Home Sweat Home: Kitchen Ceiling

As I alluded to in the last kitchen post (with much suspense) I checked another To Do off this list…

  • Paint maroon grout (shudders)
  • Fix baseboards
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint light fixtures
  • Replace kitchen window
  • Replace kitchen window blinds
  • Replace almond outlets with white ones

A Before:


Doesn’t look too bad, does it?

Incorrect. See?


The ceiling was a beigy-yellow and very greasy. Two coats of white paint fixed that right up!


It could have used three coats but who has time for that?

And a useless After photo:


I surprised Zack when he came home from work and asked him to “guess what’s different about the kitchen!”. He wandered around confused and replied “I have no idea but something about the kitchen certainly feels less gross.”


It’s one of those type of projects; lessening the Gross Factor. Well, yet another project I’ve started and completed. Just like Amelie says when she uses the big girl potty, “Yay, I’m so proud of me!”

More home updates coming. As per usual, with every move forward seems to encourage a step back. Literally. A corner of our front step fell off during the massive snow storm just before Easter.



Home Sweat Home: The Kitchen Edging

I’m as shocked as you are that there is a home update to share today! If you creak open those rusty memory banks back to over a year ago, my last kitchen update was quite a big one: we had the kitchen cabinets painted white.

After that big overhaul, the kitchen sat like this for a long while.

cabinets_painted2Let’s not kid ourselves. It didn’t sit *exactly* like this ever again because our house is always a mess. I would say it’s a lucky day if we can see our countertops but have you seen how ugly our countertops are? The maroon grout is horrifying.

Anyway, there still are quite a few To Dos for the Kitchen Phase 1 Redo. I say Phase 1 because I would like it all reno’d in a few years when we can afford it financially and afford the disruption. Right now, that kitchen is working hard for me and I can’t give it up!

I tackled the grubby kitchen edging last week and you wouldn’t have guessed it but by golly, I finished what I started. I’m amazing!

Let’s take a closer look at what I was staring at over my morning cup of coffee.


I primed it and put two coats of pure white paint on it (even though it could have used three) and called it a day! Actually it took me like two weeks but you know what I mean.

A dark After picture coming right up, drum roll, please.


Another view:


Makes that maroon grout even more maroon-y, am I right? Bummer.

In hindsight, I might have considered painting all of the edging/trim in the house a tinted white (like Benjamin Moore White Dove) instead so it’s not so stark but I had the pure white paint on hand and I was not about to buy more. So, at least it matches the rest of the house.

To Dos for Phase 1:

  • Paint maroon grout (shudders)
  • Fix baseboards
  • Paint ceiling
  • Paint light fixtures
  • Replace kitchen window
  • Replace kitchen window blinds
  • Replace almond outlets with white ones

I’ve already secretly crossed another kitchen To Do off the list but I’m holding out on you and putting it in a separate blog post to build drama. Ok?

Also, while I’ve been working feverishly and inefficiently, we hired a professional to help me make some real progress. He started today! My kids were just as excited as I was to see him. Here they are, waiting for Pieter to unload his truck:


Cue the collective “Awwwws”.

Home Sweat Home: Cade’s Closet

I alluded to a big project going down in the last My Cade…we redid his closet! And it cost a fortune. It was worth it but wow, that stung.

This room was supposed to be Zack’s office but now we hope to move Cade into it officially. We still plan keep the desk area for when Zack works from home but I have plans to transform the rest of the space into something nice for my little guy.

There is a lot of work to do but a big issue was storage. Having a usable closet was top priority!

We started this closet adventure many moons ago with funky blue carpeted stairs, wooden cubbies, and hideous doors:


We ripped down those doors (I kinda wish we hadn’t done that), removed the carpet and had flooring installed. And then we crammed so much random crap in there, it gave me an instant headache:


Initially, I wanted to plan an Ikea closet but the standard heights would not work with the funny stairs inside. The Container Store was having a sale of 25% of Elfa systems so I had them help me plan a closet. They were great! I wanted a place for Zack’s dress clothes- for now, until we redo our own master closet – and then lots of other drawers and shelves that Cade could grow into. And until he does, I also wanted a place to store crafts and supplies that currently don’t have a home.

