Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Everybody's Doing It.

I can't say this is a universal truth or anything,
but it is my experience that a kitchen backsplash gets really old really quick.
Well, at least loud backsplashs like mine.  My good friend did a similiarish one too and told me she was sick of it after a month.
Here, stare at my bum for a minute while we talk.
Oh, GAH, I am sooo not ready to get back to hoodie weather.  I wear them day and night all winter.  I'm cold-blooded.  Ask my kids.
So, I was kind of over this backsplash a couple years ago.  And I feel guilty about it.  Except I don't all at the same time since they were clearanced to .99 so hello I spent a total of what, like $15? 
And then,
to add fuel to the fire and pour salt in the wound, when I was working on our "other" house (stiillll thankful I just have my house to worry about, sidenote),  I paid to have subway tile put in during the kitchen reno.
It was like I was jealous.  Oddly jealous. 
But I had no idea subway tiles were so cheap!  Did you know they were so cheap?  I didn't know they were so cheap.  And everyone's doing it!  And I still like it.
And so out came the hammers and the spackle knives and the prybars, and within two hours of hammering and sweeping and vacuuming up dust, the kitchen looked like this. 
Don't talk about my maple cabinets like I'm not here! Honestly, and I don't care what the masses say, I like maple. I do. They're staying for a while. Indefinitely. I have no idea what I'd even change them to right now-- I really don't.  Don't say to paint them white, because my husband might punch someone in the face.
I'd like to thank my great AWESOME neighbor buddy who remembered that I said I was starting this little project and showed up, without being asked, with her own tools.  Who even does that kind of awesomeness?  I started on one end and she started on the other and we worked our way in until we were bumping butts and finished with that corner.
Obvs, I had to skim coat the entire area and let that dry,
and then I got to work.  I was freaking determined to make sure my kitchen wasn't torn apart while I took my sweet time-- got this shiz done in one day.  Start to finish.  Which is kind of cheating on drying time and why don't you tell on me.
It's like a whole new kitchen, and I love it.  You know how monochromatic I am, so I'm thinking this is more me.  Subway tile's actually easier than the mosaics, so virtual high five.

 And um, I hope the hubs likes it too.  Was it strategic that I got it all done before he came home?


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Armory.

We never got around to talking about that little thing I did on the other side of the playroom for all my boys.
No, we didn't talk about it, and it will all make sense in due time.
Just as a little reminder,
I did this for my daughter on one side.
On the other side, the boys got,
Few things about the armory--
- I thought this was such an awesome, simple idea.
-This is/was a hit, but you're detecting a big "but", and rightly so.
-All these pictures are awful, because they're in the dank, dark, basement.
-If you're a parent who finds children playing with pretend weapons offensive, then you've probably suffered a massive coronary and are no longer with us.
-All my kids and their friends ever want to play with is weapons, and that's why I thought a wall 'o guns was a good idea.
-Have you ever cleaned up a bathroom that's had a dozen boys using it for like, 2 days?  There are no freaking words.  It's like this massive urine cocktail that you'll never really get over.
-If you live in my hood and you had a Nerf gun for your son, it's at my house.
-This is only half the guns currently in this house, and an eighth of the swords we have, and I just gave up on even finding the swords or putting them all away.
A good friend and neighbor made me this sign,
and I love her for it. 
And getting to the big "BUT"--
the sign is the only dang thing that stays on the wall for any amount of time.  It's like this wall calls to male children-- begging them to come pretend blow someone away.
Thus, 2/3 of the wall is always empty, and I can't keep it stocked.  And it's annoying to keep it stocked. 
But hey, at least the boys are being active.  I'm a glass half-full kind of gal.  From time to time.

Monday, September 1, 2014

And Just Like That, It Was Over.

I'm in deep mourning--
because to me, Labor Day is the end of summer.  Doesn't summer, feel, just over? 
"Danny?  Is this end?"
"Of course not.  It's only the beginning."
Yeah I quote Grease every single year at the end of the summer.  Even I think it's getting old.
But guess what?  All my kids are in school. 
I'm gonna let that sink in for just a minute. . .
yeah.  You heard me.  Even my little Strawberry Shortcake here is in school.
Shhhhhh!  Don't tell. . . I was really sad when my boys went back to school.  BUT I was happy, nay, excited for little Scarlet O'Hara here to start.  She was so excited to go, and plus while she's super crazy fun, she's also super crazy with wanting to constantly be doing something.  She wore me out.
But you didn't hear that from me.  Repeat that and I'll call you a liar to your face.
But back to summer, because I'm still lamenting.

I says to the hubs,
"We only have 13 total summers left with any kids in our house.  That's IT.  Can you believe that?"
Hubs: "13, huh.  Seems like a lot of summers to me.  It's not like the kids just die once they're adults, hon."
I don't even know who you are, anymore.
Mind if I tell you how I was feeling this summer?  A big, grievous error on my part, if you will.

