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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Kitchen face-lift {part eleven} – Counter tops

There were already granite counter tops in this kitchen before we started our little remodel.  In fact, we thought we were going to keep them.  But it wasn’t a color that I was particularly fond of and would not have picked it out if given the choice.  So once the decision was made to get new counters, a whole world of possibilities opened up to us. 

We knew we still wanted the natural stone of granite rather than the engineered “Silestone” type products.  So that narrowed the field a little.  And we had put Baltic Brown granite in our previous house and liked it, so we knew that was a possibility and that it would likely be our choice this time as well.

But then, we went to the granite showroom and saw so many beautiful pieces of granite.  Just beautiful.

You know, all it takes is a walk through a granite showroom for you to see the incredible creativity of God.  Only the Lord could put some of those colors and patterns together and have them look as beautiful as they did.  It’s amazing.

So we went in to the granite showroom with a pretty good idea  of what we would pick and came out asking for quotes on several different pieces.  One in particular, called Volcano Satin, was a beautiful piece with the huge vein of color running through it and a wonderful textured finish.  It was incredible.  And expensive.

In the end, cooler heads prevailed and we went with our original choice of Baltic Brown.  Not only because of the more reasonable price tag, but because the way our counter tops were, we felt like we wouldn’t have a sufficient large area to showcase the beauty of the Volcano granite.  And, like the floors we had to recognize that the counter top was not the showpiece of the room. 

The floor and counter tops are supporting actors in our kitchen, not the star.

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The counter top now provides a raised bar area that we did not have before and we are all really excited about that.

I walked in to the kitchen to take a picture for this blog post and almost cleared everything off of the counter tops.  But it made me so happy to see the room look inhabited again, that I left everything just as it was.  Chicken Express cup of tea and all.

IMG_0823*happy sigh*

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Monster Jam? Yes!

There are some places that I would have never seen myself going or even wanting to go about 6 years ago.  And in case you don’t understand the significance of 6 years ago, that may have something to do with when my son was born.

Yes, there are many things I never expected to want to do before that little man came into my life.  One of those things is a monster truck rally.

And yet, I am finding myself a little excited about the prospect of taking this little man who loves to run his monster trucks into one another to the Cowboys’ Stadium this Saturday for Monster Jam.

AAPMJ_Logo_2010 

Here is some information that I did not know and thought you might find interesting:

Grave Digger_06Approximately 12 feet tall and about 12 feet wide, monster trucks are custom-designed machines that sit atop 66-inch-tall tires and weigh a minimum of 10,000 pounds. Built for short, high-powered bursts of speed, monster trucks generate 1,500 to 2,000 horsepower and are capable of speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. Monster trucks can fly up to125 to 130 feet (a distance greater than 14 cars side by side) and up to 35 feet in the air.

Monster Jam, sanctioned by the United States Hot Rod Association®, is the most popular monster truck tour, performing to over 4 million fans annually at the most prestigious arenas and stadiums throughout the world. Monster Jam® shows consist of three main fan-favorite elements – the pit party, racing and freestyle. The pit party gives all fans a chance to meet the stars of Monster Jam up-close while taking pictures and getting autographs.

The MetroPCS Party in the Pits on Saturday, February 26 from 2:30PM to 5:30PM give fans the opportunity to get a view of the trucks up close and meet the drivers of the massive monster trucks.

Here are some details about Monster Jam tickets.

  • Kids' SEATS are half-price.  Did you get that? HALF PRICE!
  • There are several discount offers. Visit  http://www.monsterjam.com/Tickets/2011/02/26/Arlington,_TX/ for more information.
  • The Pit Party is free when patrons pick up a Pit Pass from Metro PCS locations....participating locations can be found at the weblink above (where the discounts are).  Patrons can only get into the Pit Party with a valid event ticket and a Pit Pass....the Pit Party is inside the stadium on the track.MaximumDestruction09_04

I have also been informed that monster truck superstar Tom Meents and his  truck Maximum Destruction will be at Metro PCS (at Wal-Mart shopping center), 1714 Precinct Line, Suite 500, Hurst, TX 76054.  He will be there Friday, February 25 from 2-6PM. It’s a great opportunity for families to be able to meet the drivers, get autographs and get photos.  The event is free and open to the public! Tom will be competing in the Monster Jam on Saturday, February 26, 7PM.  This is the first time he has competed in Dallas/Fort Worth.

Now I get to give away a couple of goodies.  I hate that I don’t have tickets to give away this time, but I do have some fun things for that monster truck fan in your life.

I have one adult Monster Jam ball cap and one Monster Mutt puffy monster truck plush toy to give away this week.

So here are the details on the giveaway.  Leave a comment on this blog post and tell me if you have ever been to a Monster Jam before and if so, one thing I need to be prepared for.

