Archive for the ‘projects’ Category

I wanted something to do that impacted the people outside the 4 walls of my house.

I wanted it to be something short-term, didn’t involve a lot of commitment for the future and was practical.

I knew I couldn’t do anything GIGANTIC like cure cancer or end poverty, but I knew that I could do SOMETHING that made a difference for SOMEONE.

And I knew I didn’t want to end up cutting my hair again.

So, I did a WHO (Women Helping Out) Homelessness.  It went well. I think I’ll do it again sometime – with different ministries.

Essentially, I invited women to contribute items (or money that bought items) to make Blessing Bags for a ministry here in Omaha that help the homeless.  The ministry, Least of My Brethren, helps the homeless, particularly with a bent towards getting those that are ready to get off the street and get into apartments.  They have a specific bent of outfitting those apartments with furniture or bedding or sheets or dishes.

But they also hold monthly breakfasts for the homeless, passing out these Blessing Bags that contain items that make life on the streets a little easier.  I had a goal of 100 bags and we ended up doing 110 bags.  40 were targeted to women and the remaining 70 to men.

Lots of women contributed items and several women came to my house on a night to assemble the bags.  I’m very thrilled!  The ministry said it was one of the biggest offerings that they’ve gotten – especially since it wasn’t backed by a corporation.  Well done women!

Each bag got at least:
-Bar of soap
-Toilet Paper
-5 razors
-Pony tail holders
-Plus extra items (lotion, insect repellent, $5 gift card, extra soap, extra toothbrushes, extra toothpaste, or hand sanitizer)
In addition, the women’s bags got feminine hygiene products and a purse! Men’s bags got a pair on underwear!


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Kitchen Remodel!

It’s done!!!!  All done!  (Well, as done as we’re gonna get right now.)

We literally installed the last door knob and coat hook the other day on all the spaces that we remodeled.  Now I’m gonna do my best to show you the results!  Today, it’s all about the Kitchen.

(Click here to see all Remodel 2015 posts.)

Scope of work: 

  • Take down pretty much every wall!
  • Remove the wall between the kitchen & laundry room to make a larger “mudroom”.
  • Remove the wall between the kitchen & office space to make one larger room and room for a walk-in pantry.  This wall was load-bearing, so also installed a header beam to support the house.
  • Remove the wall between the kitchen & living room to make an open floor plan.
  • Move the plumbing from an exterior wall of the house to the middle of the kitchen.
  • Install custom cabinets.
  • Install a 10 foot island/food prep space.
  • Install new cabinets, countertop, flooring, tile backsplash.
  • Create walk-in pantry with custom shelving & drawers.
  • Create “mudroom” by adding cubbies & bench seating in previous laundry room space.

Product List:

Some Before Pictures:




After Pictures:




Side by Side Comparison:

View from living room:



Office/Playroom Before to Eating Area:Before&After2

View from door from the garage:


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Master Bath Remodel!

It’s done!!!!  All done!  (Well, as done as we’re gonna get right now.)

We literally installed the last door knob and coat hook the other day on all the spaces that we remodeled.  Now I’m gonna do my best to show you the results!  Today, it’s all about the Master Bathroom.

(Click here to see all Remodel 2015 posts.)

Scope of work: 

  • Nothing too major (at least compared to the kitchen!).
  • Rip out existing shower & vanity.
  • Remove the wall separating the shower & vanity.
  • Replace with smaller vanity (1 sink instead of 2).
  • Replace shower with much bigger tiled shower.
  • Replace laminate flooring with tile.
  • Replace toilet, vanity light fixture and mirror.
  • Replace bathroom door to match the rest of the upstairs doors.

Product List:


Some Before Shots:







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Remodel is practically done!

It’s done!!!!!!  Well, practically.

(Click here to see all Remodel 2015 posts.)

Here’s what we have left:

  • I’ve changed my mind on the color of the kitchen walls, so we need to repaint those.
  • The bathroom needs to be painted.
  • The white woodwork in the kitchen & bath needs painted.
  • I need to purchase & install some small “finishing” things like blinds in the new basement bedroom, dining area of the kitchen and great room in the basement.
  • Painting the bench & shelves in the “mudroom” area of our laundry room.

