Week in the Life 2017 – Friday’s Words and Photos

Week in the Life 2017 Photo documenting project AlaynasCreations

Week in the Life 2017 – Friday’s Words and Photos

Fri-day! Fri-day!  Fri-day!

One of my favorite days of the week, even when we have no plans for the weekend and I know that entertaining everyone may be more work than I usually do on a weekday.  There’s just something about Fridays that make me happy.

So without further ado…

Friday’s Words and Photos

(for Week in the Life, which I spent last week documenting and am spending this week pulling it together here on the blog.  Photos in today’s post were taken Friday, April 14, 2017)


Friday Week in the Life 2017 the pup is ready for a walk Alaynas Creations

7:45 AM

“You put on workout clothes. Are we going for a walk?!!” Actually I’m surprised she sat still long enough for a photo. She can hardly contain her excitement if I come out of my room wearing yoga pants or gym shoes. Most of the time I’m simply headed to the gym but today she is right. We are headed out for a walk as soon as the boy gets on the bus.

Breakfast and dishes Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

7:15 AM

Dishes and straightening up the kitchen while the little guy eats breakfast and packs lunch.  More to clean up than usual since I didn’t take the time for dishes yesterday and the other adults in the house don’t often do so.

Ready for a walk Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

8:15 AM

Doesn’t she look happy?  Off to pick up my friend for our walk.

Sandhill cranes and horses the view from our walk Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

8:45 AM

Sandhill cranes, horses, cows, and lots of clouds on our walk this morning. Love that I can get out with a friend once in a while and enjoy being outside while also making the dog amazingly happy.

My helper prepping Easter Baskets Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

10:00 AM

Biggest thing on the list today was Easter prep. As you can see, I had plenty of help.

Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

Eventually she did relax and let me finish the Easter baskets and start working on teacher appreciation.

Home from school and work Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

2:00 PM

Friday is early out day, including Sam this time around.  Bambi has to greet everyone and get some attention before the rest of us can sit down and talk to each other about our days.

Decisions decisions Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

4:00 PM

I’m all out of dinner ideas (and supplies) for the week.  Surprisingly, Tyler had a dinner suggestion that didn’t involve pizza (he requests pizza at least twice a week) so I took him with me to the grocery store.  We picked up tortellini and garlic bread then I let him help select some ice cream for dessert.
Red Button is the BEST ice cream.  Tyler chose Cookies and Cream and I grabbed Raspberry Ripple Chocolate Chip (since they were on 2 for ___).

Dinner Prep Friday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

4:30 PM

Dinner prep and time to unload the dishwasher.  Yes, we typically do eat early, usually around 5:00.

Ice cream Friday Week in the Life 2017 Akaynas Creations

7:00 PM (ish)

Ice cream and TV time.  And how great that the sun is setting later in the day.

Screen time Friday Week in the life 2017 Alaynas Creations


Ah, Week in the Life.

I’ve been enjoying the time spent over the last few days pulling all the photos and journaling together.  I’ve even managed to order photo prints so I can start putting the album together soon.

Every year is a learning experience.  I see the kids growing and changing.  I see routines that feel like they have been the same forever actually evolve and change.  I see mannerisms and habits that seem so familiar right now that will only be memories in a few years.

Every year I don’t capture everything I could, but I do get plenty of little glimpses.


Want more details on the project?  Check out Ali Edward’s blog and the WITL community.

Blog posts for the rest of the week include:
2017 Monday’s Words and Photos
2017 Tuesday’s Words and Photos
2017 Wednesday’s Words and Photos
2017 Thursday’s Words and Photos

Two more days to document!  Please check back tomorrow!

Week in the Life 2017 – Thursday’s Words and Photos

Week in the Life 2017 Photo documenting project AlaynasCreations

Week in the Life 2017 – Thursday’s Words and Photos

Halfway through documenting Week in the Life at this point – taking photos of all kinds of things I don’t spend much time documenting in daily life.  I’ve done this project a few times before and usually at this point I’m starting to lose a little enthusiasm and taking fewer photos.  This year has been the opposite.  It took me a few days to really warm up to the project and the second half of the week I was more prolific with the photos – even while out running errands, which is how I spent a good part of my day Thursday.

*I spent last week taking the photos so this week is dedicated to pulling them together in a series of blog posts.  These photos were taken Thursday, April 13 – before Easter, in case you were wondering 😉

(Want more info or to join in the project?  Check out Ali Edwards’ blog and the Week in the Life Community)

Thursday’s Words and Photos:

Thursday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

6:30 AM

Surprised to find Tyler was up and dressed already.  Instant Breakfast is his breakfast of choice lately.  Sam skips breakfast but it looks like he did make a cup of coffee to take on the drive to work.

First Day in the new uniform Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

Guess who got promoted! First day with the new stripes (ok 2nd, as he wouldn’t stop for a photo yesterday) since he has to be at the base a few days this week. Pretty sure he is enjoying the break from his regular job.

Breakfast Thursday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

Sometimes I skip the oatmeal and go for the kids’ cereal.

Shopping Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

Everyone off to school/work and I FINALLY have a clear morning where all I have to worry about it my own agenda so I’m off to the city to do my Easter shopping.  Usually I’m ready for holidays much further ahead than this and I wasn’t exactly happy about that.  I’m feeling pretty upbeat today and I think knowing I can check this off my list has a lot to do with my mood.

