Sunday, April 12, 2009

How's That Bathroom Looking?

So, have you been waiting with baited breath to hear about our little adventures in remodeling the White House?? Sure. The last installment left us in a predicament with our toilet, right? Well, here are a few pictures I snapped just before the old toilet was taken out.

Ripping out the fake tile wallboard stuff:

Ahh, yes. Getting the old cruddy sink out of there:

Here you can see several layers of walls that the bathroom had seen:

Plaster knocked out, down to the slats:

Oh, and just so you can sleep tonight, here is a picture of our new toilet, installed and working perfectly!!! (There is the new drywall in the background as well!)

I'm going to leave you in suspense over the results. Wuahahahaha! Tune in for the next installment!!

Boy, it is so good to be back!

Happy Easter everyone, I made it!! And you guys have stuck with me!?! Wow, you deserve a hand. So much has happened in the past six weeks. I can't wait to get caught up with everyone and to let you know all that has been happening here as well. This experience has really shown me how much blogging can take over a person's life with out them even realizing it. I hope I can keep it from building into an obsession again. This will probably mean fewer posts, even fewer comments to all you great ones out there, and probably giving up SITS completely, because as much as I love you guys and all the great ideas you have, I love my family more and need to put them first. Well, now that I have been a real downer for today I will go work on a real post. But, Rejoice!! He is risen, Alleluia, Alleluia!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Got My First Award!! And An Announcement That May Cost Me...

Wow! I was so surprised the other day when I learned that Denise gave me The Lovey Award! This is my first award and I am thrilled!

Now here is the disclaimer for the award:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends.They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly- written text into the body of their award."

Eight? I don't even know if I know eight people... but I'll try.

Okay, let's see

A. B. M. (don't know if you want your real name out there...) at Domesticated.

Alli at My New Life. Hey maybe you'll start blogging more now, as in more that one post!

Chris at Just a Girl
Cynthia at An Accomplished Woman
Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam
Jill at Controlling My Chaos
Kimba at A Soft Place to Land
The gals over at Like mother, like daughter

Okay, Phew! That wasn't as hard as I thought!!

Now for my announcement that I hope will not make you stop following me... I am taking a six week hiatus! Please don't leave! The Lenten season will start tomorrow with Ash Wednesday, and lately I've been realizing how much all my blogging time is taking from my family. So, this year I'm going to give up blogging (and possibly the internet as a whole - except email...) as my Lenten sacrifice. I really do have so many posts floating around in my head, but I think this is really something I need to sacrifice. I am looking forward to all I hope to accomplish during this time as a result of not blogging, but I will be back come Easter with, hopefully, a better sense of how to balance my time in this virtual world and my time with my family. In the mean time I have added a button to my sidebar, so you can email me, if need be. Okay, there, I said it, so now it has to be done. See you at Easter!

Yes, Yes, I Am Actually Alive!!

And yes, I do realize it has been over a week since my last post... I Am So Sorry!! We have gotten ourselves mixed up in a complete bathroom renovation, and boy this 69 year old house had some surprises in store for us! On Tuesday night the Mr. took out the vanity and toilet and took down the fake tile look cardboard stuff. The wall behind the board was not salvageable so he ripped out all the plaster from four feet high down to the floor. On Wednesday we put up drywall and I spackled while he was at work. Wednesday night and Thursday he fussed with putting the toilet in which is where things started going south, I will get to that in a minute... Also on Thursday I went to order the sink, which as luck would have it was going to take "around a week" to come in. Sheesh!

So, I don't know what the people were thinking when they "fixed" the bathroom before, but they somehow thought that having a flange on the toilet wasn't necessary. Yeah, the (rusty, corroded) bolts were cemented into the floor and the wax ring was just sitting directly on the floor! Furthermore, they fitted some new pipe into the "poop hole" and cemented it in but didn't make sure it was level while the concrete was setting, so the pipe was crooked. So when the Mr. brought home a new flange and put it on it wouldn't sit level, and he couldn't shimmy it to where it was level because then it wouldn't sit flush with the floor. He got a metal bit and for the next three days, between working at his real job, getting three hours of sleep per night and me shoving food in his mouth so he wouldn't have to go through a two hour decontamination process just to get dinner in his belly, he was grinding the metal pipe to the point where he could fit the flange on correctly.

