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Archive for the ‘ Turning this OLD house into OUR HOME ’ Category

The number one goal of every parent is to keep their children safe. That involves identifying the potential threats that lie not only outside the confines of your home, but inside as well. The following tips will help make your home a safer place for your children:

Get the best safety locks to secure your home from intruder.

Install a home security system

Every home should have a home security system, particularly ones with small children. Many home security providers offer around-the-clock monitoring for a pretty decent price. Check out to see how you can take advantage of an ADT Monitored Home Security System for around $9 per week.

Keep medicines/dangerous household chemicals out of reach

More than 60,000 children visit the emergency room every year due to accidental medication poisoning. If you have young kids, you should be extra vigilant about stowing away medications and any other potentially toxic household chemicals. This includes antifreeze, paint thinner and ammonia-based cleaning products.

Instill smart safety habits

As a parent, the day will inevitably come where you won’t always be there to look over your son or daughter’s shoulder. It’s never too early to start teaching them how to recognize and respond to potentially dangerous situations. Encourage young children to always avoid talking to strangers, and set boundaries about where they can go, who they can see and what they can do. Tell them to always use the “buddy system” and to trust their instincts. These are habits that they will not only carry with them for the rest of their lives, but also pass along to their children one day.

Secure windows and blinds

Every year, approximately eight children age 5 and under die from falling out windows in the U.S., and more than 3,000 are injured, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Fortunately, such accidents can easily be prevented by installing safety netting on all your windows. It’s also a good idea to purchase window blind cord wraps, which cost no more than a few bucks at your local Wal-Mart. This way, you can safety stow blind cords – a strangulation hazard – out of the reach of curious children.

Keep the kitchen safe

The kitchen can be a minefield of hazards for young children. Make sure to use a stove guard to prevent your child from suffering scalds or burns from touching a hot stovetop. Store all electronic appliances out of reach, and make sure there are no flammable objects, such as curtains, oven mitts and towels, near the stove. Finally, never leave a young child or burning stove unattended in the kitchen.

The Great Stairway Makeover of 2012

It’s been a while since I’ve done a home improvement post. It’s probably because my home hasn’t really improved in a while. It’s a bit stagnant. Like the scary pool when we moved in. Stagnant. Remember what that looked like? Click here for a little reminder…..

One evening I was going through old photos. I decided it’s silly to only hang the newest, latest, greatest photos. I have some fabulous pics of the kids when they were babies and I was an actual heifer, errr….heffer… I have family photos from eons ago that belong on my walls. I also have all these walls with NOTHING on them.

Solution: Put pictures on walls.

Problem: All my old frames are from other houses with the color matching the wood in each house…oak or maple mostly.

Our current house, mostly old and moldy, doesn’t really have a “color” associated with it. I have however, painted many of the walls, mostly tan/brownish tones. Oh, and I painted the front door red. And I have painted most of the trim white.

So, in my garage, I have a plethora of paint.


I dug out all the frames, and went wild. I painted about 30 frames a variety of colors, all from the leftover wall paint.

I was so excited to have all these fun frames that now matched this house perfectly. I decided I was putting them all up in this massive collage type setting. I was torn on the location until I glanced at my UGLY barren stairway. PERFECT!!!

Then I glanced at the UGLY BARREN stairway again. EWWW.

I have avoided this area for a reason.


The walls were scraped and scuffed. The paint was old and dirty. The handrails were gross and 80′s…. UGLY.

This then naturally led to a complete stairway makeover. I had to borrow one of those fancy ladders that bend and fold and twist all about in order to accomplish this.

I also had ALWAYS wanted to write on the back wall of the stairway.

Though it is not complete, take a look at the transformation.

Old (from waaayyy back):

Dark green walls, old brown handrails











This is now such a fun central focus of the house. You can see this hallway from so many places in the house.

I love it. I can’t believe I waited so long to do it.

I am not completely done with the writing on the wall, but it’s a good start! In case you are wondering, I used chalk to lightly draw lines, then write the words. Fruit of the Spirit yo!

By the way, the red I used on the back wall is called California Cabernet. How AWESOME is that!

It’s SO close to being done, that I am posting the pics. I want you all to see the beauty that was designed and built before my eyes. From Gag-Me to Gorgeous in just under 3 months.

A few before’s just as a simple reminder….

Purdy, eh!

This was a three part transformation, both the first 2 parts seemed minor, but now that the project is almost complete, I appreciate those other parts so much more!

Part 1 was removing the wallpaper, this was done about a year ago (shortly after we moved in).

Part 2 was the floor. We put in a temporary floor, which I absolutely LOVE and think it may not be temporary!

Part 3 began on Mother’s Day. Hubs said to me “how about new cabinets for Mother’s Day?” I am not sure if this was just a desperate plea to escape the wrath of forgetting to actually go and get a gift for me, but whatever the reasoning….I WAS ALL OVER IT!

