Archive for May, 2011

May 29, 2011

The built-ins are out!

Finally! We did it. The built-ins are gone. To refresh your memory on the awkwardness of these built-ins read this post.

First step in removing the built-ins was to gather a couple of quotes from carpet companies. We knew there would be no carpet in the space under the built-ins, so we wanted to see how much that would cost before moving forward with this project. It wasn’t too bad. So we chose a company and scheduled a day for them to come. Now that we had that set up, it was time to get to work. Out came the sledge hammer. Okay, maybe it was a little rubber mallet, but regardless, it did what we needed it to do.

Here are a couple of shots of Alex in action.

Unfortunately, Alex had to finish the last part of the removal on his own while I was at work. But he took this shot with his phone and sent it to me so I could see what it looked like.

Besides the actual demolition itself, the best part about removing these built-ins was getting a glimpse of what this room looked like in the 70s when it was built. Notice the dark wood paneling that is showing through on the unpainted parts of the wall and the brownish vinyl flooring that is apparently beneath the carpet throughout the entire room. I bet this room was groovy, baby.

The vinyl flooring didn’t stick around for long. The following afternoon, the carpet guy came out and covered it for us. He removed part of the carpet from another room (that we plan to eventually pull up anyway) and used it to patch up this spot. So this is what the room looks like currently.

The carpet that was pulled from the other room was under a couch so it’s very clean compared to the carpet in this location which is a high traffic area. But we were assured that after getting the carpets cleaned, the line will hardly be noticeable. Also, carpet repair guys do not mess with tile. Boo! He was not sure how to handle the crazy tile situation that was mentioned here. So instead, he cut the carpet extra long so that we could figure out later how we wanted to handle it. We think we’ll end up putting in a transition strip since we aren’t ready for new kitchen flooring. But who knows. In the mean time, I’m enjoying the more open doorway and can’t wait to get started on painting.

May 23, 2011

Mom Find: Foxpaws

After each of my sons was born, one of the first things I did was unswaddle them to look at their feet. Not because I wanted to ensure that they were born with 10 toes, but because I wanted to catch a glimpse of those adorable little things. I’m not even a fan of feet. Seriously. They gross me out most of the time. But baby feet, I just love! Unfortunately, it’s not very realistic to keep your baby barefoot all the time, especially when they start walking. So if you have to cover up those squishy tootsies, you should do it with something equally as cute.

Check out this precious brand of shoes made for newborns up to 24 months. The company is called Foxpaws, and I am in love. I’m just sad that at only 17 months old, Oscar’s feet are almost too big for these. Good thing I know plenty of other babies!

Not only are they completely adorable, Foxpaws sends private donations to Orphanage Support Services Organization (OSSO) upon each order to help sponsor children and orphanages in need.

How did I find this brand? Zulily, of course! And here’s another Zulily find that I think is uberfun — a 3-D moose puzzle to display on your wall! This, along with a lot of other unique family games and activities, is made by Discovery Bay Games.


May 15, 2011

Our thumbs are turning green

On my very first post, I showed a picture of the front of the house right after we moved in. The yard had absolutely no curb appeal. There were just a handful of tiny plants in oversized and misshapen flowerbeds and a yard full of dying grass. It was pitiful.

We knew a lot of work needed to be done, so little by little we got out there and got to work. First, we reshaped the flowerbeds in front of the house. We liked the rocks that were used as the border, they just needed to be buried into the ground a little. When we were finally ready to do some planting, we had no clue where to begin. Luckily, my father-in-law loves gardening and has an extensive knowledge of plants. He and Alex headed off to the nursery and came home with a bunch of plants to get us started. That was last spring, and since then, we’ve been adding plants to fill in some areas or replace those that did not fare well over the extremely hot summer. You should hear us talk now. We actually know types of plants and point them out in other flowerbeds around the neighborhood. We feel so old.

