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Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Kitchen Cabinets Sneak Peek!

Hello everyone! I shall no longer leave all of you hanging….while our kitchen is not yet fully finished I’ll give you a peak into what has been happening! Brace yourselves…

TA-DA!!!!

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Aren’t they beautiful???

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I’m utterly in love with our wine cabinet, it’s like an art piece!

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Here is where our fridge will go; since taking this picture we have picked up and installed our fridge…it’s glorious lol.

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We are still waiting on our actual countertops; for now the cabinet installers just put some MDF board down as a temporary fix. We are hoping to get our quartz countertops next week! (You can read here about our decision to go with Quartz.)

It has definitely been a busy few weeks what with a small holiday to Calgary, getting our kitchen back in order, and preparing for Christmas but slowly our kitchen is coming back together and our house is getting a bit more orderly.

I’ll be doing a full write up and debut of our cabinets, and countertops, once everything is finished in a few weeks; including our review of how everything went with the installers and Kokanee Peaks, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!

For now however I think I’ll be taking a slight break from blogging until January so I can just focus on the personal side of things and get life fully back in order and functioning properly, but I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, and a wonderful start to your New Year!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

2014 Christmas Advent Calendar!

Hi everyone! I was really hoping to share with you a final kitchen post however our cabinets keep getting delayed…they were supposed to start installing them on Monday but now it’s not starting till Friday. Sigh.

So! Since I can’t blog with you about that I thought we might start to get into the spirit of Christmas and I’d share with your our list of Christmas advent activities that we will be doing this year!

Last year I created a sock garland with the kid’s old socks, and I put a sticker along with a piece of paper stating an activity for that day. The kids then took the sticker and put it on a calendar I printed out, so as to better count down the days! You can see that post here.

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This year I will be doing the same thing however I thought I would share with you my list of activities that I have created for the children!

Last year I had found a bunch of Christmas books at a garage sale for really cheap, so on some of the days I had those wrapped up for the children to open. This year I couldn’t find anything like that, so instead I have decided to throw in a few chocolates on various days that we will be busy and I’m not sure what sort of “activity” we will be able to do.

Advent Calendar

Below is an explanation to some of our activities, along with links to some of our references!

4. Bird feeders will be toilet paper tubes with peanut butter and bird seed
7. Christmas tree waffle breakfast will be a circular waffle cut into 4 triangles, stacked to look like a tree with bacon for the trunk and berries for the ornaments!
8. Popsicle snowflakes can be found here, courtesy of Jenny at Beyond our Wildest Dreams
9. Christmas paper plate wreath is a paper plate with a circle cut out of the middle to form a wreath, then the kids can glue on red and green tissue paper.
12. Candy cane playdough is regular red playdough with peppermint extract ;)
14. Sugar cone ice cream trees – purchase sugar cones, flip upside down, decorate with green icing and m&ms or skittles for ornaments! Not quite as daunting of a project as a house!
15. Pipe cleaner candy canes – Thread pony beads onto pipe cleaners and bend into a candy cane.
16. Pinecone Christmas trees – Pinecones with glued on pom poms for ornaments.
17. Plant a candy cane can be found here, courtesy of Growing a Jeweled Rose blog.
18. Cookie cutter pizzas – Cut pizza dough (Pillsbury if your crunched for time) into Christmas shapes, let the kids have fun decorating their own pizzas.
19. Hand print snowmen – Have kids stamp their hands on paper with paint, then draw little snowmen on each finger.
23. Q-tip paintings idea can be found here, with link to the original blog here.

I hope some of these ideas inspire you for creating your own advent calendar with your children! Do you have any particular crafts or ideas you love to do with your kids every December??

P.S. Fingers crossed our kitchen comes in time <3

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Kitchen Reno–Mudding, Floors, and Paint!

Our kitchen is finally in the finishing stages! We are now just waiting on our cabinets to come in, which sadly keep getting delayed. Fingers crossed we will have them in on Monday!! I might actually skip posting next week for a little holiday, and hopefully I will be back on the 19th with a finished kitchen post!!

Today, however, I’m going to press fast forward on our renovation while singing you a little song about our walls…

”First comes drywall”

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“Then comes primer!”

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“Then comes gray, in a little paint can”

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Ta-da!!!

