Apr 16, 2014

Kitchen remodel decisions.

Well.  Looks like I'm back with another installment of "Devan Can't Make Kitchen Remodel Decisions to Save Her Life."  (I'll work on a catchier name for that).

Since my last post about decisions that needed to be made, I hadn't made much headway on our remodel plans.  The builder we had lined up encountered some health issues and put the plans on hold.  So I decided to take a break from looking at kitchens.  Backsplashes, countertops, paint colors....they were all starting to make my head spin.

We received the good news this week that our builder is cleared to work and he'll be starting next week on our kitchen.  [cue freak out mode].  Now, I have to start making decisions.

I thought I had settled on the countertop and colors of the upper and lower cabinets.  Remember these?

I thought these were solid locks when it came to choices for the kitchen.

Until Marty and I went to Lowe's to look at kitchen sinks.

You should know before I start this story that, when I think of my absolute "Dream Kitchen," it includes a white farmhouse, apron front sink.  You should also know that white farmhouse sinks can cost from $700 and up.  After researching a few options online, I decided that a farmhouse sink was definitely not happening unless 1.  We wanted to go into massive debt over a sink (not an option).  or 2.  Marty won the lottery (he doesn't even play).  Goodbye, beautiful sinks.
Hellllloooo beautiful.

I had pretty much resigned myself to brushed nickel/silver looking sinks.  Ugh.  Not my favorite, but I guess I could get a single basin sink, or somehow make it...prettier?  Idk.

So, we walk in Lowe's last night.  And I see WHITE CAST IRON DROP IN SINKS.  Not apron front, but still white. I didn't even know this was an option.  I'm in love.  Our current sink is only 7 inches deep.  This one is 9.625 inches deep.  HUGE difference.

I was ready to load it in the cart and leave.  Until I got out my paint samples and countertop choice.  And I started thinking......a white sink, with off white cabinets and possibly a light/tan/off white backsplash?  This sounds like a disaster.  

So, I started looking around at some of the options.  While they did have the standard silver colored sinks, they also had some really dark colored sinks too.  Black and some dark grey looking ones.  "That could work, right?"  

I finally decided on a single basin dark grey granite sink (pictured below).  And I thought that was that.  

Until I got home.  

I could not stop thinking about that white cast iron sink.  It's *close* to the farmhouse sink of my dreams.  No, it's not an apron front, but it IS white.  And country-feeling.  And I'm obsessed with it.  I wanted that sink.  I was not married in any way to the "Burnished Clay" color of the upper cabinets.  It made little sense to base my decisions around a cabinet color that could be changed easily. 

So, white cast iron sink it is.  One decision now made.  

Now, to rethink the color options.  

Instead of the Burnished Clay for the upper cabinets, I'm now thinking white. 

Juniper Berries (by Behr) on the bottom cabinets, White (whatever paint color works best) on the upper cabinets, Wilsonart Laminate 4550K-01 countertops, Kohler Hartland white cast iron double basin sink.  

Whoa.  Four decisions made. 

Now, the backsplash remains.  Marty and I have decided to wait on it.  Once everything is in our kitchen and we can look at all the elements together (I'm a visual person, 100%), then we'll make a decision on what looks best in the space between the countertops and cabinets (it's a pretty small amount of space anyway....we're talking less than foot probably).  For now though, I'm realllllllllly leaning towards a beadboard backsplash. 

(I originally saw the idea on thriftydecorchick.blogspot.com--my newest design blogger obsession).  

It's original, it's simple, it's clean, it's SO much cheaper than a tile or stone option.  I'm really, really loving this look.  My only hesitation is that it might be too much white with the white cabinets and white sink.  So, we wait until it's all installed and make a decision from there.

I'm actually getting excited about this.

***Next day update from my husband***
Marty just texted to let me know that he talked to a plumber friend of his.  We might not have the room under the sink for the 9.625 inch deep cast iron sink, depending on how our under the sink plumbing is set up.  I may cry.  If you ever hear me say I want to build a house, punch me in the face.  You have my permission.

