Monday, September 22, 2014

Kitchen Space



The kitchen in a house is so important. It’s where the family tends to gather. As a mom is cooking the meals, her family gathers around to socialize and tell her about their day. Many hours are spent in the kitchen as a family eats several times a day.

It was important that I get our kitchen right. It was what I planned out first and made everything revolve around it. Other room structures could change, but my kitchen layout was “it”. No messing with it!


 Back when I told you an architect I was talking to was giving constructive criticism and I cried (on the phone), he was criticizing my kitchen! He criticized other things (like the size of my master closet was too small and how I arranged my in-law suite) but he made a comment about the size of the island in the kitchen.

Yes, the island is big… even the designer made note of the size on her plans. Four feet by 11 feet. It’s the size of the Showcase home that John and Sherry from Younghouselove designed.

http://www.younghouselove.com/photo-gallery-2/our-showhouse/

When I saw them post that picture and I realized my island was that size, I did a happy dance! I desired a large island. We had an island in the old house and all I did was day-dream about how to make it bigger! All I had to do was buy a base cabinet set and re-do the counters. Our old kitchen was such a large room, that the island felt small (to me.)



The architect that criticized my island size said that it would become annoying to have to walk around it while you are prepping in the kitchen. I would have agreed with him if my kitchen was a U-shape and had cabinets on the other side of the island.


U-Shaped Kitchen
But my kitchen purposefully only has two walls. There would be no need for me have to walk on the other side of the island to fetch something while I was cooking. Bottom line, I was willing to argue why my big island would stay!

Originally, we thought we’d need a rather large refrigerator, so the designer made space for a 60-INCH Fridge!! Holy smokes. They are nice …. And BIG … and expensive. We even went to a specialty appliance store in town that carries the large refrigerators. There was one all the way in the back for less than $5,000. It was 60 inches wide. That is a good price for that size and I was excited, but then I started thinking, do we REALLY need that large of a fridge/freezer? We do buy in bulk and I do have three boys that will be teenagers one day, but what about when it is just Mr. JCrew and I again? We won’t need that large of an appliance. And one thing I’ve learned, a refrigerator or freezer has an easier time keeping the temperature consistent when it is packed full.



My decision was then made. We would go with a smaller refrigerator. It’s still not small when you compare it to my mom’s current refrigerator. Our renter/buyer has the option to purchase our current refrigerator. He was undecided in June, but if he doesn't buy it, then we'll bring it to the new house.

Now that the layout is decided upon, I’ve had fun playing with kitchen cabinets and counters. I used PowerPoint to play around with a layout. I marked where our belongings would go.



This helped me figure out if there was enough space for everything.



The fridge /freezer combo I had looked at comes in “columns” that you can separate. I played around to see if I liked that look.



I don’t think our wall is long enough to support that. I do think the configuration would be cool if an exit from the kitchen went in between the fridge and freezer columns!

The stove side of the kitchen has just a range. I am not big on double ovens. They are a luxury item, and I hear they are helpful when you need to cook things at two different temperatures, but I have ways around it that don’t bother me. Personally, it scares me to reach into the top oven of a double oven. I have the image of burning my armpits!

Moving to the island, it has the farmhouse sink I have dreamed of. Mr. JCrew wants a large sink. I like the looks of an apron-front sink and they can be large. Solution found.



I don’t know the details on cabinets yet, but because I’m waiting to hear from the cabinet maker himself on what my options are. I’m not fancy, but I don’t want plain cabinet doors. Somewhere in the middle, I think.



I’m paying a lot of attention to my kitchen. It is the most important room. For us, it always turns into the hangout room.

Monday, September 15, 2014

New House Lighting



I shared the lighting I have already bought. I thought that was a lot already, as it is taking up space in the storage unit, but there is still so much more!!



I have at least picked them out with one or two that are not definitely, but placeholders.



