Monday, August 27, 2007

It Has Begun

My kitchen remodel, the one I have been dreaming of and planning for 2 years has officially begun!!!!!!! Be careful what you wish for though, we have started ripping out the old. Part of my vision involves being featured in This Old House when we are done. See, I LOVE TOH, watch it like it's required viewing, and it is when you have a 157 year old side hall Colonial. However, I look at the projects and it's just not realistic when you have most of a house to remodel and are just normal people, not Doctors living just outside of Boston. My goal, is to have this remodel, and entire kitchen with new cabinets, flooring, a stamped tin ceiling, the works, come in under 15K. Impossible you say? Oh, you just watch me!
To date, I have purchased all my cabinets. I shopped 3 different kitchen centers, Lowes, Home Depot, and J-Kay Lumber. All three were quoting me about 10K for new cabinets, and higher. I hemmed and hawed over design, and guess it's a good thing I did. While I was obsessing like I do over which style to buy, a friend of mine has a friend who gutted a new kitchen. It's a long sad story ( husband may just be mentally ill), but they decided their CUSTOM MADE pine beadboard 42 inch cabinets and brand new stainless steele appliances ( GE, top of the line) were not what they had in mind so they gutted their own new kitchen and called my friend. They said if you want it come get it, otherwise it's going to the curb. My friend didn't, the look is too modern for her ( she likes primitive, very old country), but they knew I would like it. The sold it to me in what I call our "Yankee Deal." I got, for 3K, ALL the appliances ( the dishwasher was still shrink wrapped, never used), and ALL the cabinets ( did I mention they were hand made, and do not include any particpl board??). My friend got some cash to re-do her roof, and I saved over 9 thousand dollars and I got the look I wanted. In the process, I needed to order a few pieces to "fill in" and I went with a distressed off white beadboard to make my look like something out of Country Living magazine. We discovered that a Wine chiller ( a 29 bottle, electric, digital, locking wine fridge) cost less than a base cabinet ( base was almost 500.00, wine chiller after my 10% off coupon was only 385). So I am actually getting a wine chiller to go under the counter between 2 base cabinets. I am very excited as this was not in the original plans.
We took off the hardware because it was gold, and we want satin nickel to match the stainless steel appliances, and I just found the decorative handles I wanted on ebay. For 4.75/each, that is at LEAST 6 bucks a piece less than what I was looking for special order elsewhere. With 35 of those to order, that's a savings of more than 150.00. Did I mention they were new??????????? And my sink, I just purchased a great looking Victorian vintage satin nickel on Overstock for 200 less than the home improvement big boxes.
Finally, I wanted an apron sink, or farm sink to bring my farm look together. They are well over 1K at tht three kitchen centers I looked at here. I found one online for 400 ( with shipping!!!!). That is 600 less if you are counting. It's porcelain, from a known manu. and has a life time warranty. Cool!

And of course I am re-purposing something. My butcher block counter, lovely and worn, Brian is sanding down and re-oiling to use as the top to me NEW ISLAND!!!!!!!!! It will be centered, topped with the butcher block as a work space, have room for 2 counter stools, and it has all kinds of storage.

I am both stressed over the demo, yet so excited that my vision is coming together, and will under 15K. Photos coming soon.......

Friday, August 17, 2007

My Date with a Baron

I had a big day yesterday, a picnic lunch with the Baron. I have been wanting to see him for almost 2 years, but everytime I tried, it was too late. You see, on a really big hill not far from my house ( the last time we came down that hill my brakes smokes, kids thought it was cool), is a State Park that is the final resting place for this Baron. He is really important. So important towns, counties, and even my street is named after him, so I decided to see what all the fuss was about. We packed a picnic lunch and headed out and this time, we got there while the park was still open.
The girls and I got a phamplet when we got there and I read it to them. This guy was pretty important. It seems during the American Revolution he basically helped us get our shit together. We were looking pretty rag tag and didn't have supplies, so he organized our troops, taught the men to assemble and march, taught tactics, helped get the supplies, and turned our troops into a force to be reckoned with! HE is held to an esteem almost as high as George Washington. After the war, the state gave him 16,000 acres near where he is now buried ( and the took it back, in true NY state fashion after he died). What remains is 5 beautiful acres where he is buried and a memorial park. It was pretty nice, and a nice history lesson for the girls.

