And There Goes Summer…


This is going to be one of my mish-mash posts I’m afraid! It’ll have a little bit of homeschooling and remodeling. I thought that you, our dear readers, deserve an explanation for why we haven’t been posting too many pictures of our food or garden harvests or homeschooling or homesteading!

We have been spending most of the summer prepping for remodeling our garage into a master bedroom suite. And not prepping as in preparing for us to do it ourselves! Well, we will be doing part of it ourselves, but the major construction part we are hiring out to a company that has greatly impressed us so far. Before we could even agree to the remodeling agreement though, we had to come up with money for it! That was an adventure in itself. Josh ended up having to remodel the entire bathtub area in our single full bathroom in about two weeks. We took a lot of pictures of that (Josh put an album up of that experience on Facebook) but haven’t been able to post about it yet.

I am also preparing to homeschool four of my kids this coming year. I am hoping to start the day after Labor Day. My youngest boy starts kindergarten. My oldest boy will be in 7th grade! I will be using all videos with them again this year, but we are hoping to move to perhaps only half videos next school year. Homeschooling four kids takes up a lot of space. I think I might need more than two homeschool-dedicated bookcases! I’ve also learned this year that the 3-ring binder is definitely a homeschooling mom’s best friend. I don’t seem to have enough of them!

I also have two more posts partially drafted about Comic-Con and the San Diego County Fair. They are both old news now, but since both happen every year, they might still be helpful for next year’s events!

So our major remodeling project begins October 3rd hopefully. We will definitely be posting about that experience here. I am not quite sure how the remodeling and homeschooling will work together. I have a feeling that most of our homeschooling will be happening at Grandma’s and Lola’s houses. The major work should be done by January, but since Josh and I are taking care of installing most of the finishes (flooring, bathroom fixtures and vanity, painting), we probably won’t really be done until the end of February.

I do know that it is a given that the next 6 months will be very busy, so there may be a lot of these little mish-mash posts for a little while.

If any of you have hints for living through a major remodel (fortunately, it won’t really affect our kitchen or current single bathroom. Mostly we will be dealing with just noise, dust, and our driveway being full of materials), we will gladly take them to heart!¬† Thank¬† you so much to all of you who take the time to read our blog! We appreciate all of you!

– Lynn


Bathroom Remodel – The Vanity Drawers

I previously mentioned that we would be losing about 4 drawers to the plumbing for the new double sinks in the vanity. Josh and my FIL were able to figure out how to keep all 6 drawers!

This post is from March 2015.

When we decided to refinish our current vanity instead of buying a new one, I was worried about how the drawers would work with the new plumbing configuration.  I knew we were going to lose the top two drawers but I wanted to at least have the two middle drawers.
My father-in-law was able to reconfigure the current drawers (this is when it is great that all of the cabinetry in our house is real wood) and gave us a ton of storage space!
Here is the vanity completely refinished. It has a bit of a distressed look but I love how you can see the grain of the wood. Before it was refinished, the vanity was painted white.
One of the large middle drawers before we put it in the vanity to be used. My FIL did not have to use any new wood.  All the wood you see came from the drawer.
And the drawers work great!
Somehow I have fewer things in the drawers now than I did before.  I think it is because I went through and threw away anything that was too old to use or didn’t belong in the drawers. This is one of the top drawers so we still have six drawers in the vanity instead of four.
The other middle drawer.

At first, I wanted a new vanity, but Josh said that to pull out the whole old vanity would have torn up a lot of the plaster wall. Also, to get the same quality of wood would have cost a lot of money. I think it cost less than $100 to refinish the old vanity and buy new hardware. I am glad we stayed with the old one!


Bathroom Remodel – Part 7 – The “Little” Things

I messed up on my scheduling of these posts! So somehow Part 8 posted before Part 7. Oops!

The countertop install was probably our biggest holdup for this part of the bathroom remodel. Once that was in, Josh was able to get to the plumbing, putting up mirrors, shelving, and finishing with the painting.

