Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I realized that I never posted  pictures of our completed kitchen renovation.    We started with the floor a year ago, at the end of October.  We worked on different phases for the next 8 months with some lulls in there. Our house was built in 1900 so kitchens are never great in houses from back then.   A lot of kitchens were actually in the basement in the bigger houses of that time period. Ours was on the main level luckily but it suffered from an ill configured layout and  it was stuck in the 70's.

BEFORE: The countertops were white with gold flecks that absorbed everything-rust from a wet cookie sheet, spilled kool-aid, you name it.   Not even straight bleach would help it.

 AFTER: We priced granite since we don't have a lot of countertop but in the end we felt that extra money could be be put to use in better ways in the kitchen( like by adding an island).  This is just laminate but it looks a million times better than what we use to have    

 The 'white' sink was also nicely stained and chipped.  I think it was ceramic.   I swear this sink was very clean but just like the countertops it absorbed everything.

  AFTER: Our brand new stainless steel sink
 with new faucets! Slightly better.

We wanted to put new doors on the cupboards but the sizes of ours was so wacky it would have been a custom order and more pricey.  So we instead just framed out each cabinet door and refinished them white and put new hardware on them.  Our new hardware matches the original draw pulls in our butlers pantry.

And Voila!!  

The old green backplash was some sort of board, though not made of wood.  
Thanks to youtube I found a video on how to do a subway tile backsplash and did it myself!  

 When we moved in to our home 6 1/2 years ago, every room had carpet except the foyer.  That included the kitchen, bath and the dining room.  Even though we only had 3 kids at the time, that was enough to ruin the carpet quickly-especially when one of them was in the midst of potty training.

We pulled a lot of it up right away, but we still had carpet on the main staircase and the stairs leading from the kitchen to the main stairs.  

This is a little of what that small set of stairs looked like when I pulled up the carpet:

I had already painted the fronts of them white at this point.  They weren't in the worst condition but not the best either.  At least they didn't have inch thick cement hard carpet glue like our other rooms did.

And here is what they looked like all finished with some warm brown paint on each step:

You can also see our nice tiled flooring in the snapshot above. It was peel and stick tile for many years, which by the way, is a nightmare to pull up.

There use to be a double oven in our kitchen at some point. Then they were taken out and it left this large cabinet with a very big hole in it.  So it was made into a "pantry" which really means some shelving jimmy rigged and a curtain put over the hole.  I called it The Great Abyss.  It was so deep and dark that I lost stuff all the time and it was not unusual to reach in for flour and come out with a spider instead.

So we tore that out and add a wall cabinet and an over the range microwave.  We moved our stove from across the room also.  Our microwave was on a stand elsewhere in the kitchen previous to this.  

This simple addition and reconfiguration really opened up the space. We had already demolished the old double oven /pantry in the picture below.  It felt really good to tear that thing out, though the Hubby did take out a chunk of skin and likely a little bone hacking at it outside with a hatchet.  

He is not allowed to use a hatchet again.  Ever.

We also have a new stove now that is all white and is a flat top. It's a convection double oven and I am in love with it.

You can see in the pic below where our stove use to be.  I don't think it was originally there though judging by the big gap between the counter and stove.  Perhaps that is where they had the cooktop was at one point, I don't know.  And you love the styling vent hood I know but it had to go, sadly enough.  We added a base cabinet in that gap which also extended the counter top space. Then we moved our fridge from the far corner of the kitchen into where the stove used to sit.  Now we have a nicer work triangle!  

And better yet none of our dishes in the drainer fall into the gap now. BONUS!

You can also see our new kitchen island.  I looked at many many islands to figure out what would work best for our kitchen space, our budget and our needs(added work space, extra cabinets and a drawer).  

We settled on this one.  It has a treated wooden top, cabinets and a drawer that open from either side, and we were able to put 2 bar stools on the far side. It is super heavy and durable.  I did have it turned 90 degrees from where you see it now, so it was parallel with the fridge and sink.  That looked fine but with my stove on the other wall it worked better to have it parallel with that.  But it's nice that it can be versatile. 

