Tuesday, May 15, 2018

master bathroom remodel for less than $5500

When Jon and I set out to remodel our bathroom, our budget was $5000. A contractor we spoke with told us that was a lofty goal for all we wanted to do, but we had added up a lot of the materials costs and were pretty confident we could keep it around that price point if we did a lot of the work ourselves.

We removed tile, wallpaper, and the mirror, vanity, towel bars, and toilet ourselves.

Our contractor took out the old shower, repaired the sub floor, replaced the exhaust light/fan, updated the plumbing, moved electrical from the ceiling to the wall, patched drywall/ceiling, skimmed the drywall, installed the new shower, and altered our vanity so it would fit where we needed it to from a plumbing standpoint.

To finish it off, Jon and I painted everything--ceiling, walls and trim. Jon laid the floors. We cut and installed the trim. Jon hooked up the vanity, sink faucet and toilet. We hung the mirror, cabinet, and towel bar. Eventually I will replace the door knob but I'm not in any hurry to do that.

So how did we do?! Between materials and the contractor's cost, we came out to $5419.36. That doesn't include any cash back I got by buying discounted gift cards through Swagbucks and shopping online for store pick-up via Ebates and Swagbucks. I'm guessing between the cashback on those two methods I saved at least another $100 or so.

Here are the main ways we saved money:
-doing a lot of the demo / finishing work ourselves 
-buying store coupons on Ebay. I got Lowe's coupons for a few dollars but gave me 10% off.. on a $500-$1000 order that makes a huge difference!
-using Ebates and Swagbucks to get cash back on the materials we needed
-buying discounted gift cards to the stores we needed from Swagbucks and Retailmenot

Monday, May 14, 2018

master bathroom remodel reveal!

It. is. finished! And I am SO EXCITED. I have spent so much time in this room just staring at it.

Cabinet (custom ordered from a local woodworker) 
Toilet (we replaced this when we first moved in and just kept it)
Towel / toilet paper bars (Aldi special buy)
Paint (Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams)

Friday, May 11, 2018

ten on ten

Technically my day started around 2:30 am thanks to thunderstorms waking up Elden.
Here's a fun little tidbit about Elden--he is in the 98th percentile for height. Currently, he sleeps in a twin bed.. sideways. He surrounds himself with blankets and stuffed animals and calls it his nest. So when he woke up to the storm I crawled into the bottom half of his bed with him and attempted to sleep. While I attempted to sleep, he would periodically inform me it was indeed thundering, that he saw lightning, etc. Between the lack of space, Elden talking, and Pip trying to get cuddles, I am not entirely convinced I even got the light sleep my Fitbit indicated during that time.

A lousy night's sleep was made up for in the form of doughnuts that a coworker brought in!

One of my favorite parts of the day is when the kids call me on the Ring. Etta frantically waves once I am able to say hi to her over the doorbell.

For lunch I had leftovers -- it was actually spaghetti my mother-in-law made! 

After work we had dinner. Then I had to try to make Edith's dance costume less itchy because she lost her mind whenever I slid it on.

I used duct tape and hot glue at the recommendation of her studio but she still said it was too itchy. Edith is definitely triggered by specific sensations--she HATES seams on socks and tights, for instance--so I ended up putting her in her swimsuit underneath. That worked perfectly, so off to dance pictures we went!

After dance pictures we rushed home because we needed to drop the van off at the auto shop. While Jon took care of that, I got the kids bathed, teeth brushed, and we read a book.

Around the time we finished reading, Jon and his parents arrived (they brought him back from the shop) so we let the kids go down to spend a few minutes with them.

While the kids played with Jon's parents I finished spraying the dandelions in the front yard.

And my favorite part of Thursdays once the kids are in bed: JERSDAY! Yes, Jersey Shore Family Reunion is my guiltiest of pleasures.

It was a slower paced Thursday than I'm used to and I'm not complaining in the least.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

early mother's day celebration

Last night we took the kids to Bomba to celebrate Mother's Day a little bit early because 1) kids eat free on Tuesdays and 2) who wants to fight all the crowds on the day itself?