For an additional chance to win, come and find me at the event on Friday at the Hurst Metro PCS store.  Hand me a piece of paper with your name and email address on it and I can add it to the drawing.  I will be at the event at the Metro PCS between 4:30 – 5:30 pm. 

I will close the comments and choose a winner on Friday night the 25th after 6 pm.

Good luck and I hope to meet some of you on Friday.  And I hope you can come to Monster Jam on Saturday.  I can’t wait to see my little man’s face when we tell him where we are going.

 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Kitchen face-lift {part ten} - Cabinets

The bulk of our cabinets arrived and were installed a couple of weeks ago,  In fact, it was the day before the ice storm that shut our entire area down for the remainder of the week. 

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It’s funny that it had just been this big expansive and empty space for so long that once the cabinets began to arrive, we said it felt so small in comparison.  We joked that the space was starting to close in on us (which is only funny if you realize how big the space really is even with the cabinets in there).

They are maple cabinets and we are so pleased with the quality of the workmanship.  The old cabinets that were falling apart were mostly particle board.  Not these.  They are solid.  And we love them.

I love that we used a custom cabinet maker for several reasons.  One of those reasons is the custom hutch that he built for me.  I designed it and he built it.

He took this:

custom hutch drawing

And made this:

 IMG_0820 He did such a perfect job on it that I almost cried.  There is something really wild about seeing a picture you’ve drawn and conceptualized be there in 3D. 

In my opinion, custom cabinets are the way to go.  I can not wait until they are stained and finished and we can move our stuff into them.

But wait, I must. 

One of the challenges of working with independent sub contractors is that they can sometimes be a little… well… flaky.  One sub that was going to do all the stain work on the cabinets just up and left the country.  Not sure why.  The other has had a little bit of a scheduling problem.

So we were delayed by ice and snow and now just by people.  It will get done, but we’re just having to wait.  And if waiting on my cabinets to be stained is the only problem I have right now, then I think I’m doing okay. 

Don’t you?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kitchen face-lift {part nine} - Tile

Picking out tile is hard.  Just hard.

We picked out a tile that I really liked when we thought we were just going to paint our existing cabinets and keep the existing countertops.  But all that changed.  And we realized that our choice of tile needed to change as well.

And I was very set on having tile.  I’m one of those who just doesn’t really get with wood floors in the kitchen.

We looked at a lot of tile to find the one we would get.  That is some difficult decision making right there.  We had to realize at one point that the floor was not going to be the showpiece of the room and that we needed something that would go with the rest of the room, but not draw a lot of attention to itself.

We finally settled on a brushed marble we both loved and it was installed actually a couple of weeks ago (before the ice and snow). 

Before they actually started laying the tile, he came in with a big grinder to even out and level the floor even more.  Then they painted on a moisture barrier that will help protect the tile.  To my surprise, this moisture barrier was RED.

 pre tile picture

And it made all the walls and ceiling look pink.

After two days to lay the tile and one day to grout, they were done.  It makes me want to sigh with contentment.

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It is a natural stone so every single tile is different.  And while there is a little bit of uniformity to the color across the entire floor, there is a lot of variation from tile to tile which makes it very interesting to look at.  And since it is a brushed marble instead of a highly polished one, it has this wonderful texture that makes my feet so happy.

We understand it to be a soft stone and we will have to seal it every year.  But I really loved it too much to care about any extra maintenance. 

An ice storm and unusually cold weather here in North Texas caused us to delay having the tile sealed by a week or so.  We didn’t want them to have to drive with the icy streets and we didn’t want to have to walk outside in 18 degree weather just to get from one side of the house to the other so that we didn’t walk on the freshly sealed tile. 

But now it is all sealed and we look at it every day and love it more and more.  We believe it accomplishes perfectly our goal of having a beautiful floor that will also not greatly compete with other decorative elements in the room.

Monday, February 7, 2011

We interrupt this kitchen remodel with… ICE and SNOW

Last week was fairly unprecedented weather-wise. 

Tuesday morning I was awakened at about 4 am.  Not by a geriatric dog that needed to go do business outside or get a drink.  Not by a kid with a sore throat.  No.  But I was awakened by the wind howling and causing a crepe myrtle to slam against the house and sleet popping against my bedroom window. 

It had rained most of the night and then the temperature dropped leaving us with a layer of ice across every street making them impassable. 

And when I say the temperature dropped, it wasn’t to a normal 30 degrees F.  No.  Our high was about 30 degrees  early Tuesday morning (it was already less than 30 when I woke up at 4 am) and it just went down from there.  WAY down.  We had a low temperature Tuesday night/Wednesday morning of around 12 degrees and the wind chill was –4.  NEGATIVE FOUR, y’all.  And the temperature didn’t really get above 20 until Friday.  When it snowed about 3-4 inches on us.

So we had a layer of ice on Tuesday morning that never did have a chance to thaw and then several inches of snow on Friday.  That means four things:

1.  The kids had no school Tuesday – Friday.  It was an odd and unexpected winter break.  It was nice, but if we had known ahead of time, we’d have packed up and gone to Colorado to go skiing.

