Friday, June 29, 2012


Caleb graduated from preschool last week.

This picture was taken BEFORE he realized he would have to go up on stage and sing with all the other kids in front of the crowd.  Needless to say... he didn't actually make it up there until the songs were done :)

But he was all smiles for the camera once again with his teacher.

Then it was time for bubble blowing, bouncy castle, and pizza.  My kind of party.

Eme... next it will be your turn...

And now that preschool's finished, I've convinced Caleb that it's time to start preparing for Kindergarten.  Really-- I'm just trying everything and anything to keep him occupied and busy... so we've been signing out stacks of books from the library and working with his reading and writing workbooks.  I'm not going to lie, I'm kinda glad the first week with no preschool is done.  And now... thank goodness for long weekends! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Something's Missing

So this week I FINALLY hung up some frames in the downstairs family room.  I've had them sitting in my office ready to go for months-- I scored a stack of %50 off frames at Ikea during their boxing day sales.  Hanging a bunch of frames in a straight line is hard-- but I think I did a pretty good job... Doug pulled out his level when he got home from work and gave me a pat on the back :)

But... something's missing in this picture.  A couch!  I've been searching for deals-- but so far haven't been able to find something that looks good for a great price.  Hopefully I can figure out something before it gets really hot... because this is the room to be during the hot days of summer!

FYI-- the rest of the room is NOT as clean as this one side.  I had to sit in the kid's tent to take this picture... thought you might want to know that :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Backsplash Inspiration

Do you watch Sarah 101?  I do... of course.  And I must say that the Fresh Country Kitchen that aired a few weeks ago was definitely my favorite episode.  How awesome is this kitchen?

My favorite part of the kitchen is that backsplash-- subway tiles laid in a herringbone pattern.  Amazing.  As much as I would love to do this backsplash in my own kitchen, I'm not even going to show it to Doug... because he'd either say "absolutely no way" OR agree to do it and then we'd spend the next 6 months trying to get it perfect!

Anyhow... nice work Sarah!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Open Shelves Thursday

Lack of blogging... means that life's been busy.
Feel's like we've been running around all over town the past few days... and really, we have.

Over the past few days we've been going to BBQ's, having wiener roasts, taking the kids fishing (in the rain) at the trout hatchery, shopping at Metrotown way past the kids bedtime with NO stroller (so not a good idea) going to White Rock for a preschool field trip, T ball... the list goes on and on.

Those are my excuses and I'm sticking to them.

Anyways.  After all the work Doug did in the kitchen while I was out of town with the kids we've taken a bit of a break from working in the kitchen.  I have the faucet ordered now and need to order the rest of my hardware today and then everything will start arriving.  On Doug's to do list is to build all the drawer boxes, have the kitchen measured for countertops (he's handling that since he gets a good deal), build all the doors and finished parts, have it all sprayed, and then install everything :)  I'm thinking this kitchen is going to be "in progress" for quite a while!  But, if you can find the time to do it yourself, you can save a lot of $$.  So worth it.

In the meantime, I've been living with open shelves in the kitchen.  And really, I mean EVERY shelf is open.  As you can imagine... this little lady is loving it.

But as frustrating as it is to have the contents of my kitchen scattered all over the house (and in the backyard-- I recently discovered that Caleb had been commandeering my kitchen stuff for the sandbox-- nice) I really really have been loving having upper open shelves.  So, Doug and I decided to add a few more into the design!  Instead of having closed upper cabinetry where the big window used to be, we're going to have three rows of open shelves.  This is the perfect spot for all my white dishes and glassware.  Can you see it?

So, to honor the current state of my kitchen and the new plan to add more open shelves into the design, I've decided to declare today "Open Shelves Thursday".  Since my open shelves are currently not so attractive, how about we look at a few kitchens that have beautiful open storage?

This kitchen has ikea cabinetry-- amazing, right?

And that concludes Open Shelves Thursday.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Dad Got to Sleep In

Like many of you Mom's out there... I was up at the crack of dawn to organize our Father's Day festivities.  We made a special mug for Daddy...

... we made breakfast... Caleb got to choose what we were eating-- crepes with blueberries... and aerosol whip cream... of course.  Every little boy's dream.

It was a busy morning.  Thank goodness I had two little helpers.  And as you can see... there sure was a whole lot of helping going on :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More Kitchen Details and Ambulance Rides

So.... interesting day today.  Took Eme for her routine immunization... she handled it like a pro-- no tears... no complaining.  I asked about Caleb's kindergarten shots, and since the waiting room was empty they offered to do them right then and there.  Much to Caleb's dismay.  Here he thought he was just observing Emerson's shots... and then he ended up getting two.  But I promised him McDonalds for lunch and he was all for it.  No tears... no complaining.  Apparently all it takes is McDonalds.

