Sunday, July 16, 2017

Our Stair Transformation

Well these steps have been a long journey.  I started them,  we got overwhelmed by them.  They sat  in a state of disaster for well over a year.  We restarted them, then we started trying to get pregnant and I had to stop working on them because of how toxic the chemicals are, and Paul worked so hard to get them done.  Think, freeing cold February and we have the house open, fans on and I am sequestered in a room all day long.  I became OK with it because as our bedroom became my safe haven, and I was actually pregnant and the exhaustion hit I pretty much came home and stayed in bed.

So here is what we started with.  All Berber carpet.  It was nasty, and held onto all of the dirt, and kitty litter and was a beast to try and clean, aka they never were.  
Of course under the carpet we had original hardwoods!  That were painted...  At first I thought I would try using a chemical stripper, but the paint was so heavy I ended up with a gloppy mess.  Below I have done my best to outline what did work really well for us.  I have seen some people blog how to refinish your steps in a weekend!  Ha, I can't lie, if your stairs are coated in paint like ours were be prepared for this taking some time,  BUT this was completely worth it. 

1.  We took this as an opportunity to take off the bottom step, and first board on the landing sand them down outside, re-position and secure them.  That was when we decided that sanding was the way of the future.
2.  Moving up the steps we took a paint scraper like this one, and took off as much paint as we could.   So much of it just chipped away.  We had already tested our paint, and we knew it wasn't lead paint, so this was a job I could continue to do while pregnant. 
3.  What we could not scrape off, we came in with 60 grit sandpaper and went to town with the orbital sander.  I then went in with 120 grit, and ended with 220.  We are doing the treads and risers on the steps, but we planned on painting the risers.  At this point there were still plenty of dings in the wood that paint had settled into so we came in with a toothbrush and paint stripper and removed some of the paint.  In our final product we actually left some of the paint in places. We knew these were not going to look brand new, so we ran with the fact that these are 91 year old wood steps that have been well worn. 
4.  We did the treads of all of the steps going up, making sure to go every other as we put the poly on so we could still go up and down.  We also made sure the cat learned which to avoid.  We left our wood as is, we did not stain them but if you are staining yours same ideas applies making sure you do every other step.  We applied 3 coats of  this poly in satin.  What was nice is that the re-coat time was 6-8 hours so we could get more than one coat on in a day.  
Quick Pin to help you remember what order to do your stairs in!

5.  After all of the tops were done we taped off the treads, and primed and painted the risers.  All of the trim in our house is Benjamin Moore Ultra Spec 500 in base 1, no tint, semi-gloss.  It is just pure white, and the finish after it cures is amazing.  
6.  We then moved onto the caulk debate.  Paul wanted to just run a bead of caulk and be good, I was insisting we needed to tape and caulk.  In the end my idea won, after he tried his was and saw the light.  Caulk is such a nice finishing touch, the edges just look so much crisper.  I think it is the step that makes your job look far more polished. 
So here is a good before and after! 
Other than doing the stairs, in between the two photos we painted the walls, painted the trim, and installed a new handrail.  We need to finish the hall upstairs leading into the baby's room and into our new room.  I now have a VOC filtering respirator which is super sexy to wear, so I can get started on finishing the work upstairs.  Once our new room upstairs is done we are going to have new carpet put in up there as well as new carpet in the living room.  Ah I will feel so much better about this little boy playing on new carpet.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

Nursery Mood Board

Once we found out we were having a boy, I jumped into action planning the nursery.  Part of me knew exactly what I wanted in a boy's room, so this took me no time to put together.


I was listening to Young House Love Has a Podcast, and they were telling a story were they called Wafair when they were ordering $2000 worth of items they called and asked for a discount and saved several hundred dollars.  They did this several more time and were able to save money each time.  I had put the crib, cushions for our chair, rug, and pouf in my cart and it came to $430.  Not terrible but I decided to call and see what they could do, the customer service rep was able to save me $60!  Heck yea!  Part of the savings came from the fact that she found an open box version of our crib.  It has never been assembled, and there is nothing wrong with it, just that the box was opened and we scored the crib for $130!  She saved us another $30 by cross referencing the items I had in my cart with their sister sites and getting us the lowest  price possible. 

My parents have the rattan rocker that they used when my brother and I were little, so all I had to buy were some new cushions.  I picked up a dresser off the side of the road to fix up last year, and it will be the perfect addition to the nursery, and will double as our changing table.  I already have a spare side table... from the side of the road again... to repaint for by the rocker to keep water and nursing snacks.  I feel like we already have the big stuff we need for the room, and we are clocking in at $358 so far.  I still need to get paint, knobs for the dress, a lamp, wall frames, and a few other little items.  I am hoping with what we get from our baby shower, we can complete the room for less than $600.

