Monthly Archives: May 2013

Declutter Your Life

In the last month or so I have made a lot of ChaNgeS in my life.  First off, I recently had another garage sale which proved to be just as successful as the one in the fall.  I finally have a clutter free home.  I made a point to go through EVERYTHING, and if I didn’t LOVE IT, I sold it.  There were things that were hard to get rid of, mainly due to habit and feeling like I “had” to keep it around the house “just in case”.  Let me tell ya, it was worth it because everything is organized and I can keep better tabs on what we need and what we don’t. declutter-wordle1

Once I was able to declutter my home, it was only natural to want to DecLutteR other areas of my life.  Several weeks ago, Robyn wrote a post called iPhone Mommy.  It struck a chord with me.  For months I had been feeling like the internet and social media were a huge distraction and temptation.  I wish I was like those of you that are disciplined when it comes to social media, but I am not.  I kept making excuses that I HAD to check my facebook several times a day to make sure I wasn’t missing personal messages or notifications from groups I am involved in.  Robyn’s post motivated me to make some cHaNgeS once and for all.  I tied up lose ends with my personal FB messages and notified leaders to any of my groups.  I told these people that I wouldn’t be checking facebook as often and to contact me via email or phone if they needed something right away.  Everyone has been very understanding and I guess I figured if someone needed me bad enough, they could find a way.  It was really that simple!  Now, I only check facebook once every couple of weeks, which allows me to catch up on information or messages I may have missed!

To take things one step further, I changed the settings on my phone so I no longer get an email “ring” for new emails AND I deleted the facebook icon so I’m not tempted to check it.  This has made a huge difference when I am around my kids.  My phone isn’t dinging all the time and we spend more quality time together in random places.  When we use to wait in the car I would sit there and read the internet while they were in the backseat.  Now we try to play games or talk about fun stuff!  In addition, if we are playing and the phone rings, I don’t answer when I feel like the kids are really engaged in what we are doing.  Several times they’ve asked, “Mom, aren’t you going to get the phone?” and I say, “No, I want to play with you right now.”  The look and smile on their faces when I say that….PRICELESS :)

Last but not least, I am writing to say that Robynn, Robyn (Jersey Girl) and I are going to take the summer off in regards to blog posting.  We don’t want to give it up for good because we really enjoy writing and sHaRinG things with you.  But, like we talk about so often, if it doesn’t bring you PEACE then you need to make some changes.  Now that the kids are going to be home all summer we feel that not being tied to anything (a.k.a the blog) will bring us the most peace.  We know you understand, and we thank you for that.  The plan is to pick up in September once kiddos are back in the grind of school.  I didn’t even put a dent in my “Home Makeover Series” so I hope to share more of that with you, along with the normal LIFE posts that I share.

I hope that this lengthy (sorry! *wink*) post has encouraged you to declutter areas in your own life.  I cannot tell you how much jOy and fReedoM it has brought to mine.

Have a wonderful and memorable summer and we look forward to writing in the fall!

Cheers,

Lara

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Filed under Getting Real, Inspiration, Inspire, Junk Drawer, Life, RANDO•RAMA

Kitchen Makeover: Backsplash, Shelving and More Painting!

Now for the pictures that you have been WaiTinG for!  As I worked on painting the cabinets, I also added open shelving.  Check it out!DSC_0399

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I bought the corbels at Home Depot and used MDF board for the shelves.  Next, I added a wainscoting backsplash, which I don’t have ANY pictures of that process (sorry!).  But, I do have pictures of the nearly finished kitchen at Christmas!

Just for dramatic effect, let’s see where’ we’ve come from the beginning…

BEFORE

BEFORE

Here is an “after” picture (as of December 2012)!

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We added a new light fixture above the sink and painted the trim around the window.  The trim, shelves, corbels and backsplash are all the same color.  I used white trim paint from Sherwin-Williams.

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Here is a “before” from the right side of the room.  Remember how I said I was going to build a cabinet to hide the range hood pipe?  (where the greenery is in the picture below)

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Well here it is!

After 3

I took a cabinet door from a “lazy susan” cabinet that I bought on Craigslist.  I cut the cabinet door down to size, and hung it.  It opens from the bottom (the hinges are on the inside top) but I LOvE that it gives us extra storage space!  The other big changes on this side of the room is a new fridge and range hood!  I also added wainscoting to the back of the open cabinets (the one with the microwave and the cabinet above it).  This really prettied them up :)  What do ya think?!

