Monthly Archives: April 2013

Kitchen Makeover: Raising Cabinets

For those of you that have patiently waited…the time has FiNaLLy come!  I am starting my Home Makeover Series today, beginning with my kitchen makeover!!  If you remember, last April we began preparing our house to have it MOVED 100+ miles.  It was during that time that I probably lost my mind for good Ü

The same month that we tore off our old mudroom in preparation for the move (which use to be where the door/clock/purses hang in the picture below) I decided if I already had a demo pile of trash outside, I might as well add to it by tearing out the soffit in my kitchen!  Here is what my kitchen looked like 12 month ago….Demo before

Kitchen Before

KITCHEN BEFORE

Believe it or not, one morning I decided I had lived with this soffit long enough…and I knew Doug would be gone for 24 hours so he couldn’t talk me out of it…so at 10:30 a.m. this is what I did:

Step #1: Cut Hole

Step #1: CUT SMALL HOLE in soffit to see what you are getting yourself into.  Luckily, our soffit was hollow!!

Step 2: Score Your Sheetrock

Step 2: SCORE YOUR SHEETROCK from the ceiling so you have a clean cut when you pull out your soffit.  This will keep you from tearing up your ceiling!

Step 3: Rip Our Soffit!

Step 3: RIP OFF THE SHEETROCK!

Step 4: Keep Ripping!!

Step 4: KEEP GOING!! DON’T GIVE UP!

After I made it halfway across the kitchen, I removed the first cabinet (as you can see in the picture below, the white area is where the cabinet was).  Moving the cabinets would allow me to rip out the rest of the soffit AND keep the cabinets safe from demo!

Step 5: Remove Cabinet

How did I do it ALONE, you ask?  Well, since my kids were too little to recruit AND cabinets are HEAVY, I had to get creative Ü  I flipped one of our barstools on its side, wedged towels in-between the cabinet and stool, then held the cabinet in place as I unscrewed the screws with the electric screwdriver.  Once I got my balance, I carefully took them off the stool and placed them in a safe spot.

Support Your Cabinets if Lowering Them By Yourself

Step 5: SUPPORT YOUR CABINETS before removing

The idea was working, until I got a too CrAzY and wedged the stool so tight that I couldn’t get IT or the cabinet loose!  So…I ended up having to take the barstool apart. :(  But no worries!  I screwed it back together and it is just like new!!

Demo 1

Once the cabinets were out of the way, I started pulling out the studs.  Some of the studs were hard for me to remove due to really big nails securing the studs.  I used a sawzall and cut most of the studs, then used a crowbar to remove them.  Yes, I did make some pretty obvious gashes in the sheetrock.  We’ll worry about that later ;)

Step 6: Remove other Cabinets

Step 6: REMOVE remainder of cabinets and CONTINUE TO DEMO SOFFIT!

In the picture below, see how the soffit comes out to the middle of the room?  I removed this cabinet and took it out for good!  I knew doing so would really open up the space!  (And as far as giving up a cabinet and loosing the extra space, I have a solution for that in a future post!)

demo 3

Don’t you agree?  Look at how much it opened the room!

Step 7: Find Studs and Rehang Cabinets

Step 7: FIND STUDS and REHANG CABINETS

I thought I took pictures on how I hung the cabinets by myself, but apparently I was getting tired by that point!  The picture above shows the first cabinet I hung.  As you can see, I purposely left a gap between the cabinet and ceiling so I could add crown moulding in the future.

The idea of hanging the cabinets was pretty easy because all I was doing was moving them straight UP.  The screws could stay in the cabinet holes because I would still hit a stud.  The hardest part was doing this alone and having the strength to hold the cabinet exactly where it needed to be AND screw in the screws at the same time.  I used the barstool and towels again, and to make sure the cabinet was level, I taped it to the top of the cabinet so I could see if it was level or not!  My body is sore just thinking about this step of the process.  It was quite the workout, but I finished!!

10 hours later I had cleaned up the demo pile, tossed it outside, and got to enjoy the fruits of my labor.  Here is what the kitchen looked like at 10 A.M.:

Kitchen Before

KITCHEN BEFORE

And here it was at 8:00 p.m. (I took some of the cabinet doors off because I wanted to see if I liked open shelving):

Step 8: Done by Evening!

KITCHEN AFTER

Ya think Doug noticed when he came home the next morning??? :)

If you want me to continue “Lara’s Home Makeover Series” comment below by telling me what you think of this kitchen project!

Cheers~
Lara

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iPhone Mommy

I admit it…I spend WaY ToO MuCh time on my phone.  It is a habit I have been saying I am going to stop for a long time, but have yet to accomplish.  It would be bad enough if I was taking time away from my kids by just talking on the phone, but we all know that is not what I am doing.  I hop around from email, to Facebook, to Pinterest, to Twitter and sometimes throw in a game of skee-ball.  The problem is…NoNe of this is more important than my kids!  If you are hooked  on your phone and have been trying to stop, this letter written by Tonya Ferguson on her blog 4 Little Fergusons might just be what you need to finally put it down.

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Dear mom on the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids: You work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now …

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.

You aren’t.