Apr 14, 2014

Busy But Crafty Monthly Challenge: Take Two.

So, there was this one time that I paired up with Sarah, over at Year of Sarah Blog, and we decided that we were going to create a monthly craft challenge link up party.  We had big visions in our heads of people getting excited and putting their little crafty fingers and brains to work and then, eventually, linking up with us at the end of the month to show us their amazing creations.

Yeah, that didn't happen.

What DID happen was, Sarah and I created the craft challenge, posted the link up party.....and we were the only two participants.  [cue embarrassed blogger blushing here]

But!  We're determined to get this thing off the ground and gain more participants.  That's why, for April, your monthly craft challenge is:

Do you have an awesome homemade wreath for your front door?  We wanna see it!

Did you go non-traditional and are decorating your door with something other than a wreath?  We wanna see it!

Did you make something that sits beside your door and makes your entire front porch look fabulous?  We wanna see it!

Seriously.  Share it all....from door hangers, to door knockers, even to a wreath you made for your kid's birthday party.  We'll be posting the party link up on Friday, April 25th and it'll be live until May 2nd.

And I'm not above begging.....please, please, PUH-LEASE join us this time??

Apr 3, 2014

Gluten and caffeine free update.

A lot of people have asked me how my gluten free/caffeine free journey is going.  So, I thought, instead of responding to every person, I'd just blog about it.

Life without caffeine: 


I love my caffeine.  I feel so drained when I don't have my Dr. Pepper in the morning.  I don't know if it really was the caffeine making me energized, or if it was all in my head.  Either way, I'm dragging.  If you add no caffeine, with no carbs from the gluten free diet (no carbs=no energy), and I'm struggling to make it through the day.  Good news though, I haven't had really bad headaches.  I've been off caffeine for two weeks now, and I've only had one unbearable caffeine withdraw headache.  The rest of the time, my head was sore, but nothing like what I was expecting.  What I WASN'T expecting was how badly I would crave Dr. Pepper.  Right now, I haven't had a drink of a Dr. Pepper in two weeks, and I'd still love one.  I thought it wouldn't take long at all before I stopped missing my morning fizzy drink.  Not true.  I've had very intense cravings for a Coke.  It's starting to subside....a little.  My problem is, I don't feel any better after cutting off the caffeine---because I substituted my Dr. Peppers with Sprites.  Goal for this week?  Get rid of ALL sodas.

Gluten-free living. 

Get ready for a rant, friends, because I'm just going to say it:  being gluten free SUCKS.  I hate it so much.  Do I feel better?  Yes.  Absolutely.  I'm not having any pain whatsoever, which proves to me that my problem was, without a doubt, gluten.  I'm intolerant.  That part is great.

Here's all the parts I severely dislike about being gluten free.

1.  I have NO energy.  No caffeine to wake me up and no carbs in my diet equal a very, very, VERY tired me.  I'm taking a multivitamin and a B-12 complex vitamin to try to give me more energy, but it's not working very well.  As soon as I get home, I want to sleep immediately.   I barely have energy to make it through the day without wanting to fall asleep at lunchtime.  I've got to figure out a fix to this.  Someone mentioned eating more complex carbs.  I'll say this:  eating gluten free is not something you do willy-nilly.  It takes a LOT of planning.  Which brings me to...

2.  Gluten free living is not something you just decide to do.  It's HARD.  If I'm running errands on my lunch break, I cannot just swing through McDonalds and grab myself something to eat.  In fact, I can count on one hand all the fast food places in my town that have gluten free options for an entire meal (meaning, they have more items to choose from than just salad dressings and fries that are GF).  Same thing goes for being at home.  I can't just look in my freezer and pop in a frozen pizza or throw together a sandwich if I'm hungry and want something quick.  Eating gluten free requires a lot of preparation and thought.  And I'm not that kind of person when it comes to eating every single night.