I cleared out the clutter and with great effort, removed those crooked and poorly built cubbies. The walls were in tough shape afterward.


Meanwhile, Zack and Amelie picked up the Elfa supplies and plopped them in among the chaos so we would be ready for the installer.


I did my best to sand, spackle and prime what I could with the little patience and expertise that I have. The walls were still far from perfect, but I figure the closet hardware would mask most of it. Then I got to painting. I chose “Paper White” by Benjamin Moore. It’s a, wait for it, light gray…


After the second coat:


I really really really wanted to tackle the gross popcorn ceiling but I knew I didn’t have time. One day, hopefully!

The installer came this week and it took him over two hours. I’m so glad we didn’t plan to do it ourselves. Wanna see how pretty it turned out?


I’m all heart eyes emoji-ing over here! The nice thing is I can live with this set up for a while and them customize it if I need to change things around. It’s very flexible!

What’s left to do?

  • Fill it and organize with bins
  • Fix a few issues with the walls where old trim used to be
  • Buy and install bi-fold doors
  • Paint bi-fold doors Zinc by Marth Stewart
  • Possibly paint the door rail…maybe a gold?

A good start though, huh?

Kid Table Makeover

You guys! I made over Amelie’s kid table for her playroom. *Cue disbelieving gasps*

I purchased this table and chairs from a big consignment sale last fall for about $30 with the hopes I’d get the nerve to make it over before Amelie out grew it.


Here is a before. Also, please excuse the nasty compost pile. I’m working on whittling it down. It’s slow going.

beforeIt was quite slick with poly so I knew I had a big sanding job on my hands. I was inspired to try a liquid deglosser after a friend redid her bathroom vanity.


The deglosser was easy to use but stinky Here is the deglossed after.


A lot less “shiny”.

Up close. If you squint your eyes and scrunch your nose, you might be able to see the white film left from the deglosser.


In hindsight, if I were doing things the Right Way instead of the Impatient Way, I would have done two rounds of deglosser and then went in with a sander as well. But I didn’t do it the Right Way, in fact, I barely let the deglosser dry before I attacked with this:

ocean_mistIt’s a new color called Ocean Mist by Rustoleum. It was just the color I was looking for!


This was after two rounds of spray paint. I ended up needing a second can and a few more rounds. I did most of my spraying in a hurried fashion and during the sunniest part of the day so I kept missing spots. Still, I liked where it was going. But it needed something more…


Gold always takes things to Fancy, right? I was going for “gold dipped”…


Let me see you dip, baby, dip in progress:

gold_dipped_progressAre you ready for the final reveal?

table_finishedIt’s marred with many imperfections but isn’t it still so cute?

gold_dipped_closeWhy not end with a badly lit zoomed out shot? Please ignore the laundry room doors propped against the wall. It’s on our To Do list…


This project took me weeks to do so I might get physically ill the moment one of my kids takes a crayon or pen to it when I’m not watching. It seems to chip easily too. Why, DIY Gods, why? I think I need to go in with some poly but I can’t muster any more effort on it.

I’m opening the floor now. Shower me with Ooohs and Ahhhs!

If you want to see how the playroom has evolved, click here.

Home Sweat Home: Outside Front Perennials

Perennials! I feel like such a big girl now. I did lots of learning googling and figured now is as good of time as any to dive in.

It’s overwhelming but I’m reminding myself that this is simply an experiment. I’ll try a few things and then see what works. I don’t think I need a grand vision just yet.