You will also note some bead board going around the room.  This is a fabulous wallpaper.  There are some out there I have seen that are pretty thin, but this is super thick and really looks and feels like bead board.  The advantage is that is is much cheaper than the real stuff and super easy to apply. It really lightened up the room and gave it more character. 

We also replaced our garbage disposal and changed out the old ceiling fan for a semi-flush mount that matched the new cabinet  hardware.

I would say in all this renovation cost between $2000-$2500 since we did all the labor ourselves except some electrical for a couple new outlets to accommodate the switching of appliances and my great BIL  tiled the floor for us.  Props to my Hubby's cousin for helping us with installing the countertops too! We are not that handy when it comes to major home renovations like this and by no means an expert, yet through the gift of the internet and youtube we saved THOUSANDS of dollars on labor.  But it is more time consuming and more of a headache I will admit than just hiring the work out.

I really do love this kitchen now and will hate to leave it.  
I pray the next family will like it just as much though.

* Credits: These 2 photos were taken by our realtor*

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What do You do without Facebook?!


That is the answer to the title of this post.  I have been SOOO productive since I got off of facebook!   

 Imagine that...

I have been doing lots of baking, doing extra projects around the house, keeping up with laundry, working out, playing with Little Miss, prepping food for each upcoming week, finally looking at my pinterest boards and IMPLEMENTING/TRYING some things, which I never seem to have time to do. 


I do miss my FB friends and there has been more than once when I had to contact people and I was like,"I'll just message them all on FB...oh wait."  That is quite handy.

 It reminds me of TV.  We have been with out TV for going on 4 years in January.  We sacrificed cable to save money for the adoption of Princess.  We didn't know what we would do with ourselves with out our fave shows.  It was scary.  Bubba asked us if we were turning Amish.

Now I don't know how I ever had time to watch TV.  It made me more cranky too.  I always yelled at the kids to be quiet but never once turned down( or off-gasp!) the TV.  And then I was annoyed when kids interrupted during a show.  OK, being able to pause shows helped tremendously in that area but still I was a little annoyed.  It wasn't the kids that was the problem, it was the TV.  Life changing realization.  

I don't see me ever wanting TV again.  It is so easy to get hooked and just like FB, so easy to spend your life watching someone else's then living your own.  Though I do miss the FOOD channel and HGTV.  

Just wanted to give everyone an update on my facebook free life and let you know that I have survived.  Ok it's only been like a week, but still.

Nothing new on the house front.  Totally have turned that over to God and just enjoying each day till we leave.  Now that I am off facebook it is also giving me more time to weed through everything in the house and get ready for RV life. =)

Have a great week!

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Friday, October 25, 2013


I just deactivated my Facebook account.  I am not going to lie, my heart is racing and I am a little freaked out.  I am totally thinking, "How am I going to communicate with everyone?!"

Facebook has many positive benefits but I spent WAAAAAY too much time on there.  And I try to regulate it but I always get sucked in somehow and  what was meant to be a quick couple minutes checking statuses  ends up  turning into a couple hours.

 I also started thinking," There is something wrong when I spend more time finding out what other people are doing in their lives then living mine."  

Oh my gosh, I already just thought as I was sitting here typing this how I had to share this blog post on Facebook!  This is going to take some getting used to...

I can't say that I will never be back on FB, but am planning on taking a lengthy sabbatical at least.

Good news for you is that that means more blog posts!! Because, you know, I have to give my opinions and share what I ate at lunch with SOMEBODY out there on the world wide web.

And I know that I am going to think of no fewer than a dozen witty status updates as I go about my day.

I made this radical decision a couple weeks ago actually( to pull the plug on facebook) but have been dragging my feet.  I announced it in the middle of our living room to The Hubby. I knew if I didn't speak it out loud than it wasn't likely I would really do it.

No sooner had the words come out of my mouth than Sissy was giving me a big hug.

"What's that for?"  I asked

"Because you won't be on the computer all the time now and you will spend more time with us."

*insert dagger into my heart*

So I knew I had to hold true to my vow.

Now I might actually have to pick up the phone or go visit someone to talk to them.  Crazy I know.

SO here goes my first facebook free night!  Yay!  I think...