Errands are part of everyday life Thursday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

On the list:

Easter candy, random items for baskets, a scooter for Tyler, rollerblades for Kaitlyn.  Ordering online probably would have been the better option for the larger items but I didn’t decide on them far enough ahead of time.  So I had to do a little extra running around.
Target first (of course!) where I didn’t purchase much but enjoyed looking around.  Shopko, then Big 5 where I stopped to call Sam for help making the final decision on scooters.  Opted to buy rollerblades for Kate there (in a size that fits me!  She’s growing up way too fast) then back-trackted to Target to get the scooter I had spotted earlier.

Lunch at Chipotle and the fiew on the drive up the canyon Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

I grabbed lunch from Chipolte and ate it in the car while listening to the 5 Love Languages before heading back up the canyon.
I completed the rest of my errands in Park City with a trip to Michael’s (where I only purchased weights for the Tyler’s Pinewood Derby car – can you believe that?!) and TJ Maxx.

Groceries and slushies Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

The last stop was Smith’s for dishwasher soap – and I walked out with all that!

It had been a beautiful day, warmer than any we’ve had so far this spring.  Thus the slushie impulse buy.

Spring Flowers Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations


I do Marathons on Netflix custom water bottle

1:50 PM

Made it home, unloaded the car, and had just enough time to add a fun vinyl saying to the water bottle I picked up for the friend I’ve been meeting at the gym.  She never remembers to bring her water bottle and they had only ONE left in one of my favorite styles at TJ Maxx.  I also gave her a bag of her favorite Easter candy that she mentioned a few days ago that she hadn’t been able to find.  She was pretty happy.

My dedicated little swimmer Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

2:30 PM

I had warned Kaitlyn that I would be taking a few “better” photos during the first part of practice but when I actually showed up to do so I think she was a little embarrassed.  I ended up rushing through it and not getting the great shots I had hoped for.

Oh well.  She’s at the pool all the time.  I’ll try it again another time.

Swim team butterfly Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations


Work out.  Home.  Homework check for Tyler.  Dinner.  Sunset.  Call it good for the day.

Sunset on the Farm Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

And that’s it for Thursday.  Tune in tomorrow for Friday’s Words and Photos for Week in the Life 2017.

Until then, feel free to check out some of my previous Week in the Life Posts
2017 Monday’s Words and Photos
2017 Tuesday’s Words and Photos
2017 Wednesday’s Words and Photos

Or take a look at some of my other project like the Great Kitchen Remodel (half-way through the updates there, I’ll have a new blog post up on that next week), my Spring Tulip Wreath, or Ideas for upcoming Teacher Appreciation (ideas HERE, HERE, and HERE).

Week in the Life 2017 – Wednesday’s Words and Photos

Week in the Life 2017 Photo documenting project AlaynasCreations

Week in the Life 2017 – Wednesday’s Words and Photos

This week I’ve been sharing my experience with Ali Edwards’ Week in the Life photo project for this year.  I spent last week keeping the camera (or more often the camera phone) nearby and trying to document the small moments that are often overlooked in regular life.

Kinda fun, right?

Today I’m sharing the Words and Photos from Wednesday

Week in the Life 2017 Wednesday's Words and Photos AlaynasCreations

Restless night meant I was more than ready to get up and be productive so I baked muffins for the kids at 6:15AM. (First Instagram post of the day)

Breakfast Wednesday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

Sam headed off to the base instead of his regular job in order to get ready to head overseas next week.  First day in uniform with his new promotion but in too much of a hurry to stop for a photo or wait for muffins.

Kaitlyn, however, was more than happy to have something home made for breakfast.

Easy Pumpkin Muffins Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

One of my favorite ways to make muffins uses cake mix (today’s was yellow cake mix) and a can of pumpkin.  Just two ingredients so it’s super easy and the pumpkin makes it healthier than most.  Tyler prefers it with chocolate cake mix and ate only one muffin but Kaitlyn said she likes it better this way.

Headed to school Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

7AM means she’s out the door (and not exactly pleased that I told her to pause for a photo).

Military dress up day Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

This boy has such a great teacher. In order to solidify a concept she asked them to wear something at least vaguely military today. Good thing we have no problem pulling that together at the last minute. Tyler was excited to wear his dad’s hat (or, er, his “cover”).

Today was a day for just going with the flow.  Original plan had been volunteering in Ty’s class then heading to the city to get my Easter shopping done.  However, last night I agreed to go into work in the afternoon as Cha Cha was excited to start some of the organizing we had discussed earlier that day.

Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

Typically on Wednesdays I spend my time after Tyler leaves getting myself ready and off to the school for my standing date volunteering in Tyler’s classroom.  This morning though I got a text saying they had a few extras added to their day at school and I wouldn’t be needed today.  So I decided to take a bit more time with the morning routine and read in the tub for a while.

A quick snack Week in the LIfe 2017 Alaynas Creations

Work was then bumped from 1:00 until 2:00 so it’s a very good thing Sam had already planned to pick Kaitlyn up from swim team practice on his way home from work so I was able to stay a bit longer.  We worked on organizing computer files the entire time.

Command Center Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

As you can see it was another day with fewer photos than I would normally take during a Week in the Life project.  I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes.  Life feels a bit TOO ordinary or I forget or I’m too tired.  So I wrapped it up for Wednesday with a view of what I am beginning to think of as my “command center.”  This end table between the couch and the chair I typically use when on the computer or watching TV is always covered with a random collection of notebooks, calendars and books and whatever needs my attention at the time, like the spelling bee word list for Tyler and the clipboard I’m using to take notes for Week in the Life.

At this point I did go on a search for more inspiration for Week in the Life and as you will see tomorrow, my enthusiasm (and photo count) did go up a few notches for the rest of the week.

I’ll be back tomorrow!  Feel free to share your Week in the Life experiences or take a look at some of my other photos for the week.

