Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bathroom Beadboard

Last night and tonight my husband and I installed the beadboard in our hall bath upstairs. Here's a couple of pictures as of last night.

We finished up the beadboard and saved the toughest (I thought) for last since we had to cut around the edge of the vanity. We measured twice and cut once and it worked beautifully! My only gripe is that the walls aren't square (not even close) so we had to cut extra off the top or bottom of each piece to make it fit right.

Monday, we'll probably install the chair rail and get started on the crown molding. I'm hoping that we'll be done by next weekend - caulk, paint and all. Our 2 year old got his first shower today since the only bathtub in our house is out of commission until everything's caulked and painted.

I've also been working on Son #1's Lego table. It's primed and has one coat of red paint. No pictures yet. I just need a few more coats and then glaze. Latex paint takes 21 days to fully cure, so I've got to get the table done by next weekend to have the paint cured by Christmas. I'm planning on adding the base plates just before Christmas so I don't have to hide the table for too long. My plan is to work on the table during the day and the bathroom after the kids go to bed at night.

Cellphone "Decor"

My husband and I finally got new cellphones today. Ours both broke on the same day, in the same way back in August. We tend to get the exact same phone each time we get new ones. This time, there wasn't a whole lot of choice in color. It was black, or black. So, I decided to dress mine up a bit to be able to tell our phones apart.

I put "yorokobi" on the back of my phone. It's Japanese for "joy". And added a little flower to the front. Now, we'll always know whose is whose and if I ever get tired of what I've got, I can change it!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas Decorating

It's been a family tradition since I was little to decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.

My boys helped decorate the tree. I had to give them a "rule" that each branch only gets one ornament. They were putting 3 or 4 ornaments on the same little branch. This might be our last year with this particular tree, though. It's 6 years old now, and some of the branches are falling apart. Son #3 pulled a branch tip off this morning and came crying to me about it.

Last February, I was at the D.I. (thrift store) in town and found an entire Christmas village for $15! I've always loved my sister-in-law's village, so I snatched it right up. I love it on top of our TV armoire.

Last year, I made this ornament wreath. I think I originally got the idea from the Thrifty Decor Chick, but I saw it on several blogs during the Christmas season. Ours never made it up on our door last year. My husband picked up a wreath hanger when he was out Black Friday shopping this morning.

I collect nativities. The first one I got is the tiny one on the far left in the picture below. My best friend, Kristin gave it to me the Christmas before I left on my mission. I first set it up in Japan and I've added to my collection a little here and there over the years. I'm not really liking the big brownish white one in the middle though, so it might be finding a new home this year. Do you think I should spray paint it and see if I like it better or just get rid of it? I'm thinking white, cream or oil-rubbed bronze spray paint might make me like the set better, but I'm not sure...

I have more Christmas decor to set up, but that's as far as my energy got me this morning. I'm trying to save up some energy so we can work on finishing our kids' bathroom today and tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bottling Cherries

After putting the boys to bed last Saturday, my husband and I got to work on our cherries. In September, I bought 60 pounds of cherries. They came prepitted (expected) and frozen (unexpected, we'd heard they'd be fresh). The frozen worked in our favor though since I'd bought way more fruit than my energy level could realistically can in a couple of days. So, 2 30# buckets have been taking up a LOT of a space in our deep freeze.

I pulled one bucket out last Thursday so they could thaw in time for canning on Saturday night. I was tired from working on our bathroom during the week and hanging out with friends Saturday afternoon, but my hubby and I make a great canning team and we were able to knock out the whole bucket pretty quick. Aren't they lovely?

We got 10 quarts of cherries bottled and I pulled the last batch out of the canner around midnight, so it only took about 3 1/2 hours to do! I also realized partway through draining all the cherries that we can save the cherry juice and make cherry pancake syrup (we eat a LOT of pancakes in this house). We'll save all our juice from our next bucket (cherry pie filling is the plan) and make the syrup after we're all finished. We're all looking forward to yummy cherry cobblers and just eating the cherries from the jar.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hall Bath Progress

We've been making steady progress on our bathroom this week. I finished painting the second coat on Tuesday. Wednesday, I installed a new toilet handle and new seat on our toilet.

I originally bought a couple of less expensive toilet handles (they're in the plumbing aisle at Lowes and Home Depot), but after I installed them they wouldn't sit level and instead one end would hit the toilet lid! Thankfully, they were super quick and easy to install and uninstall. I headed to Lowes and picked up the above beauty for $18. Who knew a toilet handle could be so expensive?

The toilet seat has a built in toddler seat that magnetically holds inside the lid. It was love at first sight and came home with me. I absolutely love it and am almost looking forward to potty training #3 now. I'll get another one for our powder room downstairs sometime, though the master bath will not have a potty seat built in.

Replacing the toilet seat was the absolute grossest re-do thing I've done so far in a bathroom. You wouldn't believe the nastiness under the hingest of that old seat!... Well, maybe you would, especially if you have boys. I think I'll be following a friend's advice and cleaning the seat off the toilet once a month or so from now on. We'll also be replacing all our toilet seats soon.

