Friday, February 19, 2016

DIY Home Kitchen & Breakfast Bar Remodel

When we first bought our house, it was all move in ready with new cabinets and appliances. It even had new granite and tile in the Kitchen and all the bathrooms. However, everything was in a neutral palatte and ALL the walls were the same color beige!!! To me everything felt so dark and I felt like I couldn't even enjoy the nice granite because it all just blended in.
   
Here is how it looked before...Beige walls, beige tile, beige granite, and brown wood cabinets!
Sorry about the mess on top of my cabinets. We have a TON of lunch boxes! lol
This corner, to me, was always so dark.
The first thing I did was paint the wall a light grey color by Behr called Mineral. I think light paint helps to bring light into a room. I already felt better with this change but really it was the cabinets that take up most of the wall space in the kitchen so I knew what I needed to do next.
There was no way we were going to replace the new cabinets that were in the kitchen, they just needed a facelift. First, the cabinets needed to be primed. Obviously you can't just paint on top of the glossy finish of the cabinets because the paint won't hold. We used Zinsser Cover Stain Primer before we painted to cabinets with Behr white paint. A little goes a long way with this primer. 
The great part about this project is I got my husband on board so I only had to do half the work. My husband's parents have a paint sprayer so he took off all the doors and I only had to stain and paint the actual frame of the cabinets. I used a mini roller and it went by a lot quicker than just using a hand brush for it all.
    
My husband set up a makeshift paint room in our garage by taping up some plastic drop cloths to the ceiling and also laying them on the ground. We used brick pavers under each cabinet door so they weren't touching the ground.
   
Here is a picture from me doing a little painting. I don't know how I did it with the kids around but one awesome tip I heard from a guy at Home Depot was that you can wrap up your brush in a plastic bag and it will keep it wet for at least a day. 
I used this tip A LOT!!!
   
Here is what it looked like after we finished painting this one set of the cabinets. 
We also added handles to the cabinets which we had been using without up until this point. 
We searched all over for a good deal on handles since we needed so many and actually found the best price for the style we wanted at Target.
After we finished the one side we moved over to the other side of the kitchen which was A LOT more work. Here is a picture of some of the process. I tried to pick sections to work on to make it easier on myself. So I started with the top cabinets and then moved to the bottom. This process was so awesome because it also gave me the chance to clean out every cabinet and get rid of stuff we never use! 
   
In this next picture we almost have all the cabinet doors back on and we are starting to get the handles put on.
You can just tell how much brighter it looks already!
Since we were doing all of these updates to the kitchen, we also decided to update the faucet. 
After shopping around, we found that we really liked the faucets from Ikea but they were almost double the price of this one from Home Depot. We went with cost effective and we are very happy with it.
   
Along with painting, we also added a fun accent on the sides of the cabinets by the kitchen window. 
We got these cute glass jars from Ikea for a few dollars each. I removed the lids. Then we screwed in two hooks on each side of the cabinets and hung the jars.
   
We hung three jars and the last hook I use to hang my hand towel. 
All you have to do is add some potting soil and fresh herbs to the jars and there you have it.
The herbs held up well during the warmer months but during the winter it was harder to keep them alive since there wasn't as much sun. 
During the winter we changed out the herbs (pictured on the left) for a succulent (pictured on the right). No matter what you have planted in the jars, they look beautiful and add life to your kitchen.
   
The final touch to the kitchen, which I have wanted for years, is under cabinet lighting. This can get really expensive depending on what lighting you choose. We found this 4 pack of LED lighting strips for only $19.99 at Ikea!! We bought two packs and that covered all of our cabinets. 
You can see below that it really brings your attention to the tile and helps the counter pop too! A huge difference from when everything was all beige!!!!
We leave these lights on all the time so my favorite time to take in my kitchen is at night where these are the only lights on.
Now I am going to move on to our breakfast bar remodel. 
When we bought this house we KNEW we had to do something with this space. This tiny granite counter is where we have most of our meals. Most of the time Jason or I would have to stand at the table to be able to eat with the whole family.
The first step in changing the breakfast bar had to do with changing the window. If we wanted to bring the table to the wall we had to get a shorter window since the original one went almost to the floor.
Next, we went to Ikea to buy cabinets so I could have more storage. They were phasing out their 12 inch cabinets and all they had left were wall not floor. Jason had to build a frame for the cabinets to sit on. Then he screwed them down.
   