2017 Monday’s Words and Photos
2017 Tuesday’s Words and Photos

Week in the Life 2017 – Tuesday’s Words and Photos

Week in the Life 2017 Photo documenting project AlaynasCreations

Week in the Life 2017 – Tuesday’s Words and Photos

Week in the Life – a week long photo project intended to document a typical week and appreciate it for what it is.  I have made the point of participating along with Ali Edwards and the Week in the Life Community for a few years and really enjoy the process.

A lot of the community started documenting their photos yesterday so you still have plenty of time to jump in!  I chose to start last week as that was a more routine week than this week will be.  So this week I get to pull it all together in a series of blog posts.

Today I’m sharing Tuesday’s Words and Photos

Tuesday morning routine Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

Pretty sure this was the day I took the least number of photos.  Possibly because it’s a little harder to get the motivation and creativity flowing without the enthusiasm of doing the project with everyone else?  Possibly because I spent a good part of the day at work and was concentrating on that instead of pulling out the camera.  Possibly I was just tired.

Breakfast was protein oatmeal while checking email Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

First photo of the day was that picture of the alarm clock.  Instagram caption read:  Good morning Tuesday. First photo of the day for Week in the Life. At this point I had been awake more than an hour – typical. I try to tell myself to go back to sleep but it doesn’t work. Instead I end up laying there trying to enjoy the comfy bed, the quiet, and the time with the husband before he goes to work. Once he heads out then I pick up a book or the computer until Kaitlyn finishes showering.

After Kaitlyn heads upstairs I usually get up and get breakfast (most of the time that’s oatmeal with cranberries and almonds) and spend more time on the computer until it’s time to wake up Tyler.

At the office Week in the Life 2017 AlaynasCreations

9:00 AM

found me at the office.  This is still kind of new for me, having somewhere to go to “work” even if it’s only for a few hours a week.  Lots and lots of time on the computer, part of which was spent putting together and sending out their first ever email newsletter.
Almost daily afternoon drive Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

2:15 PM

Didn’t leave the office until 1:40 so it was a very quick, very late lunch and a quick change before heading to the gym (while Kaitlyn is at the pool, of course).  This is my almost-daily view of the drive to the rec center.  My car could probably get there all on its own at this point.

Braces at 36 Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

5:30 PM

found everyone home, homework done, dinner finished.  Grabbed a quick photo of Sam and the braces since I realized I hadn’t taken one and he had another orthodontist appointment the next day.  Braces at 36.  Better late than never, right?

What I'm reading Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

“Ing” prompts for today

Barely over half a dozen photos of the day today has me worried that I didn’t do “enough.”

Silly isn’t it?  It’s my album, I shouldn’t worry.

Then I came up with the idea of adding in a few more journaling/word prompts for this day to fill it in.  I want to add in a list of prompts using “_____ing.”  Things like:  reading, watching, listening to, eating, loving…

Tuesday Week in the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

7:30 PM

nightly down time with the kids.  Typically this involves a couple of episodes of Star Wars (Next Generation – yes, Sam has gotten Kaitlyn hooked on that).  Tyler and I usually have the tablet/laptop out as the show doesn’t hold our attention quite as well as it does for Kaitlyn and Sam.  Added bonus tonight was a box of Smores Girl Scout cookies.  Bambi obviously thinks she should have been given some too.

And that’s it for the day.  I’ll be back again tomorrow with Wednesday’s Words and Photos.

Monday’s Words and Photos can be found HERE.



Week in the Life 2017 – Monday’s Words and Photos

Week in the Life 2017 Photo documenting project AlaynasCreations

Monday morning of Week in the Life 2017

Every so often I feel the need to take a closer look at my life.  To look at the routines and everyday items in a different light.  Maybe to appreciate them more.  To change my perspecitive a bit.

Luckily, I am reminded to take the time to do so every year when Ali Edwards initiates her Week in the Life photo project.  I have participated along with this project for a number of years now (some more successfully than others).

The main point of the project is to document the everyday.  Ali and most of the Week in the Life community have planned to start documenting their Week in the Life today.  However, this year the husband is headed out of town for a good chunk of this week and the rest of April, so I decided to start documenting my Week in the Life last week.  I took photos and kept notes and tried to post more than usual on Instagram.  Now this week I want to pull all my thoughts together in a series of blog posts (Words and Photos) and order photo prints so that I can put everything together in my physical album sooner rather than later.  (Which will be a first for me, for sure!)

Monday’s Words and Photos

Typical Monday Morning for the boy Week In the Life 2017 Alaynas Creations

“Tyler, your alarm went off. Time to get up.”
Ty: “I know. I wasn’t ready. I need more sleep!”
The Monday after Spring Break. Oh boy.  (from Instagram post)

I bribed him to get out of bed with the promise of Gosner’s flavored milk for his lunchbox today.

Monday means laundry all day long Week in the Life 2017 AlaynasCreations

Monday means laundry.  All.  Day.  Long.

Monday Morning Routine Before School Week in the Life 2017 AlaynasCreations

Morning routine includes saying goodbye to Kaitlyn first (who refused to pause for a photo) then making sure Tyler is on the ball with breakfast and packing his lunch.  This week he has to pack lunch in a paper bag instead of his usual lunchbox as he has been “tossing his lunchbox into the air on on top of the lockers” at school lately and his teacher doesn’t want to deal with it anymore.  *sigh*

Despite the slow start, Tyler did manage to complete all his morning routine with enough time to spare to (unwillingly) study for the spelling bee this week.

Monday Morning routine includes dishes of course Week in the Life 2017 alaynasCreations

I spend my mornings keeping Ty on track while cleaning up the kitchen.  Usually I have much more than this to deal with – phew.