3.  Going out to eat with me is a pain in the butt. It's a lot of "Where can you eat?" questions. I am a fundamental people pleaser to my very core. The idea of picking a restaurant for 7 people to eat at, and possibly dislike, just because I picked it, sends me into panic mode. Once a restaurant is picked, I'm always the last to decide what I want because I'm busy googling every item on the menu to see what the ingredients are in the dish and if I can have it. I'm a pain. Even I don't like eating with me.

4.  I'm fat.  Please, don't start jumping all over me.  Let me explain.  My stomach is feeling better.  I'm not in pain, I'm not running to the bathroom, I'm not miserable.  But I am 10+ pounds heavier and way more bloated than I was before I started a gluten free lifestyle.  I don't know what's causing it.  I'm eating stuff like plain rice and grilled chicken and I have spare tire.  What the heck??  I wasn't this heavy when I was eating McDonald's breakfast and Burger King for lunch.  Maybe there is something in certain GF foods that causes bloating and weight gain.  Whatever it is, I have to find it and ditch it fast.  I'm running out of clothing that fits me and my self esteem (which was pretty low to begin with) is at rock bottom.

5.  People flat don't understand what it means to be gluten free.  I'm not doing this as a diet plan.  I'm not doing this because I want to be "cool" or do the latest fad diet (because well, see #4).  I'm doing it because gluten quite literally makes me sick.  I have a co-worker that just cannot understand this.  Every day, he comes in and tells me that I'll be fine if I have a sausage biscuit that one of our reps just brought in.  Or, if I avoid bread the rest of my life, I'll waste away to nothing.  The second day of being gluten free, he asked if I was going to be a vegetarian too.  Listen, I get it.  People don't understand what gluten is and when you can't have it, it seems like a stupid lifestyle plan to be on.  If I didn't have to do this, I wouldn't be.  But my body rejects gluten and lets me know loud and clear.  Therefore, I don't eat it.  Plain and simple.  I don't like talking about being gluten free. I don't like pointing it out every time someone asks me if I want a bite of their food or offers me something to eat. I don't like drawing attention to myself. I would MUCH rather be happily sitting with a hamburger, bun on, not causing a problem. But, that can't be, so I deal with it.

To answer your questions:  I'm still caffeine and gluten free.  I'm doing really well by resisting all the temptations.  Yesterday, I wanted a cheeseburger so bad that I didn't think I'd be able to keep my car from driving into McDonalds.  Instead, I drove home for lunch and ate chicken salad. Was it better than the cheeseburger would have tasted?  Probably not. But I wasn't sick last night either. It's a daily trade off. I don't get to eat the foods I once loved, but I also am not a slave to my heating pad. One day, I hope I won't even miss those sausage biscuits or that Dr Pepper. It's just not today.

Mar 31, 2014

Kitchen Conundrum.

I pride myself on having pretty good tastes when it comes to home decor.  My home may not show it, due to lack of funds, but I know what I like when it comes to decorating my house--despite being one of the most indecisive people you'll ever meet.

However.  My husband and I are planning a kitchen remodel in the very near future....and I can't make decisions to save my life.

Here's my kitchen, in it's current state.

I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but it's a U-shaped kitchen.  It's completely closed off from the rest of the house, unless you're sitting at the dining room table and looking in.  The cabinets are far too light for my tastes (especially combined with the light flooring) and I'm just ready for a change.

This is what I immediately fell in love with:

The two tone cabinets are pretty much the most fabulous thing I've ever seen.  I'm obsessed.  So that's been decided (by me, anyway.  Marty's boycotting this project....anyone want to come to my house and have a painting party in my kitchen??).

Anyway, here's my plans for the kitchen.