YAY! Or so we thought... After correcting the ID10Ts slap job of getting the toilet (they just kept reinstalling the original toilet, by the way... BLECH!!) in, the Mr. put in our new Lowe's toilet, which went fine until he put the tank on the back. Hmmm... it wouldn't fit. The bowl was right against the wall, literally touching the wall, so the tank couldn't fit, the bolts to attach the two together wouldn't even match up! URG!! Well, after yet another trip to Lowe's we found someone who actually knew what he was talking about! He said that we needed a toilet with a 10" setback (which is the distance between the wall and the bolts in the floor) which is something most people "nowadays" don't know about. Of course, Lowe's and the other big box home improvement stores don't stock that kind, but he could order it for us and it would arrive in three to ten days (Lets see, it's Saturday, and I've had to shlep down to the basement to pee since Tuesday, what's another week-and-a-half) OR we could try some small plumbing stores, one of which was the store where we ordered our sink. YIPPIE!! So we run right over to that store only to find out they were closed on Saturday and Sunday.

Well, at 8AM this morning I was on the phone calling this store, but no one answered. Wait 30 minutes. Called again. Yep, they have 10" "rough in" toilets. They probably have a couple in stock. They'd cost around $125.00 - less than we paid for our Lowe's potty. Told the Mr. and he jumped out of bed and ran (well, drove, actually) over there. An hour later he was bringing our new toilet through the door! Then he bathed really fast, dressed, grabbed his lunch and ran off to work. So, maybe with a little bit of luck and a lot of prayer I will at least have a potty up here before I go to bed tonight. I guess I can keep dreaming about my inspiration bathroom:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Psalm 18

The LORD is my stronghold, my fortress, my rescuer,
my God is my rock where I take refuge.
He is my shield, my saving power, my mainstay.
I call on the LORD, worthy of all praise,
and I am saved from my enemies.
In my distress, I called to the LORD and
from his temple my God heard my voice;
my cry came to his presence, to his very ears.
This is why I will praise you, LORD, among the nations,
And sing psalms to your name.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Sweets For The Sweet

Everyone must be feelin' the love of St. Valentine! I have found so many great giveaways out in blogland. Now, since it is St. Valentine's Day tomorrow I guess I will be generous and share my findings...

First, because this one ends tonight, is Pink and Polka Dot. Beautiful jewelry and part, half to be exact, of the proceeds goes to a worthy cause.

Denise is giving away a twenty dollar giftcard to Target. Now who can say no to that??

The Nester is giving away a *fabulous* (I'm going to start putting asterisks around that word every time I use it!) set of art prints! Comments are at 220 and counting, ladies!

And for the grand finale (drum roll please): Jeanne Winters is having a giveaway in honor of her one year bloggy anniversary. This one is big, big, BIG!!!

Now, just because you read it here doesn't mean you have to go enter.

Oh, what am I saying, GO ENTER! I never win anyway, so what could it hurt??

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What The...? Wednesday

*This title was ripped off from Denise at There's Always Room For One More.*

I meant to post last night, but that post is still not ready, and also I was dozing off at 10 pm - even though I had a second cup of coffee at 4 that afternoon. Whoa, this 6 AM wake up is rough...

Anyway, this morning I was over at SITS reading the featured blog which triggered a crazy memory. The Mr, the girls, and I were at a pond a couple of streets over feeding the ducks (and geese). Now, of course, we weren't the only ones there. There were three people congregating about a hundred feet away from us when a police officer pulls up and walks over to them. He kept talking to them and we were trying not to pay attention to them and continued to feed the ducks (and kick the geese away from eating my children).

I had seen out the corner of my eye some seek, black thing pop up out of the water and quickly back into the water. I said to the Mr, "I there is some huge animal under the water, " so we start throwing some food into the water. Soon we see the animal's back cresting the top of the water and then his head pops out to get the food. The Mr said, "I think that's a badger!" We both kind of chuckle, then the "badger" turns to swim away and his tail crests the water. The Mr gasps because that was no badger tail. "What is that," I ask him. "That is a rat!" is his reply. No. Way.