But, then Emerson broke out into hives and started swelling up all over-- yup... she was reacting to her shots.  The nurses started to panic, ended up giving her a shot of epinephrine, and then called the ambulance to take her into emergency.  Caleb was wide eyed and more than a little excited to ride in the ambulance.  By the time we got to the hospital the swelling started to go down and Emerson was acting like herself.  We had to stick around for observation for a few hours and need to keep an eye on the little lady to make sure she doesn't have any aftershock reactions-- but... we're home and happy :)

How's that for an entertaining morning?  Enough of that drama.  Let's talk kitchen drama.  I made another decision and ordered something today.

See this window?  It needs a little help.  I do love my new window-- it comes down a lot lower than the old one so I can see the whole backyard when I'm standing at my kitchen sink.  Love that.

But I felt like it's going to need something special to make it pretty.  I do like the look of lights hanging in front/over top of the window.  At first I was thinking about something like this...

And I almost ordered the Clemson Pendant when Restoration Hardware had a great sale on all their lighting a week or two ago.  

But, after thinking about it more I decided that I wanted something a bit more casual.  I wanted my kitchen window to feel more like this...

urban grace

So, instead I ordered the black Vintage Barn Pendant.  I'm so excited... I can hardly wait for the UPS guy to show up with my light.  Poor guy-- he's been making a lot of stops at my place these days.  

But it kind of feels like Christmas every time a package arrives :)

Sidenote-- I checked Ikea's website today and their double bowl farmhouse apron sinks are back on the website.  To late for me now... but if you want it... it's there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Home Again

We made it home.

But this little lady barely made it.  She may be an honorary westjetter.... but last night she was a super squirmy overtired westjetter.  yikes.  After an hour of squirming, screaming, and crying we arrived home-- and she had the beginnings of a black eye.  Guess that's what happens when you throw your body around violently in protest for an hour.  Needless to say, both kids were exhausted when we finally landed.  I ended up carrying BOTH of them off the plane-- apparently they were too exhausted to walk.

But would I do it again?  In a second.  Like tomorrow.  Getting out of town is SO WORTH an hour or torture.  Thank goodness for airplanes.

I arrived home to this... the beginnings of my new kitchen.  When I get home from a flight I usually like to unpack all my bags immediately-- doesn't matter how late.  Last night I just didn't have it in me.  The extent of my unpacking was to plop my purse on the makeshift counter and unzip it.  The end.  I went to bed.

So today I need to grocery shop, try to put my kitchen back together (everything's piled high on the dining room table), and figure out how I'm going to function in here-- dishwasher's not hooked up and I've got no hot water.  But, at least I have a sink and running water!!

But first,  I need to get me some coffee.  Stat.  If I can find it...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kitchen Details-- Backsplash

I'm still in Saskatchewan for a few more days.  The sun's out... and I'm a happy girl.
Doug called last night and told me that he's got a makeshift kitchen set up for me with a sink and some countertop.  Apparently he tore everything else out and the new cabinets have been going in while I've been gone.  I can only imagine how disastrous my house has been over the weekend... kinda glad I've been here and not there :)

So onto the backsplash... our kitchen is a balance of saves/splurges.  When it came time to choose what I wanted for the backsplash I decided to save some $$ and go for the always classic subway tile.  Home Depot's standard white subway tiles look fantastic with the white I selected for the the cabinetry.  Perfect.  The dilemma for me was the grout color.  I love the look of white grout-- it's fresh, bright, and if you are not a skilled tile setter... the white grout/white tile combination could be your best friend :)  

Check out the white on white combo in this kitchen...

It's gorgeous.  But, there's so much other fantastic things going on in here-- you don't need your backsplash to stand out and be the show stopper.

But, I'm thinking that in my kitchen the white on white combo could be a little bland.  I'm leaning towards choosing the lightest shade of grey as I think it could add some much needed dimension to my kitchen.  I'm a little picky-- it has to be the PERFECT shade of grey, the grout lines need to be thin, and the tile work needs to be really really well done.  But when it's done right... it can look amazing.  Here are some of my favorite inspiration pictures...

kitchen by Susan Gilmore via House of Turquoise

I love the combo of dark fixture/dark grout in this kitchen.  The light and dark contrast in here is so fantastic...

Kitchen Lab

I think grey grout would be perfect in my kitchen.  It's going to add a little interest to my small space and keep the room from feeling too stark.  Doug and I are NOT professional tile setters-- so if it ends up looking a little messy I might just change my mind on this... but at this point in time... I think grey is the way to go :)

Saturday, June 09, 2012


On Thursday I packed up the kids and left town.  I'm always a tiny bit nervous to fly solo with the 2 kids-- when you're outnumbered by children on a plane there's no telling what could happen.  But, the kids were great.  I was prepared with a TON of snacks.  Worked like a charm.