New cabinets also meant new countertop. You can’t just put the old counter on the new cabinets. New countertop meant new kitchen sink. New design meant new island which meant new barstools. New layout meant old kitchen table wouldn’t fit…..meaning……new kitchen table. Old nasty dishwasher meant new dishwasher.

This turned into a total kitchen remodel! Woooooot!

We listed our old kitchen cabinets on craigslist. We said make offer, remove yourself. We had $500 bucks handed to us and a crew of three large dudes come and remove the old cabinets.

Then our work began! The reason I am including these pics is to prove that we did MOST of the work ourselves. With ZERO prior knowledge or experience! The only thing we hired out was the electrical. And a not-so-minor plumbing issue we ran into. Otherwise….we learned as we went!

We tore out all of the old drywall from the ground up about 4 feet. We repaired some water damage both in the walls and floor. Moved plumbing. Moved the gas line. Moved a couple electrical outlets. Capped off some lights.

We tapped, mudded, sanded and mudded some more.

We textured.

We got it all ready for the cabinet install!

I shall skip forward a excrutiatingly LONG 3.5 weeks….

The we got the countertops installed.

Here are the pics you were waiting for. Or skipped down to see!


The particulars:

We used Home Depot for almost everything. They designed the new layout, they work directly with the cabinet company as well as the countertop company. We got natural hickory cabinets made by American Woodmark. We got the Rosa Gray Silestone countertops. (Supposed to be the strongest countertop available, its made out of quartz).

Bonus Features:

Undermount granite sink with instant hot water. It’s sooooo pretty!!!

My little corner of happiness:

It’s still not finished, we have some patch work to do on the ceiling, some touch up on the paint and trim, the floor molding….lots of minor stuff like that.

We also plan to replace the microwave with a stainless steel one (to match everything else….) and as soon as we find the right deal, we will install a 2nd oven in the island (left a blank cabinet for this purpose).

Special thanks to my father-in-law Harvey for being spectacular and helping us TONS. Also to Aaron and Nicolle whom have spent many nights here working with us. We couldn’t have done this without you guys!!!

Temporary AWESOMEness in Shower Form

We are ALL ABOUT bringing the temporary awesome!

Or in this case, temporary whitetrashyness. (wait…is that rude? or offensive? cuz I am DEFINITELY not trying to offend anyone!)


On paper, we have a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath house. In reality, we have a 3 GIANT bedroom, 3 toilet and 1 shower house. So, this means, we have a TON of room to sleep (beds for 8 people, floor space for another 5 or so and a couple of couches if you wanna sleep in the living room) and only ONE……get that

O. N. E.


Well, because we are pretty fun (SUPER AWESOME) people, whenever people come to town, they OBVIOUSLY want to stay WITH us! We ALWAYS invite everyone to stay here…because we like to party and like to be the party….

So, this weekend we have visitors arriving to stay with us for a week. How many visitors is exactly what you are wondering, right? 9.

Yes, you read that right.


So, let’s do the math. 9 + 4 (that’s how many people LIVE here) = 13.

Back to my first point…..we have 1 shower.

Not diggin the people vs shower ratio here.

So……… we came up with a temporary solution…..


Here is the upstairs bathroom situation. It has a regular tub against the back wall, but there is a window in the center of that wall, so we couldn’t just attach a shower to it.

I went to my favorite store, Home Depot, and explained my “situation”.

I told them I wanted a round shower rod thingy like they put above claw foot tubs. They don’t carry those in the store….PLUS, this was temporary, I didn’t want to spend too much.

So, here is what I bought:

10 foot long 1″ piece of metal conduit for like $7
10 foot long 1/2″ piece of metal conduit that they put 2 90 degree angles in for me $2.50
2 metal brackets for closet poles $4.00
2 metal brackets for curtain rods $3.00
A new tub faucet that had the shower attachment $16
A shower head with a hose $17
A bracket to attach to the wall $1

I spent about $50 on hardware/supplies.


Then I hit up the ol Walmart…..(remember, this is TEMPORARY….)



It’s a bit white trash….but it works GREAT. Massive water pressure, no leaks and fully functional.

And one last photo for you……..

When the curtains are closed……it sort of looks like a scene from……..


you know…..




Ok…although we are UBER close to completion of phase 3 of this kitchen renovation, I MUST tell y’all about my floor. We had this old 80′s linoleum rockin the flooring in the kitchen. It looked swell agains the blue ribbon/flower wallpaper. Once the wallpaper was out the door, we knew we wanted a new floor. BUT we weren’t ready to invest in the hardwood flooring that we wanted, especially since we knew we were remodeling and didn’t know what the new layout would be. So….my mom was visiting and got a wild hair to put new flooring in the kitchen.

