Sunday, April 15, 2012

What a difference some paint makes...!

Our home is pretty nice, all things considered. When I write these home improvement posts, I never want to sound spoiled!

Since the first time I saw this home, the kitchen has bugged me. Its a nice size, sure, and I like the island and I like having a desk area. But. The spray-tan orange cabinets, dropped flourescent lighting ("California lights"), grey floor and countertops (they clashed with the cabinets), and the fact that we had to replace every single appliance made this room a bit of a nuisance. We thought for a long time before taking our next step, and researched the DIY-DIP (do-it-professionally) cost, plus considered the risk of it not turning out well...and finally decided to hire a painter to do the cabinets.

Honestly, the decision came down to my need for a brighter kitchen, the time it would take to do it myself, the likely chance I'd make a costly mistake, and a good deal from my painter.

Here is an idea of what I want to do color-wise with the kitchen:
Neutral background, bright, cheerful details, attempting to blend it with the rest of the house.
One thing I have learned from my Pinterest boards is that I like a lot more color than I usually use!

So, here's the before:
~DeAnn reminded me that the true "before" had dark brown walls, texture-painted over floral wallpaper...took us months to get it all off. See the square lighting? The color around that is the previous wall color...
Pretty? Cheerful? No. Functional--Yes.
knock-off Corian counters, new-ish tile floor, wood trim all staying...

(Like a crime scene...)
(I had limited access to the kitchen and laundry room for two days, but couldn't "move back in" for almost a week, in order to let the paint fully cure)

And immediately after:
I honestly couldn't believe that just paint had made such a huge difference. Scroll up and you'll see that even the floor looks better, just because it no longer completes with the orange.

As you can see, we have a few details left before I can reveal a true "After" shot--but I wanted to show the progress. We removed a decorative piece of wood over the sink (for a cleaner, more modern look). We replaced all the hardware (I was surprised by how much it mattered to Christian!). We still need to purchase a hood vent from the stove, since we removed the broken and oversized built-in microwave, and we will still address the "California" lighting, and I want to add some more colorful accents.

I love how the white makes the countertop and floor look intentional, rather than clash-y. We painted the walls Seattle Mist by Benjamin Moore--a nice, neutral gray that is a really nice background to the colorful curtains. What a difference...and it will only get better when we finish the next step!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Spring Break

I took two days off from real life to recover from hard-core vacationing, but I'm back now with pictures to tell about it:)

(See? We're all pretty tired...This is Rachel, at DeBrand's chocolate, after the tour and tasting.)

We kicked things off last Saturday with Rachel's birthday, etc. Monday and Tuesday were rather boring days for play and major house cleaning. See, I have yet to post about the major kitchen work we did just before Spring Break (I'm putting the pictures together now), and I had to scramble to get the kitchen functional again before family came into town.

Wednesday afternoon we picked Grandpa Green up from the airport, and he immediately started tackling some of our household projects. First up--he installed 3 blinds in the kitchen(lived here a year without any window coverings in the kitchen), and a curtain rod and curtains. He also supported my curtain pick and helped persuade Christian! On Thursday, Hannah started the day by making breakfast in bed for Grandpa.
Then the work continued. The kids all loved going to the "man store" with Grandpa (and a long list of projects), and they all mostly helped while Grandpa and Daddy fixed the kids' playset (the top had blown off, and the rope-climbing plank thing was falling),
and began to sand the picnic table. Inside, they switched all the electric sockets and switchplates in the kitchen from ivory to white, and installed new handles on all the cabinets, plus made a fantastic dinner of stuffed chicken breast and stuffed pork loin, plus bread pudding made from Christian's cinnamon roles.
That evening, Jonathan and DeAnn drove here from Ohio.

On Friday, we toured the local chocolate factory and enjoyed some samples, plus hazelnut chocolate ice cream float, chocolate cheesecake,
ice cream sundaes...and, accidentally, a mayan hot chocolate, which is essentially chocolate with red pepper. Interesting.
Crazy cousins...and a crazy amount of ice cream dishes...

On Saturday, we held a mini-backyard Easter egg hunt.
Then the work continued as the guys banded together to build a railing for the downstairs staircase. The old one was broken as the last owners moved out. I'll finish it up this week--filling holes, caulk, and paint.