This picture shows just how small the table top used to be!
Then Jason ripped out the granite.
We found and amazing deal on solid oak counter top at Ikea! We bought two different sizes. The long one is 8 feet. Jason cut them to fit exactly how we wanted them and just had to glue one seam. He clamped them together to dry.
   
After the glue dried he sanded the top a little.
He did such a great job, you literally can't even see the seam!
We decided that we didn't like the look of the light wood so we stained it.
Then we gave it a coat of polyurethane to help protect the wood and give it some shine.
Look at this baby already enjoying the new cabinets. I put some of his toys in this first one.
Instead of spending a whole bunch of money on buying 6 new bar stools, we made the choice to just purchase 2 more of the same stools we already had. These are not my favorite because they don't clean well at all and they are WHITE!!!! However, they are so comfortable, they spin, and they go up and down which is good for little kids. 
Now there is a spot for everyone in the family at the breakfast bar!
You can also see all of the frame work my husband custom made to fit the space around the window and doorway.
I feel we brought this kitchen to life with just a few changes!
This corner used to be so dark, but now with the painted cabinets and under cabinet lighting, it looks like a completely different kitchen! 
What an amazing transformation! I really feel just a little paint and lighting has helped this California girl not feel so homesick during the winter months. It helps to bring as much light into your home when you are cooped up!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Healthy Burger Recipe

One of my families favorite dinners is burgers and fries. Who doesn't love a good burger? What I have tried to do here is add the nutrition to this meal while still keeping the yummy flavor. This way you get to eat a burger and also eat a ton of veggies in the process.

The trick here is to blend a whatever veggies you have on hand in your food processor/blender. If you have picky eaters, you will want to blend your veggies down very fine. This way they won't even be noticeable.
 After blending up your veggies, you simply mix all for your ingredients in a big bowl.
Here is what I use to make my burgers:
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups of blended up veggies
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon of Worcester Sauce *optional
  • Season with salt and pepper  

I like to form my burgers into smaller patties. This way they are perfect size for kids. My family eats them as sliders by cutting up mini whole wheat bagels or rolls. 
Or completely leave out the bread and just eat them as is! 

As you can see below, there are a few chunks of veggies noticeable in my patties. I actually prefer it this way. However, if you make sure you blend your veggies well, no one will be able to notice anything but meat. These patties below have Zucchini, Eggplant, Carrots, Onion, and Celery in them!
 Here is Brenden about to eat his slider.
 Here is the way I serve my baby. His burger cut up in chunks.

I'de like to encourage you to try to add some ground veggies to one of your families favorite recipes. If the recipe calls for ground meat... just try to add about 1/2 to 1 cup of blended raw veggies while you are cooking up the meat. I have told people that I like to use veggies that my kids normally won't just eat on their own. My kids normally don't eat spinach raw so that is one of my favs to add. It can be fresh or frozen! Give it a try and I would love to hear how it goes. Please leave me a comment.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rowen is One~ Cake Smash and Topper

My sweet baby boy turns ONE today! It is said so much but seriously our babies grow up so quickly. It just seems like yesterday I was sitting in my rocker watching him sleep under the lights of the Christmas Tree. 
I soaked up any chance he would sleep in my lap because I knew how fast that stage would come and go.
I never wanted to have one of my babies have their birthday in the same month as Christmas but I have learned to just embrace it. 
One awesome idea I got from a friend is to have a special "Birthday Tree" for your December baby. That way they can have something special just for them. You have it decorated with their own special ornaments and on their birthday you put their presents under their tree. 
 I also themed Rowen's cake smash pictures around Christmas. I had a cute 5 inch cake made in red and green and then I made this fun Christmas tree topper for his cake. These toppers are so fun and easy to make. 
 I made a number 1 for Garren's first birthday and Cake Smash photo shoot. 
All you need is card stock paper. 
Cut it to the shape you want it. Either you can do a number or a shape of something to go with your theme. I then used my colored pencils to draw a one in the christmas tree.
  I hot glued two popsicle sticks in between the paper. 
Then, I sealed the whole thing with Mod Podge. I used sparkle Mod Podge to give it a glittery finish. Using Mod Podge also helps to seal the paper so it can be easily wiped up if you want to save the topper.
   
Rowen loved his cake!


Here's a little 30 second video of the Cake Smash that my husband put together. 
Enjoy the cuteness!
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