My DIY kitchen makeover!

About a month ago I decided I had enough with our dated kitchen. It was so drab and dark, and I never felt comfortable in there. My husband and I talked a lot about our kitchen for the last 2 years we've been in the house. We know we want to gut it. We want to change the entire lay out and knock down some walls including a load bearing wall which is a HUGE project. Pricey probably doesn't even begin to describe what our kitchen dreams would be like. So we knew it would be a project put on hold. Also our kitchen wasn't THAT bad. OK, aesthetically yes, it was depressing, but functionally it was actually decent. Our cabinets are original and in fabulous shape, someone somewhere along the lines did add in a newer granite counter top and stainless steel sink and even though I would have never chosen the two, it still is updated and in great shape. Also our appliances while a bit dated, are not original and totally fully functional. So I decided a face lift is what it needed. So I got to work!


This make over took me about a week to complete. I used Nuvo one day Cabinet Makeover and even though it states you can do this in 8 hours, that's pretty much impossible if you want a really well done outcome. I did this SOLO as well so that added some time to the whole thing. These are the steps I followed:

  • Remove hardware, doors, and hinges. If you are going to re-use your hardware make sure to put them in baggies and label them clearly. I was not planning to re-use so I just tossed them all in a baggie together
  • Fill old holes and drill new holes for new hardware (if using new hardware) before sanding. I didn't do that. I sanded first then drilled the next day so I had to go back and re-sand. Not fun. Also if you want a really easy way to drill new holes with perfect precision, use a template like this one to measure for you. Saves time and stress!
  • Clean the frames and doors thoroughly with something like TSP.
  • Sand your cabinet frame and doors with a fine grit sand paper.
  • Clean everything again to remove dust.
  • After this I was ready to paint! You can prime them first. I didn't, but I would have if I hadn't forgotten to buy the primer during one of my 10 different trips to home depot! ugh.

I gave my cabinets 3 coats of paint. I did one coat a night. Spreading it out like that is really unnecessary, but it helped me keep my sanity. I felt less pressure and was 100% sure it would be dry when applying the next coat. Thankfully I was able to lay out all my doors in the basement so they weren't all in the way upstairs. It all sounds like more work than it was. In reality I felt like this was a very easy project, just a bit time consuming. The hard part came when trying to re-install the doors on the frames. I was using new hinges and since my cabinets are super old I couldn't find the right ones at any hardware store. I had to order them online. And even those were not a 100% perfect fit. But I managed to drill new holes even after everything was painted, and there was little to no damage done to my precious paint work. My tip: test your new hinges before painting anything and if new holes need to be drilled, do it first! As for installing the handles and pulls, when reading reviews on the hinges I purchased, a lot of people said they had to buy new screws to fit because their doors were thicker or thinner. Mine were a perfect fit. Just test all new hardware first!

  I have to say I liked the Nuvo cabinet paint. I'm not an expert painter so I don't have much to compare it to, but for me it worked. It dried fast, it was nice and thick so you didn't have to apply a ton of coats to hide a darker cabinet. 3 coats worked fine for me. Another tip, the paint kit comes with a roller and a brush. The brush will be streaky and uneven and you will need more than 3 coats of paint to cover a darker cabinet like mine, and the roller will leave tiny little bubbles/bumps. What I did was I applied each coat with the roller then smoothed out the bubbles with the brush. It worked like a charm! I got a nice smooth and even coat all over!

