Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Life Lately

Here's L, dodging his way through the play structure.  L has really been a joy to go places with, he is playing so nicely with there kids, I have almost healed from all the scars of the constant hitting and being "that kids mom".  It's as if he is finally cognitively able to understand the discipline, and he is starting to really like other kids- there was a time he really just liked adults.  He started soccer last week which was AWESOME!  He adored his coach.

Now you may be wondering why D and I look exhausted in the pic below- well keep scrolling and you will see a floor!  Over two late nights D and I (mostly D) tiled and grouted a new kitchen floor.  As with any DIY project, there were some hiccups (like some of the tiles purchased had been returned with dried thin set on them, aka ruining them).  But its done, now we move on to the stair nose and more finishing touches.  I do want a carpet in the kitchen, the tile while beautiful and nice solid, will mean that anything dropped will shatter.  I'm a bit anxious about that.  If money hadn't been any issue, we would have gone with wood.  Hardwood wins every time for me (except in bathrooms).

Hot Tub Time!

Our new house came with a hot tub (score!).  The cover was really ratty so we held off on using it till we had a chance to buy a new cover, drain/sanitize and clean the whole thing.  That took about 5 months….  But now we get to enjoy it.  The kids love it, we usually have it at about 99 degrees so its a safe temp for the kids.  It feels like a warm bath.  D loves being able to submerge in it- when you're 6'3", you don't get tat opportunity in a bath tub.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Love her to pieces.  She's almost 1 years old, WTH!

What to do with Instagram photos?

Put them up on the wall!

Finally something above the piano.  I had a lot of our instagram photos printed out from Printstagram
The quality is pretty good, some of the photos were really grainy but we figured out those we ones that we sent from D's phone and then put in instagram- so basically the quality was lowered by texting it over to my phone.  We used small nails and some gray sewing thread I had laying around.  To attach the photos I used mini clothes pins.  They were left over in my craft box from our wedding, purchased them from paper source.  I like that it was an affordable solution to such a large space. I had most of the stuff on hand, but even if I didn't thread, nails, and those pins would be less then $10.  I can also change out the pictures whenever I feel like, which is nice since I like to re-evaluate things around the house.

Here is a non instagram photo of it, less grainy…


We finally got around to grouting our kitchen backsplash!  We went with the subways tiles from Lowe's (22 cents a tile), and the grout they sell in "Silver".  The grout is exactly the color we were hoping for.  It could have been a disaster since we decide to go purchase the grout with both kids….and the dog!  And of course as we enter the tile aisle, they shut it down to pull some heavy things off the shelves.  So yeah, waiting with two young kids and a dog isn't fun.  The kids were great, we survived, but once in the aisle our dog puked!  We immediately cleaned it up- no thanks to the lows employee!  Worst attitude by an employee ever- she was heavily sighing as we asked for some paper towels and stating we were sorry and would immediately clean it up.  She said she couldn't get paper towels, she was a bit busy.  D ran to the bathroom and grabbed some.  But yeah, so we just grabbed a gray grout and left ASAP- it was a good choice.

I'm not sure if we will seal the grout- anyone have thoughts?  It will change the gray to be darker, which could be ok.  If it will save the grout from stains and help it hold up I am open to it.  D and I have come a long way with our DIY skills- practice makes perfect, so all the previous tile jobs set us up to do this one pretty quick.  Now I'm longing to do our kitchen floor- oh and both bathrooms.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I love what my kitchen can become

I somehow forgot that renovations are hard, stressful, time consuming, and expensive.  We had huge success with removing the badly built in giant microwave and cabinet that we decided to do a huge remodel to the kitchen.  We are house poor so it had to be within he budget, which meant no ikea kitchen cabinets (yes they would have only cost about $4000, which is nothing when you think of a full remodel, but that was not even close to what we could manage).  So we decided to reuse the ones we had, paint them, reconfigure, and purchase a couple new ones to match (as closely as possible).  

How about some crappy iPhone pictures to start the story.

See what happened there?  We beautifully removed the microwave cabinet, painted the wall.  It took a couple hours at most, we even had a play date in the middle of completing it.  Basically this didn't disrupt our lives at all and we got cocky! Oh- we can TOTALLY redo the whole kitchen because they went smoothly…..HA!

So then we went on.  There are not many pictures of the demo.  It was more complicated, messier, and longer then we anticipated.  But all the cabinets were moved, all the backsplash and counters, sick, etc. The floor remained, but will be replaced eventually (boy the floor looks hideous now!).

