaper in US dollars. And it’s just as easy to pay either way.)
The website is really well made --cute, very user friendly, and has been easy for my kids to use on their own. We’ve had no technical issues with it at all.

It’s a great gift idea for someone(s) in your life, too!

If you are intrigued, there is a free 48 hour trial period so you can just check it out and see how it works for you. (Make sure you start your trail at a good time, so you can get the most out of the 48 hours.)

Just wanted to pass that idea along to you, since it’s so great! Happy Creating.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Getting deep, with socks...

So the kitchen is still on it’s way. The tile has been grouted. But sometimes we find a spot that needs adjusting on the fill, and have to go back. Then we need to seal the grout and caulk around all the edges of things. I posted a teaser photo on Instagram. I’d like to wait until at least the caulk is in before I blog it. Just for that wow factor caulk provides. (The stuff is magical.) And the room still needs more touches after that, but I figure I don’t want to keep you waiting forever.

Anyway, in the mean time, I thought I’d write up this random post on socks.

The thing I find really interesting, is that it took me a really long time to do this silly little change. This sock arrangement is something I have wanted to do for at least four years, maybe longer. But so much inner dialogue stopped me from doing it. And it’s JUST socks.

And that’s a big part of why I’ve been so quiet on the blog... stuff like this. I’m a work in progress right now, and it’s a very delicate place I’m in. So delicate it messes with socks. (ha!) And well, everything.