We were talking a bit louder than normal, and I'm noticing that the group with the police officer is glancing over at us, so we walk to another side of the pond about fifty feet from where we saw the "rat-from-you-know-where" to continue to feed the ducks. We toss some food to the ducks who are eagerly awaiting the provisions when we notice a sleek black shadow cresting the water and swimming among all those ducks. The Mr has decided that the badger-rat needs to go see Jenny Craig and avoids throwing any food in its general direction. So, spawn-of-Satan-rat gets mad and jumps toward the pond's edge to try to show us who is bossy boss around there. The Mr yells, I scream and try to save my unsuspecting children from being devoured, and Mr Policeman and posse scurry over to see what's going on. Then the police officer (who, I am certain, must think we are a family of mental patients) starts patrolling the water's edge to get a visual on the target. We soon see the sleek black shadow of Satanrat off in the distance in the water swimming, undoubtedly, back toward his lair, muttering, "I'll get you my pretties! And your little dog, too!"

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday Memories

I wasn't sure what to write about today, so I just thought I'd share some of my favorite experiences. I don't know if I've mentioned before, but My husband and I had the most fabulous (there's that word again) honeymoon ever. We went to Rome. I really don't know if there is anything that can compare. We would love to find a way to move there. Anyway, here are six of the over four hundred photos we took:

Saint John Lateran. We actually didn't get to see this beautiful church until our last full day. Everytime we were able to get there they had already closed for the evening.

Raphael's Tomb. The artist is buried inside The Pantheon.

Another church, Saint Mary Major. Stunning!! The piazza we are standing in is where I was able to snap the photo of the little boy in my header.

Our first glimpse of Saint Peter's Basilica. There are no words to describe...

The Roman Forum. The history here is amazing. It's so humbling to realize how small we are in the whole span of time.

The botanical gardens. We got some amazing shots here. Even for the beginning of March it was beautiful.

I am trying to scrapbook our memories from this trip, but it's so hard to not include absolutely everything. Right now we have the pictures in two huge albums.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Our Masterpiece

The Mr caught this yesterday while I was taking a bath! Isn't this precious!!

What a masterpiece!

She is actually asleep, and she stayed that way for quite a while. She wasn't happy when she woke up, though because her hand fell asleep...

Friday, February 6, 2009


That is the time I have been setting my alarm. I don't necessarily want to get up so early but there are things I want (need) to do before the girls get up. I just went from a 7AM wake up to the new 6AM wake up schedule this week because they were getting up before 7... Ideally this should work. In reality they seem to have this sixth sense that Mommy is getting up earlier and therefore they should as well. So for the past two mornings I have been trying to get Taz back to sleep so I can get laundry and blog rounds done. It ain't happenin' folks. I'm starting to tear my hair out. Now I'm an hour-and-a-half behind "schedule." What do your schedules look like?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Bliss In Your Bedroom...

...even if you're in bed alone!

Imagine crawling into luxurious 500 thread count sheets, resting your head on a set of memory foam pillows, lotion, candles, and soft, fluffy spa towels.

Imagine this and more, then get yourself over to SITS and enter their February contest to win!!

I know I want to win BAD!! And the winner will be drawn on March 1 - my anniversary!! What a perfect anniversary present this would be, even though I never win anyway, I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I Think I Have Given My Blog The Wrong Name

So, I'm starting to think I should have name this blog Adventures in Wrecking My Nest or something like that. The Mr and I were talking last week about getting new living room furniture (none of the furniture matches... or even meshes well together, for that matter.), but after looking around at three or four (or seven) furniture stores and thinking it over some more we came to the conclusion that we could make our bathroom really look the way we want for about the same amount of money. We thought that would be the better option.

What do I want to do in the bathroom? Well, the tile needs to go, the fake tile needs to go, and the sink desperately needs to go. We have talked about what kind of sink to get and whether those fabulous marble tiles might be under the sink cabinet. I was pretty sure that the cabinet was not original to the house and that the tile would be under the cabinet. This morning I decided to sneak (not much sneaking going on in this tiny house, but...) in there and do this:

Yeah, I don't think this cabinet is going to be worth even donating when we are through with it.

Plaster walls... with a big chink in them. Where there is one, there will be more... Ugg, that's going to be a job!

Okay, here we go! I think I can get a view of the flooring now!