Week in the Life 2017 Golden Retriever enjoying the spring sunshine

We had some snow over the weekend but that didn’t keep Bambi from wanting to enjoy the sunshine.  She found a dry spot and refused to come inside for a good chunck of the day.

Laundry Day Week in the Life 2017 AlaynasCreations

Most of the morning and early afternoon was laundry.  Some computer stuff for work.  Laundry.  To Do List and phone calls/texts.  Laundry.  Lunch.  Laundry.


My view of seim team practice from the upstairs workout room Week in the Life 2017 AlaynasCreations

My usual afternoon view. I try to work out while Kaitlyn has swim team practice. She is still a very determined girl. Can’t wait to see her progress in the upcoming swim meets.
I’ve been happy to have been able to run into an old friend from high school a few weeks ago and we have since developed a habit of working out together during most of Kaitlyn’s swim practices.  I love that I have someone to keep me company and I think Kaitlyn loves that I’m not getting sick of being there so easily and prodding her out of the pool before she’s ready to leave.

This is where my photo taking fizzled for the day.  When we got home from the rec center I was happy to see that Tyler was almost finished with his homework.  The rest of the evening is pretty standard.  Laundry.  Dinner.  Finish folding laundry and get everyone to put it away.  Relax in front of screens or books until bedtime.

I’ll be back tomorrow with Tuesday’s Words and Photos.  If you’re participating in Week in the Life, I’d love to hear about it!

Feel free to check out my posts from previous years:
2016 Sunday’s Words and Photos  (looks like the rest of the week may not have survived the switch to the new website  🙁  I might have to work upsoon to show of the completed album for 2016) a blog post
2016 Saturday’s Words and Photos
2015 Sunday’s Words and Photos
2015 Saturday’s Words and Photos
2015 Friday’s Words and Photos
2015 Thursday’s Words and Photos
2015 Wednesday’s Words and Photos
2015 Tuesday’s Words and Photos
2015 Monday’s Words and Photos


Life’s Little Celebrations

Life's Little Celebrations Give yourself something to look forward to

Life’s Little Celebrations – Give yourself (and your loved ones) Something to Look Forward To

Isn’t Spring fantastic?  With all the snow melting, the grass starting to get green, flowers popping up, birds singing, and a new baby calf added to the herd every few days…

Well, it’s hard not to feel a little happy boost that Spring has officially begun, isn’t it?

Sure, there is mud to deal with. I made the husband bring home a few bags of mulch last week and we spread them in the rain because I couldn’t stand to clean up mud every time the dog went outside.   (I was really wishing my Spot Bot hadn’t died and I had a new Shop Amazon – Presenting the Bissell Symphony)  And my body is definitely not swimming suit ready.  But, that is vastly outweighed by the overwhelming urge to spend as much time as possible outside enjoying the weather.

Enjoy the small things.

Last weekend, my daughter suggested we roll out the fire pit and roast hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner.  That’s one of our favorite things to do as a family during warmer weather.  The kids happily rode their bikes and played wall ball with each other while the husband and I enjoyed sitting by the fire for a couple of hours.

As I sat there staring into the fire, I couldn’t help thinking how glad I was that Kaitlyn has suggested something so simple yet thoroughly enjoyable.  Then I started thinking about all of the many other small things in life we had celebrated the past week or so.  (It had been kind of a crazy one actually)

Making it through my daughter’s back to back swim meet and band concert.  Celebrated that one by letting her pick out ice cream on the way home.  My little guy’s final Utah Citizenship performance (part of months of work and many projects and tests for them) celebrated again by letting him pick out ice cream on the way home.  That one happened to fall on the same day we went before the county for approvals on our building lot (got it!  Just a few more hoops to jump through before it’s official).  In among there, I hosted our monthly Bunco group and that always feels like a party.

And you know what?  Life is so much more enjoyable when you take a minute to appreciate the small things when they happen.  Everything seems better when you purposely give yourself and your loved ones small things to look forward to.  When once in a while we make the everyday special.

So I came up with my own list of Life’s Little Celebrations:

-a warm sunny day
-school or sporting event (ice cream!)
-one of those random “National ____ Day”  Find a long list of holidays by date HERE. (I can’t believe I didn’t do anything for pie/pi day last!  It falls on March 14.  3/14 – get it?)
-accomplishments – a promotion, finishing a big project, the baby took her first step, the 4th grader memorized his multiplication tables
-because it’s been a while since you had a dinner party or lunch out
-because the kids have other plans and you and the husband have some free time to spend together
-because it’s the weekend
-because it’s Monday
-because we’re all tired and need to relax and indulge
-the first ____ of the year  (snowstorm, flower, hot dog/marshmallow roast)
-because it’s Girl Scout Cookie season
-minor holidays (St Pat’s, April Fool’s, Labor Day, etc.)
-change of seasons
-local events (strawberry picking season, hot air balloon festival, etc)
-because you missed someone’s birthday/anniversary
-the divorce is final
-your favorite author just released a new book
-that movie you’ve been dying to see finally hits the theaters

Life's Little Celebrations Take a moment to recognize and enjoy the small events in life

Ways to Celebrate the Little Things

-get outside (walk, hike, ride bikes, roast marshmallows, fly kites, blow bubbles, fire up the grill Shop Amazon – Grilling and Outdoor Cooking Products)
-take a picture
-go out to eat
-try a new restaurant
-ice cream
-wash the car (what? Are you telling me having a nice shiny car after months of snow and salt-covered roads doesn’t count as a celebration?!  Have you SEEN the line at the car wash at the first sunny day in a while?)
-plant flowers (Shop Amazon – Gardening Products)
-rent a movie (or find one on Amazon Prime Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial or Netflix)
-cook something seasonal or extra-yummy
-document it – journal it, scrapbook it, post it on Instagram
-surprise someone (treat, card, gift)
-invite people over
-family game night
-food, food, and more food (funny how so many things revolve around food, isn’t it?)