That night, we had an adult date night to a fancy local restaurant, Eddie Merlot's. Its a really nice place we wanted to share with Daddy. I took pictures of our yummy, beautiful food.
Potato and leek soup...(pretty sure there was as much cream and cheese as potato and leek...)
Pretty spinach and bacon salad...with creamy bacon dressing...
Tenderloin sampler. (amazing.)

Enough with food pictures.

On Sunday, Rachel was baptized. It was a really nice meeting (although I stressed a lot about it, as usual). Natalie (Rachel's cousin) gave a talk on baptism, her Primary teacher gave a talk on the Holy Ghost, Natalie played the flute while DeAnn played the piano, and Rachel was very happy. We were surprised by having a lot of people from the ward come, and our friends from Michigan, the Wesels, drove down to be there, and Jessica interpreted for the meeting. It was just so nice to have so many good people there to support Rachel.

On Monday, we said good-bye to Grandpa in the morning, kept the kids home from school to play with the cousins for a few more hours, had lunch together at Culvers, before saying goodbye to Jonathan and DeAnn and Co., and taking the kids to school. Christian and I pretty much crashed from exhaustion that afternoon (although Christian did a bit more work on the bannister, too). It has seriously taken 2 days to start to feel normal again--that the house is only at the normal level of clutter and like I'm caught up on sleep.

We are truly so blessed with good friends and family:)

We're all a bit grateful to back on a routine, although it hit me just the other day that the kids have less than 30 days of school before summer vacation...Yikes!

(If you look closely at the pictures in this post, you'll see a hint about what's been happening in our kitchen...)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Rachel's 8th birthday

Happy birthday, Rachel!

This year is a party year for Rachel (we do friend parties every other year), and for once I decided to NOT STRESS about it. We took Rachel and some friends to Bisque-It Pottery, where they painted ceramic boxes (shaped like cupcakes, snakes, or peace signs).
I also purchased a cake for her, rather than try to make it (My kitchen is still pulled apart--I'll post about that as soon as I can!). She was almost happier about the cake than the presents. I think she's grateful I took a break from attempting to decorate it myself!

Sunday, we celebrated her real birthday.
We always try to find a way to incorporate April Fools' Day, without going too far (Uncle Jonathan warned us about the woes of ruining birthdays with too much pranking). We started the day with macaroni and cheese dinner, cake, and presents. We'll end the day with pancakes and whip cream for breakfast:). She enjoyed her presents--lots of pink and purple stuff, dolls and pillow pets from friends, and a book and necklace and pony (for her knock-off American Girl dolls) from us. She's totally spoiled.

She asked us for the story of how she was born, and I completely couldn't remember! Apparently, my memory of her birth was completely overshadowed by the hearing checks, weight and jaundice checks that came after. I had to look it up. Thankfully, for a while I kept a pretty good journal of the kids' stuff. Rachel had a very easy birth. When I needed to go to the hospital, I drove to pick up Christian from school. Christian's mother had planned on taking Hannah, but she was back in the hospital at the time (her cancer had returned). We took Hannah to our friends, the Kelleys. I wasn't in pain for very long, thanks to the epidural, and she was born at 5:00 in the evening. Rachel was nearly 2 weeks early, and weighed 6 lbs, 11 oz, but quickly dropped almost a pound. She had no interest in eating, and was soon diagnosed as "extreme failure to thrive," as well as failing her infant hearing tests. Oh, the joys. Thankfully, she was a super cute, happy baby and we had a lot of help navigating her unique needs.

We really love her. I think its seriously impressive how far she has come in 8 years! Her baptism is coming up this Sunday (Easter Sunday) and she's very excited:)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Little Shots

The kids participated in their school's basketball league, Little Shots. It was their first time playing basketball, but I was impressed with both of them and how much they improved.
They were thrilled to get a trophy as the season finished up.
Let's try that again (Nathan will be so embarrassed by that picture when he gets older...)

Does this seem odd to you?

I got this coupon booklet in the mail this week...
See how its all about diapers? Sent by Pampers?

Somehow, someone somewhere thinks I still have kids in diapers, so I keep getting mailers for diapers, formula, etc... (Anyone want coupons?)

This is what I found inside...
Thanks, ad marketing guy--but no, a pad is not a diaper for women.
Anyone else find this funny?