I guess because we were visiting dead people, we stopped by a cemetery near there to see if we could find my great grandfather. I know he is buried somewhere near hear, but he was not as easy to find as the Baron. Miranda can spell and read, so I had her reading tombstones. The baby just thought the cemetary was a cool place to run and play and was having a grand old time, and she loved to sit on those little stones, the ones close to the ground. Anna yelled at her, she said the people were "trying to rest! " We didn't find my grandfather, but reading stones I found a couple that just made me so sad. Again, for the second time in a week, I was reminded of past days where children died young. We found a little angel marker for a baby, and a stone for "Our Lizzy" who was 1 year 6 months and 21 days old. So sad. Miranda, the tombstone reader, had tears in her eyes. I know it sounds like a morbid thing to do, but I want to find my great grandfather and help connect my girls to this area. He lived up the hill from where I do and my grandfather and siblings were born here as well. It turns out not to be just a random place I took a job and moved to. Turns out I have family here, dead and alive. I thought I knew where he was buried. I guess I'll have to ask family members. I do want to see the stone, and reconenct with my own history.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

1900's House, Lead Paint, and other ramblings....

My friend Amy lent me 1900's House on DVD. I had originally viewed it on PBS when I was in Grad school, which meant I never saw the end. I love, I mean LOVE Victorian times and history, so I was happy to have it to view. However, it's 4 hours long. I hopped on the exercise bike with the DVD player and watched over an hour ( my butt was falling asleep I was on the bike so long). I stayed up way late trying to finish it. Tired girl this morning, I am dragging. I am also more thankful that I live in modern times. Although I love Victorian times, I only like to decorate in this theme. It was a hard life for women in 1900. 1 out of 4 children died before adulthood, and if the arsenic in the wallpaper didn't kill you, the soot and ash from the boiler combined with limited oxygen from wearing the corset did. As much as I love to clean, laundry that took 3 days would really get to me. This AM I threw my wash into the dryer and it's already done. I was feeling a little tired and stressed over being home all summer and tending to the kids and keeping up the house, I feel a little less now and a little foolish. Imagine life for my Grandmother? The woman who cried when she got her first washing machine.

I just went through the recalled toy list. We don't own any lead paint toys, but Miranda owns 4 Polly Pocket playsets effected by the magnet recall. Although she would never put a toy in her mouth at 9 years of age, the baby does, and will likely inherit these toys. I broke the news to Miranda and sent for the information on what to do. I did tell her Mattel wil give her a voucher to buy new toys. That perked her up!

Just yesterday I was praying for strength to help me make it through summer. I was also feeling guilty that I would feel this way. It just seems everyday I cook 3 meals a day, cleam, do laundry, and take care of kids. And the kids have reached the point where they really don't like eachother and are looking forward to starting school. After watching 1900's House, I think I can make it. After all, when the going get's tough I can: order pizza, brew coffee in less than 5 min, take a 30 min hot shower without having to keep a fire going for 6 hours, and plug in the vacuume aand rip through my house in 20 min tops and it's nice and clean. Oh yeah, and the Bubonic Plague is nowhere to be found.......all that and I can vote, and choose not to wear a bra. Life is good. I am off to fold my laundry that only took less than an hour start to finish.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Do you know how the Astronauts prepair to reenter the Earth's atmosphere after they have gone to the outer space? They go through a special procedure and hope they have planned all the angels correctly so that it goes smooth? Well, that's how I plan for "back to school", and that is what I call it, re-entry.