    It’s just been a time for reprieve from eye balls for me. The last few years have been a lot to manage, and managing them in front of people was even more to manage. The back to back sequence of my difficult pregnancy, followed by my brother’s death created a situation that made me feel simultaneously alone, yet entirely too checked-in on. It started creating this situation where I was depending on the blog for an outlet of my real self, and I wasn’t finding people in person to be that real with. And then when I would be that open and real on the blog, it would cause a whole lot of chain of reactions from relatives who started to worry about me. It was hard to convey that I was fine, I just was processing. And the processing’s value was over powered by the energy it took to constantly deal with everyone’s feelings but my own. I finally had to take stock of this and realize that in order to value myself I needed to shift this dynamic.
     I have. Quite a bit actually. I’ve found people to be real with in person. I’ve started valuing myself. And I’ve been quiet in the places where I’ve needed that space to heal. 
     A lot (but not all) of that space has been online. Its been really good for me. And honestly if I could go back in time, I would have NEVER signed up for Facebook. Oh the complications I could have kept out of my life! I signed up as soon as I got married. And soon after that I was a mom. I hadn’t figured out social media yet. It was WAY too much pressure on this girl in those new situations. I wish I could have lived my life without knowing who could get their pre-maternity pants on before me, and who was getting whole nights of sleep before me, and all the ways I was “doing it wrong” in mommy-war-world. I could have just been myself, quietly in my own house, in my own world, minding my own business, totally unaware of how I measured against anyone but myself. Wouldn’t that have been nice?
    That’s not to say, this kinda stuff stresses everyone out. It doesn’t. But it stressed me out. And due to a lot of my own stuff I brought to the table. 
     I was carrying around a lot of things. But the biggest heaviest thing I was carrying was the idea that I had a say in how other people feel. Not just that I had a say in it, but that I was often a major impactor of other people’s feelings. And not just that. But that I had an all encompassing job in life, to do everything I could to not negatively impact anyone, in any way, by anything I did.
   (Now there is a bit of truth in this large concept. Like walking up to people and saying awful things about them would not be a good way to live. Or constantly talking poorly about people when they aren’t there, also not a good way to live. And, yes, I do impact the people I live with, with the way I treat them.)
   But my deal was not that stuff. I thought this responsibility was SO MUCH MORE than that. I thought if any action I took brushed against anyone at all, in any small "wrong way", I had committed an atrocious sin. 
    The easiest example was my weight loss. I couldn’t see myself losing weight, as possibly inspiring anyone else to make healthy choices. I could only see how I “caused” jealousy. (Lesson -- I didn’t cause that feeling.  I have no control over how anyone reacts to anything. They are the ones who decide how to react to things.)
    But this same thing was down DEEP in my bones. So deep that I couldn’t agree to be myself in many areas. Because... what if myself, was the most hurtful thing in the universe? What if my very being was unbearable?
    It’s the strangest thing, really. Because in tons of areas, I’ve been totally ok with not being “the norm.” (Like a lot of people think my house purchase and subsequent years of making it over, is crazy. And that didn’t EVER phase me. This is my choice and I love it.) But in other, sometimes unexplainable, random things, I’ve been paralyzed.
     It’s actually less strange than it initially seemed to me. Things like my house, which caused people to think I was crazy, were easy for me -- because thinking someone is crazy is not jealousy. Most things I’ve been afraid to do or be are things I was afraid that people could be jealous of. And my concept of what might make a person jealous was fairly enormous. And if it wasn’t jealousy I was afraid of, it was irritation. If I was afraid my choice could irritate someone, I was afraid to take hold of it, or at least say that I did. And my concept of what might irritate person jealous was fairly enormous. So I’ve boxed so much of myself in. All while thinking I wasn’t because “Look at me, I can makeover a house, and DIY thrift store shorts…. I do weird stuff other people don’t  -- so clearly I’m, me.” 
     (Now I will say, on big things I’ve over-rode this protocol. Like when I chose to do a home birth or home school. Even if that brushed many people the wrong way. For big things I can power through because I can look at the big picture and say it’s worth it. But for little things I didn’t see myself as valuable enough to do it then. If it’s not changing the course of my life, well let’s not bother rocking the boat. But enough small things add up to start impacting a life.)
     It’s taken me some time to examine my way of looking at life, hold it up to the light and start to see it more realistically.
   And it’s been really relieving.
    I’ve been able to set a lot of false guilt down. I’ve been able to start letting go of what’s not mine to control. (Guys, it’s been SO good, finding out I’m not supposed to be responsible for stuff, that I’m not responsible for! Do any of you know how exhausting that is, carrying stuff that’s not in your control? It’s physically heavy. I came home from counseling one day, honestly floating -- like when you take roller skates off, after a day at the roller rink -- because I was given permission to let a HUGE weight go.)
   It’s not always easy to leave these things set down. After I set each idea down, initially everything inside of myself says “You know, that actually IS yours to carry. PICK IT BACK UP!” I can’t even begin to tell you how hard that battle is. Panic attacks and withdrawal symptoms hard. Some of the heaviest lifting I’ve ever done. (All so I could NOT carry something. So ironic.)

     And that’s part of my quietness online too. Just battling myself over here.
     But I’m starting to win.
     And I’m starting to change. 
     And I’m starting to breathe.
     And I’m starting to figure out who I am, when I don’t need to be this undefinable entity that’s impossible to be. An entity who’s main goal was to basically be unseen because I thought being seen was hurtful. I’m starting to see my general being isn’t a weapon of mass destruction, just on the verge of decimating all in it’s path. (Honestly, that what I thought I was doing when I lost the weight. Or made a big purchase. Or walked out of the house looking nice.) And so I’m starting to accept my general being enough to ask myself: what do I really like, what do I really want, who do I really want to be? I don’t even know the answers to those questions yet. But I’m starting to. 
     I’m starting to see that being who God made me, is the point of him making me that way. It’s not selfishness or hurfulness. It’s not a determent to other’s. It’s a gift to them.
     (Guys, my Meyer’s Briggs profile is starting to shift. Like this is major change.)

ALL this major change….
leads me to socks.
I’m letting myself, be me.
And well, me hates trying to match up socks. ESPECIALLY, and mostly, because the mysteries of the laundry cycle mean about 60% of our socks don’t have a match most the time.

I have wanted to, for years, switch to all white socks. No matching up required. If one get’s lost, it’s not going to impede the finishing of the laundry.