1.        Home Depot - $50
2.       Home Depot - $50
3.       Shades of Light - $170
4.       Home Depot - $65
5.       Shades of Light - $299
6.       Home Depot - $104
7.       Lowes - $50
8.       Lowes - $63
9.       Lowes - $60
10.   LampPlus - $90
11.   Lowes  - $16
12.   Home Depot – 6pack - $65
13.   Home Depot - $21
14.   Lowes - $360
15.   Home Depot - $30
16.   Lowes - $45

The totals I put at the bottom of the pictures are the amount I need to purchase multiplied by the unit price. Even though I tried to keep the majority of lights at $50 each, it adds up!

I am excited about the placement of all of them. I wanted to add a fancy light to Mom’s and my closets, so I chose a semi-flushmount.

Closet Light


I could have gone fancier, but I’m on a budget and think these will be perfect. I actually already purchased these. They were on sale for 50% off and now they are back to their regular price. The regular price isn't bad, but a sale is always better.

The bathroom chandelier is similar to the one we had in the old house. Remember when I took it out of the kitchen, painted it white, and re-hung it in the bathroom? That was my favorite project. It’s hard to find a simple white chandelier, so I will be painting the new one white. I loved how it turned out the first time, so why not repeat it?

Bathroom Chandlier


The dining room chandelier is my splurge. I love it. It’s not too fancy, yet makes an impact. I wasn’t too fond of my last dining room chandelier, that I covered it up with a shade my dad and I made out of paint stir-sticks. I highly doubt this chandelier will ever get covered up.


The semi-flush I chose for the pantry is popular. I saw it and picked it out, and now I see it everywhere! (Fixer Upper on HGTV had it!) I plan to use it as a foyer kind of light in front of the doors that lead to the back yard and in front of the doorway to my mom’s living room. It’s a great way to bring focus to a certain spot.

I actually already bought these flush-mounts as well. I never got them on sale, but the stock supply was low in town. I got two at one store and then a month later picked up two at another store. Now, there are none with no plan to restock them. I really want one or two more, but I am still happy with the ones that I have.

I hope you’ve enjoyed looking at lights with me. Now to keep myself out of the lighting department and wait until we have a construction loan to help pay for this.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Garden Committee At Work

Maybe a few months ago, I posted a random post with pictures I wanted to pin to Pinterest. I gave no explanation other than it was for something I was doing for the neighborhood.

Our neighborhood is about 7-8 years old. The first houses closed in 2007. We moved in around 2008. When a neighborhood first starts, the developer is in charge of all decisions. The responsibility isn't handed over to the residents until the majority of the neighborhood is full. Understood, as you want to have continuity as the neighborhood finishes.

Our neighborhood now has it's first resident Board for the HOA. We get to make our own decisions! I got selected to be the Chairperson of the Garden Committee. I am really enjoying it so far. I get to plan and budget future ideas for current vacant areas.

The first task I was given was to replace diseased roses in a flowerbed by the bathhouse at the pool. I also got to plant the annuals around the clubhouse.



My team of volunteers have AMAZING ideas. I can't take credit. I just listen to them. We kept with a common theme all around the clubhouse. Bright pink Wave petunias and chartreuse sweet potato vine. Once those get bigger, they will be beautiful from afar.



The bathhouse recently had the rose bushes dug up. Just like in my yard, once the roses have the disease, you can't plant roses in that same spot for 7 years! The disease remains in the soil.



This is where I got to be creative. The plan was to reduce the size of the flowerbeds on either side. Kids and adults walk right through the flowerbeds to get to the pool. So, we removed the mulch and would lay down sod plugs soon.

On the West side of the bathhouse, we left the existing bushes there. We were about to enter a hot summer and transplanting them would kill them. We planted around them and will remove them in the Fall.



The new plants are lilac Butterfly Bushes, 'Old Gold' Juniper and Purple d'Oro Daylilies. The Board wanted something colorful and evergreen. They kept mentioning Azaleas, but those aren't my favorite and are hard to make pretty.



Those Butterfly Bushes will get large. So will the Juniper. The Daylilies may have to be relocated in a few years, but that's okay. It is already a full bed. If I were to have bought tiny plants, they may not have survived and they would be trampled on as people saw a space to walk.



As for cost, the Butterfly Bushes were most expensive. I could buy little sticks for $8, but it would take years for it to be the size I bought. I got these for $22 each.