We did some cool stuff.  We did.   But I felt like I was constantly repacking our driving garbage can.  Constantly heading back to the store to spend $100 on bags of air to eat and filling coolers up for a trip.  And it was neat-o that we got all close and personal with our family tent 'n all,
but it was too much.  Just a little. 
Summers should be calm.  Chill.  Sipped slowly like a fine non-alcoholic beverage.  More night games.  Less running about in the car.
So I've learned my lesson.  The kids' summer is short enough as it is. 

Also, gratuitous sidenote:
my sister and I learned to drive a boat this summer.  Because it's sooo hard.  Shuddup.

And this picture proves that I need to drop and give ya 20 any time I can.  I wanna reach over and just jiggle my own arm in this pic.  Or just poke myself with my index finger and say "Heehee!" Like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.
We did do some fun, caaaallm things this summer, too.  And just to show the neighbors that I am, indeed, nutso, out to lunch, cray cray, and so on,
I had this great idea to do a treasure hunt for the boys in the hood.  I'm talking, lots of clues, lots of ground to cover, X marks the spot, dig up the treasure chest. . . the whole she-bang.
Like "Goonies" right?  I mean, right? 
I probably had more fun putting it together then they had doing the hunt.
I teased my boys and was all,
"Okay, you have to be a character from the movie."
I was just kidding.  Being a dork.  It's what moms do.
Jamison's like,
"Well, okay.  You're Chunk."
You don't kick a woman when she's down, son.  Obviously, you're Mouth.  Ya little buttmunch.

Monday, August 25, 2014

So I'm Over It.

I tole ya I was totally bugged about my new little backyard patio.

I still am, if I think of all the stupid, crappy things the guy I hired did over here.  I hadn't been this disappointed since Episode I.

But ya know--

the guy's not coming back.  He's been paid.  Jeffro and I will probably never hire anything out ever again.  Either we'll do it or it's never getting done.

And ya know, a couple of y'alls smarty pantses left me a comment and told me to use it.  Get it all soot-y and lived in, and enjoy it.  You're soooo, sooo right. 

"Tell your sister. . . you were right. . . "

Sorry.  Watched the Star Wars Trilogy real recently.  ANYWHO,

We had lots of loved family over.  And lots of loved friends over, too.

And we grilled delicious meats, and roasted lots of weiners, and toasted lots of marshmallows, half dressed,

and now I'm okay with it.  I'm over it.  I love the new space.  I wish it twould have been done better.

We could still talk about all the dumb, asinine stuff that got done,

but you know what?

Let's say we did, and then don't.

Because like I said, I'm over it.  And if later, I decide I'm NOT over it, then Jeffro and I will get our buns out there and change things up a bit.

Speaking of changing things up a bit--

we got out there and did a whole lot more.

Made a couple trips for some flagstone pieces,

and put 'em in for a pathyway from the deck to the firepit patio.


a pathway leading out to my side yard, too.  You know, you think in your head that it'll just take a couple minutes to put those stepping stones in the ground.  Not so.  They take an annoying while to get in there and properly leveled.  15 steps of obnoxiousness.

Between you and me, I'm pretty darned excited to get a fire going and sit in the hot tub while the fire crackles nearby.  It sounds cozy and kind of exciting.

We also took down the grill from the deck (holy congestion, Batman), dug out a spot of grass, and laid some more flagstone for it's very own grilling area.  (It really is far enough from the house-- although it sure doesn't look like it in this picture.)

I have dug out soooo much grass this year.  My arms and back should look amazing.  They don't.  But they should.

I've googled and pinterested all kinds of ideas to make this grill area look really purposeful and fabulous, but am coming up dry.  Toying with a stainless steel shelf above it. . . still thinking.


we dug out even more grass and made a few flower beds.  These flower beds are strategic-- nothing grew well here, and it was hard to mow so close to the house.  It's a win-win. 

I grew these zinnias all by myself with 10 cent seeds.  I'm so proud. 

So are we done here?

Yes. No.

Maybe for this season, we're done.  But we've got more plans.  Many, many more plans.  Some trees to line the fence, quite possibly some more beds for shrubs--

but let's do a complete before and after. 



Yeah.  Our yard is small.  We're doing what we can with it.  To quote Jeffro,

"We're polishing a turd."

Well, I have no intentions of moving right now, or ever, so I'll keep on polishing.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Stuff I've Learned From Rich People's Houses.

Last year was my first Parade of Homes experience.  I was a parade newb.  And I loved it so.

 This was in last year's parade, and it is still the home of my dreams.