Well look at that, not too bad right?  Far from complete, but we were happy to have some sort of working kitchen again.  As you can see all the cabinets on the left were from the original kitchen, reused and reconfigured.  The ones on the right were purchased from lows, unfinished.  They are not a perfect match, but due to time and money constraints we went with it and hoped the painting would make it work- I feel like it did.  That cardboard on the floor?  The cabinets used to come out there- yes we doubled the size of our kitchen with the changes.  The counters are maple butcher block from lumbar liquidators.  They were int he budget, in the design esthetic, and once we added the tung oil (I will make a post about this because it was a big decision), they looks beautiful.

If we had a legit budget, cabinets would have been ikea (the quality is awesome, they have the look I like), the counters probably a combination of butcher block and quartz (on the left side because of the sink).  The ceiling would be leveled out, the bay window replaced with something more insulated, the wall opened to the dinning room.  See?  Lots of things did not happen, but thats ok.  So far we are looking at under $2000 for the kitchen (sink, counters, new cabinets, paint, subway tile, new range hood).  Not too shabby.  I have a lot of pride in this update since it's been all D and I doing the work, coming up with budget friendly unique solutions. 

And this is where we are now.  A lot of trim and finishes touches left to do, some paint touch ups, grouting, maybe more tiling.  But loving it.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014


Sometimes I get a morning to myself- it's rare, it's often very early, but I really do love them.  Especially this morning because we have finally started to get some rain in California.  While most of the country has been struggling with extreme weather conditions, California's winter has been more like a cold spring, things are blooming here and it's barely into February.

Today I woke up as D was leaving, the dog didn't want to let me sleep, and I'm glad.  It's been about 30 min so far that I have had completely to me, sipping coffee, listening to the rain.  Hey, the blog even gets a few pictures because of this morning.

 This is what is happening in our living room, vintage sofa and chair from my mom, but originally from her aunt.  Her story is an immigrants story for sure- came to New York, worked as a live in housekeeper all her life for a wealthy older woman who had no heirs, and who then left all her money and belongings to my great Aunt.  The couch and wing chairs have been recovered (and will be again when the kids are a bit older) but still hold their antique charm.  The rest of the room is stuff we have had, the infamous fauxdenza sits under the TV and gallery wall- I will have to do a post on how that has turned out since I never followed up with that after we built it.

I love this picture, makes the living room look darling, and L is perched how he usually is in the morning watching some cartoons.  We have a lot of natural light that comes into the living room.

Meals as of late- eggplant fries with walnut oil based aioli (with some sriracha because it was the Super Bowl), and then eggs with bok choy (one of my fav greens to have for breakfast), almonds, and pomegranate seeds.  I think eating real food and eliminating grains has made the food we eat more colorful and beautiful to look at.

E loves to eat, here she is enjoying some goat cheese- those blue eyes mesmerize me every time.  We still do full fat yogurts and occasional organic cheeses with the kids.  D and I rarely partake because both of us seem to have negative consequences when we do- for him it's lactose intolerance- for me, I get a headache, stuffy sinuses, and it makes me moody.  Strange I know, but it's amazing what you notice after you eliminate something then slowly add it back to your diet.

Today on the docket is taking a shower (this will be a challenge with both the kids and just me), delivering some business cards to a doctors office- it's wonderful having consistent referral sources, returning library books, just hanging out with the kids- oh and if I can manage, bathing the dog- she stinky and like a third child.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Well it finally happened- the whole family got sick.  Probably not the flu since the fevers were low grade or absent (in D at least), but a nasty cold hit our home last week and is still taking us down.  I'm back at work, but my chest is wheezy and achy and the couch is lingering.  Besides that most of my energy is finally back, L is much better (because he is off the hook whiney when he is sick!), and E & D seem to be healing as well.

Having two kids when everyone is sick, and one of those kids being L is soooo hard!  L became quite intense, needy with this cold and all of my reserves were depleted on my own sickness and taking care of E.  Needless to say I didn't win any awards for best mom, or great parenting.  Thankfully it will be over soon and we can get back to being a better version of ourselves aka, healthy.

I am really proud of myself for not getting crap while sick.  When I get any upper respiratory infection or frankly any illness, I despise veggies, especially fresh one, and crave comfort foods, carby, sweet, starches.  This time I had some mild cravings but they were manageable and I just continued eating real meat/eggs/veggies/fruits/nuts foods and I think that contributed to me not getting as sick as I could have and not having much nasal congestion- dairy and sweets cause me to get "stuffy".

You may be noticing that I haven't posted a picture on here in a while- it's because I'm a bit lazy and a bit too busy.  I used to avoid blogging because I didn't have the time to make a nice looking post with pictures, but then I decided I wanted to post and really the words and my process are the most important, not how entertaining it looks.  Ideally I will start posting pictures again, but I'm still getting my footing with being a working mom of two who's fiercely committed to eating really food and being on top of my life (by life I mean my own behaviors/responses to the world).