The Juniper was on sale! I get my junipers from Costco. They are normally $11 each. I love the Parsoni Juniper, but they only had two and I needed 3. They had the 'Old Gold' variety that I knew nothing about, so I looked it up. It stays the same size as Parsoni and won't get 4' tall like others. Once I checked out, they rang up to $9 each. For such a big plant, that's awesome!



I was going for Stella d'Oro when I found the purple variety. Hopefully it will live up to its name and rebloom a lot.



Now, for my favorite garden! One of my volunteer's came up with this idea. It's a Children's Garden! It is on the side of the bathhouse that leads to the playground. Kids are always walking over there to use the restroom. I am working on signs that will encourage kids to explore, but in the mean time people will like looking at it not knowing its purpose.

Day of planting - May 2014

My favorite is Lamb's Ear. It is so soft and feels like an ear!



I purchased two varieties, regular and dwarf.



I put in some lavender and Rosemary.

August 2014

There is some Pineapple Sage at the back, as it will get BIG!

August 2014

I also mixed in some flowers as something to "See."



As for taste, I put in some chocolate mint. Oh, does it taste awesome! However, it's invasive. Once you let it grow, it will take over and be HARD to get rid of. So, I planted a larger pot in the ground and set it in there.




Hopefully, this keeps it from spreading. It will only be able to spread in its pot. Covered it up with mulch, and you can't tell.


I loved this project for many reasons. It was done on someone else's dime and I got to work with plants I was unfamiliar with. It will be awesome to see it mature.



As for cost, All three areas cost $370. Not bad for getting so much done.



And my poor team had to work in the rain! I set a time to meet on Saturday and rain came through. It was nothing too bad, but it was still rain. I had some dedicated team members. When we finished, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day!



Now, it's on to planning more things.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Little JCrew is Three

Two Sunday's ago was Little JCrew’s third birthday. I’ve been a mommy for three years! I provided a sneak peek last Friday of the materials I’d be using for his birthday celebration.


Last year’s celebration was over the top. It was fun and memorable. But during the preparation, I said I would not do a party that large again. I really did have fun planning and executing it, but I didn’t want to always have to provide that much for each birthday. Growing up, we had our neighbors over for homemade cake and ice cream. I loved those memories. I am all about creating memories with my kids.


http://jensoncrew.blogspot.com/2013/08/little-jcrews-second-birthday.html

So for this year’s birthday, we decided to have a party with just family. Mr. JCrew’s sister has a new house with a HUGE backyard that the kids enjoy. Everyone lives in her city, so it was easier for us to travel to them instead of everyone traveling to us.

And the sneak peek I provided were pirate bandanas and eye patches for our family members to wear. The boys love to play dress up. However, the dressing up didn’t happen. When we got to my sister-in-law’s house, I was missing a bag. It was a bag with the clothes, camera, drinks, candles and napkins. I apologize for the phone camera pictures ahead of time.

Little JCrew loves playing baseball with his cousin, Cole. Cole was sweet in teaching him how to catch the ball in a glove.



Little JCrew received a baseball glove from his grandparents, along with a bat.



Mr. JCrew’s grandparents sent over an Alphabet train.



This was a huge hit with Mr. Brigglesworth, too.



Aunt Chrissy and Uncle Derek gifted a Ninja Turtle Van. It was a hit and still is.



Mimi gifted a set of handbells. They are noisy, but the boys love them.We have them currently set up on the dresser. Little JCrew will walk by and stop to play 'Twinkle Twinkle' and then move on. It's really cute.



Mr. JCrew and I gave Little JCrew a Ninja Turtle Mask and Numb-chucks. Mr. Brigglesworth also got a set.



Little JCrew has asked us to dress up with him.


You might notice a Ninja Turtle theme. Since we took the boys to see the movie, Little JCrew talks about them a lot. Everything about them is cool.

Miss Claire showed Little JCrew around on the four-wheeler.



The cake had candles on it for my birthday and for Little JCrew‘s.



He started out trying to blow all of them out himself, but I helped him finish. Some of those candles were trick candles!



And he really enjoyed us singing to him. He loved that he finally had a birthday to celebrate.



I love this little boy of mine. Growing up so fast!

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