Saturday, April 30, 2011

Flooring Follies

If there is one thing this kitchen remodel has taught me (well, I think it probably has taught me lots) but this flooring install taught me that the project NEVER goes as planned.

My dear husband tore up all the icky particle board over the last week or so.  A very dusty and dirty job.  We noticed a few spots that needed some help.  Had to reinforce the subfloor via the basement access.  Sigh.

On his day off, my amazing dad came over to help again.  We thought we were all prepared.  9:00 time to start the show.  Well.... found a few more spots to fix underneath.

10:30...ready to go again.  Tested out the nail gun someone loaned us.  Didn't work.  Grrr.

Lunch time.  Had lunch.  Still no flooring installed.  DEEP BREATH.

Dear husband and my dad ran to Menards and South Suburban Rental.  Neither had the right gun (and also had NO clue what we needed.  Ha!)  Now it is 12:30

1:00pm... finally got the right nail gun.  Go ABC Supply!  They totally knew what we needed and we were set.

1:30 ... started to install floor.

Now I won't bore you with a play by play of the install.  For the most part it went really smoothly.

10:10 pm.  We finished!!!!  I did get to help for the better part of the night and the three of us made a good team. 

Remember, the flooring wasn't what I had originally planned on it looking like, but I think it turned out ok!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tile demo

To get ready for the kitchen floor to go in, we have to remove all the old tile that didn't come up and tear up all the particle board.  The boys took to this job with enthusiasm.  It became a game to see who could tear up the most tiles without breaking them. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Who knew?

I am in LOVE with my new countertops!

After being so disappointed by the flooring, I as dreading picking up the countertops.  Hubby opened the box and I almost cried!  I loved them.  The color was perfect.  More then made up for the flooring. 

The next day Hubby was off.  I was so excited about the countertops, I think he knew the countertops were the next project to tackle.  And TODAY was the day they were going in.

For never having installed countertops, I think we did a great job!  It took most of the day, but we got them in with little problem.  There is a gap on the back where the walls aren't even, but the backsplash will hide that.  Where they touch the wall and the wall is crooked, I sanded, scraped, and filled in with joint compound (love that stuff!).  We reused the old sink.

Now, if I had know countertops (laminate) where inexpensive and easy to replace (somewhat) I probably would have done it years ago.

Anyways, here they are, my new countertops....

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Memories

When I was little, I remember always watching Jesus of Nazareth and the 10 Commandments at this time of year.  While neither is totally Biblicaly accurate, I feel they helped the Bible and Jesus become more real to me and portrayed some events in a way that really got to me (in a good way.)

I have tried to watch Jesus of Nazareth every year with my boys.  We have been watching it in bits and pieces over the last few days.  Since we have been working so hard on the house and other things that come with living a life, I feel that some traditions and things we normally do at Easter time have gone by the wayside.  But I was determined watching this movie would happen and I was going to watch it with them.

This movie brings forth several topics for conversation.  This year the topics were a bit deeper.  Forgiveness, demons, what is crucifixion, how does one's body physically die on a cross, ascension...maybe even topics I wasn't ready to discuss, such as Mary Magdelane, but you know what, I wouldn't trade anything for the chance to sit and discuss these things with my children.  I am hoping they will be life lessons and spiritual lessons they will always carry with them.  And you can bet I am on my knees praying for God to give me the correct answers and words.

He had RISEN, He has RISEN indeed!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Lessons learned from cabinet handles

With hubby only getting one day off a week, the kitchen isn't going very fast.  Plus when you see the state of our house and kitchen, it gets overwhelming.  I brainstormed how this could perhaps go a bit better.  Wanting to help out hubby, I made a list of what I could do.  I then thought maybe I should list everything else too.

Hubby came home, noticed my list (he couldn't miss it... it was taped to the cabinets).  I mentioned the blue highlighted items were my to-do.  On the top of the list was the cabinet handles.  I casually mentioned maybe we could do one item a week (really I wanted to say one a day) so we started with the handles.

My lesson in all this was that the whole picture is overwhelming.  I couldn't see the end of it.  I was overwhelmed.  Sometimes I think we are like that with God.  Wanting to see the whole picture.  RIGHT NOW!  But taking the bit and pieces and doing them bit by bit we learn to trust in God, let Him take care of the whole project.  Know that He is in control and He sees the big picture.  And that it is ok if I don't.  So now, when things get to be a bit much,  I can look at my cabinet handles and turn it all over to God and focus the bit and piece in front of me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Removing the last of the cabinets

My dad was going to come over to help, so we quickly removed the last cabinets.