We never take the kids to sit down restaurants because it is really stressful trying to get them to behave and I'm never terribly excited to spend $8 on some food they likely won't eat. I was nervous because I don't think we've ever taken Etta to a restaurant and even though Bomba had items like cheese quesadillas and popcorn chicken with fries on their children's menu, Elden is known for being a royal pain in the butt when it comes to food.

I'm happy to report that it was an amazing meal and the kids did fantastic! Jon had to take Etta outside to walk the plaza after we ordered because homegirl was hangry but Elden and Edith colored and patiently waited for the food. In a shocking turn of events, Elden ordered chicken tacos and Edith ordered popcorn chicken (we thought for sure they would have chosen popcorn chicken and cheese quesadillas, respectively), and we ordered Etta chicken tacos as well. Jon got a hodgepodge of vegan-friendly appetizers  (plantains, yucca fries and ancient grains) as well as two zucchini tacos. In the greatest gift of all, he encouraged me to do the 10 tacos for $30 deal all for myself so I could have leftover tacos today. I got four Rio-style chicken, two zucchini, two charred kale and corn, one classic beef and one classic chicken. I think the Rio-style chicken remains my favorite, followed closely by the charred kale and corn. I also had a watermelon basil margarita that was life-giving.
Once the food came the kids basically inhaled it. Etta ate both hers and Elden's pico de gallo.
Elden took selfies.
Edith (who didn't want any pictures taken of her) didn't sit with food in her mouth, chewing for eight million minutes like she typically does. Since everyone did so great, we decided to reward them with Menchie's after. In spite of moving when Elden was not quite three, he remembers Menchie's and would ask to go there basically any time we were near our old house (which is by church and the pediatrician, so we are there often). I'm pretty sure yesterday was the first time we'd been back in close to three years! Etta was a huge fan:
Honestly, it was my favorite Mother's Day yet. Nights like yesterday remind me that this hard season of shrieking, irrational tiny people is indeed a season and that eventually we will be able to all sit down and enjoy a meal together. I really like this clan of misfits.

Monday, May 7, 2018


Lately our weekends have been anything but low-key, but it's honestly not the worst thing in the world. Ask me again in two months how I feel about all of it, but this weekend wasn't so bad.

On Friday evening, we made dinner then headed to Akron to take a meal to a member of our church. Since the kids had been in the car for about half an hour we let them run around the mall for a bit. After we got home and got them in bed I actually headed back to Akron for girls night with my small group. We went to dinner (where I ate fried pickles and French onion soup - so healthy). I headed home around 11 and was totally exhausted by the time I went to bed.

Saturday morning we took the big kids to Journey to Oz at Playhouse Square. If you have kids I highly recommend this show! It was totally interactive--they brought kids up on stage throughout the show and encouraged you to participate in your seats. It lasted an hour and was perfect for our kids.

After the show we got Etta from Jon's parent's and headed home. We spent the rest of the day doing yard work, working on the bathroom, putting together the new beds from my sister in Elden's room, etc. Once the kids were in bed I also worked on reclaiming our room a bit from the chaos of this bathroom remodel.

Sunday morning we stayed home from church and had donuts for breakfast. My mom came over for a few hours to see the kids.
During nap time I met up with a few girlfriends at a local spa for some pampering and oh my heavens. I cannot wait to go back...
The robes felt like blankets and I was ready to take a nap.

Once I got home from the spa, we headed to Jon's parent's house to celebrate his brother's birthday.

It was a nice weekend, both due to our activities and the glorious weather. I am in no position to relax, though, because this is the current state of affairs of our garage:
Suffice to say, getting things organized for our yard sale in less than two weeks is a major item on our to do list.

Linking up with BLovedBoston & The Sirois Family

Friday, May 4, 2018

five on friday

My Friday has started off very bumpy and I am feeling all kinds of prednisone-induced roid rage so let's get to it.
{1} Elden was fidgeting with my phone yesterday and when I got it back I discovered 283 selfies and videos. Never a dull moment.

{2} The bathroom remodel is getting so close! Our contractor finished his portion on Monday and Jon and I have been doing the rest. So far we've primed, painted the walls and ceiling, and installed the vanity and a new door knob. We still have to put up the trim, install the toilet, hang the mirror/towel bar/cabinet and caulk. Then we are done!