Well that’s my list.  I hope to keep adding to it, so please feel free to share your own Life’s Little Celebrations, and how you recognize the small moments.

Give yourself something to look forward to AlaynasCreations

Give yourself something to look forward to.


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Linking to:  Made By You Monday,

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Installing Kitchen Cabinetry

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget Before and After Photos

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Installing Kitchen Cabinetry

Well Hello Spring!  I’m guessing everyone was as excited as me with the official First Day of Spring this week, right?  Luckily, it really feels like spring too with almost all of the snow melted, sunny skies, birds singing, flower bulbs starting to push their way through the ground (starting to sound like  Disney movie, right?).

And this morning’s spring rainstorm.  Which means I can take a minute for blogging before heading out for my weekly volunteer session in my son’s classroom and an afternoon of crafting with a friend – yay!  (If you want to see what we’re working on be sure to check my Instagram feed.)

DIY KItchen Remodel Kitchen Cabinetry Installation

Ready for an update on our DIY Kitchen Remodel?  Last time I posted, we had just finished installing the new tile in my parent’s kitchen.

The photo above is what the kitchen looked like at the beginning of Day 9 of the remodel.  This is after:
Stage One:  Demolition
Stage Two: Texturing the Walls and Painting
Stage Three:  Installing Wood-look Tile Floors

Now we get to the part where we really start to see some progress…

Installing the Kitchen Cabinetry!

DIY Kitchen Update Reusing Kitchen Cabinets

One of the main reasons we tackled this kitchen remodel for my parents (in addition to reason #1 – they needed it!) was because they already had new-to-them cabinets so we wouldn’t have to spend a lot of the budget on the cabinetry.

The “new” cabinets came from a friend’s house.  She had moved into a new house and had the kitchen cabinets refinished only to decide soon after they were refinished that they wanted to reconfigure the entire main floor of the house.  So my mom purchased the newly refinished cabinets from her friend.  And they have been sitting in my parents’ garage ever since.

We’re talking years here people.  Like more than 5.  Possibly 10?  Multiple years storing cabinets in the garage with no real idea when they would get the chance to install them.

It was about time, right?

Pros and Cons of Using Second Hand Kitchen Cabinetry

Pro:  reusing cabinetry costs a lot less than new cabinetry.  And let’s face it, if you’re a DIY kind of person, budget is definitely a consideration.
Con:  Finding used cabinetry that will exactly fit your space is hard.  Probably into the impossible range of hard.  So you have to make concessions, plan carefully, and figure a few extra things out as you go.  And everything works just a little bit differently in real life than it does on paper.
Kitchen update moving the plumbing to make room for the new dishwasher

Like this.  We started experimenting with the placement of the lower kitchen cabinets and quickly realized that the best fit would require moving the drain for the sink 4″ to the left.  In order to do this we had to cut a hole in the wallboard in order to access the plumbing behind it.  Then we cut the drain pipe, turned the section in the wall sideways and ran it through the stud before bringing it back out of the wall again on the other side.

That brings me to the story of the mouse.  I hate mice.  They freak me out.  And in this house we’d been dealing with more than our share of those creepy little invadors – but that’s another story.

See, we cut the pipe, which not only drains the water from the sink but also has a section that runs up to a vent in the roof.  And when we cut the pipe there was a pile of what I thought was dirt or lint there in the pipe.  So I reached in (wearing my trusty work gloves, thank goodness!) to pull it out only to have the thing MOVE right before I touched it.

Of course I let out a yelp and back-pedalled fast.

The husband – a quicker thinker than myself at the time – grabbed the shop vac and sucked the (poor little?) mouse out of the pipe.  So life could go on.

He later told me that when he emptied the vacuum he found not only the dead mouse (shop vacs kill mice, didja know?  Came in handy later.) but the mouse’s half-petrified buddy which my husband had sawn in half when he cut the pipe.  And that had been the thing I was reaching to remove.

Ew, ew, EW!

Kitchen Remodel on a budget Repurposing cabinets meant we had to move the plumbing


So we moved the drain pipe.  Ta-da!

At this point we also patched the wall (I got really really good at that!) and added an outlet for the microwave in the corner.

More Pros and Cons of Repurposing Kitchen Cabinetry

Pro:  No lead time waiting for cabinets to be built or delivered.  You buy it, you take it home, and it’s ready to install.  No waiting
Con: You are likely to see some wear and tear on the cabinetry even before it’s installed.  In our case, we had to add an extra brace or two to the cabinet for the sink as they hadn’t been careful when removing it from the other kitchen.  There were also some holes in random places. In more extreme cases you may have to refinish the cabinetry yourself.

Every project has its own puzzles and frustrations.  One of the biggest ones for installing the repurposed kitchen cabinetry was the fact that the original kitchen had been L-shaped with an island.  My parents’ kitchen is U-shaped and my my mom likes open space (not islands).

DIY Kitchen Remodel included building our own corner cabinet

We knew before we began the project that we would have to customize something for the second corner of the kitchen.

My orginal idea had been to put the microwave above the stove.  It had previously been in residence on the countertop in the corner and I wanted to free up as much counter space as possible.  However, I just couldn’t come up with an open shelf design that would look right for it.  And my mom is only 5′ tall so there was concern about her being able to reach it.

Eventually, I landed on the solution of building a space for the microwave into the lower cabinetry in the corner.  Perfect solution.