We started here with a very busy front yard. Lots of trees, mulch and a few perennials too:


We removed two trees and I weeded a lot but not nearly enough:


I have big plans – namely removing the juniper jungle (also seen here),


cutting back the mulch and adding more lawn. But for now, we are starting small by adding a few perennials to the mulched section by the corner of the driveway.

front_perennialsCan’t tell what anything is because I had to take these photos in the middle of the day, with sweat dripping into my eyes because that’s when both kids were serendipitously napping at the same time?


The placement was random. I’m a thinker and Hubs is a doer so we plopped them in without allowing me to think too hard about it. I really wished we didn’t put the dianthus right in the middle since it’s such a low plant but eh, it’s in the ground. It would be better as a border. I’ve already learned quite a bit about what I would do differently. The strawberry plant, although beautiful with its dark green leaves,


attracts bunnies and the fruit is nibbled off instantly. It would be better in a fenced garden. The asiatic lily, although stunning,


only bloomed once.


But, I do love the Happy Returns Day Lily (as does everyone) because it blooms frequently. I’ll be planting more of those!


I took the earlier pictures a while back. Here is how everything is looking now. Look at the Russian Sage, it’s huge! I guess my pruning this spring helped. It’s a beast!


I scored the irises for free from a lady that was thinning hers out. I had been wanting irises so the timing was perfect. Nap time was ticking away so I quick googled how to plant them because I know nothing. There was an empty spot where we removed the young silver maple tree:


I probably planted them too close but it’s difficult to dig through the mulch, sheet block, roots, stiff clay and rocks. I need a tiller but who has time for that? I’m praying they take root in spite of my amateur gardening.


Up close:


The second batch is looking especially sad but I’m hoping one or two survive. Forgive the lighting, the sun was setting and casting a gorgeous pink glow on everything:


Up close:


I planted a spirea on the corner and it’s barely clinging to life:


In July, I got overzealous and bought a few echinacea and phlox:


I planted them on either side of our sage (which I trimmed back because it was overflowing onto the sidewalk). They don’t look so healthy now:


And after weeks of slowing dying in their pots because summer busy hit me like a freight train, I finally planted the remaining two out back where our hot tub used to sit. They have lots of company with the weeds!


I have serious doubts they’ll live but at least I tried! Plus, it was good Mommy-Daughter time planting these together. She stacked the bark on the top. 😀


I know I was supposed to only talk abut the front yard but eventually, this will be an amazing place for a garden! Wouldn’t it be a pretty corner with raised garden beds surrounded by echinacea and shasta daises?

Anyway, the summer is closing in on me fast so I think I’ll focus on maintaining what I have before diving in any deeper. Along with adding a few perennials, I have been in major cleanup mode. I’ve trimmed, weeded and raked so much that our compost bin has no hope of keeping up! There is still much to do but I’m trying to make progress when I can. It’ll be fun to take a peek at this post next year and see what actually survived!

Our neighbor graciously gave us a tour of his beautiful backyard and it has Hubs and I very inspired. His lawn is lush and he has roses, peonies and raised garden beds! I wish I could wave a magic money wand and have someone come do the work for us while I drink iced coffee. Wouldn’t that be nice?

Home Sweat Home: The Stairs Again

Remember when the Heavens opened up and the world rejoiced because we finally completed the stairs?


Lookin’ good, right?

Actually. No.

Like me from far away, everything is kinda looking alright. But when you get up close? Everything IS NOT LOOKING ALRIGHT.

For example, this huge hole in the caulking:


I’m to blame because the handyman caulked in a shred of blue carpet in his haste to get home. I was not having that so I carved it out, leaving a large gaping hole for bugs and things to snuggle in. Awesome, huh?

The caulking in the seams was also lacking in a few places. Can you see it?

crappy_caulkI tediously re-caulked everything and painted the primed risers a delectable white. Look closely and you will notice where it’s been painted versus the plain primed riser:

paintIt took three coats of paint to get the coverage I was happy with and of course our stairs sat like this for a few weeks along with my best intentions. Warning, adorable toddler ahead!