Then I took the boys and went off to the zoo.  That way I could keep the boys out of the way.

When we got home, the news was not pretty.  Our main water shut-off to the house does not work.  One of the shut-offs to the house broke.  Yup.  Water had gone everywhere.

Very long story short, finally the cabinets got in.  Thank you Dad and hubby!

YES!  All the cabinets are in!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Choices and disappointments

When you have champange tastes at a Two-Buck-Chuck budget (Trader Joe's reference), it gets hard to choose countertops, flooring, backsplash...

But I think we have found the winners:  take a gander at the finalists.

We ran into a hiccup on the flooring, had to pick something different.  Which one do you like?

Hickory or hand scraped maple?

We ended up going with the handscraped maple.  Now when we got it, I was very disappointed.  It looked much different then the store sample and was not what I was expecting.  Since I had convinced hubby this was "THE FLOOR" I felt super bad.  We laid it out at home next two the cabinets.  It will do and it looks nice, but it just wasn't exactly right.

I think it looks like laminate, but it is real wood.  Maybe when we get the rest of it in I will like it better.
What do you think?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

MACHE homeschooling conference

On Friday and Saturday, my good friend Kristen and I attended the MACHE homeschooling conference in Duluth.  It is two days filled full of speakers.  There are speakers on many topics.  Such as renewing yourself as a mom, wife, teacher.  Some speakers spoke on educational philosophies like Charlotte Mason, Classical education, unit studies and more.  Several speakers this year focused on homeschooling in high school.  It is truly a chance to gain more education and become renewed.

I particularly enjoy looking at curriculum.  There is a huge used book sale with many vendors, which can be VERY dangerous.  I have a severe addiction to books and had to restrain myself from buying too many.  Also, there was an exhibit hall, that had many vendors selling curriculum.  Also very dangerous! My favorite new vendor this year was JM Cremp's Adventure Store for Boys.  They are an online company that sells amazing products geared for boys~so they can BE boys.  Absolutely wonderful!  I visited my standby favorites as well: Rainbow Resource, My Father's World, Covenant Games, The Nature Store, and a few more.

This year I was extremely well prepared.  You might even call me a pro.  I had an excel spreadsheet with all the things I wanted to buy.  I listed the items, prices at a few vendors, and order numbers for Rainbow Resource.  I also printed off a quick list so I could reference it for the used book section.  My last "pro" tip is that this year I brought a wheeled suitcase.  MACHE does not allow wheeled bags for liability issues, but you can check it in the coat check area.  As I made my purchases, I would bring a huge stack to coat check and fill up my bag.  When it was time to leave for the day, I just pulled my suitcase behind me.  MUCH easier then the year before when I carried everything and was sore for days! 

Another fabulous aspect for me this year, was how many wonderful friends I saw.  Christian HOPE (our support group, previously called CHOW) met for lunch one day.  Throughout the conference I saw many friends and each time it refreshed my soul to know how many people I know who are taking this same journey as me!

One of the BEST parts was being able to chat with my friend Kristen uninterrupted for hours.  We drove up together and roomed together.  One night we even splurged on dinner at the JJ Astor restaurant.  It is located at the top of the Radisson and rotates.  As it spins you have a 360 degree view of Duluth and the Harbor.  What a treat!!!!  It was extreme wind conditions and we watched the waves crash over the pier.

In all, it was a very special time and I am already counting down to next year.  However, it will be at the River Center which is local... so it won't be a getaway, but it is still wonderful!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My part in the remodel

While I was really not much help at taking out cabinets and installing the new ones, I did my part.

Remember how I mentioned our walls were quite a mess?  Look at this:

We had two choices.  Replace the sheetrock (costly), hire someone to skim coat the walls (more costly), or attempt to fix them ourselves.

When we paint at our house, I am the wall fixer.  I do the spackle.  Hubby sands.  We paint together.  So I decided to do the skim coating.  I had hubby buy a small bucket of joint compound.  I started with the small wall by the fridge.  It turned out pretty good.


Next, I tackled the three big walls surrounding where our table normally sits.  We had to hang plastic so the dust from sanding wouldn't travel through out the house.

Looking through the plastic into the work area
 I put on the first coat, hubby sanded it down.  I put on a second coat.  Hubby was worn out.  So I sanded.  Oh, and I had to get a BIG bucket of joint compound.

A girl's best friend

Next, I primed the walls.  We put up two coats of paint. 