{3} We are waiting until we are totally done with the room to use the shower because there is still a gap between the shower pan and vinyl flooring and we don't want water to drip down and mess up the subfloor (a rotting subfloor is what triggered this whole remodel to begin with). I used my Shop Your Way rewards to get a free shower caddy and squeegee for the new shower and I am anxiously awaiting their use.

{4} Tonight we are making this vegan macaroni and cheese for dinner and I'm actually super excited about it. We've had it before and it is delicious.

{5} I'm totally obsessed with our Ring. The kids are, too, and love being able to talk to me while I'm at work by ringing the bell.

Linking up with KatieAprilAndreaNarci and Erika!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

etta at 1.5

This little lady... where do I even begin? Etta has given us a run for our money in a big way. Edith is a firecracker but Etta is a nuclear bomb. You cannot take your eyes off her for a second. She is a runner, she has a way of sneaking things she shouldn't have (chocolate to be consumed under the shelter of the dining room table, markers and crayons to color on the walls, etc.) and she leaves a path of destruction everywhere she goes. 

I also think she looks the most like Jon out of the kids:

Etta doesn't talk much. Well, she has been chatting away a lot lately but it's all gibberish. The words she says regularly include: mom, Pip, eat, Oma (as she hands me my phone in an effort to FaceTime her) and no. 'Mom' is definitely her favorite word and it's a sweet little broken record when I'm on the phone with Jon or at home. Speaking of mom being her favorite word... Mom is also her favorite person and she is like a barnacle when I am home. She must be touching me at all times. As sweet as it is, it can be exhausting (and you know it must be bad if someone who's main love language is touch says so).

Etta has a very healthy appetite. She loves to eat, a lady after my own heart. She does not like you feeding her and will smack your hand away or take the utensil so she can do it herself. She also loves being outside and can open all the doors in the house so now we need to keep doors locked at all times, otherwise she escapes. Her motor skills are crazy impressive and she can scale a ladder to the top bunk in the big kids' room or to a slide in no time. Etta loves playing with her Spark kitchen sink or really anything having to do with water. Her giggle is amazing and we love her so much.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

elden at 5.5

As Elden gets older I am planning on phasing out of talking about him a bit on the blog. He has already started to voice his independence--telling me not to take pictures of him at specific times and whatnot--and I want to respect his privacy as he ages.

So naturally I'm kicking off this privacy campaign by over-sharing about him.

Elden is my most sensitive child. Even though we've always reassured him it's okay to cry, he has started trying to hide when he does. This kind of breaks my heart because I never want him to be ashamed of his emotions. He is a BIG helper with his siblings. He also helps me when I volunteer in the toddler room at church. Elden thrives as a big brother and always comments about how remarkably cute Etta is. Lest you think he loves being a big brother at all times, he recently told me he doesn't want any more babies. (#preach) 

Elden is finishing up his last year at preschool. He's nervous but also excited about starting kindergarten in the fall. Elden is my best eater and it's rarely a battle to get him to finish his meals. He loves all things creative activities and could color through a ream of paper in a day if you let him. He is also a hoarder collector and I find the most random objects throughout the house that he's collected. 

Today is Elden's first ever show and tell and he has been agonizing over what he wants to bring. For over a week he was looking through his collections, making lists, asking us for suggestions, etc. As of last night, he had landed on a smash geode Aunt Jacqui bought him and Edith. 

Elden's current favorite TV show is Yu Gi Oh. He is still pretty shy but I've noticed him coming out of his shell a bit more, especially around kids his age. His favorite restaurant is McDonald's, primarily due to the fact that you get a toy with your meal. He loves to play outside and dig holes. He also loves to read (this book currently terrifies but also fascinates him and he's always asking us to read it to him). Elden hasn't been as much of a cuddler as he was when he was younger, but when he gets hurt he wants you to love on him. He often challenges us when we tell him to do something and tries to find ways to get out of it, but he's getting better in this area. He can be so stubborn but he can also be the biggest sweetheart ever.