Good news!! That picture shows the first layer of linoleum! They must have still had the pedestal or wall mounted sink (which I'm guessing is what was originally installed when the house was built) at that time. So there must be the marble floor underneath.

I'm having visions of the perfect bathroom. And it looks eerily similar to this picture I saw at The Inspired Room. She posted about decorating in black and white not too long ago... and, anyway, here she is:

Isn't she wonderful (I almost typed fabulous, but I think I'm wearing that word out, so I'll let it rest)!! We found a similar sink today, and those are almost my tiles. My heart starts beating a little faster whenever I see this picture!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

My Fireplace: A Tutorial

Maybe you live in a circa 1940 home like I do and you have a "lovely" fireplace that looks like this:

We have lived in this house for almost six years. I have never liked this fireplace. At first all I could think was, "Why would someone paint that stone fireplace?" But then again, I didn't know what was underneath all that bright white high gloss paint (why gloss? why did they have to paint it with gloss???) I dreamed that one day I'd have the money to stucco the thing or strip the paint or move to a new house or something so that I would no longer have to look at this mass of bright white, high gloss piece of ugliness. But I've realized that isn't about to happen anytime soon, so I decided to do something about it. Myself. Without spending a dime. You can do it too!!

First I gathered together all this stuff from around the house:

Paint. (These were paints I had sitting around the basement. The white almond is our kitchen cabinets, the apricot is our dining room walls, the rainforest green is the girls' bedroom walls, the black was house trim, the tan and the gray color in the back were colors I just mixed from those other colors, and the burnt sienna and burnt umber were from a paint set we had.)
Sponge brushes.
Kitchen sponges.
Detail brushes.
Oh, and not pictured, but very important: Sandpaper. And a damp cloth.

The first thing you must do is sand the stones. This doesn't really take the paint off, it just roughs up the surface a bit so the paint will adhere better. After sanding, wipe the stone down with your damp cloth. While you are at it you can pick out the pine needles that got wedged in between the fireplace and the screen thingy when you had your fabulous Christmas garland up for Nester's Garland show and Tell.

Now you are ready to sponge on your base coat:

Pretty hideous, huh? Don't worry! It will look nothing like this when we are finished, I promise! What we are doing right now is giving the stone some depth.

On some stones I added patches of green, like this:

Doesn't it make you want to scream, "GO CANES!" Okay, so maybe it just makes you want to scream...

Next I sponged on some of the browns and it looked like this:

Now it's starting to evolve! I rubbed on some black. See you can still see some of the other layers showing through:

Now we are going to add tan. Remember to start off pretty lightly because you can always add more. The kitchen sponge starts to really come in handy on these later layers. I sponge the paint on with the sponge brush, then dab with the kitchen sponge. Always make sure you are dabbing, otherwise there will be streaks which are not very common in real stones.

Now we go gray. Yes, ladies, sometime going gray is a good thing! I sponge and dab and rub and even use my fingers a little bit to get the paint just how I want it and here is what I end up with:

Don't forget to stop very often! You need to step back and view your progress.

Your stones will evolve even after you think you are done. See those chocolately brown stones? They don't look anything like that now.

Between thinking exactly how I wanted the whole thing to look, researching the internet for ideas on how exactly to do this, getting pictures of stonework, and chasing two kids away from my jars of paint every ten minutes, I was able to do about five stones per day. You will probably be able to get it done much more quickly!

Here is what I have ended up with:
(Note: I still have to seal it so the paint won't stratch off...)

Now I have to figure out what to do with the mantel and trim... But I think I will sit back for a while and enjoy what I have accomplished so far.

I hope you enjoyed my first tutorial!!

Monday, February 2, 2009

We Interupt Our Previously Unscheduled Absence...

First I must apologize for my long absence... I didn't mean to be gone so long I promise!!! I've gotten myself involved in a little project that is taking longer than expected. It's going to make for a good post, though, so stay tuned.

Anyway, if you would have told me yesterday that the groundhog would see his shadow this morning I would have said, "No way!" Yesterday it was a lovely 60 degrees, sunny, and beautiful!! This morning we woke up to this:

My husband was scheduled to be off work anyway today. Yay!! So we all went to the grocery. And no, we aren't those type of people who freak out and run to the grocery every time the weather turns bad. We always go to the grocery at the beginning of the week. Now I was really dreading it because I was sure that it was going to be packed, but it actually wasn't bad at all.

