Thursday, April 28, 2011

Staining Concrete Basement: part 2, Finished Product

So, I forgot my camera on moving day, so I didn't get to get a shot of the basement without all our stuff in it, but you can still see how cool it turned out, I like it a lot. I wanted to do a clear shiny coat on top, but I got out voted by the hubbs, and since this is his "man-cave" he gets to win this one :)
Looks kinda mottled...and cool:) I like the variation of the dark and light spots in it

We are in desperate need of food storage due time I suppose, but for now this is the reality of our basement haha, good luck finding what I need eh?
Speaking of reality....this is what our living room looks like right now...coming together? ha ha, moving is the pits, but it IS super fun finding the perfect place to put everything in our OWN house, and having room for it all. I am kind of afraid to put any holes in the walls, they are so perfect right now lol! What do I do?!
Well, that's the progress, stay tuned for more updates, although I won't be posting a thing this weekend because we're going to ZION NATIONAL PARK with 2 of the sibs! Can't wait!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Epoxy/Painting the garage

Remember how concrete gives me the heebies? Well, we decided to do an epoxy/paint seal on our garage floor to make it...nicer :) We wanted to get it done before we moved in so we wouldn't have to move everything out of the garage to do it, we knew it would probably never come to pass...

So here's how we did it, INCLUDING all our mistakes along the way (So you're sure NOT to make them!)

Step 1: SWEEP/Squirt
We swept all the dirt out of the garage, and then to make sure it was super clean, we used a hose with a good pressure nozzle to squirt it all out.
Step 2: Scrubbing/Etching
We used the Quikrete bond-lok again, it took about 3/4 of a bottle for our 400 square foot garage. After you follow the directions on the bottle, rinse it really well. Then let it dry overnight.
All cleaned and etched:
Step 3: Paint
The next day we came back and started by cutting in with a paint brush (painting all the edges and cracks) Then we filled in with a roller.
{Now here's where we made the mistake...embarrassing right? We didn't read the directions all the way...ugh. We thought, okay, paint it, slap it on, sprinkle color flakes, done. Well, you're supposed to start with a LIGHT coat over the whole thing, to make a good bond, and then go over it with a heavy coat. DOH! We just did one heavy coat. It has chipped in a few places already because we were stupid and didn't read the directions. DO NOT make the same mistake! }

We used Seal-Krete, and had it tinted to "charcoal grey" We used 2 full cans for our 400 square foot garage, we were very liberal with the paint. It cost $27 for each can
We also used Quikrete color chips to give it a little texture, we chose the above colors a mix of black white and grey flakes. We used one can of flakes for our whole garage. They cost about $8

cutting in, getting right to it

I was the sprinkle-fairy...that part was kinda fun!

finishing it all off

All done!!! for some reason it looks navy blu-ish in this picture, in real life it looks more grey :)
Total cost $80 (we already had paint rollers and brushes)
Now we need to sand and stain those steps, it's a never ending to do list! What's on your to-do list?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Staining Concrete Basement: Part 1

So, our new house has an unfinished basement. I have a thing about bare concrete. Outside, it's fine, but inside it kinda gives me the heebies. I hate how it feels on my feet, or even if I'm wearing socks, I hate how it smells, all dusty all the time, I basically hate it.

Well, since we're wanting to use the basement for more than storage (Exercise room, indoor playground for the kids in the winter, and an office of sorts, plus this is where all the food storage will live, and where I will grind my grains to make my bread (I sound like the little red hen right?lol)), we wanted to do a floor treatment.

We chose to do a concrete stain because it looks cool, and it's inexpensive.
The whole thing cost us about $85
So here's how we did it...

Step 1: SWEEP
Our basement was FULL of super fine dust/dirt. My SWEET Mom and Dad, who happened to be in town, and my sister Stephanie helped us get it all swept up. This was the most difficult, the photo below was taken with a flash because it was dark down there, and the flash caught all the dust in the air. We had a pretty good method where we worked together, to sweep piles, adn then my Dad came in behind us with the shop vac. We worked HARD sweeping for like 2-3 hours straight trying to get up all the dust.

Step 2: Clean/Etch
We used Quikcrete Bond-lok concrete cleaner, degreaser, and etcher, this was recommended at Lowes. We used one bottle for the entire basement, it cost $18. The reason you need to etch the concrete is because it opens up the pores of the concrete so it can absorb the stain. Follow the directions on the bottle.
This step takes about an hour to scrub all the floor and clean it up afterwards (rinse it). The rinsing was a challenge in the basement, we had to mop and rinse and mop rinse... and mop. You have to wear rubber boots and gloves, this stuff is nasty if you get it on your skin.
Drying after it's been etched:

Then, you have to let the etching dry overnight. This is the bare, dry concrete before the stain:
Step 3: Stain
We followed the directions on the can, get the concrete a little wet, and then apply the stain with a pump sprayer. This is kind of like water color painting. You know how when you paint with watercolors, you get your paper wet first? That way the paint will spread, and flow? Same kind of thing. We ran into some trouble with puddles because our floor isn't perfectly flat. Puddles are bad news.
This is the Vaquero Brown color we chose in Semi-transparent stain. Here is a link to all the colors available. (we bought ours at Lowes, I think around $25-28 a can, we used 2 full cans for our 900 square foot basement)