What was keeping me tied to these socks?
The idea that I’d disappoint anyone. Such as:
  • Anyone whoever gave us socks, at anytime. Or who’d like to give us socks in the future.
  • My kids. Who might miss some of these socks.

Issue #1: Anyone who ever gave us socks.

          Reasons why it’s still ok to be done with these socks:
  • Having a different set of standards doesn’t equal ungratefulness.
  • People’s joy comes from giving, what the Receiver does after that isn’t in the Giver’s hands.
  • True gifts have no strings attracted. 
  • You are not obligated to receive gifts with strings attached
  • Not all these socks were gifts. We bought many of these ourselves, due to (on my end) fear of accepting and saying what I really want. (And it’s ok to own that, release that, forgive that, and move on.) 
  • It’s ok to let go of belongings that are no longer needed and wanted/ working their intended purpose.

Issue #2: My kids might miss the socks.

          Reasons why it’s still ok to be done with these socks:
  • Initially I was afraid of limiting my kids things in general. I have brought up at many points in counseling different categories, and subcategories, of things I’ve been afraid that if I limit, or eliminate, because I’m afraid that I will somehow negatively impact my kids childhoods. And each time we talk through how I’m not actually depriving my kids of any legitimate needs. That it’s ok to help kids learn stuff by initially doing it for them -- because that’s the role of a parent, to be the role model.  Part of my job as a parent is helping them learn to manage their things. And we’ve discussed how that gives them a solid base for adulthood perceptions of things and money. (I actually never brought up the socks in counseling. I’ve gone through enough other random goofy things questions that I was able to process the socks on my own this time. lol)
  • My kids’ natural instinct is to be hoarders. (Are all kids? I don’t know. Probably not because certain of my kids are much more prone to hoarding than others.) I’d literally be on that show if I saved everything they wanted to save. One of them, as a two year old, had a "special collection" of empty granola bar wrappers. (And that tuned crazier by the day as we had to start opening the granola bars with scissors as to not “hurt” the pictures when tearing it open) Before I even knew it was happening, a whole drawer had been filled up with wrappers. Actual garbage is painful for them to get rid of. She would weep over these things. (And I know the difference between two year old tantrum, and actual mourning. Highly Sensitive Toddlers are something.) It’s been a learning curb for me figuring how, and when, to rip the band aid off in every “thing” area of our lives -- so as to not worry they will actually be on that show themselves as adults, while not breaking their spirits in the process. But I can safely say, that now we have a good working relationship with each other -- she trusts me not to remove more than she can handle, and she’s starting to feel safe to remove things herself as well. It’s been a good journey. I saw the socks as an extension of this journey.
  • I was worried I’d stifle their self expression. After thinking about it -- I had to accept that it’s ok to not express yourself in EVERY way. They don’t NEED to express themselves with socks. And if that’s a deep seated desire in them, they can have that as something to look forward to later in life. (Either as adults, or perhaps when they do all their own laundry at home, well see.)
  • I’m actually giving my kids the gift of more independence in this laundry maneuver. I want to get them involved in more self care and home care now, so that later in life it’s second nature and easy. This simplification of socks makes them more capable of doing more of the laundry on their own. And they actually do appreciate that.
  • I actually left a very limited few “other” socks in their drawers for special occasions. So they don’t have to wear white socks if it will look terrible.

So yeah, after I weighed all that out (Which is again comical. Because LOTS of moms are already on this limited sock train, without the raging internal debate.) I got out ALL the socks and did all the dirty laundry, and matched everything I could up. Pulled my select few special socks out. And bagged up the rest.
Went to Target and bought some white Cat & Jack socks in two varieties. 
These ankle socks for the girls. They pass their sensory inspection -- which is saying something! And the ankle has a sweet detail for a little cuteness. I bought them in medium, which can fit both girls (It’s a little big on my five year old, but it works.) I bought 3 packs for both kids. I figured that’d make sure I’m not cutting it close on laundry slow moments.
And these fold over socks in 2T for my two year old. For now I just bought one pack. For some reason his sock consumption is slower. But might add, if necessary.