Here are my sources for this kitchen:

  • Cabinet Paint: Nuvo Cabinet Kit in Titanium White: $70 (I bough two kits, but I only needed one)
  • Drawer pulls: $2.19 each. This was a total STEAL compared to what you find elsewhere. And these are heavy solid metal! I highly recommend this brand of hardware.
  • Bar Handle: $24.75 for a 5 pack: Another total STEAL!
  • Hinges: Make sure you buy the correct hinge for your cabinet and test them first!
  • Rug: this was an ebay find!
  • Vintage Mid Century clock: Another ebay score
  • Reclaimed wood shelves: I found this seller Chris Csonka on etsy and I can not say enough just how wonderful he was to work with. He answered all of my questions, and even used the exact stain I requested (this one is minwax Early American).
  • Handmade Iron shelf bracket: Another Etsy find. This seller was also awesome! The brackets are solid thick, heavy iron. We love them!
  • Mini island/kitchen cart: This one is solid and really well made. It was also very easy to put together. Originally I had planned on purchasing this kitchen island from Ikea and I was just going to stain it, but I found this one during Target's 4th of July furniture sale and the difference in price was minimal, when you added in shipping from Ikea because NO store by me carried stock of them.  Also this one has two shelves AND drawers unlike the Ikea one so it was a no brainer.

And that's it for my DIY Kitchen Makeover!! Hope some of these tips are helpful!

My Baby Must Haves

It's been just about a year since I've had Emerson, and before I had him I spent months pouring over recommendations for baby items and what to register for. Many things I purchased or received as a gift I used but other things I barely used or didn't use at all. After a whole year I think I've come up with a list of items that are a total must have. There are other necessities as well, such as bottles, breast pumps, swaddles, and diapers but there are so many brands and I just felt like the those things can be chosen on preference. These items are ones that I just couldn't foresee myself surviving the first year without. OK, that's dramatic I would have survived but these things just made it a whole lot easier!

Baby Registry Must Haves to get you through the first year and beyond

1. Aiden and Anais Burpy Bibs - I know these things are everywhere, always on the "must have list. But really they are a must have! they are perfect with a new born to burp with and I use them now for when Emerson is eating a smoothie pouch on the go. Saves him from getting food all over his clothes and it's nice and soft!

2. Infantino Squeeze station - This is one of those things you wouldn't know you needed until you have it. Kind of like an automatic car starter. I've used this thing ever since I started feeding Em foods. I would puree the food, use this little station to put the food in the baggies and then freeze. Now I use the station for smoothies! I can see myself using this for a long time to come.

3. Squooshi reusable food pouches - These things are great! I HATE wastefulness. It's one of my biggest pet peeves in life. I even have re-usable zip lock bags that's how much I hate it. So these bags are great! I've been using them over and over since Em was 4 months old and they hold up great and don't leak! If your going to use the baggies for your baby to feed him or herself with, make sure to get the spouts too!

4. Boppy baby lounger - We had the Mamaroo, a bouncy chair, a bassinet, a vibrating thing, but THIS thing was a life savor. For some reason my son hated the mamaroo till about 4 months or so. He also hated being flat on his back so this pillow lounger was perfect for him. It kept him at a slight incline so he was comfy and it was small and compact I just took it everywhere with me.

5. Ergo Baby carrier - I did not have this one. I had the Baby Bijorn, and the K-tan sling. But I wish I had gotten this one instead. I loved my K-tan sling but I could only use it for a few months. The Bijorn is complicated and kills my back. I recommend the Ergo over the others.

6. LeSportsac travel set- I hate diaper bags. I've been through 3! I've only found one that is semi decent but that one just goes back and forth to my Nanny's because it's really not that cute. In the end I started using a Louis Vuitton speedy 40 or a big tote. These little pouches are great for organizing. I use the largest size to hold all his diaper changing stuff and the smallest bag for first aid type stuff and the medium size I throw in a change of clothes or some toys.

7.  Safety 1st Bath Tub - The is our second baby bath tub. Our first one was great but was meant for him to just lay in where the water just hit underneath him. Once he started sitting up we needed something that he could sit in, move around in, and pay a little like a real bath. Our tub was still too big for him but this was just perfect. In the end I wish we had registered for this instead of the infant bath because this comes with the infant seat as well.

