Kitchen Grout Makeover

I hate grout. I especially hate tile and grout kitchen counters. They are so hard to keep clean! I love our home, but I’ve always hated our ugly tile counters with its even uglier brown grout. I’ve tried everything I can to get it back to the light sand color its supposed to be. No matter what, I can’t seem to get the grout to be anything other than nasty brown.

I searched DIY sites and blogs, and found this great tutorial from The Centsible Life. I’d read great reviews of Grout Renew, but her before and afters had me sold. I went out and grabbed a bottle for $11 bucks at Home Depot. I decided to go with natural gray rather than the sand. I’m hoping the gray won’t turn as ugly as the sand color did. Plus eventually I want to paint our cabinets white, and I think the gray will really compliment the look.

Here’s the before:

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Ew.ew.ew. Now don’t you judge me! The grout looked like this when we moved in. I’ve tried just about everything I could think of to take off the grime, including just scraping it with a flat head screwdriver! So after scrubbing it as best I could and letting it dry, I applied the grout renew.


I’m sooo happy with how the counters turned out. I just wish I’d listened to the advice I found on the tutorial, and took my time painting in the lines. I decided to cut corners and just slap the stuff on, and then come along and wipe it up after. Well, between looking after Piglet and doing my housewifey duties, a one day project turned into 3 days of tile scrubbing! But it was all worth it. Since I took apart my kitchen, I decided to reorganize while I was at it. I am much happier with how I’ve rearranged things. I have more counter space now, and I’m happier with my kitchen in general. I still wish we could afford to replace the counters with a solid surface like granite, but this will do for now.

P1090729Next up on my kitchen wishlist is updating the horrible lighting. We’re going to get recessed lighting put in, hopefully sometime in the next couple of month. Then I just have to convince Match to help me tackle painting the cabinets white. I’m sure he’ll think that’s a great use of his free time! 😉



2013 To Do List Update-Finish the Backyard

So each year I write up a to do list of things I’d like to get done. I always end up crossing off a lot of the items, but more often than not, I end up just adding new projects to the list and crossing those off.  Either way, the list helps motivate me! I’m happy to report that we completed an item on the list. Originally I’d written it as plant a garden, but we realized our yard doesn’t get the right amount of afternoon sun, and because of our hot summers, this idea made more sense.

Here’s the before shots:



Our grass died out when we had some trouble with our irrigation system last summer.

Here’s what it looks like now:

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I also managed to save up more of my Amazon gift cards from Swagbucks, and bought the rest of our patio furniture.  I love the way our firepit area looks!


We still have some work left to do. We will be reseeding the grass, and getting rid of the mounds of dirt and weeds we dug up.


Do you see that bare spot towards the back of the stones? We will be planting a Japanese maple in that spot. Right now the maples are saplings Match’s parents gave us from their yard, so it will be awhile before we plant. I love how the yard is coming together, and it looks so much better than it did.

I love working on projects around the house with Match. There is something so satisfying about a DIY project, and knowing we’ve done something to make our home our own. Now I just can’t wait to save up the extra cash to get the outside of the house painted!

Here’s a look at where I’m at with my to do list. I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this list before the year is up. I have to learn to stop doing that and focus on what’s already there!

2013 Goals/To Do List:

  • Decide on a name for Piglet
  • Pay off new upstairs windows
  • Finance new downstairs windows (thank you 0% financing offers!)
  • Pay off at least one of our student loans, pay down Jeep
  • Start savings fund for Piglet
  • Roll over old 401K to IRA-been meaning to do this for years now
  • Write our wills
  • Take infant CPR class
  • Take prenatal classes, including birth and nursing classes at Kaiser
  • Organize garage-install pegboard and built in shelving storage
  • Replace kitchen lighting with recessed lighting
  • Buy hallway light fixture.
  • Buy ceiling fan in the master bedroom.
  • Buy new dining room and front entry light fixtures.
  • Save up for an electrician to come install all of these fancy light fixtures (got a quote…ouch! This could take awhile)
  • Install a custom closet organizer.
  • Buy sideboard for dining room using Amazon coupons
  • Take maternity pictures with Match (scheduled for April 29th!)
  • Make DIY invitations for Piglet’s baby shower
  • Send Thank You cards for shower
  • Finish nursery decor by no later than April
  • Take family photos when Piglet arrives
  • Send out Piglet’s birth announcements
  • Take Piglet Camping
  • Do something fun for our 3rd wedding anniversary
  • Do something special for my 30th birthday
  • Come up with family Halloween costumes, hopefully DIY
  • Take Piglet to the pumpkin patch
  • Send out our first family Christmas cards
  • Make Piglet a baby book and keep track of milestones (in progress, will be done on his birthday)
  • Take Piglet to the Christmas tree farm
  • Take our first trip to Oregon as a family of 3
  • Have a date night at least once a month with Match, hopefully more frequently
  • Lose baby weight and get in pre-baby shape by the end of the year. (5 pounds to go!)
  • Go back to the gym-should help with above goal
  • Take Piglet to at least one Mommy & me class
  • Keep up with blogging even after Piglet gets here (Goal is at least 1 time a week check in, keeping up with it so far!)
  • Meet a blog friend in real life
  • Finish backyard
  • Have outside of house painted
  • Re-stain deck
  • Buy the rest of our patio furniture with Amazon coupons
  • Buy a digital SLR to capture all of Piglet’s antics
  • Start writing a book
  • Make mirror frame for Master Bathroom
  • Build window seat in the downstairs great room
  • Order new window seat cushion for nursery (made one instead!)
  • Read at least 50 Books this year (41 read so far)