Then I figured, while I’m at it, lets try something new. 

We only need socks when we are headed out the door. 
And then it always turns into wasted minutes going back upstairs to get them. 
So I decided to try keeping them in the coat (and shoe) closet.
So far (one week in) it’s been pretty great, and very easy.

I just put a mason jar in the laundry room to hold any single sock, until another shows up. (It will be SO EASY when one does!)

I’m really happy I finally did this. 
My brain has one less sound in it.
As soon as I did this, I felt a deep peace.
These little things bring me so much joy because it clears up so much space inside me, and so much of my time, for what matters. 
The kids did complain for a minute about their only being white. But it was over pretty fast. I let them know we’d keep a limited few other socks upstairs. 

They really do like that it’s so simple to get outside now.

 And they are excited to help with laundry so they liked this easy set up.

(I may get a second bin if it gets tricky having the girl and boy socks mixed together. So far it’s been fine.)

And if ever we are deal with more sizes at once...
I’ve seen the idea of adding color coded thread to the toes. That’s a good idea, I may incorporate if need be.

My five year old (the one who’s most sock-sensory-picky) acted very stressed about the size being generous (but it’s probably only a couple months before she’d need this size and the small would be too small.) But after two days she’s not said anything.

I haven’t given away our other socks yet. Just packed them up and hid them. JUST IN CASE. I don’t know what would make us need them. But I just feel like I need to try this system out a bit before giving the other socks away.

But yeah. That’s my SUPER in depth thoughts on socks. (And my brain.)
Hope you enjoyed the random vulnerability, while waiting on my kitchen. :)

Friday, February 23, 2018

Kitchen Update

So, I'm still here. Our kitchen is still here. But I'm not ready to show it to you yet.

Blake has been adding our backsplash, in his spare time, and it's looking so good. I'm so excited about how my vision is coming together. It's actually nicer than I imagined it. But we have one more wall left to go.
There's a sneak peek on instagram. But other than that I want to show you when it's more together.

We're hoping this weekend will see it fully tiled. But there a couple little plumbing things around the house we need to deal with too (little leak under the sink, and a toilet that keeps running unless you manually stop it every flush) so we'll see what all fits into the free time.

I'm looking forward to checking the kitchen off this list! I'm kinda used to it being crazy in there, but I'm also kinda over it being crazy.  I started painting the cabinets a few weeks  before's starting to take a little emotional toll all the endlessness of its makeover since it's such a needed space. But it's definitely worth the investment. The difference is astounding.

Even after the tile is done we still need to do some more stuff in there to call it done, but nothing quite so disrupting to the whole room. Mainly trim work. So checking the tile off the list  will really help the room feel less over run with tools and chaos.

The dining room side of the room has been going through it's own transformation as well. But it's also not ready for a reveal.
I've totally slacked on painting my "new" chairs. And a few other things need to be tweaked before I'm ready to show it off.

But with the kitchen coming together, the  house is getting close to done.
     We have two big things left:
         The sunroom needs a ceiling and ceiling fans/lights.
         And our entryway needs its facelift.
And we are hoping that this summer we can address those.

Of course I have a running list in my head of other small projects. But once those two big things get done, the house won't feel under construction.

It's cool to start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It's still a way off, but it feels good thinking about how far we've come.

I'll be sure to show you more as it comes.

And I've been pondering a post(s) about some of our school stuff. But I haven't rushed to write it, since I'm not sure it will appeal widely. I still may share a couple things we use that are cool whether you home school or not.

But I'll leave it here for now.
Talk to you later!

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Paused Kitchen

As is the way of DIY, our kitchen is experiencing some hiccups.