Now when the walls were primed, they looked great!  But the paint showed spots the weren't so pretty.  UGG!  I had to redo the walls.  More joint compound, more sanding, more painting. 

The end result was pretty good.  We won't put up the final coat of paint until the end, but in the picture, you will get the idea.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

More demo!

Our next area to tackle was the upper right side cabinets.  This time the boys jumped in to help with demolition.  We decided not to take out the base cabinets until we got countertops.

Before removing cabinets and soffet

Eldest and Youngest help take out the soffit

Monday, April 11, 2011

I can't wash another dish by hand!

As I said earlier, the final straw was our dishwaher calling it quits and leaking.  That was October 2010.  We were washing dishes by hand.  In February 2011, I was getting a little tired of it.  You know how everyone has a chore that they dislike?  Well, washing dishes is mine.  Now, mind you, I worked really hard at having a good attitude and not complaining.  But I think hubby was getting the idea that I was feed up.  I dislike paper plates and I had gone and bought a stack of 500.  Subtle, huh?

Towards the end of February, I had a business trip I was going on.  One of my many odd jobs that I do.  I occasionally run a sales table, for a guy I know, at his internet marketing conferences.  This time I got to fly to Florida.  Anyways, I digress...

While I was gone, hubby and his friend put in my dishwasher!  WOO HOO!  I can home to a working dishwasher.  SWEET!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kitchen remodel begins

I think most people get excited about a kitchen remodel.  I have been dreading it.  We have been putting this off for quite a few years.  Problems began when my mom stripped our wallpaper off the walls (we were on vacation) and tore the sheet rock.  Even though there is torn sheet rock , it was a labor of love taking off the wallpaper, and we appreciate it.

Then little by little, things began to break.  The hinges were all breaking on the cabinet doors.  We could not find replacements for them.  Then the sliders on the drawers and pullout shelves began to go.  My genius and resourceful husband used things like hockey pucks, duck tape, and clamps to keep them going.  Once I very badly pinched my finger as a drawer fell off its track.  Lost my finger nail in the process.  We had a few drawer fronts fall off and were not fixable.  Slowly, all the tiles on the floor began to crack.  Little slivers were coming off.  I cut my foot one day and it was a bad slice.

See the doors above the fridge? 
No hinges to hold them on. 
See the empty drawer? 
That is the one that took off my finger nail.

The rugs are covering the missing tile. 
Again, more broken drawers.

The final straw was when our ancient dishwasher (which we could no longer attach to the countertops because the countertops were also falling apart) leaked.  The floor buckled and all the tile finally came loose.  Fun.  The person who put the tile down had used particle board as the backer board.  Please note people: DO NOT put particle board under tile or use as a subfloor.  Moisture makes it buckle.

It was obvious.  We had no option.  Our kitchen was falling apart and had become somewhat dangerous.  Our boys even knew there were some drawers they shouldn't open (to avoid a badly pinched finger).

Now, I am not a vain person, but my kitchen in all its glory was a tad embarrassing.  We had put it off for a long time.  Being a single income family and with two of our children having multiple food allergies and some health issues, we didn't really have the spare change to go ahead and remodel.  This has been a very frugal remodel and we have really shopped around to get the best prices.  We are reusing what we can.

The most important thing is: God has provided.  Some how we are able to pay for it.  I want this to be a testimony to God's goodness.

Demolition begins

Because we are doing the whole remodel ourselves, we are most likely doing things out of order.  I love to watch the DIY shows and HGTV, so I have some idea as to what the order should be.

Well, we started with a partial demolition.  We started with the left side of the kitchen.  Since we are doing it all ourselves and my sweet, hardworking husband gets only 4 days off a month (that's right!) we knew this would take quite awhile and need our kitchen to remains some what functional.  We pretty much would demo what we could repair/replace at one time. 

Hubby started with taking out cabinets and the soffit.  My dad and my brother-in-law then came over to help put up a few cabinets.  It was really slow going at first.  The convection oven/microwave gave us a hard time.  The previous installer incorrectly  installed it.  They used TWO installation brackets.  The guys could not figure out why it wouldn't go back up.  Finally they realized it had to brackets and that was it!  Took off the bracket and right up it went!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So it is about time....

I use facebook, I scrapbook digitally...I even text!  So I think it is about time I begin to blog.  I have been using my facebook account to share about our kitchen remodel.  I think this would be a better forum.  I also, occasionally, learn something worth sharing.  So here is my forum!  Enjoy!