When I picked up our toilet seat and my first attempt at toilet handles, I also grabbed new light fixtures for the bathroom. So, Thursday and Friday, my husband installed a light each night. We replaced a strip light like this one and a plain white mushroom light. Despite going from a 4 bulb fixture to a 3 bulb fixture, this new one is SO much brighter. Maybe because the light is focused down? Our new ceiling light takes 2 bulbs and replaced a 1 bulb light so overall our bathroom is very bright now.

After my husband finished installing the ceiling mount light, I think we might return it and get a white one instead. I left the molding around our attic entrance and all the vent covers white on the ceiling. The dark light fixture looks a tad bit out of place, don't you think?

I ran to Home Depot last night and got all our molding and stuff for the bathroom. Isn't it pretty? I'm getting so excited to finish up our bathroom!
I read somewhere that you should put your beadboard/molding stuff in the room you'll be installing it and let it acclimate for a week before installing it. I can't remember where I read it or when, but it makes sense to me. So, we'll be canning cherries today and I'll be working on Christmas presents next week. Next weekend, though is bathroom finish weekend (I hope)!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


A little over a year ago, we bought our house and I promptly slapped paint samples in every room of the house to see if I liked the color and then bought all the paint. The plan was to get the house completely painted before we ever moved in. We got close. We still had all three bathrooms and 2 bedrooms to paint when we moved in at the beginning of December last year. I finished up another bedroom that month, thanks to a good friend coming and helping me and I painted our downstairs powder room in January. That was the last painting I've done. So, we've lived with green spots on the wall of our hall bath for the last year. Here's the closest thing I could get to a "before" shot. It's from before we closed on the house, so you don't see the green spot that lived on that wall for a year.

Two days ago, I just decided, "I'm going to paint the bathroom tomorrow." It didn't matter that I'm pregnant, exhausted, sick and have a pile of laundry taller than my 5 year old in every bedroom, I got the urge and ran with it.

I got the bathroom clean, gutted and taped for painting when I ran out of energy yesterday morning. So, I spent the afternoon being lazy and getting nothing done so I'd have energy after the kids went to bed to put on the first coat. I talked my husband into removing the old vanity light fixture and got to work. It only took me about an hour and twenty minutes to paint all the walls and the ceiling. After one coat of paint:

This is (obviously) the shower. I didn't bother painting all the corners at the ceiling because we're going to install crown molding. You can't tell from this picture, but the paint only goes to about 3 feet from the ground. We're going to put in beadboard once I'm finished painting. I've got to do another coat tonight. I went to Home Depot this morning and picked up new light fixtures, a new toilet seat (with a built in toddler seat!) and a new toilet tank lever. I'm hoping that we'll be done painting and get everything installed and the bathroom decorated by Thanksgiving weekend, but it really depends on how long my motivation for this project lasts.

I told my husband last night that I want to paint our bathroom the second weekend in December. I'm tired of the yellow spots on the wall...

Son #3's birthday cake

Every year, I try to throw my boys a birthday party, complete with a birthday cake I decorated. I haven't been very good this past year, but I decided to make #3 a birthday cake for his 2nd birthday.

He picked a blue train. I bought black glitter gel stuff because Micheals was out of the plain black frosting and I thought he'd want a car cake (black for the wheels), so I used it to outline the train and for the smoke instead.

Here's my boy's first look at his birthday cake. I think he's pleased.

I'm not a big fan of cake, so if I'm going to go through the effort of decorating one, I put a filling in. My son wanted a chocolate cake, so I filled the middle with homemade raspberry jam. I was lazy and instead of measuring out the shortening for the frosting, I just used all butter - bad idea. My frosting didn't turn out great at all (for decorating, it tasted fine), so I will never take that "shortcut" again. I'm not sure if that was the problem, or if it's just been a while since I've made decorator frosting but I will always follow the recipe exactly from now on.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dilly Beans

When we were in Washington a few weeks ago with my in-laws, we tried Dilly Beans (pickled grean beans) and LOVED them. I would eat them until I gave myself a tummy ache, over and over again. They were so good! I was really excited when I found out that we could get a whole case of fresh green beans from Bountiful Baskets this past weekend. I asked my husband what he thought of helping me make dilly beans on Saturday (he said yes) and then called my mother-in-law to get her recipe. They were SO easy! This was the first vegetable I've ever canned (you have to pickle any veggie you can in a water bath or steam canner and I don't have a pressure canner yet.) and it was much easier and less messy than fruit. And I must say, my hubby and I make a pretty good canning team!

I put in a movie and popped the ends off the whole case of green beans while my husband drove all over town cleaning all the grocery stores out of fresh dill. Then it was just stuff everything in, pour the brine on top and process. The clean up was much nicer than fruit canning too. I didn't have to deal with sugary stickiness everywhere. We ended up with 28 quart jars of dilly beans. Aren't they pretty?

We have to let them pickle for a few weeks before we can open our first jar. We're planning on pulling a jar out for Thanksgiving. I'm so excited!


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