Nothing terrible. And really it’s more so just due to lack of available time  -- Blake’s semester is back in session so he’s got a lot to do after work hours to get lectures ready and such. But when he has spare time he’s putting it into wiring in some extras in the kitchen.

We wanted to turn the ancient can light over the sink (it used to have this pointy alien looking glass cover) into a normal modern can light. (Done.) We wanted an extra outlet on an empty span of countertop. (Done) And under cabinet lights. (Done --- but maybe we bought a lemon in the mix and it needs to be switched out. Bummer.)
And then, as with old houses, you always find a little something special to throw you. In this case we found that sometime in the past, when they decided against the over-range-microwave, instead of doing what you should -- they just took a hammer, knocked the outlet/junction box back into the wall and wallpapered over it. Lovely. So that was stressful, not knowing if we’d be able to do the stuff you need to do without tarring apart TONS of the walls to find where stuff’s coming from. But thankfully Blake found stuff without too much craziness.

I’m still hoping to add an outlet over our wooden countertops, that we added a few years ago (The ones that go through our pass through window.) Since that used to be a bare wall, there was no outlets at counter height, and it would be helpful to be able to plug in something over there too. Hopefully that doesn’t prove a very stressful prospect.

So right now our backsplash is just a bunch of hole-y drywall. And every few days the entire kitchen gets covered in drywall dust. I have NO idea when I will be able to show you a backsplash. It’s not looking like soon. ha.

But I’m still throughly enjoying the parts that are done. I feel fancy even with the crazy holes in the wall.
And I just can’t tell you how much I love the under cabinet lights. Those changed the entire feel of the kitchen. I knew they’d be nice. But I didn’t know HOW nice.
That extra dose of light has a way of making the kitchen feel so many wonderful things: way bigger (more light just immediately enlarges the space more than I could have imagined), more fancy (it feels SO high end now), more homey (even with the high end feel, it’s not pretentious, it’s more cozy), so more hygge (anyone into that?)(If you turn off the overhead light and just leave on the under cabinet lights -- it’s got that Christmas tree glow vibe), more functional (how much better you can see what you are doing at the counter, is amazing!)
So as you can see I’m delighted by these lights. We are hard wiring them into a light switch. But these are something anyone can add to the cabinets and turn them on with a cord switch (like a night light.) And I highly recommend them. They are a delight.

Anyway -- that’s where we are now. And now we return you to your regularly scheduled program: Back to waiting. :)
I promise I’ll show you when I have something.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


*Royal Proclamation Trumpet Playing*

We have countertops!

And that also means we have a new sink and a new faucet!

Clearly, we do not have a backsplash yet. ;)
(So this does not count as a grand reveal. Please accept my crappyiphonephotos.)

So to remind you, we got our quartz countertops from Menards. (Who by the way, speaking locally, have by far the best prices on quartz.) 
This color is called Bianco Perle.
I’m really happy with it.
In my soul I’m a marble girl. But in my mind... I know I’d mourn a thousand little deaths with each and every etch it would DEFINITELY get. (If I ever were lucky enough to buy a house that already had marble countertops installed, and they had some love (etching/stains/chips) on them, then I could handle it -- it would feel like romantic hisorty. But if I were the one to make the first cuts, I just wouldn’t feel good feelings. )
Anyway, so this quartz is a good look for me. It’s not a perfect marble look a like, but it’s marblesque. And it’s very pretty in it’s own right. And quartz is supposed to be one of the most durable counters around. (But I’m so nervous around it still, I’m babying it like crazy.)
(I’m also getting used to the sound of setting stuff down on stone, I’ve only ever lived with laminate, it’s a very new sound. I keep having a slight panic that I broke something.)

We have a seam at the “L.” Which I was fully expecting. 

However we were offered a seamless option (which surprised me!)
But it was nearly double the price, as what it meant was we’d be buying essentially a double slab to cut our shape out of. I had already figured on a seam so we didn’t think it was worth it.
(And in hindsight, I’m glad we have a seam -- seamless would have made getting the thing into the house even harder.)