Many Blessings,
The Mama  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Guessing Game: NAME THAT HIVE!

1st the Cauliflower Soup from my previous post was great!  I added twice as much cheese and lots more salt and pepper though.  The family rated it out of 10 and here were the results per person: 10,9,8,9,6,4 and Little Miss wouldn't eat it which is no surprise as she is refusing most any food lately.

OK now to our game!  


200 points to anyone who ends up being correct! 

Little Miss seems to have several food allergies that I pray she will eventually outgrow.  She can't have apple juice( even diluted, but ok with plain apples), PB(allergic to the oils when they get on her skin, but seems ok to have PB mixed in things),some citrus fruits, and a few other things.

So here is the rash she has had for 3 days total now:

 Super blurry I know but she doesn't hold still to get a crisp picture. 

 What you are seeing is hives on her face.  She really hasn't eaten anything new and it seems like it must be something she has had each day as it keeps flaring up.

She use to show some sensitivity to cheese and then i reintroduced it and didn't see any side effects, but she has had some cheese lately so maybe?  She has had oatmeal, which she has often and never has had any trouble.  She seemed to flare up after having my chocolate chip cookies yesterday and a few bites today.  That has oats in it.

She also has had an egg casserole the last 2 days- eggs, sausage and some cheese.  But was thinking maybe it was the egg since that is in the cookie too, but again she has never shown a sensitivity to egg in the past.

I Don't Know!  

So I will just really strip back her diet, even though she is barely eating anything as is right now( due to stubbornness).  Hopefully it will clear it up and then maybe I will reintroduce some of the thing I suspect as triggers one by one and see if we can figure it out.

Another thought is that we had to get a new pack n play for her Monday night. She has never had a crib to sleep in and our other one broke so we had to get a quick replacement( I heart craigslist).  Lily has broken out in a facial rash from a pillow one time.  Have no idea what it was about it but something irritated her skin and we had to toss it.  She does have her regular sheet on her new pack n play but who knows.  But I am thinking that she had the rash before we got the new pack n play Monday anyhow.

I have extremely sensitive skin.  I actually have a condition called Dermographism so it shouldn't surprise me that my kiddos have skin issues.

So any one want to take a guess as to what is triggering Little Miss? 

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cauliflower Soup

Trying a new recipe tonight!  With the cold weather starting soups sound so yummy but I don't have many recipes.  My family is not big on veggies but we all like cauliflower since it's pretty mild so I felt this soup was a safe bet.  I mean, it has cheese in it so how can you go wrong?  Here is the recipe:

Cauliflower Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

I am also making some homemade breadsticks with it ( we love our bread and carbs).  Here is a bread recipe I have found to works well as a base. It is nice and chewy. You can use your bread starter to make bread, rolls or bread sticks. 

Bread Starter

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoons butter (softened)
3 cups flour, preferably bread flour
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast

  You can change it up by throwing in some added ingredients. We love putting in minced garlic and topping it with shredded cheddar. 

Garlic Cheddar Breadsticks

Add to the bread starter-
1 ½ t minced garlic
2 T parmesan cheese
¼ c sharp shredded cheddar
*When dough is done, make breadsticks, glaze with garlic and top with more shredded cheddar cheese.  Bake for about 10 minutes in oven at 400 degrees.

I will let everyone know how the soup turns out and the true test-what the kids thinks of it.  

Many Blessings,
The Mama

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Family Pics and Nothingness

We're still here.  Just living life and enjoying our family for now.  Trying not to take anything for granted or rush life even though we are anxious to get on the road.  With us not knowing when we were leaving we opted out of everything we usually particulate in- scouts, homeschool co-op, flag football, tackle football, etc.  The only exception has been Weds. night church which we still attend. So it has been a nice season of nothingness.

We did list our house with a realtor a few weeks ago and had some showing this week.  We know the one went well, haven't heard about the 2nd showing.  I have already thanked God in advance for the offer that will be on our table next week though. =)  

In the mean time we got family pictures taken FINALLY.  It has been probably 6 years since we have gotten any done.  Needless to say those pics are missing a few members of our family.  So here are some of our prints.  ENJOY!

Many Blessings,
The Mama