Biggest change I want to do?  Paint the cabinets.  I have the colors picked out already, but more on that later.  I'll be painting the upper cabinets one color, the bottom cabinets another and I'll be switching out all the hardware on the cabinets and drawers.

This wall, to the right as you're walking into the kitchen, is going to see the biggest changes.   Use your imaginations here.  We're taking the fridge out and putting it on the opposite wall (picture to come in a second).  Obviously, the bottom cabinets are going to be painted.  But we're also going to cut the entire wall in half--starting at the stove--and creating a bar area.  This allows:  1.  more seating, but more importantly, 2.  a view into the living room when in the kitchen.  I cannot tell you how important this is to me, as a mother.  I know I'm only a few steps away if Avery's calling for me from the couch, but if I don't even have to leave the stove to see my child while I'm making dinner or doing dishes, this is a no-brainer in my book.

This is the third, and final, wall in our kitchen.  These cabinets are going to be taken out....the top ones are probably going to the garage or laundry room, and the bottom ones are just going to trade places with the fridge (see the above picture....above this one. lol).  I'm tossing around the idea of painting the pantry door.  I've seen it on Pinterest and I LOVE the pop of color.  And I'm already painting the cabinets....what's one more thing to paint??

Now.  Here's where I start getting confused--getting the paint colors I've picked out to match with a countertop AND a backsplash.  *cue spinning head*  Bottom cabinets WILL be painted Behr's Juniper Berries.  Top cabinets WILL be painted Behr's Burnished Clay (note:  don't look this color up on the Internet.  All of the websites made it look brown.  It's definitely NOT brown...it's more of a tannish/greyish white).

Options on countertops (as of right now...subject to change):

I like this.  Grey countertops are really what I had pictured in my head when I was envisioning a new kitchen.  Problem?  I cannot find a backsplash that looks good with all three of these colors together.  Also, this countertop only comes in a "Matte" finish.  We were wanting a glossy finish.

When we first looked at this sample, I wasn't really feeling it.  But the more I look at it up against the colors I've picked (and this picture doesn't do the colors or the sample justice), I'm liking it a whole lot. It looks more expensive and more like granite, in my opinion--because real granite is NOT an option right now--and it comes in a glossy finish.  Problem?  I cannot find a backsplash that I LIKE that goes with all three colors.  This color matched a bunch of tans and browns.  I am not a tan or brown person at all.  

Marty and I have looked at Home Depot and Lowes, and aren't loving any of the options we're seeing in the backsplash department.  Anyone have any (reasonably priced!!) suggestions on where to go and look? 

What do you think?  I know these aren't the best pictures in the world, but are you leaning one way or another?  I'm anxious to see what other people think when they look at these two options. 

Mar 28, 2014

"Busy But Crafty" Monthly Craft Challenge: House Numbers Challenge

It's finally time for mine and Sarah's very FIRST "Busy but Crafty" Monthly Craft Challenge!!  We're so excited about this.  We're both just two moms of young kids that wish we had more time to craft....voila!  That's how this link up was born.  Each month, we want to give you the opportunity to take a little time out of your busy schedule to get some crafting therapy going.

This month, we challenged you to make a craft using your house numbers.  We asked you to be creative, and now I can't wait to see what you've come up with!  **scroll down to the bottom to join the link up party**

For my craft this month, I chose to bring a little Springtime inside my house (since the winter here in Kentucky has decided that it never wants to end.  Ever.).

Moss Covered Numbers!

This craft was fairly simple to execute, but very, very messy.  You've been warned.

Materials Needed:

--Paper Mache letters or numbers.  (I picked mine up at Hobby Lobby, but any craft speciality store should carry them)

--Moss mat/adhesive backed moss sheets (Also picked up at Hobby Lobby)

--Super glue

That's it.

How to make these fabulous mossy letters for your decor:

1.  Take your letter/number and lay it down on the back side of the moss mat.  Be sure to trace the number backwards, otherwise, you'll have moss for the back of the number/letter you're wanting to trace, not the front.