By the time everyone got dressed and we headed out to the car here is what greeted us:

I am so glad the Mr. is home to take the girls out in this, 'cause snow ain't my bag, baby!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Why? Just Tell Me Why.

What could possess someone to cover this up with linoleum??
It's not a perfect job. We need to scrub it, buff it, or something, but who in their right mind could cover this beauty?? I don't care if it does feel cold under your feet - put on some darn socks for crying out loud!!
My husband's answer as to why someone would do that was something like, "Well, if you were drunk this would really make you dizzy!"

I did say that I thought the first layer looked like it was from the sixties or seventies, so maybe they were tripping out on something...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Can We Tear Up This Little House Any More??

Remember my ugly duckling? Well, yesterday I was is the bathroom talking to my husband while he was getting a bath (what, you've never done that?) and some water splashed all over our basket of magazines so I moved it to keep the water from ruining our required reading. Now remember why that basket was so strategically placed? We started looking at the linoleum and got the bright idea that we'd peel up the floor! I knew what was underneath because I had already looked under it in the bathroom closet. There was a loose tile in the closet so I yanked it out and we went to Lowe's to see what it was (I thought maybe it was quartz) and what we needed to fix the floor. It turns out that the tile was marble!! We have marble floors under three layers of linoleum!!

My husband hard at work:

Here the first layer is peeled up and you can see the second layer:

Here is the original marble floor:

This picture is after he ripped the whole top layer of linoleum up.

You can see the bottom layer of linoleum in this picture. I'm guessing it was laid in the 60's or 70's.

I'll keep posting the progress on this project. He started last night and we still have a long way to go!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Sad, Sad Laundry Room

Meet my laundry room.

She's a little sad.
The first reason for her sadness? This thing.

Yep, that's an All jug rigged up and duct taped to the drain pipe. The amount of water the washer shot into the pipe was too much for it to drain fast enough to keep from overflowing, so my husband fashioned his own "reservoir" to try to contain the overflow until it had time to drain. It worked okay...

...but not perfectly, that's why there's that cooler sitting there to catch the rest of the overflow.

Here is what the dryer gets to look at day after day:

By the way, that's what it looks like when it's clean. That puffy yellow stuff? That's called Great Stuff. It's for filling cracks. You spray and it foams up and dries hard as a rock. Maybe I could take a chainsaw to it... Keep an eye out for it throughout this post. I don't know what the deal is with the wall and baseboard being cut off about four inches above the floor. Next to that toilet is a sink and next to that is this:
That's supposed to be a shower.
Here is is from another (blurry) angle:

And here is a head on shot of it:
That green piece of soap in the soap holder? Yeah, that belonged to the previous owners. We've never used this thing for it's intended purpose. Oh, it's comprised of a concrete floor and metal surround. This sucker would take a jackhammer to remove.

And as if you haven't had enough of the shower?
That silver thingy in the upper right hand corner is the shower head. I don't know what kind of water pressure it gets. And I don't know what's up with that two by four wedged up there...

Here we have the lovely brown astroturf that is on the floor in this room.
Those nasty looking stains would be courtesy of our washer. Something about it leaks oil onto the floor.
Here, let me move this baker's rack so you can get a better view of the corner.

Oh, there is that Stuff again and there is that strangeness with the wall and trim cut so far above the floor again.

Well, I understand that you are saying, "Would you shut up about your hideous laundry room already!?" See, there are actually two reasons I brought up the thing. One is I found this blog called Pink and Polka Dot and she is so cute! About a week and a half ago she posted about her laundry room. Let me tell you: I was drooling just over the before photos! But the no-cost after is so stinkin' cute!!

So, what's the other reason I would post this? See, my poor laundry room is now more depressed than ever because now she has to share her nastiness with this:
I'll pardon you with the details about our acquiring this set of fabulousness for today. But I do feel bad to have to put them in this room.

Oh, look at this:
Did you see?? Rather, did you see what's missing?? No more rigged up "reservoir!"!!!!!! The washer uses so little water that we don't need to worry about that anymore!

And now I'm pondering painting the room, see: if that will help... Sorry my little sweethearts!