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!” I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way.

He sees that too. His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.

Talk to her. Tell her about the clouds, Mommy. The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you, and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize: your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there. I am not saying it’s not OK to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy. They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish. They won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time.

Because they know …

You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime.

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.

May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.

*********************************************

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Family, Friends, Getting Real, Hard Reality, Kid Stuff, Life, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Don’t Post Until You Check Snopes!

It seems like I am coming across more and more inaccurate information circling around Facebook.  My news feed has been full of stories and pictures of sick kids with captions like, “If this picture gets 1,000 “likes” so and so will pay for their surgery,” etc.  There has been a Photoshop  image of Bill Gates going around saying something like if you “share” this picture he might give you $5,000.  The other day I saw one with a picture of the gold dollar bill with a false statement about the government printing them with the “In God We Trust” omitted from the coin.

If something comes across your news feed that you are tempted to re-post or share, check its validity out on www.snopes.com.  You can type in a key word and information comes up about whether it is true or false.  It also gives you an explanation for why it is true or false.

snopes

Click to see the Snopes responses to the Bill Gates Facebook scam and the gold dollar coin information that is circulating.

Bill Gates – Facebook Giveaway

Gold Dollar Coins Omitting “In God We Trust”

The bottom line is…YOU CAN’T TRUST EVERYTHING YOU READ…just because someone posts something, doesn’t mean it is TRUE!

If you are questioning something you read, check it out on Snopes Rumor Has It and find out the truth.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Getting Real, Life, People, Relationships, Uncategorized

50 Life Lessons to Live By

My sister shared this list written by Regina Brett on facebook and I was amazed at how many of the lessons we have already written about on The Suede Sofa, but also how many we have yet to learn!  I’ve already gone out and purchased the book that corresponds with this list titled, God Never Blinks, 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours.  I can’t wait to get started!

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You can find lots of great information on her website…

www.reginabrett.com

Regina Brett’s 45 life lessons and 5 to grow on

by Regina Brett, The Plain Dealer

May 28, 2006

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.

It is the most-requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others’. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.

17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.

18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.

19. It’s never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive everyone everything.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

36. Growing old beats the alternative – dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.

38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.

43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.

45. The best is yet to come.

46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

49. Yield.

50. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Getting Real, Good Life, Hard Reality, Life, SelfImprovement, Uncategorized, You

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Good gravy!  The last couple weeks have been bRuTaL as far as putting my foot in my mouth.  They were all pretty minor comments, but as I reflected on them later I couldn’t help but do this…

head on desk

SOURCE

Do you ever have days like that?  The other person may not have thought anything of it, but you still WiSh you could take back the awkward, hurtful or unnecessary words that were spoken.

The truth of the matter is, if you are HuMaN and if you are going to be social, you are going to say things that you regret.  I guess you could avoid these situations by isolating yourself, never meeting new people or no longer interact with your peers, but that wouldn’t be LiViNg-It now would it?

Next time you catch yourself banging your head against your desk, remember that even though you made a human mistake, it is still better to reach out to others versus doing nothing at all.

*If you are really sick about something you said, you can always clear the air by making it right (click on the bolded words to read that post).

~Lara

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Filed under Getting Real, Life

Easy Outdoor Game

The hour before dinner in our house is always difficult because the kids can’t help but get restless waiting to eat and waiting for my husband to get home from work.  In an attempt to avoid taking out every single backyard toy, I came up with this simple game that kept them busy and didn’t leave the yard a mess for me to clean up!

If you have a walkway similar to mine you can use each stone individually.  If you have concrete you can divide it up into squares and play.  I used sidewalk chalk to write down the sight words that my son is working on.  I also drew some pictures for my daughter to color in to keep her busy.  I had my son pick out a rock and instructed him to toss his rock onto the walkway filled with words.  Once it landed on a word he had to run to it, say the word, then bring the rock back to me.  It was such a simple game, but it kept him busy and helped him practice his words!

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You can modify this to any level:

*Write letters on the stones to practice upper and lowercase letter recognition.

*Write numbers on the stones and use 2 rocks.  Have your child add together the two numbers that the rocks land on.

*Draw pictures with your kids and have them tell you the first letter for each picture and the sound that it makes.

The possibilities are endless and the only thing you have to do is collect your sidewalk chalk when you are finished!

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~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under At Home, Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, Parenthood, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships

Doll Shoe Fix

How many times am I going to have to put these doll shoes back on?!!!  If that is a question you ask yourself daily, here is a quick fix to keep all of those Barbie, Princess, and Fairy shoes on the dolls instead of all over your house!

shoes

I always keep a tube of E-6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive  (purchased at my local craft store) around the house for quick repairs on everything and anything that my kids “accidentally” break.  I decided to try it on the doll shoes and…not as shoe has been lost since I secured them to their feet!

Make sure you let the glue dry for a few days before you let your kids play with them again, and I wouldn’t suggest trying this if you have kids who put toys in their mouth.  My kids are 5 and 3 and have never put strange things in their mouth so I figured I was good to go with this one!

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Junk Drawer, Kid Stuff, RANDO•RAMA, Uncategorized