So this is the seam, it’s different than our old counters which had two triangular cuts going back into the corner.
I don’t think it’s bad, and as you can see from the two photos above, it’s not something that really gets your attention.

In case you are wondering about Menard’s countertops….(If not, skip to further down)
They do not offer installation. You can either DIY, or hunt down your own contractor.
Initially Blake was 100% ok with DIY. Then people we know started talking us into having it done because they are so dang heavy. So for a day Blake looked into contractors. And honestly, no one wanted to do it. They essentially wanted to have been the ones to have ordered the counters.
Well, back to, “We are ok with DIY.” (Which, realistically is just how we roll any way. It saves so much money.)

So Blake had to figure out how to get them into our house. They have to be carried and stored in the right orientation otherwise they can crack, so it made most sense to get them inside on the frame they were delivered on. So Blake installed huge caster wheels onto the frame and him and a friend were able to wheel it into our house.

After they acclimated the proper 24 hours, Blake had torn out our old counters and sink, and two friends came and helped lift it into place. I was not a part of this process, but they all seemed pretty surprised by how quickly it got done, and no one seemed overly strained. They were only at our house for about an hour total. (Which included a bit of careful planning time, and a bit of hi and bye conversation.) So it seemed pretty straightforward of a job from my end of things.

The sink part though….I helped with that, later that night. That part was not the world’s funnest job. Technically, for an undermount sink, you should install the sink onto the counters (while they are upside down) before placing the counters on the right way. Blake did his research and found a couple other ways to do it, which are legit. And so we opted to do it after counter install, so as to not stress our friendly helpers by making things complicated while they were here.
I cannot tell you exactly what we did, I just know I did a lot of holding from above through the drain hole, and scooting the sink into the middle while Blake hoisted it up from below and tried to mount stuff around it. So I was also handing him tools and wood and stuff. It wasn’t easy, it was physically and emotionally draining (for both of us), but we did it!

Blake also had to change the plumbing under the sink, which he did a day or so later. We again, almost hired it out because we figured we saved so much doing the rest ourselves -- but per our usual, when we got the quote, we re-thought that very fast. Nothing comes cheap! But Blake got it done and now are are doing dishes again!

I didn’t take great photos of the sink today because, dishes. But it’s a stainless, Anzzi brand (read wonderful reviews on them), huge, awesome sink.  It’s 32' long, 19” wide, and 10” deep. And I love it. It can hold an enormous amount of dishes and ANYTHING I own in the kitchen can fit in it -- my biggest bowls, or casserole dishes look small in there.

I debated the single bowl a bit. I wasn’t sure which (double or single) was more practical. But I ultimately decided that the way I do dishes, ever since working in restaurants and the coffee industry,  has never been the "soapy side and rinsing side” way. It’s just been to put soap on a sponge (repeatedly), and rinse in the same side. So I knew I wouldn’t miss it. Plus most things go right in our dish washer. So I really just saw size and convenience. And, in my two days with this sink so far, I am THRILLED. (It actually does remind me of the service industry kitchens and something about that stirs up some extra motivation in me.)

Now the faucet…
this faucet
(Kohler Artifacts)
 is an absolute delight.

Not only to my sense of sight (which, boy oh boy do I enjoy looking at this baby. It is gorgeous!)
But also to my sense of touch.
And in it’s ability to do it’s job.

So there’s the normal stream. It’s coming out very fast (no matter how it looks in the photo) with strong pressure.

Then if you flip the switch….
this beautiful gentle rain show. Perfect for rinsing produce.
But I also like this one for washing my hands.

Then when you need to get a dish clean, or when you need to spray out the bottom of the sink...
hold down the button for a powerful sweeper spray.

The head of course is a pull down sprayer.
It’s really just amazing. I am soooooo happy with it.
(It’s glory, is all the better after living with our $17 no frills, faucet, that barely could reach into a pot, for the past month and a half!)