Photo Canvas Prints

Recently I was contacted by Photo-Canvas to do a review of their photo canvas prints. The timing couldn’t have been better, with our maternity pictures having just been taken. I was already in the market for a canvas print, so I was eager to do the review.

Photo-canvas has a great website, and their upload tool was very easy to use. I was pleased with how clear every step was, and the preview feature showed me exactly what my canvas would look like. The best part was how quickly my canvas arrived! I was so excited when I received it in the mail today. I immediately hung it up on my photo gallery wall, replacing the wedding photo that was there.

I can’t wait until Piglet is here and we take family photos. I’ll have our wedding canvas, the maternity canvas print, and then the family print. This photo gallery is going to become a family timeline.  Now I know exactly where to order from!


Check out Photo-canvas the next time you’re in need of a high quality canvas print!

Great Room Update

Barney: [picks up dart] Hey, guys! Guess what I got? A new dart!
Robin: Oh, wow, a new dart!
Ted: Hey, that new dart is great!
Robin: I did not know you were such a fan of “newdart”, Barney!
Barney: Oh yes, Robin, I just love “newdart”…”nude art”. “Nude art”![Barney, Robin, and Ted laugh.]
Marshall: Okay, all right, so what, you guys found the painting, huh?!?
Lily: I knew this day would come.
Marshall: How did you know that?
Lily: Because I didn’t hide it very well. -How I Met Your Mother

In this post from a few weeks ago, I asked you all for advice on some wall decorating ideas for our great room. I loved all of the suggestions. They really helped me visualize what to do with the space.

I will eventually be adding wainscoting to this wall, as a reader suggested. It would look amazing, but right now we just don’t have the time or budget to do it. So for now, I’ve put up a triptych of sorts. These are pictures that Match and I took on some of our trips, which I modge podged to canvas that I painted black.

canvas photo:

canvas photo


I also got a new seat cushion for the rocking chair. That chair belonged to Match’s mom, and she used to rock him in it when he was a baby. canvas photo, triptych, decorating

great room decor
I love the way they turned out, and I think it helps separate the two spaces, as you all suggested I do.  On the right side, above the dining table I will be doing a gallery wall of family photos, with our wedding canvas picture in the middle, and maybe a family photo once Piglet gets here. I hope to find black frames and do a mix of framed pictures and canvas prints.  I also plan on getting an area rug for the left side, and one day we’ll put our couch on the other side of the coffee table. I just have to save up for a leather couch for the family room first. But for now I’m loving the way it looks, and I think it’ll look great for my baby shower next month!

Thanks again for all your great ideas, and I’m sure I’ll be asking for more decorating advice in the future!



TTUT-I Need Decorating Advice

Lilith: You should be decorating professionally.
Norm: Doing you folks a favor is one thing. Anymore of this interior decorating junk could really eat into my reputation as a lazy, beer-guzzling lump of mashed potatoes.
Frasier: But Norm, you have a gift.
Norm: A gift? Try a curse, pal. I spent my whole damn life trying to cover up the fact that I have a great sense of color and I always know where to put the ottoman. -Cheers

with Impulsive Addict and Seriously Shawn

Alright readers, I need some help. We have this beautiful great room that is a living room/dining room combo with big vaulted ceilings. The problem is I’m left with this big expanse of wall that desperately needs decorating.

I was thinking of painting a triptych (3 canvases for one painting) and centering that in the middle of the wall, and  getting rid of the photograph on the left.



I would LOVE your suggestions on what I can do for this wall;  I just need a little inspiration. I wish I could afford to go out and buy some amazing piece of artwork, but for now I’m going to need to go the DIY route. Point me to links, photos, ideas, you name it, I’m interested. Help me figure out how to make this room work!