The painting will be done after New Year’s Day, but the blinds and curtains aren’t urgent.

The contractors were finished last week, allowing me to put the kitchen back together.  Picking out where to put plates and bowls and serving spoons.  Filling up my walk-in pantry.  The shower doors weren’t installed until today, but that’s been done now.  And the carpet has been laid in the basement today and the furniture moved back in (yay — we can park in the garage again!)

Until the painting is done, I won’t have final pictures.  But it’s looking good.  Really good.  I’m so pleased with it.  I was most nervous about my tile selection in the bathroom, but I love it!

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Remodel: Week 8

(Click here to see all Remodel 2015 posts.)

I think we’re at the end of week 8 of the remodel and WOW what progress!  I’m really overdue in giving an update.

There was a “dead” week in there after the framing was done before the city inspector came by and gave the okay to start the drywall.  The drywallers took about a week to hang and finish the drywall in the kitchen, master bath and basement.  They finished Wednesday (right before Thanksgiving), giving me the go ahead to start painting!

We’ve elected to do our own painting because that’s about all that we can do!  In reality, we’ll be hiring my uncle who is a professional painter.  However, since I couldn’t tell him for sure when the room would be ready to paint, I went ahead and did some painting myself this 4-day holiday weekend.

There’s still plenty for him to do – but I was able to knock out major portions of the kitchen while the flooring wasn’t installed.  It’s soooo much easier to paint when you don’t care about the flooring and the trim hasn’t been installed yet.

Here’s where we’re at:


  • Cabinets installed, but not yet painted.
  • Flooring installed in “dining area”, but not anywhere else yet.
  • All framed.
  • All drywalled.
  • The ceiling, in particular, has been leveled out.
  • All the canned lights have been installed.
  • Island lighting and final fixtures will be installed later.
  • Most of the walls painted, except for the dining area.

Master Bathroom:

  • All framed up.
  • All drywalled up.
  • Drywall primed, but I need to pick a final wall color.


  • All framed up.
  • All drywalled up.
  • Brand new fuse panel installed.
  • No painting or trim work done.

Pictures of the Kitchen:






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(Click here to see all Remodel 2015 posts.)

The contractors come tomorrow!  The contractors come tomorrow!  The contractors come tomorrow!  We’re almost ready for them!

I spent the last week or so:

  • Making lots of meals for the freezer.
  • Making a menu plan for the next couple of months.
  • Removing everything out of kitchen drawers and cabinets.
  • Getting toys purged and moved into the living room.
  • Changing the layout of the living room to accommodate the toys and the fact that one of the walls is being removed.
  • Trying out different paint samples on the walls.

We’ve had one of those paper chain countdown things to prepare the boys (mostly Finn) about the process.  He pretty much just knows that the “men are coming to knock down the walls”.  Anything more we tell him just goes over his head.

Then, last night, we moved our loveseat into the garage (we’re losing the ability to use that parking space anyway because of the dumpster that will be put in 1/2 the driveway) and moved our kitchen table into the living room.  We covered the floor with plastic because you know there will be spills!  While I plan to get the carpets cleaned after all the construction, better to not have to clean up spaghetti!

As a reminder, here are some before shots:



Here’s what we have right now:

Current Kitchen 1

Left side: The view from when you enter the house from the garage. Right side: The view from the living room into the dining area, formerly a toyroom for us.

Current Kitchen 2

Left side: The view from the current sink wall, right in front of the island, looking into the living room. Right side: The view from the living room looking into the kitchen.

Current Kitchen 3

Left side: The current laundry room. This wall will also be taken down (and then replaced) to make more of a mudroom. Right side: Paint choices! (The ones on the left are possible wall choices. The ones on the right are possible island color choices)

Current Kitchen 4

The left side: Our kitchen table now smushed into our living room. Floor covered with plastic! The right side: Our entryway where a makeshift kitchen is beginning. The contractors will move my fridge out there too.

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This is a completely untouched room.  We’ve moved in and haven’t done a thing to it.  Not a thing.  There’s wallpaper peeling from the walls.  I haven’t even stood in the shower.  It just needs re-done.  And it will be this fall.  Hence, the whole “I haven’t done anything with it.” look it has now.

But here it is!


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