She measured. Drew a little diagram. Drug me to Home Depot.

She sat down with a flooring dude and starting working the numbers. She was about to drop about $1500 on NEW LINOLEUM.


I kinda sorta NICELY pulled her away by the arm and while shaking my head rapidly said “OH NO YOU DON’T!!”

The flooring guy laughed and said “Oh thank goodness!”

He then said “follow me.”

He led us to this product that was kinda purty! I said “oooh, what is it?”

It is 12″ square vinyl tiles. That you can install with or without grout.

The material cost just over $300. So, for a temporary floor, I am totally ok with this expense!

All we had to do to prep the existing floor was run a sander over the linoleum. Yep, we lay this stuff right over the existing linoleum.

I have never installed tile before, but hey, I don’t like to do things halfway, so I decided not only to install this MYSELF, but to not just do the traditional design.


AFTER: (painting trim white and removing wall paper makes a HUGE difference here as well)


Installation was super easy. To cut the tiles all I needed was razor blade. I used the little tile spacers. I used pre-mixed grout. I just LOVE the finished product.

I am so happy with this product that I am not even thinking about the wood flooring that I really wanted before. In fact, with my new cabinets that just got installed, this floor looks even better!

I have had several construction related people over and they have all thought this was a real tile floor. In fact, at least 2 of them didn’t believe me so they had to kneel down and feel it!

In 2 weeks, I should have a next to completely remodeled kitchen…. so stay tuned!

A Room Fit for a Princess…A SURPRISE!

My girl.

She’s my first baby. She’s 9 years old. For the majority of the last 7 years, she has shared a room with her little brother (7 years old) because we have had family members living with us.

She is a patient girl. RARELY complains.

Since we moved into this home in Northern California a year ago, we promised to eventually build a wall to split the huge bedroom that her and her brother share. The other large bedroom upstairs was used by my parents while my dad was fighting cancer.

Once my dad passed away and my mom moved back to Florida, we turned their room into our spare room/office.

Well….a couple of weeks ago, hubs had a brilliant idea. Why not turn that huge room into her princess suite. She totally deserves it. We can then eventually split the other room into son’s room and the office/spare room. It’s a win/win.

So, we shipped our baby girl off to Mt Meadows Summer Bible Camp for 5 days and we are working like mad to create this ‘room fit for a princess’.




Another view of my mad flower skillz…..

At approximately 11:30am, she will be home from camp. We will make up some excuse for her to go up to her room. She will see she no longer has a bed the room she normally sleeps in. We will have a camera set up in her new room to catch the reaction. She’s not a wildly emotional girl, so I don’t expect a big outward ‘freak out’…but I’m sure what we get will be amazing and totally worth it!

I love my Lexi-bug and I just know she is going to love her new diggs!

I can’t wait!!

HUGE THANK YOU to Aaron Picton and Nicolle Larkin for spending EVERY night here for the last week helping us. You two made this project happen!!



Temporaryville! Ever been here?

We are visiting Temporaryville, CA.

And we will be here for WEEKS!

You see, we ordered new kitchen cabinets. Which obviously means new countertops cuz…well….who puts old countertops on new kitchen cabinets. The manufacturer says they will ship on June 17th to the delivery agent. So I start working backwards because we said we would do all the demo ourselves and prep the kitchen.

THEN…{LIGHTBULB}….I had a BRILLIANT idea! What if…..JUST WHAT IF….someone wanted to BUY my current kitchen cabinets AND as part of the deal I would have THEM tear them out! Worth a shot, right?!?

I posted them on craigslist. I got several calls. Then one day a nice lady came by. She said her son wants cabinets for his garage. She made an offer….. BUT……





Ya, she said he could only buy them IF HE COULD TAKE THEM OUT THIS WEEK.


I have WEEKS until the new cabinets arrive AND then another 4 weeks after the cabinets to get my countertops. It’s not like I have a spare kitchen to use in the meantime. I mean this house….piece of crap…ONLY has 1 kitchen. What was I thinking. 1 kitchen. I bet NEW houses have more than 1 kitchen.

So…they came. They destroyed. They took.

Now, I have this fancy get up:

That’s right. My sink is mounted on 2 saw horses.

I gots several shades of paint. Portions of a tile backsplash. Remnants of wallpaper. Holes. And mold.

I have a rickety cabinet holding my microwave. Another little island on wheels.

My pantry is on shoe racks. I have PROOF.

Last but certainly not least.

Our front porch.

Now this…this is HIGH CLASS!

Yes that is the sink, which we actually just mounted on the saw horses and an old nasty dishwasher.

Everyone should have a dishwasher on their porch.

Thems decorations!

So…It’s not done yet. But, it’s close enough for me to update you all. Since I am all whiney and complainy while doing these projects, I’m always telling people that I will post the before and after pics really soon.