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These pictures pretty much bring you up-to-date on how my kitchen looks today.  We recently replaced the light in the kitchen ceiling and put in recessed lighting.  We also finished taking off the popcorn ceiling and now have a “knockdown” texture on the ceiling.  It looks so much BeTTeR!  All I have left to do is paint the ceiling (white) and add crown moulding to the top of the cabinets.  We eventually need to switch out our kitchen sink and replace the countertops (since those are the ones I painted 5 years ago!) but I am so indecisive on what I want…so it could be a while :)

My kiddos are officially on sUmMer bReaK, so who knows when I will finish up the kitchen!  We are so close though, and I am thrilled with the results!  It has really opened up the space and feels like we doubled our cabinet space since we added the open shelving. Gotta love that!

Let me know what you thought of the kitchen makeover!

Cheers,

Lara

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Are You Prayin’ About It?

Last night I was lying in bed thinking about a couple of things.  This was sMaLL stuff–you know–like how I was going to get everything done this week, if I had enough activities planned for the kids this summer, and if I was going to get the stain out of those tan pants :-/

All of a sudden, “Are you praying about it?” popped in my head.  For a second I pushed the thought away because I thought it was silly to pray about such minor things.  But then I remembered how Jesus wants us to talk to Him, no matter how great or small the worry may be.

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Are you worried about something?  Fretting over, what to most people, may seem like a silly little thing?  If it is a worry in your heart, then Jesus isn’t laughing.  Talk to Him.  Share your concerns and allow Him to CaRRy your load.  I am sure even He wouldn’t mind carrying a small load every once in a while :)

May Peace Be With You,

Lara

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Filed under Faith, God

Kitchen Makeover: Painting!

Now for the fun stuff!!  I painted the lower cabinets “Mourning Dove” by Martha Stewart.  I had it mixed at Sherwin Williams, and since it is a discontinued color, just ask them and they can find the formula and mix it up for you!

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I decided to add some FuN to the room by adding chalkboard paint on the back wall.  I love it!  And so do the kids!!

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Remember this cabinet?  This is the first cabinet I removed when I started the kitchen makeover!

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And here it is painted!

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To this day, I am still debating if I like the distressed look (see the left cabinet door below) or if I want the cabinets to be solid white (see right cabinet door below).  What do you think?

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The upper cabinets were painted Alabaster by Sherwin Williams.  6

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I never shared with you the picture of the ceiling after I ripped out the soffit.  Here it is!  The ceiling also shows were I started taking off the popcorn ceiling.  Yep…I opened that can of worms and will share that process with you later.  I can assure you, all the mess and work was well worth it ;)

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So just to see where we’ve come, here is a “before” of the left side:

BEFORE

And here is a “during” of the left side:

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Here is a “before” picture of the right side of the kitchen:

DSC_0168And here is “during” the painting process of the right side!

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Stay tuned!  Next week I am going to share pictures of the backsplash, open shelving, and the rest of the painted cabinets!!

Cheers!

Lara

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Honoring Teachers, Nurses, and Mothers!

It just occurred to me that this week we are celebrating three of my favorite professions…NuRsEs, TeAcHeRs, and MotHeRs!  Having been a first grade teacher for the 8 years prior to having my children I know how teaching can sometimes seem like a thankless job.  There are MaNy parents who go out of their way to let you know that they appreciate the difference you are making in their child’s life.  BUT…for every parent that thanks you there are 5 that say nothing and 5 that do nothing but complain about what you are NoT doing for their child!  I saved every card and thank you that was ever given to me by a parent or student and now being a parent myself know how important it is to simply say…ThAnK YoU!

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Next up…Nurses!  I have to say up until my late 20’s I had little experience with nurses.  I never broke a bone or needed surgery and had no reason to visit a hospital.  I guess I saved up my need for nurses for the grueling 2+ year struggle with infertility and then my 2 time bought with postpartum depression.  There is No WaY I would have made it through both of these experiences without the support of the nurses who took care of me during these times.  When going through my 3 IVF cycles, it was truly the nurses, not the doctors who knew my story.  I saw the doctors every morning on a rotating basis, but it was my nurses Mary and Pat who were my true cheerleaders.  They cried with me through the disappointments and were on the phone with me when I found out I was expecting my miracle baby.  It takes a SpEcIaL kind of person to be nurse and share in the highs and lows that come with the fragile life we are given.  To all of you…ThAnK YoU for all you do!