I offically re-enter next week, as I go back before teachers. The clock is ticking, so this weekend, I finished off all, and I do mean ALL the back to school shopping. I have every pencil, eraser, and school supply on "the lists." Done. I have been through each girl's closet and mucked out the clothes that don't fit, checked the "next size up" boxes to see what I may already have, and this weekend, we shopped for everything they needed to complete a fall/early winter wardrobe ( we shop on February break to refresh everything). They have socks, underwear, fall jackets, pants, shirts, and really cute outfits. They have new backpacks, lunchboxes, and oh do they have shoes. I tend to overbuy shoes, and they end up with a generous amount of shoes. Let's just say they will be able to accessorize. The new backpacks are packed and ready to go, and the pantry is even stocked up with lunch box food. Cool! No, that one gets a way cool from me. We have a new chest freezer and that baby is full as well, so I can quickly pull out meals after work.
As for mom, because I lost weight, mucking out my closet was fun. Good BYE streatch pants and clothes that had to flatter a fatter me. Hello to all my new clothes! I went to the Dress Barn yesterday, and I wasn't really a fan of this place until recently, and boy did I have fun. I tried on an armload of clothes, most in one size up from where I want to be, and some in that coveted goal size and I am happy to report I brought home size 10's that fit me!!!! I guess the bad thing about losing weight is that everything looks cute and I came home with most of what I tried on. The good thing is, I needed early fall pieces for when the weather is still warm ( my cave, I mean office is usually hot as hell, the heat comes on at random times), and all the things I needed we on end of summer clearance, so I did make out like a bandit! Add that to the three pairs of shoes I have on the way and the tops from Kohl's and I will be looking very well put together this year.

All we need to do now is back to school haircuts and we will be good to go. I actually did a " we have all our supplies" dance in Staples yesterday. The girls were wondering what was wrong with me. The clerk helping me must have thought I was nuts. Oh well. Next on my list? Winter outerwear........

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Celebrity Look a likes

Stolen from Traci. This was too funny......

Monday, August 06, 2007

Charity Begins at Home

This morning, as I was bustling around the house ( yes, of course I bustle, I have 3 kids leave me alone), Ava was apparently feeling the need to help me take care of Daisy. I hear her say " Daisy, want some?" I am thinking, cute, she is feeding the dog. Then it hits me. She is in the living room. No dog bowl or food in there. I peek in, and there she is on the floor, with the box of Friehoffer's chocolate chip cookies open, feeding them one by one to dear old Daisy. She looks at me and says " Cookies, ok mom?" I just had to laugh, and retrieve what was left after the retriever had breakfast.

Daisy has never had it so good.

Friday, August 03, 2007


Ava's birthday is coming up in September. You know how I like to plan? OK, I actually LOVE to plan parties. I am in full plan mode for her party. We didn't have a very big one for her 1st birthday, just grandparents and aunts actually, and a birthday cake. I feel the need to party this year, but my kitchen will be all ripped up by the end of September. So, it hit me. There is a nice town hall close by, we have decided to have it there and throw her a "Playhouse Disney" party. She loves, LOVES Mickey and Pluto, and has been smitten since our trip to Disney when she actually met them in person. I thought she would freak out, she was so happy to see them.

So far, I have ordered her the cutest minnie mouse dress up dress, complete with petticote and ears, and purchased some nice primary color party ware ( Dollar Store!!). I will "fill in" with the Playhouse Disney pinata, centerpiece, etc....... I have planned some cute games for all the kids, and am contemplating a clown. There will be a lot fo kids there if everyone comes, and the girls and I keep seeing "Flower the Clown" and her beautiful VW Bug all done up in flowers around the area. I think it's a sign.......

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Pants, Slacks, Trousers, Bottoms

How can one thing have so many names? Anyhow, I was in my closet yesterday, looking over things for the Fall and I tried on all my pants. In the Spring/ early summer when school finished, I only had a few of my "old" pants that fit me. When I say "old" I mean pre- Ava. I had purchased some nice clothes when I did my internships. They were mostly 10's and 12's. At our garage sale I got rid of anything larger, and anything "stretchy" that I considered fat pants. Good riddance!

I was elated to find most of my smaller pants fit!!!! There were only a couple exceptions, and these were pants that ran smaller. Thank GOD! Some of my old wardrobe fits! I will have many more outfit options in the fall when school starts. See, I love clothes. I love accessories, and I really enjoy dressing nice for work. It's been so depressing carrying around extra after baby weight for so long. I was energized yesterday by this discovery.

Whatever you call them, mine fit again.