2. Trace around the shape with a permanent marker.  I tried pen at first, but the backing is too thick and I couldn't see where I was marking.

3.  Cut the shape out.  The particular moss mat I purchased wasn't hard to cut through, so I just used regular scissors.  I would think an exacto-knife would work just as well, just make sure you have something to protect the surface you're cutting on. 

4.  Glue the moss to your shape.  Continue cutting pieces to cover the sides as well.  

5. You can take some of the extra strands of moss and glue it on where you can see the seams where you glued individual pieces on. 

6.  Clean up your mess.  Because this crap will be everywhere.  It's pretty bad when my 2 year old tells me "Mommy, you made a BIIIIIIG mess." 

7.  Enjoy!

Some of you may be wondering, why 139?  Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I talked about paying homage to our old house?  Well, I printed out the picture that I Waterlogued.  139 was our house number when we lived in Bardstown.  I wanted it to be represented along with the picture.  For now, I have these numbers sitting beside the picture of our old house.  Eventually though, when I get the courage to do it., I want them to be a part of the gallery wall I'm going to build around my giant clock.

There you go.  There's so many possibilities that can happen with this project.  A monogram.  A single initial.  Words on tables at a wedding reception.  When I was in Hobby Lobby to buy my supplies for this project, they had an entire leaflet on craft projects with moss.  I'm particularly loving the stenciled moss glued onto a canvas.  So unique.

Now, it's YOUR turn!!  We want to see what you're doing creatively with your house numbers!  First though, let's get a couple of rules out of the way.

1.  You must link back to either my blog or the Year of Sarah Blog (the link co-host).

2.  Follow both our blogs.  You can do this however your little heart pleases.  Google +, Facebook  (my page is here, Sarah's is here), Bloglovin', etc.  

3.  Your link needs to be a craft blog post.  Please do not link to your Etsy page, business page, own link party or giveaways.

4.  Must be your own original work.

5.  Show some other blogs some love.  Don't we all get the warm fuzzies when we see new blog comments??

Mar 27, 2014

Disney Love.

The Internet is a wonderful place.  It has Pinterest, it has shopping, it has news, it has videos of people that are obviously way funnier than I.....it's just a great place (most of the time)...and it has a variety of awesome Disney things that make my little Walt-loving heart oh-so happy.  In honor of the Internet and it's wonderful Disney offerings, I thought I'd round up my favorite Disney things on the World Wide Web in a list for you to peruse and enjoy. :)

In no particular order:

1.  This video, of two parents singing "For the First Time in Forever" from Frozen.  They also have another video on their YouTube channel where they sing "Love is an Open Door" (also from Frozen).  It's equally hilarious.

I can't decide what's funnier.  The fact that they're doing this, or that their child in the backseat has no idea what's going on in the front.  Wonder if I can convince Marty to do this.....

2.  These candles from Walter and Rosie on Etsy.  Disney-inspired scented candles.  I need them ALL.

3.  This picture from AnastassiaArt on Etsy.  It's expensive.  I'd never be able to justify a purchase like this, but I'm dying to have it for Avery's room.  It doesn't match the colors in her new "subtly Princess/Disney movie" themed room I'm very, very slowly working on, but I love it so much.
4.  This CD of music from the Disney Parks.   Problem:  the CD is $36.90 on Amazon and $19.99 on iTunes.  But it's a full two disc CD of music from Disney rides and attractions.  I want it.  BAD. 
5.  This Winnie the Pooh inspired umbrella pin on Pinterest (originally from madincrafts.com). 
I've been looking for a Disney umbrella for awhile.  But I want a subtle Disney umbrella, not an "in-your-face, Mickey is plastered all over the place" umbrella.  To find a subtle Disney print, adult sized umbrella is virtually impossible.  This pin is inspiring me to make one of my own.  In my creatively overloaded brain, I'm picturing hundreds of different options.  How can I ever choose??
6.  This webpage that has all the theme songs from the Disney shows of my childhood:  http://blogs.disney.com/oh-my-disney/2013/03/09/disney-theme-songs-to-make-you-miss-your-childhood/
I now feel REALLY old and really nostalgic.  Someone go find me an episode of Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers to enjoy.  To the kids of today:  your TV has NOTHING on the kid's shows from the 90s.  Thanks for trying, though.
Just a little Disney magic to brighten your day!

