Saturday, April 6, 2013

$400 Budget Bathroom Makeover

I've been eager to do a makeover of our kids' bathroom for years now.   So we jumped into this project in March with the help of our tax return.  Since my husband has gone back to school and continues to work full-time, I knew I would need to do the bulk of the work.  I'm so glad that it is now done!  I learned so much along the way as we are not really do-it-yourself folks around here.

Here is how the bathroom looked at the beginning of March.
oak cabinets, carpet, glaring lights, a mediocre paint job

So I set to work with the following steps:
- painted both rooms of the bathroom
- adjusted the counter with shims & redrilled the under screws so the sidesplash and countertop were properly alligned
- removed carpet, carpet pad & vinyl flooring and cleaned up subfloor
- installed vinyl plank flooring and transition pieces, including pulling the toilet & reinstalling (my husband took care of most of the toilet work)
- removed mirror (my husband helped a lot with this)
- hung new mirrors
- replaced the lights with my husband's help
When we removed the old lights we discovered that the electrical boxes weren't centered over the sinks. Since we do not have the skills of an electrician and didn't want to add another big expense, we positioned the lights as best we could and decided to let them just be off-center for now. 
- hung a new towel rack
- sanded, primed & painted the existing cabinets
- caulked the counters & base of toilet

I'd still like to accessorize, give the trim a fresh coat of white paint, replace the brass doorknobs & hinges and replace the light in the shower room, but those things can happen bit by bit in the months to come.

The bathroom this week.

Cost & supplies break-down:
* indicates tools or supplies we'll be able to use again
3 boxes Allure vinyl plank flooring in Barnwood - $143.28
*metal yardstick - $2.98
*heavy duty utility knife - $4.48
flooring transition pieces - $20.66
1 gallon Valspar Journal Book semi-gloss paint - $29.97
*1 gallon Valspar White semi-gloss paint - $29.97
*1 quart Zinsser 1-2-3 Bullseye primer -$9.47
*spackle- $5ish
brushes & rollers - on hand
*4" high density foam roller kit & extra rollers, 1 good paintbrush, tape - $30.50
4 brushed nickel cabinet knobs - $5.88
*package of felt pads for corners of cabinet doors - $2.83
2 galvanized wall lights @ $12.49 each (on sale at 1 Lowes in town)
3 pack light bulbs- $12.98
2 mirrors @ $29.96 each
hook rack - free in the mail last year
toilet wax ring - $4ish
caulking - $4.44
shims (to level counter) - on hand
white shower curtain & liner - on hand
curtain - on hand
shower curtain rings - $.75 at Salvation Army
*tools already owned - drill, hammer, putty knife, level, screwdrivers, electric sander, sandpaper, etc.
drive-thru meal from Chick-Fil-A because mom was too busy with this to make dinner - Let's not count that expense.  :)

Total expenses - $392.09 + some taxes (difficult to calculate because I did not keep meticulous records and some items were purchased online and the tax rate is different than items purchased in town)
sale of old mirror +$30
gasoline savings earned by buying Lowe's and Home Depot gift cards at the grocery store to use for this project +$15.50

Grand total monetary cost for project = $346.59 + taxes (amounting to less than 7.6%)

My husband was a great support & encouragement to me during this project.  Without his help with the kids at night and support when I felt things were not going to turn out, I would would not have been able to complete this.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

From Crib to College: Upcycled Bedspread from Crib Sheets

When our youngest son graduated from a crib to a twin bed I saved a couple crib sheets which were made of sturdy fabric and were still in good shape.  Then I cut them up in strips to use for the main part of the quilt.  I added some strips of other fabric I had on hand, a large piece for the top to make the bedspread long enough, and used a blue cotton sheet we had on hand for the back.  The filling was a queen size bat of low-loft batting which I doubled (bought a few years ago for $1 still in its package at a yard sale).  He is pleased with his new blanket and I'm pleased that I could make something useful from items we already had on hand. 
bedspread made using old crib sheets
What have you upcylced lately?  I'm always looking for new ideas for old things.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spring Cleaning 2013

It's that time of year.  Time to refresh.  Time to eliminate some of our excess.  Time to take care of the home we've been blessed with.  Time to redeem the embarrassment of having my nephew negatively comment twice on the state of our kitchen.  So I'm jumping into spring cleaning and hoping to just do a couple things each day to get the house in shape without letting this process consume my life, derail our homeschooling or prevent me from cooking for my ever-hungry brood.

With a large family I am realizing the constant care our stuff is requiring of me, and I do not like it.  In some ways I feel like our stuff is owning me, owning my time and attention, rather than us owning our stuff.  In the summer I read the books 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and Cleaning House and while I don't agree with everything therein, I was greatly challenged in my thinking and inspired to action.   Then came the start of school, a huge road trip, Thanksgiving, a week of the flu, preparations for Christmas, a bathroom makeover, etc. and I haven't really acted on that inspiration.  Until now.

Here's the list I made up which suits the current needs in our home and life.  I've posted it to the fridge to remind and encourage me to keep going until the job is finished.