8. Nose Frida - Way better the bulb aspirators. So easy. My son still hates it no matter what but this does the job.

9. Munchkin Sound Projector - This machine does way more than just play sounds but I only use it for the ocean sound. My reason for putting this on my list is that it has an option for continuous play. Which is great! My son wakes up if it happens to go off so to have it play continuously is key! I'm sure there are others that do this but this one is the one I have and it's perfect.

10. Levana Oma - This device gives a new parent peace of mind. You clip it on your baby's diaper and It alerts you if there is no movement after 15 seconds. I wouldn't have gotten even a wink of sleep in those first few months if it wasn't for this thing.

11. Halo Quilted sleep sack - These sleep sacks are great for when transitioning out of the swaddle. They keep baby warm and cozy. My son sleeps so much better with this on.

12. Jelly Cat - These stuffed animals are so unbeliveably soft. My son has a few but he loves his bunny and doggy. They really do help him sleep better! He rubs it all over his eyes when hes sleepy and snuggles it in bed. Plus they have the cutest animals!

13. Ciao baby portable high chair - I did not register for this chair but my boss gave it to us at my shower and it's one of the best gifts we've received. It's small enough to leave in the car and bring anywhere and everywhere. We use it ALL THE TIME.

14. Baby Zen Yoyo "umbrella" stroller - This is the best stroller invention ever. This thing folds up to the size of carry on luggage and even has a tote strap built in for easy carrying. It's super light weight and unfolds in the snap of a wrist. Literally, it unfolds like a yoyo! We purchased this one because we would be traveling and while I love my City Select it's just way to complicated for traveling.

15. Guava Lotus Travel bed - Also something I'd consider a best invention ever! It takes literally 2 minutes to unfold and fold away. It's SUPER light weight and it's all breathable mesh. We use this everywhere we go. We used it while on vacation recently and it made nap time on the beach and by the pool super easy. I recommend buying the sunshade and the quilted sheet with it as well. If you are going to purchase one use this code to get a free cotton sheet!  It's also on promo right now for $60 off! Go scoop one up!

Bone Broth

We're deep into cold and flu season and I've already been sick twice! Just a common cold so it hasn't been the worst but not fun either. My Husband NEVER gets sick. It's beyond me how we can share a bed and he is immune to it. He decided we needed some good old bone broth to boost our (my) immunity and help cure me of my sickness. Now if you don't know just what bone broth is, it's basically just what the name says; the broth of animal bones. There is an abundance of benefits of bone broth. It's rich in minerals and antioxidants, It helps digestion, boosts immunity, and detoxifies, and it's plain old delicious on cold winter days. Here's my husband's recipe. You can sub any animal bones for the ones he used but make sure it's from a healthy animal. Grass fed and organic is best to get the best nutrients out of it. We happen to like beef more than chicken because you get a more dense flavorful broth. Also you get a nice gelatinous broth with beef. That may sound weird, but when the broth gels, that means you've really sucked all the marrow out of the bones which is just what you want!

Broth Straining
Broth with Fat
bone broth
bone broth soup

What you need:

  1. 2-3 medium sized beef bones (a butcher may even give you these for free!)
  2. Veggies- large carrot, turnip, celery, ect.. (basically any veggies that work for you)
  3. 3-4quarts of water (enough to cover the bones)
  4. 2 tbs apple cider vinegar
  5. slow cooker

Add all the ingredients above and cook on low for 24 hrs (yes really 24 hrs). When it's all done you'll have this delicious smelling dark amber liquid. I don't care for the animal fat that gets released so I let it chill in the fridge over night and allow the fat to harden. In the morning I just break up the fat and strain it all out (you can, if you like, save the fat for cooking). This stuff is delicious and it can be used to make so many other dishes. I even add it to my 9 month old's baby food. My husband takes cold shots of the gelatin in the mornings, I add it to smoothies but my favorite way to have it, is to sip it nice and hot! Here are my favorite toppings for the perfect cup of hot bone broth:

  1. Chives
  2. Dash of turmeric
  3. Sprinkle of salt
  4. Thyme
  5. Cilantro
  6. Avocado.

The perfect winter treat!