Tuesday, November 27, 2012


This year we had my brother Takuya's family over all the way from Las Vegas.  It was such a treat.  We were mostly too busy to remember to take pictures, but here are just  few we managed to take.     

The girls were so excited to be together that they woke up before seven and started helping me put breakfast on.  Asha made a turkey head with felt at achievement days, and we made a fruit turkey with it.  The pumpkin bread pudding made with baguette was a big hit.     

The dinette was the perfect place for games.  This pretty much went on the whole visit.  

Here is our Thanksgiving table.  All 13 of us fit around our table. 

Lots of Lego and blocks play happened by the cozy fireplace.   

And here we are, ready to feast. 

This year we followed Takuya and Sarah's tradition and said what we were thankful for around the table in the order of the alphabet.  That was fun and there were some creativity involved.  We are thankful for all of our family wherever they may be.         

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Guess who came to say hi

Every year they come and eat our soggy tomatoes that have previously been frozen multiple times. 

We have never been prompt at cleaning up the garden, but now we can feel good about not getting to it right away.  

Asha got too close.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


This week Scott put the office in. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vinyl tiles in the mudroom

Today we laid the floor in the mudroom.  We used commercial grade vinyl composition tiles from Armstrong.  They are what you see in malls and grocery stores.  Don't feel bad if you can't remember the floor of any stores you frequent.  I had never paid attention until now.  Just in the last few days, I saw them at Costco, mall, Rite Aid, and our home improvement store.  We were told that they are cheap, easy to install, easy to clean, and durable.  It was very cheap.  At 79 cents a tile, we spent under $100 including a bucket of adhesive.  We broke a few tiles when the kids stood on it over a big gap.  Other than that, the installation was as easy as we had hoped.  I know cleaning it will be great because there is no grout or seams.  We will report on the durability later, but if hundreds of people can push their cart on it everyday, I am sure it will last us until we get sick of it.

Kai and Quinn sat on the tile to help them stick.  We started under the washer and dryer.  I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but there are just enough specks of grey and tan in the tiles to hide dirt and dust between moppings.             

And here it is all finished.     

Scott started at 4 in the afternoon and finished it at 11.  I helped for a total of an hour.  Not bad for a half day's work.  Thank you, Alison, for the idea to use Vinyl tiles and also to make it black and white checkered!  We love it! 

In the morning we went down to Clarkston to pick up the dinette from Duane of Wilden's Upholstery.  We have been very happy with the goucho bed and dinette he had made for our trailer.  Pictures here and here.  He surely didn't disappoint this time either.  The tufted back came out beautifully and it is very comfortable.  The vinyl we chose from Luxurious Leather Looks III was called Graphite. We like the linen like texture it has.   

You may have seen it in the last post, but Scot finished this cabinet last week.    

We still have some tools in it, but this is what the inside looks like.  We will likely put our Cuisinart mixer next to the pressure cooker.  Scott used full over lay Euro style hinges for this.  It lets the door swing all the way to the outside of the cabinet.  We wanted the option to leave the door open when we are cooking and need frequent access to the microwave. 

Some can lights to install next.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Before and after

I was pretty sure we had not taken a proper "before" picture, but I just found one when I was scrolling through some old pictures.  We loved our old kitchen.  It was one of the deciding factors for us that got us in this house in the first place.  This post is not one of those " Can you believe how ugly it was?" posts.  It is rather seeing your child's picture when he/she was little and reminiscing the good old times. And then you look at the big kid in front of you and feel pleased with how much he has grown.     

So, here is our big kid today.  The old outer wall came to about where the new island ends, and rest is what we have added.  

We are working on cabinets, drawers, and work surface for the office area, which currently looks like this.  I crammed things in there so we could start using the space and find out what we wanted.

Curious about the grey contraption on the window?  It is a hydroponic gardening system Scott ordered online so we can start growing our own herbs.  I think it is a great idea.  The only problem is that there is no getting around how ugly it is.  Scott wants me to give it a chance until we start seeing green.  I am pretty sure I will still want it somewhere else.  I wonder if Asha would care if we put it on her window.  She has a sunny one. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dinette progress and painted banister

Scott made a dinette while I was at girl's camp back in July.  I kept thinking I would save this post until everything is finished, but it is time I give a progress report.  I originally got the idea for a dinette here.  I fell in love with the idea of having a fun and cozy spot for our kids right in the kitchen.  I could just picture them with their cousins and friends eating their after school snack, doing crafts or even doing homework there.      

Scott thought about it for a while, measured some benches at church and at the Thai restaurant, looked up some plans on magazines, and then drew ours up.  He wanted to make sure it was going to be comfortable, so he angled the back, seat, and foot pieces.  He also added the chunky molding details to match the rest of the kitchen.  We chose the trim white paint, but after looking at it in our kitchen for two months, we are leaning towards re-painting it in the same warm grey color as the kitchen cabinets.  The white feels too stark.   The next step is deciding on the color of the vinyle cushion.  I want to have a professional make it, but Scott thinks I can buy an industrial sewing machine and sew it up.  I am not sure if my skills can do these benches justice.  I am pretty happy sewing bibs and blankets.          

He added filing cabinets under the seats.  Always nice to have more storage.    

Yesterday I painted the banister.  The wood color stuck out like a sore thumb against the new wall color, so it was a great relief to get that finished. 

Here is the before...  

...and after.