My handy husband had no problem building an open shelving unit for the corner, taking care to match the toe kick on the existing cabinetry.  He also lined the wall in the corner with 1/4″ plywood which I later stained to match the rest of the cabinetry.

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget the Pros and Cons of second hand cabinetry

The final result – at least to this point.

All in all, installing the kitchen cabinetry took a total of two full days.  In that time we:

-laid out the final plan for the cabinetry installation
-installed the lower cabinetry
-moved some plumbing
-added outlets
-fed the water tubing for the dishwasher and refrigerator through the cabinetry between the appliances and the plumbing under the sink.  The dishwasher had orignally been located over on the wall to the left.  That was a later addition to the original kitchen.
-built a brand new shelving unit for the corner.
-added a temporary countertop
-came up with a final plan for the upper cabinetry.  The actual installation of the upper cabinetry took place the morning of Day 12.  More on what we did with those empty spaces next week – stay tuned!
-installed the dishwasher.  Well, technically the husband did this on (what are we up to now?) Day 11 while also taking care of our sick little guy.  My mom and I went to the city to select the countertops.

DIY Kitchen Remodel How to Install Kitchen Cabinets

Phew!  At almost 2 weeks without a functional kitchen we were very glad to hit this point.  With the temporary countertops in, we were able to put the stove and fridge back in place and partially use the space for meal prep while waiting for the countertops to arrive.

Next up – the big reveal on how we filled those blank spaces between the upper cabinets.  And be sure to check out the earlier stages of the remodel – demolition, wall treatments, and floors.


Linking to:  Home Matters Party, Creativity Unleashed Party,  Remodelaholics Anonymous, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make, Pretty Pintastic Party, Saturday Sharefest, DIY Party, Made By You Monday,

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Stage 3 – How to Install Tile

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget Before and After Photos

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – How to Install Tile

We have now hit Stage 3 on our big DIY Kitchen Remodel – installing the tile!

Installing tile yourself is a great way to save money on a kitchen update.  And I have a few tips to help you learn how to install tile.

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget How to teture and repaint walls after removing wallpaper

If you remember, this is where we left my parents’ kitchen remodel last time.  At this point we had completed a few days of Stage 1 – Demolition, and Stage 2 – Texturing and Painting the walls and ceiling.

Next up – Floors!

DIY Kitchen Update Remove the old sub floor to get ready to install tile

Removing the old vinyl flooring wasn’t easy and we weren’t really happy with the state of the subflooring when we were done.  We decided to replace the top layer of subfloor with cement board – which is usually something they recommend you put down before installing tile.

DIY Kitchen Update prepping the floor for tile and look what was under the old dub floor

Look what we found when we pulled up the old subfloor.  The original parquet vinyl tiles – ha!  I had completely forgotten that was what the floor looked like when I was little.

We opted to cover it right back up again with the new cement board.

DIY Kitchen Remodel How to prep the floor for tile

In case I haven’t mentioned it before – you do have a set or two of good work gloves, don’t you?

You’ll thank me for this one, especially when moving large sheets of wood or cement board.  That cement board is not fun on your bare hands.  And if you’re lucky you can find some girlie ones like THESE! 😉  I have purple work gloves and they make me happy.

#2 on the list of useful tools of the day – a handheld drill.  I don’t know how many screws we installed in that cement board but it was a LOT.  And don’t forget a spare battery!  You don’t want to have to stop in the middle of a project just to wait for your battery to charge.

While we’re on the subject – grab yourself a pair of knee pads too.  If you’re installing tile you’re gonna spend hours on those poor knees.  We used construction knee pads, which worked just fine.  Though I did find myself wondering if a more flexible pair like THIS might have been an even better option.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Install cement board as subfloor before installing tile

So.  Cement board installed.  Time to get down to business with the tile.

DIY Kitchen Update Wood Look Tile Installation

I have been very interested in the wood look tile that is gaining in popularity lately.  We decided to try it out on this project.

I think it was a good choice.  Looks realistic, doesn’t it?

DIY Kitchen Remodel before installing the tile lay out the pattern ahead of time

I wanted a random look, but I’m too much of a perfectionist to just grab the pieces as I go.  So we laid out the tile pattern ahead of time to make sure everything looked good.

*Quick tip:  Make use of your cell phone and snap a pic of the pattern before you start.  It’s always nice to have something to refer back to if needed.

Kitchen Remodel on a Budget how to install tile yourself

The last decision we had to make before beginning to install the tile was where to start.  Our goal is to eventually continue the tile through the adjoining living room since my parents have dogs and tile is a lot easier to clean than carpet.  We decided to start with a clean line of tile in the archway between the two rooms.

Kitchen Update on a Budget how to install tile yourself

Tips for Installing Tile:

As this was our first big tile project, I will leave the step-by-step installation instructions to the experts (just check Google or Pinterest – you’ll find a lot of great ones).  I do, however, have a few tips that you may want to keep in mind.

See those little spacers?  Buy a lot of them.  Like, twice as many as you think you will need.  They’re cheap so it’s not a big deal.  We used 1/8″ size like THESE.

This would be a good time to send the kids (and dogs!) to Grandma’s for the weekend.  It was really, really hard to keep everyone (even the adults!) off the floors until they were completely dry.  Adequate, undisturbed drying time is a must.  (Any time I have to wait on a project is torture, but we have to do it right?)

Pay very close attention to keeping the edges of all the tiles level with each other.  We thought we were doing a good job of this, but later discovered a couple of places where one tile rode a little higher than its neighbors.  This may have been due to someone stepping on them wet.  Maybe not.