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It really is so surreal that just over 2 weeks ago we were, roughly, looking at this (minus the tile floors that got torn up last Christmas)…

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Speaking of floors! Last week I left off that we had to screw down the U-Lay plywood in the kitchen which I got to help with!

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First you tapped all the screws into place with your hammer, then you got to drill them in! This process definitely made me a lot less afraid of operating the power drill! Oh, and I just had to share this pic because I loved how my nails matched my hammer ;)

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We also got around to pulling up the subfloor in the dining room; this had to be done so that all the floors would be even….sadly their was a nice surprise underneath; because why wouldn’t there be tile under the subfloor after all this house has thrown us?

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Regardless, we unscrewed the large 3 sheets of plywood, carried it out of there and then just left the tile as is. We did scrape off the edges that were lifting, but the rest of the tile was so stuck on it would be impossible to remove it all so we didn’t even try.

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And now we sit, and wait (with our fingers crossed), that our cabinets arrive soon!! We did, however, go pick up our new stove and set that up, so I think we will resume some regular cooking because slow cooker meals are getting old – I miss french toast!!!

What foods would you miss the most if you had to go without cooking? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Kitchen Reno Phase 2.5–Demolition & Drywall!

Welcome back everyone! This week I’ll be talking about the double D’s…calm yourself fellas, I’m not talking about boobs, I mean demolition and drywall!

First we commenced with tearing up the floors! Last week I left off with having torn down the ceilings and pulled up the laminate floor in the dining room. (I’ll be linking to all previous posts at the end of this one.)

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Now Charles got to tear up the old hardwood in the kitchen and lay down U-Lay plywood floors. I took the kids out of the house for this so pictures are a bit fewer and farther between, my apologies.

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Ta da!!! These still eventually need to be screwed down even more, but we’ll be waiting till a weekend when we can both tackle it together since it’s a very long, arduous, and noisy process that can’t be done while the kids nap lol.

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At some point Charles also completely tore down the side wall, and filled in all the cracks with expanding foam. Because they had just built over the exterior wall there was a ton of gaps that was causing drafts to get into the house; hence why that side of the house was always so much colder!! Our heating bill should, thankfully, be a bit easier on our wallet now!

Next up was the drywall! This part I also got to help with although I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the demolition hehe. Lifting heavy sheets up to the ceiling, placing them, and screwing them isn’t exactly my forte! Charles did most of the heavy lifting and holding, but we did have a prop that I would set in place once the sheet got lifted up, to hold the drywall while Charles screwed it in place. It took a while for us to get in the swing of things but once we did it wasn’t all that bad.

This is our prop!

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First sheet up!

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Boom! Here you can also see some of that expanding foam I was talking about; it created some nifty stalactites hahaha.

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After the dining room came the kitchen; that room was definitely harder as the ceiling was about 2 feet higher than the dining room! Luckily to start, at least, we had our friend Skyler, the electrician, who offered to help us out while he was wiring our kitchen!

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Press fast-forward andddd….BOOM! (Sorry for the terrible picture quality, yikes)

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Now for a few other random things…we’ll start with our air conditioner! It’s now gone and patched up! Sadly, Charles didn’t get any photos of the process, but after much effort to bring the thing out gently Charles got frustrated and just shoved it and it crashed to the yard below outside hahaha. (“This is Sparta!!!” anyone??). He then patched up the hole, stuffed some insulation into it, and covered it with drywall.

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Next is the chimney…ah our chimney. We had/have big dreams for this….being that in our attic and downstairs the brick is exposed, we had hoped if we removed the drywall covering it we would be left with a beautiful brick chimney we could clean up and paint, just like our attic. Disappointment. They actually covered it with plaster before they drywalled it!!! No clue why they painted lines on half of it…

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We then hoped we could break the plaster off but, disappointment there too, as this chunk missing is after like…10 blows from a hammer lol.

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So, back up plan! We still really, really want this to be a neat architectural detail in our kitchen; I refuse to just paint over it and have this dumb wall jut! Thus we have been looking into various tile and stone, and actually found some really nice stacked stone tile that we can apply over it by Norstone. Basically, you just apply your mortar and stick the stones to it, stacked on top of each other. We’re not 100% certain if this is the exact route we will take but it’s definitely the look we are going for! We love their white rock panels.