So here are a couple different pictures of the kitchen for you to see it together.
We still have a bunch of details (and backsplash) to handle, but it’s coming together really nicely.

Some of you may notice our fridge is different.
So back around Thanksgiving we went ahead and ordered a different one.
I had a hard time with guilt on this one. Wishing I had gotten it right the first time, or bought used until I knew better. But we did use the old fridge for 4 years and then sold it and got some of it back, so it wasn’t the world’s worst shopping blunder. But it hurt the pride. Felt like a pricey failure.

(I do plan to clean off the top and we will do something nice there, FIY)

I knew NOTHING about appliances when we moved here. And the fridge the house came with smelled VERY bad, and no amount of cleaning would fix it, so we decided we’d update it.
I didn’t think I needed anything super fancy, so I got a simple stainless one. And just noted that it would technically fit in the space.

But there was a huge gap on the side,
And the worst thing was, it stuck out into the doorway.
In this kitchen layout, it just was awkward.

So when doing the counters, we decided to switch to a counter depth.
It was the right time to do it, because we need to make sure we had our countertops the right size. (If the fridge hadn’t filled the whole nook, we would have expanded the countertops to make it feel right and added something to the cabinets.) It all just needed to be figured out at the same time so there wouldn’t be any other future pricey failures.

It’s not many inches different, but the difference feels so good since it’s a doorway.
It’s exactly the same amount of interior space as our old one, but it’s laid out so much better. I feel like I have at least double the room. I think the freezer is a tiny bit smaller than my old one, but we have a deep freeze in the garage so I’m not worried. And the fridge shelves and drawers are a dream compared to our old layout. And Blake and I both enjoy it’s more-shallow-ness, because you really don’t lose things in the back now.
And this one makes ice and has a water dispenser inside. We feel pretty fancy. (The kids are filling their cups to the brim with ice all day now that we don’t have to ration it.)

Something to note, if you are shopping for counter depth fridges yourself, their sizes vary tremendously. Some of them were every bit as deep as my old fridge (But still labeled counter depth). So make sure you are measuring your space and the fridge’s listed dimensions. This Whirlpool was the shallowest I could find and it was a perfect size for our nook. Total winner.

The only thing that’s a little less good is the kids can’t reach stuff as well as before. But that’s not always a terrible thing either. And of course they will only get taller. But they can get their own ice!

So here’s our new hood, if I haven’t shown you yet?
And you can see our smaller subway tile we plan to use.

(Looking below) We plan to tile the wall with the shelf, as well.
I’ll take that shelf down and replace it with two (maybe three) floating white shelves (I think) to get a tiny bit of open shelving and extra storage.
They won’t be very deep, but they will be able to hold some bowls or cups or things like that.

And there will be some crown moulding and kick plates and details. We hope to add a couple outlets. I need to re-bleach (and then seal) our floor grout. Etc. Etc.

But so far, so good.
I really can’t believe this is my kitchen, it’s so nice. I can’t wait to see it all done!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Slow Progress

So you're probably wondering what's going on over here...

Not too much actually. With Blake winding up his semster, and all of us fighting off colds. It's been slow moving.

I did decide to take on chair painting again. Because I apparently enjoy torture . Painting chairs is out of control time consuming. But at least this time I decided to use water based paint. Save on fume issues. I just can't get behind the price tags of new chairs, so I pay big bucks in time. 🤷‍♀️
This painting is stalled due to sickness and holidays. But it's going to look really nice eventually

We did get our new stainless hood up. And that's been magical. The LEDs are totally fabulous and change how dim our kitchen has felt. Not to mention it just looks better, and works better!

And today Blake took out our old backsplash..