Monday, July 3, 2017

20 weeks // Pregnancy Diaries

We are officially halfway through this pregnancy!  Which means earlier this week has had our 20 week appointment.  Most people associate this appointment with finding out the sex, but I associated it more with making sure everything is going well with our baby.  With the practice we are going to we will only get 2 ultrasounds as long as everything is going well.  I know some people get an ultrasound at almost every appointment, but we had one confirming our pregnancy and then our 20 week one.  Everything looked great so far!
Baby:  Our little nugget is officially the size of a banana.  Baby is a little small at 9 oz, and in the 39th percentile.  But look at that little face, that nose!

Pregnancy Side Effects: Random puking still occurs, and stretch marks are rearing their ugly head.  I still have some days where I feel wiped out, but overall I am feeling good.  Oh, and heartburn.  Not all the time, but if I have a tomato I am in for it.  

Cravings:  Still in a fruit and salad phase for the most part.  Lunch has been soup almost every day.  It is easy, low in calories, easy to add beans for protein, and generally full of goodness.  I made a delicious tomato, carrot, pepper soup last week that gave me heartburn for days, and was so worth it.  

Aversions:  I am OK with eggs now, just in really small amounts.  I may have thrown up a delicious doughnut, so I am avoiding those for now.  Fresh mushrooms are still on the no go list.

Exercise:  I am still trying to get my 4 walks in every week, I have been coming up short here and there.  I don't feel terrible about it because I have been working my butt off in the yard.  Next week I need to tackle mulching... which might be the dumbest thing ever but I'll use a little shovel.

Excited about:
We are very excited we are having a boy.  I just keep thinking about how awesome it will be to see Paul with a son.  He would have been just as great with a little girl, but I think every guy was a son, and so for our first baby a boy is perfect.  Paul has been very hard at work converting our bonus room into our new bedroom so we can be on the same floor as the baby.  There are some other house projects that are major on the books right now, so I am most excited to get those done.  

Purchases:  Um, almost the whole nursery...  I knew what I wanted it to look like when we found out it was a boy and I created a mood board which I will share soon.  I kid that I bought the whole nursery... but I did buy the crib, we already have a rocker, dresser, and side table, I bought a rug, and a pouf.  we still need loads of textiles but I think we are in a good place to paint and start placing items in the room.  I have resisted buying any more clothes, I know people will buy him plenty, but I am moderately clothes picky.  

Sewn:  So far I have just sewn a few burp cloths.  I have picked out the fabric and quilts for our little dude, but I have yet to get sewing.  

Highlights: Seeing our little guy on the ultrasound.  He moves like crazy, but I can't really tell yet.  I think he is just a little to small still.  He was just flipping around constantly, and kept putting his arms up in front of his face.  Half of the images of him he has his arms up.  That is how I fall asleep, I like to tuck my arms up close to my face.  Hopefully he comes out a cuddly guy.  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Old Wives Tales

We find our the sex of our little nugget on Tuesday, and I thought it would be fun to do see what the old wives tales predict our baby might be.  I've read how some people swear by a few of these (the Chinese calendar in particular), but hey they really just have a 50/50 shot of getting it right.

Boy - 5
Girl - 8
 There were plenty of wives tales I didn't include, like carrying the baby high or low, growing out like a basketball or wider.  At this point I am far to small to tell any of those, and some of the wives tales I didn't really fall on either end of the spectrum.  For instance if you are moody it is likely a girl, happy all the time a boy.  I'd say rather than moody, I get a little whiny.  Especially when I am hungry and don't know what to eat / we don't have what I want. 
Every dream I have had so far the baby has been a girl, I read somewhere that if you dream your baby is a girl it is actually a boy.  Paul finally said he thinks it might be a girl, my gut says the same but, but I also feel like we are wrong.  I can't imagine waiting to find out until the baby is born to know the gender.  

We would love to have at least one girl and one boy before we are done growing our family, so we are just excited to find out what we are having.  Girl or boy we are excited either way.  As exciting as it is, this is also the scan that they look at every organ to determine if the baby is growing OK, so I am a little nervous at the same time  We opted out of any genetic screening, so this will be our first glimpse of our baby's health.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Double Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Growing up chocolate zucchini bread was a staple around our house.  I feel like there were always loaves in the freezer, and if we are being honest I think it tastes better after it has been frozen.  The top of the bread gets seriously moist after it thaws and it is to die for.  I took it to work with me quite a few times, and I have co-workers who were literally eating the crumbs.  We call it bread, but honestly it could fall under the cake category.