Mar 13, 2014

Gluten AND Caffeine Free? Pray for me.

I know I'm a little late to the "giving up something for Lent" game, but better a late start than never starting at all, right?

Today, I'm going to be giving up all Cokes (for me, this technically means Dr. Pepper.  In the South, all sodas are Cokes.  Yes, this makes complete sense).  I'm the type of person that gets terrible caffeine related headaches if I haven't had a Coke (again, Dr. Pepper) by 10 am.  This is going to be reallllly sucky for me.  But for a solid week, I have woken up every single morning with a massive headache.  How do you wake, from a restful night of sleep, with a headache already?  I have been having some dizzy spells and feeling all around sluggish and yucky lately.  Combine that with my constant headaches, and I've decided I need to give up the caffeine as step one in figuring out what I can do to make myself feel better.

On top of that, starting today, I'm on a STRICT gluten free diet.  I feel like crap 90% of the time.  100% of the time after I eat, I'm miserable.  I'll spare you the details, but it leaves me feeling like food is my enemy.  I don't like feeling this way.  I like to cook, I like to find good recipes, and I like to leave a meal feeling satisfied and in a good mood.  Lately, that's not been the case with me.  I've left a meal, dreading what was coming next...will I need a heating pad?  Will I be in intense pain?  And the answer is simple.  A few years ago, I was having the same kind of pains and after multiple evaluations, scans, consultations, tests, the specialist still couldn't give me any kind of diagnosis.  But he did suggest going on a gluten free diet.  Keep in mind, this was before Celiac's or gluten intolerance was really well known.  I fully believe, without being diagnosed, that I am gluten intolerant.  For a short time, I was strictly gluten free.  And it was HARD.  No bread, no breading, no flour, no oats, no wheat....do you see where I'm going with this?  Going out to eat with a gluten intolerance is very near an impossibility.  "What about salads?" you say.  Well, my stomach obviously hates me, because I also have IBS.  Which makes eating lettuce and some green veggies pretty miserable too.  So I'm looking at options like grilled, plain chicken (because some sauces can contain gluten ingredients as thickeners) or grilled, plain fish.  Blah.  And don't even get me started on eating at home.  If you look up "gluten free recipes" on Pinterest, the majority of them call for ingredients I can't even pronounce.  Xanthan gum, millet, guar gum....what in the world?  Something tells me these ingredients aren't readily available on the shelves of my local Walmart.  So what's a gluten intolerant, mom of a 2 year old, semi-pathetic cook to do?  Don't be surprised if you see this blog introducing more mom-on-the-go gluten free recipes.  Because I cannot look at another recipe that wants me to add amaranth flour.  I just can't.

As hard as it is, and as flavorless as it can be, I cannot be miserable anymore.  I hate feeling bad, I hate dreading meals and I hate hating food.  So, gluten free, I go.  If you have any fantastic gluten free recipes that are EASY, send them my way.  A lot of foods are naturally gluten free, so I see a lot of fruits and veggies and meats in my future.  Not to mention a whole lot of processed foods leaving my routine.  They won't be missed. 

And while you're sending me gluten free recipes, send some prayers my way.  Because I have a feeling I'm NOT going to be a very nice person while I'm going through my caffeine withdraws.  Please know, in the next week, if I snap at you or say hateful things, I don't mean it.  I love you.  That's just the lack of caffeine in my body talking. 

Wish me luck!

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