We’ve also done some work on the big circular flowerbed around the trees in the front. We made the circle smaller and buried those rocks as well. The smaller circle looks much better, but it left us with a ring of dirt around the perimeter. Just this past month, we finally got around to laying sod down. We hope it starts spreading soon. We’ve also added St. Augustine plugs throughout the yard to fill in some of the bare areas.

Here is the BEFORE picture that was taken right after moving in.

And here is the AFTER picture (almost two years later).

As you can see, it’s looking so much better. Now we just have to wait it out while the St. Augustine spreads and the plants get bigger and fill in. I’m positive we will be adding new plants and moving old plants around until we get it just right. We’ve even been talking about adding another flowerbed to the front yard, along the sidewalk near the street. But in the mean time, we are pretty happy with the results and amazed at how much we have learned in the process.

May 8, 2011

A Mother’s Day Adventure

Whenever possible, I enjoy finding new places to go and new things to do. I especially enjoy finding new places for us to experience as a family. So when Alex asked if there was anything I wanted to do for Mother’s Day this year, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Sandy Lake Amusement Park. This place isn’t exactly new, 40 years old to be exact. But we had never visited this old school amusement park before, even though it’s only half an hour from our house.

I found a coupon on their website allowing us to get in for free (typically costing a whopping $2 per person). Free admission? Hello, I was all over that. If this place stinks, we can just turn around and go home, no money spent.

So we pull up, hand them our coupon and drive through the gate. Where are we? And what year is it? It was surreal. We felt like we had stepped onto the set of Adventureland. (Great movie!) Simon was so excited I thought his head was going to explode.

Once you are in, each ride takes between 3 to 5 tickets, and tickets cost 50¢ each. We immediately went to the ticket booth and bought the biggest book of tickets you could get – $20 for 44 tickets. It took Simon a long time to figure out what ride to do first. It’s an important decision, you know. But once he started, he went very quickly from one ride to the next. There were no lines!!! We blew through those tickets in less than an hour. Oscar even got in on the action.
After doing the rides, we walked over and checked out the arcade, the miniature golf course and the paddle boats. At this point we were all hot and tired and decided ending the day with a train ride around the park would be perfect.

Needless to say, the kiddos crashed as soon as we got into the car. It was a successful adventure and a wonderful Mother’s Day.

May 2, 2011

Awkward Built-ins

So we got the new bookcases in the room and have even moved everything over that was on the built-ins by the fireplace. You know, those awkwardly placed built-ins that I’ve mentioned before here, here and here. I never actually explained why we are not exactly fans of those built-ins, so I took a few pictures to help you understand our disdain.

This picture was taken while standing in the kitchen looking into the living room. As you can see, there is an extra wide doorway here, but these built-ins are jutting past the frame and invading the openness. It annoys me that obviously they do not really fit into this space so why are they there? Especially when the living room itself is very long and somewhat of an awkward space to fill. Adding bookcases where we did makes so much more sense (at least to us).

And because these shelves were built into a space that wasn’t quite right, the depth of the shelves is awful. I placed my iphone on the shelf to show you just how shallow they are. Our poor art books have been hanging off the edges of these shelves just begging for a better home. Our new bookcases have very deep shelves and the art books have now been tucked away, safe and sound.

I’m very excited to demolish these built-ins. As soon as these things are gone, we will get paint on the walls and be so much closer to a completed room. However, we have to time our demo with the arrival of a carpet guy. Why, you ask?

Well, as you can see here, once we remove the built-ins there will be no carpet underneath. And with kiddos running around this house, we think it’s best to have that fixed immediately. We have the same carpet running throughout the house so we plan to take some from the formal living/dining area to lay down in this empty spot. We eventually want to put hardwood floors in the formal living/dining area, so removing some carpet from under the couch we have in that room won’t be a big deal… we hope!

Also, as you can see from the picture, we will need to cut into the tile a little to align the carpet edges properly. Why can’t things just be easy?

By the way, in case you were wondering, these built-ins are not originally part of the house. They were added later. Otherwise, I would be much more hesitant to knock them down.