Spring Cleaning 2013
1 or 2 tasks a day until the job is done
Master Suite
__ wash all bedding (pillows, quilt, blankets, sheets, mattress pad)
__ move bed and clean under it
__ wash windows & blinds
__ wash walls, doors & baseboards
__ wash curtains
__ detail vacuum
__ scrub shower tile & sinks
__ sort & purge clothing, bring out summer items
__ go through hope chest, store winter linens
__ move baby clothes to girls' closet

Boys' Room
__ wash all bedding
__ scrub bed frames & dresser
__ sort clothes, note any needs
__ wash walls, window, doors & baseboards
__ wash curtains
__ detail vacuum

Girls' Room
__ wash all bedding
__ scrub bed frames & dresser
__ sort clothes, note any needs
__ wash walls, window, doors, mirror & baseboards
__ wash curtains
__ detail vacuum
__ declutter dresser & toys/books

Upstairs Hallway
__ detail dusting
__ detail vacuum
__ go through cupboards
__ wash walls & baseboards

Kids' Bathroom
__ bleach & embellish shower curtain
__ recaulk shower
__ make & hang “Create in me a clean heart” sign
__ sew loops onto all kids bath towels

Front Entry
__ detail vacuum steps, wash walls & rail up staircase
__ wash floor, door & baseboards
__ fix display board
__ sweep front porch
__ dust/wash plant shelves & light fixtures
__ repot/divide fern
__ wash blind & window

Living Room
__ clean inside & top of armoire
__ detailed dusting
__ detailed vacuuming, including couch
__ organize bookshelf & wipe down each shelf
__ clean side table
__ vacuum couch
__ wash walls, fireplace & baseboards
__ wash blinds
__ return curriculum to school

__ clean fridge – inside & out
__ empty, clean & organize each cabinet & drawer
__ organize pantry
__ wash windows & blinds
__ wash curtains
__ replace curtain brackets & patch & paint wall
__ scrub floor, walls & baseboards

Laundry Room, Back Hall & Powder Room
__ scrub floor, walls & baseboards
__ detail vacuum closet
__ organize closet
__ put away ALL laundry and wipe down machines
__ recaulk sink & toilet

__ take all donations to Goodwill
__ take liquids, expired meds & light bulbs to hazardous waste disposal
__ sweep & wash floor
__ get stuff sold on Craigslist

__ sweep & wash floor, rail and stairs
__ organize & purge toys (limit to 30 min. - timed)
__ secure shelf and cabinet to studs
__ put away all items on table and collapse table

__ wash all rugs
__ scrub and sanitize all trash cans
Hooray! You're Done!
Treat yourself to a new dress.

How do you tackle these big jobs and motivate yourself to follow through?

April Menu

With 3 birthdays in our family this month, and my desires to focus on finishing our school year strong and doing lots of spring cleaning, I'm trying to plan simple meals to get us through the month.

1. broccoli cheddar soup, sourdough bread, fruit salad
2. ham, mashed potatoes & gravy, glazed carrots
3. salad bar - kale & cabbage, rotisserie chicken, Canadian bacon, onion straws, cheeses, celery, cauliflower, homemade dressings
after dinner prep: remove chicken & make bone broth from carcass
4. chicken soup w/homemade noodles, whole wheat rolls
5. chicken & homemade refried bean burritos, fresh veggies & dip
6. celebration dinner -  pineapple chicken, rice, peas, apple cinnamon muffins w/cream cheese frosting
7. sausage & kale quiche, cranberry orange scones, juice
8. spaghetti & meat sauce, bread, salad or vegetable (x4)
9. Hawaiian pizza, veggie tray
10. meal delivery - salad bar (greens, chicken, hard boiled eggs, cheeses, dressings, cut veggies, croutons), fresh whole wheat bread w/whipped honey butter, sliced fruit, chewy ginger cookies
11. beef roast, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans
12. scalloped potatoes w/ham, green salad
13. Cuban beans (using a ham bone & pintos), fruit salad
14. celebration dinner - steaks, loaded baked potatoes, green salad, dessert of choice
15. celebration dinner - orange chicken, rice, green beans, dessert of choice
16. taco salad
17. hamburger soup (loaded with vegetables), whole wheat bread
18. shredded BBQ pork sandwiches, chips, salad
19. sausage potato chowder, biscuits, fruit
20. whole wheat pancakes, berry sauce, sausage
21. enchiladas, green salad, Mexican rice
22. beef stew, cheddar biscuits
23. Pizza Hut at the park - thanks Nana & Papa for the treat
24. quinoa w/vegetables and bits of meat
25. sesame chicken, brown rice
26. potato/sausage/egg bake, cinnamon rolls, oranges
27. take-out - thanks to Grandma & Grandpa

chicken salad sandwiches
turkey sandwiches
smoothies & scrambled eggs
snack lunch

Breakfasts items:
green smoothies
homemade yogurt
whole wheat toast
chocolate zucchini whole wheat muffins
pineapple granola
cinnamon rolls
soaked oats w/ berries
yogurt parfaits
apple oatmeal