That swimsuit! It makes me weak!

Anyway, you’ll never believe this but here they are finished:


Here is where my husband and I differ. This is a project he would have never wasted his time on. From far away, it looks fine! On the other hand, the doors to the laundry nook are off and propped up in the den, the office is disaster, the bathroom is half painted, etc! I could be making a much bigger impact. But, my spare time is sporadic and comes in very small chunks. The stairs bugged me and it was a project I felt like I could take on in small steps.

Ending with a pun is so clever, isn’t it?

Home Sweat Home: Master bath

Just as I did with the office, I’m giving you a tour of the “master” bath. And it might make you a little sick.

It’s a weird space, with two doors. It’s small and hard to photograph. Here are a few pics from inspection day:


Can you believe Amelie was just a little nut in my tummy in this picture? AWWW.


That shower tile though? Yuck. It doesn’t look terrible but it has a gross vibe to it. I’ll get to that in a minute.

I’ve done very little to update this space but the few things I have done made it worse. Don’t you hate it when that happens?

There is only one bathroom upstairs and this is it. It’s the “master” bath that we all get to share. That’ll be so super fun for Amelie when she is a teenager.


It has two doors – one from the hallway and one from the master bedroom. Those two doors are annoying, especially during bath time when both Hubs and I are trying to get the kids bathed and ready for bed at the same time since this is the only bathroom with a tub.

In the name of progress, I did finally finish painting both doors recently and you already know I used Zinc by Martha Stewart. That can of paint is still going strong! 17 doors down, two to go…

Anyway. I switched out the hinges on one of the doors but as you can tell, the other is still bathing, if you will, in all of its brassy glory. The doors look great, it’s the walls where things get scary. Did you notice they were half painted?

You see, I’m crazy. Remember when my MIL gave me a few paint samples and I used one of them to paint the downstairs bathroom? I’ll have to show you that sometime, once you’ve recovered from this post, of course. Anyway, I lost my mind when I got to organizing the downstairs closet. WE HAD SO MUCH PAINT. Instead of giving it away or trashing it, I decided to use it up whether I liked the color or not. I ripped down the mirror last summer during nap time and started painting.


And then nap time ended. So this is what we’ve been living with for a long time now.


My husband has not uttered a single word about the half painted bathroom. He’s such a dear. He knows I’m trying to get there but time and efficiency are not something I have in high abundance.

We don’t want people using this bathroom but they do anyway. I wilt inside when I notice someone go up there. I need a sign that says “Please don’t use this! I’ve gone mad and I’m trying to hide it from you!”

Unlike the downstairs bathroom color, which is Sea Salt by SW, I’m not loving this color. It’s Rainwashed by SW and although very similar, it looks too bright in contrast with the tile and vanity. What’s that you say? You want to see the vanity?


Not cuuuute. *shudders*

The tile on the floor and in the shower is also not cute. It’s supposed to be “natural” looking with browns and white swirled throughout. But instead it looks like poop. Do you know how many times I’ve gasped and hopped over the threshold thinking someone didn’t quite make it to the toilet and shat here?


Both bathrooms in this house were recently redone by the previous homeowner but not done well. It has decent storage but horrible everything. The sink is too low to wash your face easily, the vanity and medicine cabinet are very oak-y and builder grade-y. The tile is uneven, the grout has cracks in it, the outlet covers are mismatched, and the trim is a wreck (just like it is everywhere in this house). We have a lot to do.

Here are the plans for Phase 1:

  • paint doors
  • replace hinges
  • paint bathroom
  • caulk & paint trim
  • remove anchor bolts & spackle
  • replace outlet covers
  • add art/accessories/organize
  • possibly repaint vanity and medicine cabinet
  • paint ceiling white
  • replace vent cover — weeee!

What’s Phase 2?

