updating our ugly 80’s powder room

this is the best “before” photo I have (I’m terrible about taking photos since I often just spontaneously jump into a project!)  Check out the groovy oak toilet seat too!

Our powder room lies  nestled in the walk through laundry area off of our garage.  With three Sprouts, you can imagine how frequently this wee bathroom is accessed!  We have aspirations to paint it just to freshen it up, but recently we jumped at the opportunity to have the fixtures replaced (have I mentioned that I have the most awesome father-in-law ever?).  Continue reading

cool kid murals on our (exterior!) walls

Harry Potter on the walls

I’ve always been a fan of open ended play for our Sprouts.  Kids really are happier when left with their imaginations and a few “unformed” items (think sticks, rocks, cardboard boxes, etc.) with which to create rather than “formed” playthings created by adults. Despite the best of adult intentions, these leave less room for imaginative play for the kiddo because the formed plaything, based on an adult’s imagination, guides the child’s play instead of the child being the one driving the bus.  Does that make sense?   This is why we have never, for example, erected things like wooden play castles in our yards (we’ve moved a lot) when the Sprouts were younger.  Of course, the “formed” items gain companies millions of dollars so they are everywhere and the marketers know how to grab a child’s attention so that they think they want that latest toy or gadget.   The fun doesn’t usually last for long though.  In addition, as parents, most of us think that we want things that look Pinterest worthy.  Cardboard boxes and the like don’t necessarily make the cut.

Along those lines, sidewalk chalk is a great and inexpensive “unformed” tool for kids.  Our Sprouts are a bit older now, but my two youngest still tend to enjoy creating with chalk if we give them time and space.  They had a blast yesterday drawing on the walls of the house (stucco starts next week!) and on the deck!  Below are some of their perfectly imperfect creations.

The metal trim is going up slowly but surely.  Its a tedious process because the pieces have to be carefully cut and applied.  The great thing is that we won’t ever have to paint the trim again and the metal won’t react to our extreme variations in temperature throughout the year like wood does.  I’m really pleased with the color as its more neutralized.  The old trim was brown with a good amount of red in it, which made the house look even more dated since reds aren’t really in fashion these days.    The crew is also tackling the rotten parts of the white fiber board, hacking off the bad parts and replacing them with plywood to prep for the stucco guys next week.

our English Tudor remodel: prep work


Embarking on an exterior remodel is a lot like painting a room in that the tedious prep work is what seems to take the most time.  Its not exactly what you’d call the glamorous side of the project!  The crew has been meticulously pulling off our gutters and the old rotting boards at our roof line and applying fresh new wood so that the metal for the soffit and fascia will have a solid surface to which it can adhere.  They’ve been braving temps in the high 90s as well as the cold front that came through (and along it the 55-60 mph winds).  Work actually ceased when the high winds came through because the area at the back of the house is like a tunnel and it was too dangerous for them to be up on the ladders working. Continue reading

a delightful hideous mess


Our curb appeal went from bad to worse these past two days as the crew started ripping off the Tudor style boards.  Most of it was rotting and beneath the boards was even more yuck.  Its really a delightful hideous mess!  It was suddenly obvious where the 1980s contractor cut corners, so there is going to be a bit more prep work than originally anticipated.   Isn’t that always the case with remodeling?

Here is the house right before the crew began working:


I guess it doesn’t really look so bad until you get up close and personal.  A lot of work was completed on Day 1: Continue reading



Most building projects don’t go as planned, do they?   Whether its a DIY project or one professionally orchestrated, there is always at least one glitch.  We hit our first one at the end of the first day.  Thankfully it was only a minor inconvenience.  The crew was clearing away old cables and wires attached to the back of the house.  Stuff that hasn’t been used for at least a decade.  They accidentally snipped one good one though, so we didn’t have internet access until yesterday afternoon.  We enjoyed a spontaneous computer and WiFi fast for twenty four hours!

our English Tudor remodel is about to begin!


It is really amazing to me that we have lived in this 1980s English Tudor for over four years.  How did that happen? Oh yeah.  We have three Sprouts that keep us on our toes.  Fun times to be sure!

When we purchased the house, it already had holes and rips in it.  The exterior is basically some sort of textured particle board that some genius thought would be an economical solution to stucco.  So, we have a lovely patch on the front of the house that is peeling and then several holes and rips on mostly the back side.  The silver lining on this dark cloud is that we’ve had a great backdrop for some rockin’ Halloween parties the past few years!  And, over all, the house does have a lot of charm despite its current disheveled appearance.  Continue reading

amazing abeego


I think that a great majority of us moms are constantly on the look out for environmentally friendly lunchbox storage items and accessories.  There are so many more products on the market these days.  And, just like parenthood, you kind of have to find what works for your family through trial and error.  For example, I can’t tell you how many eco-friendly water bottles we have tried out through the years!

For the past three years. I’ve packed our three Sprouts’ lunches using lunchskins sandwich bags.  I’ve been incredibly pleased with how they’ve held up and they seem to retain freshness well.  At least, the kids always eat their sandwiches and never complain about dry bread.  Which is huge seeing that we live in the high desert.

One member of our family, however (ahem), is a bit more particular about his sandwich freshness!  He has the right to be, though, since he bakes our sandwich bread from scratch every weekend.  (All of the wives on my husband’s side of the family are so fortunate and we count our lucky stars for marrying into a family where my father-in-law baked bread for his boys and then taught them to bake bread as well!  His recipe rocks our world.)  Anyways, since the lunchskins don’t float my hubby’s boat, I did some research and found abeego.  This stuff is amazing!  They’ve been around for a while, so maybe you’ve already heard of them.  It keeps food incredibly fresh.  We’ve used it several times and even my hubby admits that it works.  It does take some getting used to as the beeswax is a bit stiff until its been broken in by several uses.  The large size works well for a regular sammie and can also be used for other food items or to cover a bowl.   If you’re concerned about cutting down or completely eliminating your family’s sandwich bag usage, go check them out!



P.S. this blog does not feature affiliate partners, so any products mentioned are mentioned because I find them useful, well designed, or both!