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Finally…a huge thank you to all of the MoThErS, AuNts, and GrAnDmAs!  For years I dreamed of having a baby and being a stay-at-home mom.  I am not sure what exactly I thought I was getting into, but I can remember saying a few times in the very beginning, “Where are the cute baby bunnies and little yellow duckies?!!!”  Baby gifts and baby cards always have cute little animals on them with cheerful little expressions…there have been MaNy a day that our house looks like a bull ran through a china shop and I have yet to see those cute animal faces!  That being said, I believe that being a mother is the hardest JoB in the world.  Every single decision you make directly affects those you hold so dear.  I wish all of you a VeRy HaPpY MoThErS DaY!

!BZQn3U!!2k~$(KGrHgoOKigEjlLm,etkBKl)tRL8Lw~~_12

~Robyn (Jersey Girl)

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Filed under Good Life, Holiday, Inspiration, Inspire, Life, People, RANDO•RAMA, Relationships, Uncategorized

Kitchen Makeover: Tearing Out MORE Soffit

Last week I shared with you how I tore out the soffit and raised the cabinets on one side of the kitchen.  Was Doug surprised when he came home?!  To be honest, he wasn’t as ShOcKeD as I anticipated.  In his defense, it is a “norm” for me to take on projects, and for some reason I get itchin’ to do it when he is gone.  Serves as good motivation to surprise him I guess ;)  The AWESOME thing is that he is extremely supportive of my love for this type of work, but under one condition….that I don’t drag him into helping me all the time ;)

…But every now and then I give him that puppy dog face that he can’t resist, and he becomes my partner in crime!  Which is why I want to share with you how much easier and faster it was to raise the cabinets on the other side of the kitchen!

I obviously was so tickled when Doug agreed to help me that I didn’t take NEAR as many pictures of the pRoCeSs!  In fact, due to having a helper this time around we were able to demo the soffit, raise cabinets and finish the left side of the kitchen (below) in 2 hours!  That’s right…2 hours!  To get started, here is a before picture:

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Same process, just much faster with two people!  (for more details instructions, visit Kitchen Makeover: Raising Cabinets)

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As you can see below, we threw plastic over the stove and counters for easy cleanup.  I learned my lesson after doing the demo without it last time ;)

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We raised the cabinet on the end first (as the white rectangle BELOW shows where the cabinet use to be).  This made raising the cabinets a breeze because all we had to do is go straight up.  Didn’t have to worry about keeping them level because they stayed flush to the cabinet next to it!  We just worked our way across the kitchen, unscrewing and raising one cabinet at a time.  We also didn’t mess with taking the food out of all the cabinets at the same time.  With each cabinet we moved, we took out the food, raised it, and then put everything back.  Super easy!

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Notice the cabinet above the stove in the picture below.  We didn’t raise this cabinet to avoid messing with the range hood and exhaust vent.  I decided I would eventually make a new cabinet and door which would maximize our storage space and hide the pipe!  You’ll get to see how that turned out in a future post!

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To recap, here is a BEFORE picture of the left side of the kitchen (that I took a few years ago!)

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And here it is AFTER!  10

The cabinet above the stove is the only one that stayed where it was originally.  And in the meantime I tried to make the exhaust pipe “pretty” by throwing a plant up there Ü

One more thing, notice the 2 small cabinet doors above the microwave…

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…and then how I removed them in this “after” picture.  I think I am digging the idea of open shelving ;)  And speaking of shelving, see all that extra wall space we created by raising the cabinets?  Stay tuned for pictures on how it looked once we added open shelving under all of the raised cabinets!

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We did It! (**I couldn’t help but do the Dora song and dance**) What a great project for a Saturday morning.  Tackled it right after breakfast and we were done by lunch!  I wish all projects were that quick.

Next week I hope to share the different changes I made in the kitchen by PAINTING!  Here is a sneak peek…2Have a good weekend!

~Lara

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