None of the houses this year beat this house.  Not even close.  But I'll let you know if I find a winner in the future.
Allow me to discuss my findings on rich people's homes, won't you?  I've taken the liberty of dividing my notes into three categories:
1.  Trends I see
2.  Unique stuff
3.  Things Mandi must absolutely have one day
Let us begin.
Did you know that rich people have at least 3 washer and dryers?
I believe I counted four different washer sets in the biggest house I visited this time around.  Do you see that this one is tucked into the master closet?!?!  HELLO.  That is. . . that is amazingly lazy.  I love it.
Butler pantries.  Oh.My.Stars. I want a butler pantry.  I don't mean to be all Captain Obvious! on y'all,
but an extra fridge in the pantry?  I die.
Kids' playrooms.  Usually in awkward spaces.  I saw a lot a that.
This awesome house had a boys' playroom,
and a girls' playroom.  Side by side.
This one even had a door inside it that led to the little girl's bedroom.  Get my smelling salts.
Also?  Jack and Jill bathrooms.  Almost every single house had one.
Brick.  I love brick.  This brick is on the ceiling.   That's fairly unique I'd say.
Most unique wall treatment I saw:
Don't like it at all.  But props for creativity.
Check out this bathroom:
Love the wainscoting, and that's a tile mosaic in between the moulding pieces.  Interesting, n'est pas?
Mmkay.  So this is a pantry.  See the Oompa Loompa door?
It leads to the garage so you can easily slide your groceries directly in.  Coolness, right?  I can only begin to imagine the kind of sick and twisted games my kids would pull with that little door if it were in our house.
If I were to build, and I never would, because I know the second I decided on something, I'd change my mind, but ANYWHO--
if I were to build, my shower would absolutely have to be doorless.  And it would have to have 2 showerheads.  Two people showering together.  That's so kinky.
This isn't particularly something I MUST HAVE, it's just more something I believe should be a hard-set decorating rule--
all small spaces and nooks should have built in window seats no one ever really sits in.  They just should.  It's not the law, but it might as well be.
And last, but certainly not least--
I neglected to take a picture of nothing more than this beautiful tub, but just know, that I consider to be thee lap of luxury, and having "made it" in life, is the presence of a TV just for the master bathtub.
I've always wanted a TV near my tub. . . sigh.  Hey Jeffro!  Your wife is calling!  She wants a TV she'll only use 2 times or so a year near the tub!
Thanks for taking this tour with me.  I'd like to thank the Daddy-o and my great friend Rochelle for getting lost with me all around town looking for homes because I'm the last human alive without a smart phone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

A Woman's Garage Is Her Own Business.

I believe if you were to ask a neighbor what my garages looked like as they drove past, they'd describe it something along the lines of,
"Sawdust.  Lots and lots of sawdust.  Wood, like everywhere.  Cars can barely fit in there-- just. . . massive explosion of crap."
Tough. But fair.

Hubs used to refer to parking the cars as, "threading the needle."  It was that tight.
Dudes, I got on my horse, and I cleaned this thing.  Again.  (Is this my 3rd declaration of a garage cleanse?  I believe so.)
But you know what's different this time? 
I know where every.single.thing is.  I organized the crap out of the entire area.  And it took me forever, but it was so satisfying.
Hot tub stuff? 
Gathered from the four corners of the earth.
Seeds.  Contained.
Spray paint.  Banned from future purchases.
Tape.  Any type.  I got it.
Hammers.  I had no idea we had this many hammers.  Hey Jeffro, we can stop buying hammers now.
Oh, oh!  This is one of my favorites:
I complain that I spend half my working time searching for the proper tools.  Main items constantly disappearing? 
1.  A tape measurer
2.  A pencil
3.  Eye/ear protection
Boom.  One container.  It's all it takes.

Can we all see how not knowing where stuff is just leads to buying it over and over and over???
I have a wall of levels and squares now.  Hee.
Holy hardware.

I told the hubster not to go anywhere near the hardware aisle without consulting "the drawers" first.

Going through mounds and mounds of hardware took me the longest by far, but it was sooo worth it.  It's like a miracle.  I can walk straight to anything I need now--

plumbing crap?  There's a crate for that.  Electrical, too.  Glue, yard chemicals, outdoor toys, balls, you name it--

I can find it.  I'm so happy I could cry.

Notice I'm not showing you the bigger picture.  To the layman's eyes, it's still cats and dogs living together in here, mass hysteria.

But we know better, don't we?  And if I can't display old license plates out in the garage, where can one display their plates? 

Hey.  If you have an old license plate lying around, could I talk you into sending it to me?  I'd love to collect some.  I don't want to put you out, though.  I don't want it to cost a lot or anything.

So I love it in my "new" garage.  It's so refreshing. 

But just know that the lumber pile is still completely out of control.  I'm working on it.

Do me a favor and ask me if I have what you need before you go to the lumber yard, okey dokey?