These posts were written a few days after the countertop install in February 2015.

I had the hardest time finding mirrors for the bathroom. Since this is an older home, a lot of the measurements are not standard. The medicine cabinet needed to be 14″ wide and 24″ high, which is nonstandard, which means not a lot of options. I also wanted a mirrored interior instead of the plastic (yes, I was being picky) The only place I was able to find a medicine cabinet exactly that size with the mirrored interior was Restoration Hardware. It was a little bit more expensive but it was on sale for $80 off plus it has the mirrored interior I was looking for. The medicine cabinet was delivered two days ago but it will be at least a week before Josh can install it. I did like the frameless medicine cabinet at Restoration Hardware more but the dimensions were just a half-inch off.
I also made the mistake of looking at their wall mirrors. And ended up buying two of those also. Ideally, we were looking for 15″ by 24″ wall mirrors for above the vanity, but those don’t really exist. Once Josh hung the white cabinet on the wall I was able to measure how much space we have between the white cabinet and the side walls. An 18″x 24″ would fit perfectly. I was originally going to go with two IKEA mirrors that were almost 20″ in width (and a lot cheaper at $10 each) but the Classic Wall mirror at Restoration Hardware was so pretty that I fell in love with it. I was also able to get it in Satin Nickel, which matches all the rest of the hardware in our bathroom. The mirrors were $60 off regular price.
I ended up paying about $630 including shipping and taxes for the wall mirrors and the medicine cabinet. When I told Josh how much they were, he said that they must be magic mirrors. That is what happens when you don’t use standard sizes though! It costs more.
Once we had the counter in, we were able to see what it looked like with the current lighting. It seemed off-white in the light. I didn’t like it that it was matching the floor in color. When Josh and his dad put up the ceiling above the vanity, they had to take down the pendant lights. So I got to see what the counter looked like in just the light from the LED ceiling light. It is funny how  light can change the color of a room. In the light from just the LED ceiling light, the counter looked whiter. So yesterday, when we were at Home Depot returning some things, we picked up some LED light bulbs for the pendant lights in “daylight.” Hopefully, this will give us the white color we want in the counter. The pendant lights had LED bulbs in “warm white.” The ceiling light is also “warm white,” but I think it is far enough away that it doesn’t affect the color of the counter. It is also diffused while the pendant lights are direct lighting.


This past Saturday was another all-day workday in the bathroom. I was hoping we’d be able to get the mirrors and medicine cabinet up on Saturday but by about 10 AM, I realized that wasn’t going to happen. Josh had a more realistic goal – getting the plumbing for the sinks and faucets done!

We had the kids out in the living room playing while Josh and I worked in the bathroom. He worked on the plumbing while I sanded down the walls and put primer on them. We had a bet going: I thought it would take him 5 trips to the hardware store to get the plumbing done. He said it would take him 2 or 3 trips.  He won! I think he fixed the minor leak in one of the pipes yesterday so I am not sure why the bin is there under the pipes. Maybe it is insurance in case one of them does start leaking. I definitely have to replace the cork liner I had there.

Josh also was able to put a skim coating on the a few of the bathroom walls. He will have to explain skim coating in a post but my understanding is that it is a thin coat of joint compound layered on the wall to smooth it out and cover imperfections. After some sanding, the walls will be ready to paint.

Josh’s plumbing setup in the cabinet. We are losing the equivalent of 3 drawers in the vanity but 2 sinks is more important!


A close-up of the sink and faucet. We got to use one of them for the first time yesterday! No more brushing our teeth in the kitchen!

The vanity is starting to look decent!
What’s left for the vanity: painting the walls above the vanity, installing the mirrors and medicine cabinet, putting up the tile backsplash and pendant lights, setting up the middle storage cabinet, and putting the drawers back into the vanity.



Bathroom Remodel – Part 8 – Finished Vanity (mostly)

Note: This post is from March 2015. I think this is when we had to stop work on the bathroom remodel. Since it was spring, Josh wanted to get outside to put his plants in.