If you remember, it used to be quite the pink beige. And I painted it. It was a good hold over. But I'm very excited they are gone.
It will likely be the new year before I have much more excitement to show. We'll see. (We still haven't even put all the cabinet knobs on yet!)
Slow but steady wins the race.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Future Kitchen Updates

Hey guys, hope you had a nice Thanksgiving! 
Ours was very nice. And I even got the kitchen back to working order with a pinch of time to spare. The only hiccup being that randomly our kitchen faucet sprung a leak and the attempt to fix it was foiled by a crazy original installation which left us using our bathroom sink on Thanksgiving itself. It was not ideal but we managed to have a great day anyway. The next day Blake took a saw to the faucet and got it off, so that we could install a fancy $17 faucet and have running water in the kitchen sink again. Ha! I've never loved a bad faucet so much!

The fact that the faucet debacle happened, sped up our decision to just do the countertops now since we plan to do an undermount sink with them. (For a day we thought we'd be sibkless until that was in. But even once it was solved we still were ready to go forward with our nice finishes.)

So the plan is a 32x18" single bowl, stainless undermount sink. With this faucet. 
We debated a bridge faucet for a while but ultimately I didn't want form over function, the two handle temperature adjustment isn't for me (I've lived with two handles before.) But I've been enamored with this faucet for at least a year. It's got a vintage feel and modern sensibility. Plus great reviews.
I went with chrome because I honestly really love chrome. And while it shows water marks, a quick wipe takes it right off. We have a chrome faucet in one bathroom, and it shines so easy. We also have a moen spot resistant brushed Nickel   faucet which always looks clean so that's awesome. But then we have an American Standard brushed nickel faucet and it's NOT spot resistant and it looks terrible and is very hard to shine up. So I figured chrome is something predictable in behavior but brushed nickel  is not. Chrome is also the finish that's been around the longest, so I feel it adds to the vintage appeal. Plus it's bling-y. 

My kitchen needs a pinch of bling because I choose painted knobs for my hardware. They often say that's the jewelery of the kitchen, but  I went a different direction. We left our original visible hinges on the cabinet doors. (It didn't seem to be an viable option to add inset hidden hinges, and I decided it does give me a happy vintage feeling.) So I didn't want anymore metal on the cabinets. 

I'm hoping to achieve a sorta timeless, vintage English country vibe, with a hint of luxury, and  a whiff of modern to bring it to current times.

I'm thinking that the backsplash will be smaller scale subway tile. I've read that the smaller scale is good in a smaller space to give the illusion of more space. And somehow the regular size does look off in here. 

I'm thinking of wrapping the backsplash around the open wall over the wood counter, and extending to the ceiling. And adding 2 or 3 open shelves there.

The countertops will be a quartz in a pattern  reminiscent of marble, with a pretty flat edge. 
I LOVE marble but am not willing to care for them (or hover over people making them care for them) properly since they are easily stained and can chip.
Originally I thought I'd like an ogee edge, but after shopping and thinking I liked the clean line better.
We ordered through Menards, who by far had the most affordable quartz. And no one had a pattern I liked any better, so it was an easy choice.
Initially we thought of going with a very nice laminate (they've come a long way and you can get them without that laminate backsplash on the backside and doing that really adds the classy look to the kitchen.) But we couldn't find the right combo of print, surface texture and edge shape for us. We started doing the math and decided that since we only have 31 square feet of countertop space
(We are not doing our pass-through wood countertops in quartz. We plan to someday upgrade form pine to real butcherblock.) So at 31 sq feet it wasn't an unmanageable prince upgrade to get the real thing. That way there was every part of our wishlist (look, feel and edged finish) was checked off for our money, because while laminate is more affordable is is not free, so we decided it made sense to put more in to get more out. For resale the quartz would appeal much more in our area. We don't plan to sell anytime soon, but just assessing the investment.

So those are ordered, as well as the faucet and sink. A few more weeks till they arrive.
Next we need to knock out the old backsplash to get ready for all the installation.
But I'm not thinking we'll do much until the semester break, since Blake's in the crunch time of the year. Which is fine, I don't mind a lull in kitchen disturbances.

When we get all the knobs on the doors I'll show you a middle-after/progress photo.

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