I love it.  It feels so crisp and clean.  My sister and then my mom kept me company on the phone white I painted into the night.  Three hours and five coats later, it looked good enough.

Last week we got to spend the day with a cute baby.  Her twin sister had surgery and her parents were with her sister.  There is a special spirit babies bring into a home.  We got to feel that sweetness all day.           

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our "Labor" Day weekend

Have I told you Asha takes beautiful pictures?  She does.  I asked her to take a few shots of the chandelier so it shows how sparkly it gets.  Here is what she got.      

And I love the crystals.    

We had a fun camping trip planned with Scott's brother Colin and Kersten's family for Labor Day weekend, but we decided to cancel and stay home to "labor".  Living in a mess was starting to grind on us.  It has been two and a half months since we started construction.  And we are not the patient kind that enjoys the process.  Kersten took Kai and Quinn to the pool Saturday afternoon and Bryan and Karine took the kids all day Monday.  Caroline and Asha kept asking us what they could do to help.  We are grateful for the help.       

Scott worked on moldings and base boards.  I had no idea what a big job it was going to be.  If I had known, I don't know if I would have asked.  I found a blog that had moldings I liked and asked if Scott could copy it.  He said he could, and has worked so hard since.        

Scott also finished the island by putting in the toe kick and base boards.  It is so pretty.

You can tell why we have to paint the bar stools.  It has an olive tint in it.  I am still working on choosing the color.  I think I am going to keep it light.     

I got the mud room cleaned up.  This room had turned into a "catch all" as we worked on the other parts of the house, so it took some doing to get all the junk out of the way.  Here is the laundry side.  The tall cabinet is from IKEA.  It is actually a kitchen cabinet called AKURAM.  I love it that it has drawers inside.  Really nice quality.  I originally bought it for the office, but decided I didn't want anything tall in there.  I am glad I found a spot for it.

The door you see on the right opens to the back yard.  We got rid of the door in the kitchen, so this is the way the kids come in after school.  I love it that the mess stays in this room.  I am going to love it even more when winter comes.  All the shedding of clothes, hats, mitts and boots can happen here instead of in my kitchen.             

This side is not finished yet, but the hooks went up. Scott is going to make a bench that goes along the wall.  And the floor needs to go in, but that is a topic for another post.    

We painted the living room in a soft grey.  We haven't painted the ceiling yet, so you can see the old color there.  I couldn't believe how high you could reach with an extension pole.  We got to the top of the second floor without a ladder.    

We also got the closet shelves in.  Asha got right into organizing.  Her room is the closest to being finished.  Another coat of paint on the wall, window molding, and the vanity is what is left.    

This is Kai and Quinn's closet.  I put everything low so they could get to their clothes without climbing.  The bottom shelf is Quinn's, next is Kai's, and the other two are for off season clothes and hand-me-downs.  hopefully no more hanging from the closet pole.  

And here is how Quinn spent today.  Poor guy has a high fever and hasn't been able to keep much down.  I sat next to him most of the day with a laptop, while I tried to get him to drink.    

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Backsplash and chandelier

The back splash is up.  George loaned us his tile saw and Colin helped Scott put it up.

We will wait a while to let the tile adhesive cure and then grout it.  The tiles are big.  10"x20".  They are porcelain called Ascot Cube.     

Here is the "We did it!" pose.    

We also put the chandelier up for the dining table.  Love overstock.com for things like this.  

Scott started working on window trim and baseboards.  Big and chunky.  Can't wait.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Bad Apple

I love having a bowl of granny smith apples in my kitchen.  They usually sit in my glass trifle bowl and add just enough color to my otherwise plain kitchen.   

When the counter stools came from Overstock.com and we didn't like the color (We were warned from the many reviews of the possibility.), we knew just what to do.  Paint them in apple green.    

Well, it looks terrible.  Unfortunately, the cheerfulness of the apple didn't translate to the stool.  Did it get lost in the paint selection or should I change course?  I do have a few other ideas.  The red tomatoes are looking great on our counter right now.  What about the bright yellow lemons?  Or, are these bright colors better left to the food?     

Monday, August 6, 2012


Saturday was spent mostly on our hands and knees.  George, our contractor came in the morning to finish putting the sub-floor down in the addition part, while Scott prepared the old part by pulling some staples and sanding off a few raised parts.

Here you see the first row being carefully laid down.

Scott's brother Colin had put his floor down when he renovated his house, so he coached us throughout the process.  Here he is teaching Jerome who had just gotten back from a week of Encampment.  Jerome helped for a couple hours and then went down stairs for what he called a "power nap".  He then slept through until the next morning.  He looked very refreshed after the 16 hour nap.  

Scott's father came and helped us, too.  He is very handy and I appreciated his calming influence, especially towards the end when we needed it.  

And here it is!  All finished!  (This picture was taken the following day.)  

Well, almost.  We were short by a fifth of a box.  We thought we carefully calculated and then bought two more boxes on top of that like you are supposed to.  We don't know what happened.  We didn't waste much either.  I keep hoping that I would walk into a box that we somehow misplaced, but so far, no luck.    

And here is the crew at 10:30(Minus Jerome. I couldn't wake him up.).  Scott and I will be forever grateful for the help of Colin and Dad.  And let's not forget Kersten who watched our children all day.  Kai and Quinn were so happy and tired when they came back that they didn't even make a peep once they were in bed.