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coco
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
1/2 cup sour milk **
2 cups grated zucchini (heaping packed cups are the way we do it)
1/2 cup mini choco chips
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or vinegar

Make the sour milk by adding the lemon juice/vinegar to the milk and set aside.  Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients.  Alternate adding dry ingredients, sour milk, and zucchini into the larger bowl with the first 6 ingredients.  Fold in choco chips.  Pour into 2 greased & floured pans.  Bake at 325 F for 45 - 60 minutes. 

We are always making a large enough batch the the Kitchen aid mixer is just too small for the job, but if you are just making 2 loaves your mixer is large enough. 

When we make the bread we usually double or triple the batch.  We wrap up the loaves in cling wrap and then put two per bag in a freezer gallon bag and they keep very nicely.  I'd always suggest writing the date on the bag because I might run into the issue this year that we make more bread, and still have some left from the previous year.  Looks like it is time to take it to work more often, pretty sure no one will mind.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

First Trimester // Pregnancy Diaries

The first bit of advice all of the recent parents have given me is to make sure I document everything.  I'm not super at keeping everything documented, so I looked at a few pregnancy journals but they were not quite what I wanted.  Plus I hear moms pretty much forget everything.  All of the apps on my phone keep me on top of taking my vitamins, tracking my weight, and all the fun little tidbits of information.  I wanted a place to document the thoughts and feelings during our pregnancy.  Once the baby comes I think I'll have the posts printed into a nice little book to keep.

Baby:  During this time frame our baby went from a cute little sperm and egg, to a baby the size of a pomegranate - (when I teach my students meiosis, I do use sperm and egg with smiling faces because if I am going to make things awkward, I might as well enjoy it.)  I am loving the baby center app for new little tidbits about our baby's development.
Pregnancy Side Effects: I was exhausted up until the 13th  week and then just like magic I got my energy back.  Well really the placenta picked up some of the load to provide for our little nugget, but it felt like magic.  7pm bedtimes were normal.  Getting through those last months of school were rough.

Also strange.  The whole every time I brush my teeth I end up gagging, and often throwing up as a result.  I had no clue that was a pregnancy thing, but I am apparently not alone... a whole slew of women go through the same thing.

Cravings:  I went through a real strong fruit phase.  Tons of Tons of berries, apples, pineapple, cantaloupe.  Salad.  In particular Casa's house salad.  I still want it actually.  Soup.  I will eat any and all soup.  

Aversions:  Eggs.  They are oh so gross.  I was fine with them for about 8 weeks, then BAM.  I wasn't having it.  Mushrooms.  If they are in a casserole from a can I'm OK with them, but you know the mushrooms that taste really strong, usually the fresh ones?  Yea those are not OK.

In general I am having food issues.  NOTHING sounds good, this has continued into the 2nd trimester.  I'll just open the doors of the cupboard and just whine about food.  Being married to me sounds like a dream right?  I don't think I am that bad, but I do change my mind very frequently about what sounds good.  Just try and keep up with me.

Exercise: Since school is out for the summer, my goal is to go for  4  walks each week.  I am trying to keep my weight gain to a minimum, and ward off gestational diabetes the best I can.  Everything says walking one of the best ways to prepare your body for labor.  My walks are not crazy long, I go from our house to the park near us and walk their trail, and then back home.  The other perks of walks are the dogs I get to pet.  I see one lady pretty regularly with her dogs, and they are just the sweetest.  And now in addition to a baby, I really want a dog.

Excited About:  We have our 20 week ultrasound on the 27th, which means we get to find out the gender.  We have no seen our baby since week 9, so I am very excited.  A bit nervous as well, this is the long scan to determine if everything is OK with our kid.  We opted out of the genetic blood screening, this is our baby no matter what so we didn't feel the need to know of any potential issues.  Plus it was just a screen, and not a diagnosis so it was just giving likelihood of there being an issue.  I think it would cause more stress than it would be worth for us.

Purchases: My mom and I went shopping the last week and we bought just a few things so far.  Since we don't know gender yet, everything is very neutral.  We bought the most adorable sweater with ears, a few sleepers, onesies, and pants.  Paul's uncle had a pack-n-play he was getting rid of, so we offered to take it off his hands.  Not sure it was ever used.  Not technically a purchase, but it is our first big piece of baby gear.

Sewn: So far just burp cloths.  But I can't wait to find gender out so I can get sewing clothes and quilts.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Wedding Quilt V

My cousin got married last May, and my mom and I decided to continue making a quilt for just about everyone who gets married.  If you invite both my parents and I to a wedding, you pretty much know you are going to get a quilt.  Which makes for a lovely gift, but man we have done our fair share of sewing queen sized quilts in the past few years.  We revisited the same pattern we made here for my friend Emily.  I don't have great photos of the quilt because it was rainy and dark before we dropped it off.

The corals, teal, purples, and gray came together nicely and we pulled all the fabric from our stash.  If only we were not getting rained on while trying to take the pictures... Oh well.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...