Although its not totally done….here is the gist of it!


Notice how the window is off centered….tricky! Sneaky little contractors thought that would make for a GREAT feature in a bedroom…right?

I know, I know….your jealous of the pink flower wallpaper border, but it just didn’t match my…. ummmm….nails.

So, ya, it had to go bye bye.

I spent DAYS TSPing and primering the trim and molding….because this house has the stuff EVERYWHERE. Doors, floors, ceilings….. EVERYWHERE.

This is approximately what I looked and felt like every day for at least a week.

Tooo many paint fumes…..

So, here is what I did after removing the wall paper…..

  • Painted the trim, molding & door white
  • Painted most of the walls a light blue
  • Painted the wall behind the bed a blue that is 2 shades darker than the other blue.
  • Spray painted the floor vent and ceiling vent
  • Centered a curtain rod above the bed (to hide off centered window)
  • Made curtains from my FAV IKEA material
  • Made curtains for the sliding glass door
  • Sewed patches of the IKEA fabric on curtains for the slider (Still need to finish these curtains…I can’t really sew straight, so it hinders my excitement to get them done!)
  • Made a throw pillow cover from the IKEA fabric
  • Took the last remnants of the fabric and wrapped them around cardboard and hung on the wall.
  • Printed 2 12×18 prints of me and mah hubs from Costco (for only $2.98 each) and put them in frames from IKEA


  • Hubs put up a new ceiling fan.



So…..there ya go!

It feels clean, new and huge now!

We LOVE it!  I have a few things I hope to do to complete the room…..but I’ll keep those to myself until I actually do them!


Kitchen FAIL

We bought this older home, because it looks like a dollhouse from outside. (Well, that is why I wanted it, hubs didn’t want it at all)

Inside is a trainwreck.

You don’t believe me, look here.

It has sooo much potential. And it has a pool. I like pools. Not to swim in, well sometimes, but mainly to lay out by. I feel silly laying out in a pool-less yard.

So, the kitchen is a giant nightmare. Ugly, but HUGE. So we are going to remodel it soon with the help of (likely in a year or two).  Because we are remodeling it and I have NO IDEA what I want…stove top, double oven, island, bar, stainless appliances, white appliances….etc…I haven’t put ANY work into the kitchen. Well, except that I removed the wallpaper, painted & put in a new floor, but that is a whole other story (literally).

So, the kitchen came with this gem:

Don’t be jealous. It’s ok, someday you too can have a sweet stove like this. Try thrift stores or craigslist, keywords ‘antique, vintage or old & moldy’.

But hey, it worked. So I couldn’t complain. Wasn’t about to go purchase a new stove when I didn’t know what I wanted when we remodel.

BUT! The other day my sister-in-law called me and said “Hey, a friend is selling an almost brand new gas stove for only $300″. I said “Done. I’ll take it!”

Then I asked hubs. Luckily he said yes!

So I got this:

Now, you can be jealous! It has 5 burners. It also has a level surface…all the grates meet together…so like I don’t have to balance burning hot casserole dishes between 2 burners while forgetting to actually put on a glove therefore each additional second that it takes me to balance the dish I am literally SEARING my fingers to the bones….not that I’ve actually EVER done that….

I was super excited about this stove. SUPER.

Hubs installed it within minutes of us getting it. It ROCKS!

I cooked anything I could RIGHT then. Like mini pizzas and a cake and stuff.

And then…..

I went to do the dishes.


That’s right. The friggin dishwasher (also from dinosaur ages) will. not. open.

I was super upset. Thought I was losing the new stove. But, hubs wiggled, pushed, wedged & fanagled the PERFECT solution.



Done deal.  NOW, you know a lot more about me.

I get to keep my stove, which makes me smile.


I am SUPER glad this post isn’t a scratch and sniff!

Dude. This place STINKS!

Check her out!

It’s not actually moldy….anymore.  It was. We cleaned….and bleached….and cleaned some more. No more mold, but the smell hasn’t completely gone away. The cabinet stewed in its moldiness for a good 2 and a half years while it sat vacant.

The size of this bathroom is actually pretty nice. But, it NEEDS a shower.  Currently the only shower in the house is in the master bedroom. So…..this has to change.

THIS is what I want! Get this, this tub is called “The Princess Shoe”. Teehee!!

The tub is 6 ft in length, so quite a bit longer than the current tub. This could make for an awkward too-close-to-the-potty situation, but can the toilet be easily moved to the right a bit? I dunno….?   Anyone?   Anyone??

And this, the shower solution!!!

And maybe something like this for a new cabinet/sink (but the color??):

I dunno! Is all this do-able?

Keep in mind, the trim will all be white.  The wall color…??? The stenciled roses, those are GONE! I was kinda thinking the wainscoting half way up the walls???  Ya know, like this:



*****With a cherry on top!!