  • Rip out everything and replace it with lots of beautiful white and gray gorgeousness

I’m hoping to settle on a color and at least get this room FULLY painted sometime in the near future. I’m leaning towards painting it Sea Salt by SW to keep things simple. I’ll keep you posted. It can only get better from here? Right?


Instagram Gallery Wall

You guys. We put up a few pictures of our beautiful babies! FINALLY.

It’ll all started with this blank wall and, per my usual, a bad lighting Before:


Hubs got to doing math and measuring:


And just like that, a glare-y After:


Awww. It makes my heart feel all squishy inside.

I printed the pictures through Sticky9 in the 5″x5″ size. I’m very happy with how they came out. I found the frames, after much hunting, at my local Michaels. They came in a 4-pack and you’d better believe I used a 40% off coupon for each pack because I’m so super smart.

Here is a less glare-y angle:


And closeup:


Of course I printed these pictures a million years ago and now I have new Instagram favorites that I want to switch in. That’s the beauty of this gallery though; it can change and evolve.

I’m a little worried about sticky fingers messing with the bottom row but I’m hoping the littles stay far away from them.

We might add another row on top – what do you think?

Kiddie Picnic Table

I hinted in this post that I was working on a project. Well, by golly, I actually finished it. I know, I’m surprised too!

I had help which is mostly why “the finishing” part happened.

It all began like so…


I stained it Dark Walnut by Minwax because that’s the color cool bloggers I read use and I’m a copycat.

stainedI’ve never stained anything before but it was easy. Hubs and I sanded down any rough areas and wiped the boards clean. Then I brushed on the stain and after 10 minutes, wiped off the excess with a rag. I let it dry (4-6 hours) and did a second coat. Then I flipped all of the boards over and repeated the process. Next, I sprayed on four coats of water-resistant UV protectant polyurethane. It was all super simple but let’s be honest, it took me almost 2 weeks!

Then came time to assemble. The directions had four steps. I got my tool kit and said to myself “I can do this! I can do hard things because I’m a Mom!”

I stared at those four steps utterly confused for 10 minutes and then Cade woke up – so I left it in pieces on the deck. Then it got hailed on. Defeated, I sweet-talked Hubs into building it while I was out running errands and when I came back over an hour later, he was still struggling with it. Turns out, it wasn’t four easy steps after all! The directions were total crap and it required two people to do it.

But together, we got it finished!


*Ugh, isn’t she is the cutest?

Thanks to Grandma for gifting us the table! It looks so sweet out on the deck. I don’t feel comfortable sitting on it for fear it’ll collapse into a zillion splinter bits, but it’s perfect for Amelie and when we have littles visit in a few weeks. I love it.

Man it feels good to actually cross a project off the To Do list. That, like, never happens.


Backyard: Dead space

Remember when I took you on a backyard tour last summer and there was this sorta wasteland on the side?

wastelandIt’s not pretty but we found a good use for it: a perfectly shady spot for Amelie’s sandbox.


The Colorado sun is hot and it’s nice that we can play out here, close to home, without worrying about the burning rays. We actually scored the sandbox for free (!!!) and Grandma bought the sand for Amelie’s birthday. We set it up just in time for her party and when the rain cleared, the kids dug in, so to speak.


Also, as an aside, I once swore that I wouldn’t be that house with kiddie things like this “littered” throughout the house and yard. There are sandboxes at parks, you see, and I wanted to keep my lawn pretty and sophisticated.

But now? If it keeps a little one busy for even a moment, I’m all in. Even better that I don’t have to pack up and go anywhere because babies and toddlers don’t nap at the same time and do you know how long it takes me to go ANYWHERE? A hundred billion years and usually when we get there someone poops.

Anyway, back to the “play space”.This space has a lot of potential so at least this is a small start in the right direction. And, I can’t believe anything is growing back here but these cuties manage to survive:


Does anyone know what they are? I’d love to plant a bunch more of them to brighten up the perimeter. They are so sweet! Update: I think they may be creeping thyme?