I won't be blogging a whole lot while I'm here-- we're having way too much fun... and my mom's pc is a real pain in the butt.  I sure do miss my mac.  And  I sure do miss Doug too :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Kitchen Details- Sinks

Today I am going to talk about sinks.
But first, let me show you Eme's favorite new shoes.

I buy the girl gold gladiator sandals-- but she chooses her pink crocs and now Caleb's old hand-me-down's as her favorites.  But with the pretty pink socks... they are kinda cute :)

Back to sinks.

When we first started planning out our kitchen renovation, Doug and I decided to keep all of the base cabinets intact-- we were just going to reface them with new doors.  Because of this, I was planning to go with an under mount stainless steel sink since the size would work with the existing sink cabinet.  And, I really do love the way they look.

House & Home

But, we soon realized that once the fridge gable was going to be added in, the cabinet between the fridge and stove was going to be really narrow.  To fix that we would have to move the stove over a few inches.  Once you start moving appliances around-- even just a few inches-- it means you have to re-do everything.  In the end, we think redoing the base cabinets will be a good thing.  Building new cabinets is the most inexpensive part of our kitchen renovation-- it will just add a bit more work.  But, it will also allow us to build the cabinets exactly the way we want-- we can add in more drawers, spice racks, a lazy susan... all that good stuff.

Anyways, then I got to thinking-- I also like the look of farmhouse apron sinks.  My kitchen is small-- I don't have room for a huge island, barstools, and beautiful pendant lighting-- so the elements I do pull in need to make an impact.  A farmhouse sink could be a great option.

Now, farmhouse apron sinks can be insanely expensive.  I want a sink with 2 bowls-- and those can cost about $1500... seriously... I do not have that kind of $$ to invest into a sink.  But, thankfully Ikea makes an affordable option-- at $399.  

I've heard that these sinks can be a bit of a pain to install alongside cabinetry that's not ikea-- but Doug assures me that he could build the sink cabinet to fit the sink.  The ikea option is not an under mount... but I'm okay with that.  What I really like about the ikea sinks is that the sides fit tight against the cabinetry.

This sink (the one below)-- would drive me crazy.  Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful kitchen.  But I'm not a fan of the rounded apron sinks that have open space between the side of the sink and the cabinetry.  My kids would find those open cracks in about 5 seconds and start shoving lego, cheerios, and whatever little treasures they can find into the open spaces.

Doug's installed several amazing (and expensive) kitchens where the customer has selected an expensive apron sink.  He says that often the customer is disappointed with the way it looks-- even though the installers try to customize the sink cabinet to fit the sink on site-- unless the cabinet is build around the sink-- it can look a little unfortunate.

So I couldn't decide-- ikea's farmhouse apron sink... or the clean look of the under mount stainless?  Well, then the other day I went onto ikea's site to get the dimensions for Doug and to check stock at our local ikea.  But... it disappeared.  Gone.  The single bowl farmhouse is still there... but the double bowl is not on the site.  I tried searching for the page via google but when I clicked on the link ikea told me the page no longer exists.  So, it looks like that particular sink is not available at the moment in Canada.

So consider sink decision made.  We're going with the under mount stainless and will be purchasing it through the company suppling our countertops since we can get a good deal through them.  I'm actually not disappointed that we won't be able to use the farmhouse apron sink, this means I'll still get to use the faucet I sourced.  And, it's not going to take us as much precious counter space-- definitely a bonus.

So,  undermount stainless it is!  I'm excited about it... it's going to look great.  Bet you didn't know I could talk so much about sinks, hey?

Monday, June 04, 2012

Kitchen Details-- The Basics

So after being quarantined at home with a nasty cold for 4 days, Caleb's now sick.  Looks like I'm going to be housebound for a few more days!  Normally I would be going pretty crazy at the thought of being stuck at home, but in 3 days I'll be boarding a plane with the two kids-- so I'm more than willing to lay low for a few days and rest so that everybody's healthy for the plane ride.  Flying with two healthy kids can be challenging.  Flying with two sick kids?  A disaster.  Trust me, I've been there.

Enough about sickness...

As promised, I'm going to post about some of the details of our kitchen re-design over the next few weeks.  Today I'm going to give you the low down on some of the basics-- cabinetry selection, countertop choices, faucet/hardware... that kind of stuff.