Photo courtesy of Norstone USA

Of course that is an added expense that’s not in the budget so it will have to wait till a later date but eventually we will get around to it, and we will share all the deets with you when we do! For now we get to stare at an ugly, half painted faux brick chimney hahahhaa.

Now share with me your pity stories, what major inconveniences have you encountered with old houses? I’d love to hear all about them!! Next week I will be back to share with you our mud/taping adventures and maybe even some paint on our walls ;) Working on that this weekend!!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Kitchen Reno Phase 2–Demolition!!!!

Dun Dun Dunnnnnn DEMOLITION!!!!! Needless to say this was one of my super favourite parts of this reno; particularly because I got to help! Let’s just say that this Thanksgiving I was thankful that I got to spend the day wielding a sledgehammer to our kitchen walls, muahahaha….and yes, this was how we spent our Thanksgiving day, although we did go to Charles parents’ place for dinner after which I was also VERY thankful for!

Here’s our naive before picture…or maybe I was just naive, and Charles was just being Charles hahaha….darn demolition is really hard work, fun yes, but hard….

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And you can’t forget, safety first!

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Here’s a line up of some of our weapons of mass destruction…from left to right, a chisel, a crowbar, a burke bar, and a wonder bar! Also not shown is a hammer, and yes, we had a pink one hehe.

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Action shot!!!!

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Let the demolition commence! We are slowly phasing out our various styles of ceilings in this house (I swear we have like 5 different kinds) and switching it all to drywall. The sad part is their lath and plaster underneath whatever style it is which makes this one messy job! Also their was one wall in the kitchen that was panelling over top of lath and plaster that had to come down, which we will get to shortly. (That’s where a lot of my sledgehammer fun came in! hehe )

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First tile down!!!

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The wonder bar was taking to long so we recruited the burke bar and those bad boys didn’t stand a chance!!!

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Do you find it odd I want to start playing “Let The Bodies Hit The Floor” by Drowning Pool? Maybe I enjoyed this a touch to much….

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Now for round 2! The lath and plaster…yuck. Tearing this stuff down was extremely difficult and made for some very sore arms; just getting started involved some very heavy smashing to finally expose the laths.

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Cue the sledge hammer!

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Once the laths were exposed we made “fast”, dirty work of the ceiling, using a crowbar to pull down the laths which caused a lot of the plaster to come with it. This was where our respirators were very, very crucial.

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Break for lunch! *elevator music plays* then commence some very fun sledgehammer action on the wall!

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The next victim to our mass destruction was the dining room ceiling which was some foam board; due to the dining room being an addition there was no lath and plaster there, and all the walls were already drywall that will just need to be patched in some areas. (And yes, we are tearing out that old air conditioner!)

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Last of the day was that little island!

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And boom! Shocker! Stucco siding….like seriously??? Gotta love old houses! After some thought we came to the conclusion that there must have been a door and a window on the exterior wall of the old house, and they decided to just frame around where the window was and stick the counter on top, and make the doorway the new pass through to the dining room….sigh.

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And behind that stucco? Joy of joys! Shingles lol

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Time to bust out the reciprocating saw and cut that bad boy down!! Another day Charles completely removed that wall, and then just added in a beam to make sure it was sturdy, although in technicality it was not a load-bearing wall.

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Oh what a mess….

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Check out our trash piles outside hahahaha. Renting a garbage bin would have been very practical, but because we are doing this in stages and we didn’t want to rent one for more than just a day, we will just rent one at the end of this all…or perhaps come spring lol.

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Our beautiful, dusty after shot hahaha.

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And after much picking up, shovelling, sweeping, and vacuuming….here is what we were left with! During the clean up phase we also pulled up all the laminate flooring that was in the dining room.

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Next week I’ll share with you the rest of the demolition that Charles did later on – involving tearing up the kitchen floor, dealing with the chimney, and the commencement of drywall!

How did all of you spend your Thanksgiving? Have any of you ever wielded a sledgehammer or burke bar? If not you most certainly have to put it on your bucket list ;)

P.S. Did you miss out on phase 1 of our kitchen reno? If so you can check it out here! You can also check out what we plan to do with our kitchen here.