It’s super important that the subfloor is level and free of debris.  Double check all the edges where each piece meets the next one.  We found a couple of spots where the seams formed bumps.  We took care of this with a knife or the hammer.  In one case near the stairs, we missed a high spot and a couple of tile pieces came loose.  It was a pain-in-the-you-know-what to gouge out the dried mortar and replace those.  Save yourself the trouble.

Have a partner help with the install.  Unless you’re a pro, it’s always nice to have some extra help with the big projects.  You really do have to work in small sections at a time in order to get it done before the mortar starts to set.  It’s useful to have another set of hands for all kinds of reasons.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Tiling the Floors

Back to the actual install photos.  😉

By the time we had laid a whole line of 3-4 rows the husband who had once been skeptical about my insistance that we could handle this tile project was heard saying that we would have no problem tiling the living room when the time came.  (It’s nice to have my optimism proven right!)

DIY Kitchen Update Wood Look Tile Floors are installed and waiting for grout

And there we go.  We were very pleased with ourselves when we got to this point.  (And our knees and backs were so glad to get a break!)

DIY Kitchen Makeover I am in love with these wood look tile floors

I think I’m in love with this wood look tile.  Pretty sure I want to do something similar in the entire main living areas of our new house – whenever that may be.

DIY Kitchen Remodel Stage 3 New Tile Floors


All in all, the tile took a grand total of three days to install.  One day to replace the subfloor.  One day to install the tile.  Skip a day for the mortar to cure (which happened to be the first day of school for the kids).  And one day for grout.

I don’t feel like we went any faster or slower than the average person would, so I think that’s a fairly reasonable estimate to expect if you tackle your own tile project.  And if you do – I’d love to see photos!  Always feel free to drop me a comment on here or Facebook.

Want to see the first couple of phases of the remodel?  You can check out the Before photos and the first couple days of demolition HERE or the wall treatment and paint HERE.  Or get a sneak peak into the final result when you check out the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign I made to decorate the wall above the kitchen sink.

Until next time – let’s go make something great!

*Post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.



Linking to:  Home Matters Party, Creativty Unleashed Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Remodelaholics Anonymous,

75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas For All Ages

75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas for All Ages75+ Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler Ideas for All Ages

How do you like your eggs?  I prefer mine covered in glitter or stuffed with chocolate 😉

The kids, well, they love their eggs filled with all kinds of fun.

I now have 13 years of Easter Egg fun under my belt so I figured it was about time to put together a giant list of non-candy Easter egg filler ideas.  (Trust me – we stuff plenty with candy, but it’s nice to have some variety, right?)

Easter Egg Hunting Fun for Kids of All Ages

For the tiny ones:

Unique ideas to stuff your Easter Eggs this year

Preschool and Elementary Aged kiddos:

  • individually packaged snacks (fruit snacks, Goldfish, etc.)
  • powdered drink mixes (the kind the come individually packaged to use in water bottles)
  • coins
  • arcade tokens
  • stickers
  • temporary tattoos
  • rubber stamps
  • jewelry
  • Silly Bandz (THESE dinosaur ones look pretty cool)
  • glow sticks
  • Play Dough and Play Dough Accessories
  • arts and crafts supplies (googly eyes, pom poms, glitter glue, etc)
  • beads (to make their own jewelry)
  • stretchy bands for the Rainbow Loom
  • Perler beads and maybe print out some pattern ideas like these Disney Princess, Star Wars, or Pokemon perler bead patterns.
  • mini pens, markers or crayons
  • bath crayons
  • jump rope
  • chinese jump rope
  • sidewalk chalk
  • bubbles
  • bouncy balls
  • Hackey Sacks
  • set of jacks
  • sunglasses
  • swim goggles (THESE are a good choice for kids)
  • hair bows, hair elastics
  • Nerf gun darts
  • card games
  • travel games (THIS is a fun one I hadn’t seen before)
  • tiny party favor items (mini yo-yo, slinkies, etc)
  • puzzles (a few pieces in each egg)
  • Lego sets (a few pieces in each egg)
  • Lego figurines (like THESE from the Lego Movie)
  • Barbie/doll accessories
  • bicycle tire lights/decorations
  • army guys (one year I found a variation of these with construction guys at the dollar store – awesome)
  • plastic farm or zoo animals, dinosaurs, bugs
  • any small toy:  I have found cars, Little People, My Little Pony and others already packaged in their own eggs.  They tend to be in larger eggs which is great because then you can save those eggs and use them again next year.  Other ideas for tiny toys include action figures, Littlest Pet Shop, Polly Pocket (they still have those right?), toy trains (one year I found a mini Easter themed Thomas the Train set).  The sky is the limit on this one.
  • trading cards (Pokemon anyone?)
  • funny socks
  • scavenger hunt clues to find a larger item (free printables can be found HERE or HERE)
  • DIY coupons (like THESE fun printables)
  • small pool toys like diving sticks or splash balls
  • dress up accessories (policeman or fireman badge, pirate eye patch, tiara, hats, clown nose, etc)

Make your Easter egg hunt extra fun this year with these easy and unique non-candy egg filler ideas

Tweens and Teens

  • powdered drink mixes (the kind the come individually packaged to use in water bottles)
  • sunglasses
  • swim goggles (my swim obessed girl prefers these Speedo Vanquisher goggles)
  • headphones
  • fingernail stuff:  small bottle nail polish, gel nails, stickers, decals
  • gift cards
  • Lego sets (a few pieces in each egg)
  • puzzles (a few pieces in each egg.  Can you imagine how many eggs you could fill with a 1000 piece puzzle?!)
  • money
  • arcade tokens
  • Nerf gun darts
  • water balloons
  • flash drive
  • keychain
  • jewelry
  • wrist watch
  • funny socks
  • travel size items:  lotion, soap, shaving cream, shampoo, hand sanitizer
  • perfume/cologne
  • lip gloss/chapstick
  • make up
  • bath bombs
  • scavenger hunt clues to find a larger item (you can find cute printables like THESE or THESE)
  • DIY coupons like THESE fun printables
  • card games
  • travel games
  • miniature flashlight
  • small sports items (golf balls, ping pong balls, mouth guards, etc)


So there you have it – a giant list of non-candy Easter Egg filler ideas.  If you think of any I missed please feel free to share!