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2.  It was a regular sled-a-palooza around our house and we had a ball.  We went sledding on sleet and ice on Tuesday and Wednesday which as I’ve said in several settings was wicked-fast and pretty wicked-awesome, too.

IMG_0710And we went sledding on powdery snow.  It was much slower, but a lot prettier for sure.  Later that day, the hill was packed powder like a ski run would be.  It was the best sledding I’ve ever experienced. 

IMG_07313.  Work on my kitchen came to a screeching halt.  That’s about all I can say about that.

4. The next project on this house HAS GOT to be replacing the windows because, oh my stars how the cold poured in around our poorly sealed windows.

And you know…. while we’re at it….

Friday, February 4, 2011

Kitchen face-lift {part eight} – Where the kitchen at?

Every once in a while, Mike and I break out into the beginning of the hit song, “Swagger Wagon.”

“Where my kids at? Where my kids at? Where my kids at? Where my kids at?” 

“No, seriously, honey, where are the kids?”

“They’re right there, see.”

And then we crack up.  Obviously, we’re easily entertained.

These days, I thought it an appropriate question in reference to my kitchen.  And a question worth answering.

Since ripping out the cabinets and tile in early January, I have been reduced to this for a kitchen.

IMG_0549A microwave, a coffee maker and sometimes a precariously perched toaster in my laundry / extra bathroom.

What you can’t see off-camera to the left is a shower and a toilet.  In my make-shift kitchen.

I have had to institute a no-going-potty-in-the-make-shift-kitchen rule.

I’m sure you understand.

As for the contents of my regular kitchen… well…

Check my dining room…

IMG_0693

(ugh.  what a mess.)

And our extra bedroom…

IMG_0695 IMG_0696

And the middle of my living room…

IMG_0689
There’s nothing like seeing a refrigerator in the middle of your living room next to your piano.  Nothing like it.

Except maybe a toilet and a shower.

My stuff needs a home.

Desperately.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Kitchen face-lift {part seven} – Firm foundation

We have been involved with several building projects both at church and at school. One of the most precious times is always when we have met after the foundation was poured but before the finishes were put in to write scriptures, prayers and blessings on that foundation.

We decided to do this very thing on the foundation of our own home in our kitchen before things started being rebuilt.

Imagine that. We have demolished just about everything to be demolished and are writing scripture on our foundation so that things can be rebuilt. Much the same way that at times, our lives get demolished and the Lord just wants to write his Word upon the foundation of our hearts before he rebuilds upon it.

But I digress.

We had been through the whole process of chipping up the old ceramic tile which was messy and a little painful and ultimately required some professional help to finish chipping up all the thin-set. But it was good because they also leveled the floor and we also decided to just have them install the new tile.

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But before they started the process of installing the new tile, we all sat down in the middle of the kitchen floor and wrote out verses of scriptures on it.

So, what scriptures did we choose?




This was a very meaningful experience for me and hopefully for the rest of my family. In his book Family Driven Faith, Voddie Baucham talks at one point about making our faith a multisensory experience in the home. This was part of that process for me as we engaged the sense of touch and sight.

We want for our home to honor the Lord. I pray that my children will long remember writing their own chosen scriptures on the foundation of this house as we marked it as God’s territory through these simple scriptures written on the foundation.

How have you marked your home as God’s territory? How are you bringing your faith to life in a multisensory way for your children?

You can view a list of all my kitchen updates here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kitchen face-lift {part six} - A Tale of Three Mikes

We have been working hard on the kitchen. 

And by we, you understand I mean Mike. 

There has been demolition, electrical wiring and drywall hanging and a few moments that will be remembered forever.

There are a few shows that we watch on tv.  We don’t watch a lot, but there are a few shows that we like.  Two of them each have a host named Mike. And we happen to think that both of them might be interested in what we’ve got going on around our house these days.

First is Mike Holmes HGTV.

We keep finding things that we think would send Mike Holmes into a conniption fit.  Like this little surprise that we found inside of the wall behind the sink after tearing out the drywall. A little gift from the guys who originally built the house over 30 years ago.

IMG_0612

That right there is the old-school style pop top Budweiser can, my friends.

There have also been things that have led Mike to wonder aloud, “Did the plumbers do all the wiring in this house?!? Mike Holmes would have a field day with this.”

And then there’s Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs. 

There is a lot about kitchen remodeling that is dirty.  Chipping up ceramic tile definitely is.  It also causes some unfortunate fashion choices out of necessity.

remodeling Yes, that’s me under there.

Removing said chipped up tile from your garage is also quite the dirty job.  I think Nathan would make Mike Rowe proud with this.

So, as Mike works on getting his part of the project done, we can’t help but continually think of the other two Mikes.  We hope we are making them proud.