The tile backsplash is completely different from the one that has been in all the previous pictures. We ended up going with a more expensive tile, but I love it so much that I think it was worth the extra cost.

We used the Moon Jewel mini-brick tile from

We had to take a break from the bathroom remodel because Josh was out of town for two weeks.  He was able to get a lot done before he left.  I was not able to update while he was gone though, so this post is to make up for that.

This is how the vanity looked before Josh left. The vanity area is missing a mirror because a piece of hardware to hang it was missing from the box! I am not sure what Josh is planning to use instead.

Before Josh was able to grout the tile backsplash.

I love our faucets!

The right side of the vanity closest to the door. Please ignore the ugly shower reflected in the mirror!

Our new medicine cabinet.  I love it! It is mirrored on the outside, on the inside of the door, and in the shelf area!

How the tile looks with our quartz countertop. I was a little afraid it wouldn’t match but it is perfect.

This kind of tile backsplash is very hard to lay flat, especially since our walls aren’t really straight. So we just had to make do with imperfections.

A closeup of the countertop.  I love how shiny it is.

The left side of the vanity and the other sink.  We no longer have fights in the bathroom between our kids.

The difference between the paint. We thought we were getting white!  But it is more of a lavender color and I love it.

Accent tile around the window.  Josh was not able to grout it before he left.

Our vanity in actual use. There are seven of us sharing this bathroom so I think countertop clutter with toothbrushes, toothpaste, and mouthwash is inevitable.

My attempt at spa-like decor

My  kids thought the stones in these cylinders look like mentos.

Final touch on top of the cabinet. Some blue hydrangeas. I am pleasantly surprised how much I like the teal in the bathroom.

So we still have a long way to go.  The bathtub is the next project, which should hopefully not be too complicated.  After that, comes smashing up the shower and replacing everything in it.


Bathroom Remodel – Part 4 – Demolition


I was going to try and put all of demolition into one post but for some reason, the posting feature went on the fritz for me. Oh well. I will just put it here in a new post then. These pics are all from January 2015.

My FIL taking out all the old tile on the vanity. The tile was mortared to the plaster wall behind it.
The vanity area after the plaster wall and tile was removed.
The tile surround on the bathtub was also removed.
The hole in the bathroom ceiling. We’re still not quite sure why there was a soffitt here. My son Ian hated this hole. He was scared to use the bathroom because of it. To be honest, I didn’t like it much either! The ceiling was like this for about two weeks.
The new lighting! These helped our bathroom look so much brighter than it was. It kind of looked like a cave before!
The new ceiling light
The pendant lights were actually pretty tricky for my FIL to install. I think this was because he was starting from scratch with the housings and the wiring.


Bathroom Remodel – Part 3 – Demolition

Note: The first half of this post is Josh’s writing. I wanted to get demolition all into one post and it looks like we didn’t do that over on our old blog.

The first big remodel project that I have chosen to do is the bathroom.  It is incredibly ugly and needs to be updated and brought out of the 50s and 70s.  Just before Christmas I took the old wall coverings off.  Rather than paint this bathroom was done in wood slats.  It wasn’t exactly paneling, but was instead some unfinished wood nailed to the wall.

Before removing all the wood, I often wondered why somebody would put wood slats on a bathroom wall.  I was able to look under the wood a little bit and see dark gray paint with some shiny gold showing through the paint.  After taking down the wood, I found the walls had been covered in gold foil wall paper.

Unpainted gold foil wallpaper behind toilet

As I removed the wall paper, I was able to see yet further into the past.  Under the wall paper was yellow and pink paint.

It was fun to remove all the ugly parts of the past in my bathroom.  It was interesting to me to see what it looked like in the past.  Nothing had been taken out in the entire 60 years of the house’s history.  Everybody before me just covered up and moved on.  While that created more work for me, it did give me more insight into my house and the decorating ideas of the past.