*Post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.



Linking to: Home Matters Party, Creativity Unleashed Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Remodelaholics Anonymous, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make,  Saturday Sharefest, DIY Party,

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Texturing the Walls

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget Before and After Photos

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget – Texturing the Walls

A few months ago we tackled our biggest project yet – a DIY Kitchen Remodel for my parents.  We completely re-did the entire kitchen from the ground up.  New floors, new walls color, new cabinets, new everything (except the stove).  It was quite a project.

Last week I posted the first of the series about the kitchen remodel – the demolition.  Whew – that part of the project was a lot of work!

The next step is the walls.  But first a quick recap.

The kitchen BEFORE:

Kitchen Update on a Budget

Kitchen Remodel on a Tight Budget

And at the end of the first blog post the kitchen looked like this:

Kitchen Remodel Demo Day

The demolition portion of the DIY Kitchen Remodel took the better part of three days.  In that time we cleared out all the furniture, appliances and old cabinetry and removed the wallpaper from the walls.

Those walls had held wallpaper for over 30 years, the latest edition being at least 20 years old.  Once the wallpaper was removed the walls behind it weren’t exactly in great shape.  In fact, in some places the walls were in rough enough shape I was very glad we planned to put up a tile backsplash so I didn’t have to waste a lot of time patching them up.

Kitchen Remodel at the end of Demo Day

Thankfully, the walls in the dining section of the room were in decent shape but had never been textured.  We borrowed a texturing machine from a friend for that step.

In preparation for the walls we filled any holes, caulked along any cracks in the corners (there were quite a few of those along the ceiling), and added a couple of outlets (for the dishwasher and microwave).

*When caulking anything you intend to paint double check that the caulk DOES NOT have any silicone in the ingredients even if it is labelled as paintable.  Learned that one that hard way and had to do a lot of touching up later as the tape pulled off the paint over the caulk.  Urgh.

How to Texture a Wall:

Texturing a wall isn’t hard.  In fact for small patches you can buy a spray can like THIS.  (I have used that in other rooms – works great!)

For larger jobs, first fill any nail holes and patch any dents and sand smooth.  Then take the time to cover anything that you don’t want textured (that stuff gets everywhere!).  We taped plastic over all of the light fixtures, trim, heaters, and openings for doors and windows.  We didn’t worry about the floor because we knew we were going to remove the first layer of subfloor and replace it before tiling the floor.  That’s why we chose to do the texturing at this point – fewer things to cover up and protect from overspray than at any other point in the install.

As I said, we borrowed a texture spray gun from a friend.  It looked similar to THIS ONE, which really isn’t a bad price. (I may just have to look into getting one when we build the new house.  Something to think about…)  Or if you don’t have an air compressor you could use a texture spray gun like THIS.

Once you’re all set up, simply mix the texture to the right consistency (roughly pancake batter in our case – it will depend on the texture you desire) and experiment a little bit on a scrap piece of cardboard or something.

There are a number of different texturing techniques.  We went for the simple “orange peel” look.

Top Tips for applying wall texture:

-move quickly as you don’t want it to build up on the walls.  You can always go back and apply another thin coat if needed but it’s not so easy to remove something that was put on too thickly.
-apply using a more circular motion (as much as possible – the sprayer is kind of awkward) instead of straight lines.
-try not to be a perfectionist.  Remember – no one looks at the finished project as closely as you do when you are putting it together.

Let dry completely before removing the tape and protective plastic.  In our case we applied the texture as the last thing we did on Day 3, at 8:30 PM.  *sigh*

DIY Kitchen Renovation retexturing walls after removing wallpaper

There you can see the walls with the texture applied.  Sorry I forgot to get a close-up at that stage.  Most of the photos were snapped quickly with the cell phone while everything was in process.

As you may notice from the photo, after texturing the walls we started painting.  If you’re smart about this step you can save some time by not having to tape everything for each step.

DIY Kitchen Remodel prepping the walls for new paintWe started by painting the ceiling and trim white.  I suggest satin or flat paint for the ceiling, semi-gloss or high gloss for the trim.  The glossier the trim is, the easier it is to clean later.

Then I taped off the ceiling and trim and started on the wall color.

DIY Kitchen Remodel on a Budget How to teture and repaint walls after removing wallpaper

Kitchen Update Painting the walls and installing cement board before tiling the floor

I love how productive painting the walls feels.  Suddenly the mess of a kitchen starts to look like it’s coming together.  Amazing how a little bit of color can do that.

Well, that a good place to stop for today.  Next up – installing the tile!  (and yes we did it all ourselves – it’s easier than you think!)  Check back soon!


Missed the first stage of the remodel?  Check it out HERE.  Or feel free to check out some of my less intensive DIY Home Decor projects like the Farmhouse Barnwood Sign or Spring Tulip Wreath.


*Post may contain affiliate links.


Linking to:  Creativity Unleashed Party, Home Matters Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Snickerdoodle Create Bake Make Party, Merry Monday , Made By You Monday,