First up-- cabinetry.  The last kitchen we renovated ended up with dark stained cabinetry-- in this house I've always known it was going to be white.  The house felt so dark and dated when we first moved in and there was no flow from room to room.  Since it's not a large house, I've tried to brighten it up by keeping all the colors light and airy and by keeping the color scheme consistent across the board so it would have better flow.  Sticking with white makes sense.  Over the past few months I've toyed with the idea of color-- I'm loving all the grey painted cabinetry out there-- but this house needs white!

All of the trim in our house painted in cloud white-- so the cabinetry will be cloud white as well.  And we'll be going for your basic shaker door-- nothing too crazy... just keeping it simple.

Now about countertops-- it's a huge decision.  I love the look of marble, but am a little concerned about staining and etching.  Quartz is pretty much the way to go these days-- and so I've looked at all the samples out there.  There are several companies that have "marble lookalikes" so far, the one that I think would work best for me is Misty Carrera by Caesarstone.  

It's got a lot more grey in it than some of the other quartz samples I've looked at, but I think that's going to work for me.  I don't want something that looks too crisp and modern-- I want a softer look.  And you know what?  I might just change my mind in the end and go with marble.  My friend reminded me the other day that I have two kids and white couches-- I could probably take care of marble.  And really, if there are little stains here and there it wouldn't be the end of the world.  We'll see.  

On to faucets--  did you know that you could go to Hawaii-- or you could buy a kitchen faucet?  Seriously-- there are some pretty darn expensive faucets out there... and the problem is, I tend to like the expensive ones :)  But that's not going to happen-- if I did have an extra $2000 I'd probably choose Hawaii.  Wouldn't you?

I wanted a faucet that was a more traditional style (but not a bridge faucet-- Doug made it pretty clear that he DOES NOT like bridge faucets), I wanted it to still be a bit more updated and modern, not too high (11.5" will be perfect with my low window) and I wanted a polished nickel finish.  I think I found the one I want-- for a pretty decent price.

And yes, I know that two handles are not as practical as one.  But I like the way two look-- and the reality is, when I turn on the tap, I either want really cold water or really hot water.  And yes, no pull out sprayer.  You may think that's not very practical-- but it is.  Let me ask you this-- is it practical when your kids discover that your kitchen faucet doubles as a water gun?  I think not.  And I also hate it when the pull out part doesn't go back into the faucet and stay put-- so annoying.

And finally... cabinet hardware.  I already showed you my choice for all the drawers-- the 4" Duluth from Restoration Hardware in polished nickel.  They are already sitting in the closet ready to go.

I'm putting knobs on all the doors.  Doug and I don't see eye to eye on this-- he prefers handles.  But in our last place we had bigger handles on all the drawers and doors and in a smaller kitchen I felt it was a bit busy.  So, in this kitchen we're going to keep it simple and stick with knobs on the doors.  Plus they're cheaper-- bonus.

I like the classic look of the Aubrey Knob. I like that the base of the knob isn't too big.  Instead of ordering from RH I'm going to take one of my Duluth pulls out shopping with me to see if I can find something that will match for a better price.

So those are some the things I've been thinking about for my kitchen.  I will warn you that I reserve the right to make changes to any of this at a moment's notice.  Until it's installed, anything could happen. Except for the Duluth pulls-- they're not going anywhere. 

Friday, June 01, 2012

The past few days...

I've been sick.  Here's what I've learned:

1.  I usually don't really care how I'm dressed around random strangers.  But, after answering the door dressed in sweats and Doug's old T shirts to receive a package from the same UPS man THREE TIMES over the past few days-- I've began to feel slightly embarrassed.  

2.  After birthing children, coughing fits present a whole other problem I didn't anticipate.  Ladies-- those of you who have had children know what I'm talking about...  

3.  I decided to pick up some new books to read tonight-- reading on a Friday night in my sweats & old T shirts-- sounded like a good plan to me.  After arriving at the library I realized that it was closed-- seriously-- I felt a little sad to realize that librarians have more fun of Friday nights than I do...

4.  Having a cold is the perfect opportunity to teach your children to blow their own noses.  Emerson is now a real pro.  She takes her nose blowing job so seriously that I now find crumpled kleenex and toilet paper ALL over my house.

5.  Finally, after being sick these past few days I'm happy to report that I've successfully taught Caleb to have an appropriate fear of germs.  Every time I started to cough he would yell from across the room, "Make sure you cover your mouth Mom!"  Music to my ears.

Changing topics, I'm happy to report that we've finally finished planning out the sizes of our cabinets...  Doug's heading out to start building some of them tonight!  I guess that's one good thing about Friday nights...

That hubby of mine-- he's a real whiz on the calculator, so good with numbers, and can draw like nobody's business.  What a hottie :)