John, filling up the pump sprayer. We bought this pump sprayer at Lowes for $13, the lady said we should just throw it away when we're done with it. (I was so relieved because I thought we were going to have to buy a real paint sprayer for $100! Phew :)
John let me spray the stain while he went ahead of me and got the concrete wet. (We wished we had bought a second pump sprayer to distribute the water better, we used a bucket of water and a push broom to spread it around, I wouldn't recommend that time....
I cute right? My special work overalls, I've had these since I was fourteen, and they were my dads before that. and special rubber boots.
All done staining, looks kind of milky white-ish. Waiting for it to dry...stay tuned to see the results!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Downeast CLEARANCE Center

Ahhh, this is one of my FAVORITE thrifty places to shop. This is the downeast clearance center. (If you're in Utah, and you're interested, it's at 3500 West and 3500 South in West Valley Utah, sandwiched between a "fresh market" and Golds Gym)
The Downeast clearance center is home to thousands of items from Pottery Barn, Land of Nod, crate and Barrel, all those type of fancy and pricey places that have been damaged, or returned, used, were displays, etc. So, they are PERFECT for someone like me (and you) to dress them up a bit, and for a fraction of the real price, you can get these super amazing home decor items, furniture, bedding (for fabric), towels, blankets, rugs, curtains, and clothes!
I picked out some Pottery Barn drapes form this bin for 5 bucks each, the trick was to find ones that matched, but I did and I'm super stoked!
Thes glass canisters were $10, $5, and $2.50, the catch is, they have a glass etched monogram that was messed up...SO, I'm going to cut a cute bracket tag out of chalkboard vinyl with my cricut, to cover up the monogram, and put them in my bathroom with cotton balls, q-tips, and soap! Ca-YUTE!
Endless bins of pottery barn linens, ohhhh the possibilities!
Look at these adorable backpacks! Just sew a piece of canvas over the embroidered name, and VOILA, new cute PBK backpack!
This is where I get all my onesies to "be-dazzle", they have an embroidered name on them, so that has to be covered, or cut out, but I have oodles of experience and ideas for making them adorable! Plus, the Pottery Barn quality is SO nice, it feels SO good to hold a baby wearing such a quality item :)
It also helps to have a shopping buddy to keep you company :) He's a GREAT shopper, and always charms everyone we meet :)
Downeast Shirts! LOVE them, and here, they sell surplus shirts for $3 bucks or 2 for $5! Love it! When I was pregnant, I came here and picked out like eight solid colored shirts in a size bigger than I normally wear, to fit my belly, and they were the staple of my pregnancy wardrobe, for like $20 bucks! YEAH!
Cute swimsuits, nothing wrong with them, just overstock, or last season, whatevs! SWEET DEAL!

I cannot even count how many awesome things I have purchased from this wonderful store, I could list on and on...and on.

Have I convinced you to need to experience this for yourself?! You gotta check it out, and if you're in town and need someone to go with, let me know I'll be there in a flash!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Moving Boxes

WHAT?! Did you know that a completely different world lives at Walmart at midnight? It's kind of magical...and kind of...different. First of all, everything looks different when the usual shoppers in each aisle are replaced by pallets full of boxes full of items to be re-stocked. Secondly, the only shoppers there are WeiRDOS, (yeah, I realize I grouped myself with said weirdos...) but seriously.

{teensy little tangent} YOU CAN'T BRING YOUR CHILDREN TO WALMART AT MIDNIGHT! Your babes should be asleep and dreaming at such hours (so should I!). I feel like it's child abuse.
(in the pic this family has THREE KIDS out scoring through the bargain dvd' of them is behind the sign, I pretended to take a picture of John (in his special hoodie) so they wouldn't get wise to my plot, I am so tricky no?)
There were SEVEN different families with babies and kids tonight. Seriously? I just felt so bad for the kids, they don't know how terrible it is that they are being kept up so late, and the school aged kids, I'm sorry, what part of get a good night's rest and eat a good breakfast so your kid can be in tippy-top shape to learn stuff don't you understand. UGH. K, I'm stepping off my soapbox.

The reason I ventured out so late was to get moving boxes. I had been scouring craigslist daily looking for free moving boxes, and decided to try my hand at scrounging some at Walmart, I thought I might have to dig through some piles to find some usable ones, but dumpster diving is not beneath me, just ask my college roomies :) ANYWAY, I was told by someone once that cereal boxes are the best ones to get for packing, not too big, not too small. So I come to the cereal aisle and theres this glorious shopping cart full of collapsed boxes, all the SAME size, lined up like a card catalog. I asked the stocker guy if I could have them, and he said SURE, and that it's nice when people come take his boxes. really?! Could not have been easier, in fact I went back a second night when we ran out of boxes and the same guy had another cart full of nicely collapsed moving boxes, like they were waiting for me. cute.

{This picture is from the third night of scrounging boxes, we were too early for the cart full of cereal boxes all nice and neat...we did manage to get a few though}

Don't buy moving boxes, the ones from Walmart are free, and uniform sizes, the only downer is you have to stay up to get there when they're stocking, and you have to/get to see all the crazies that come out at night.

Homemade Baby Food: Sweet Potato

Making your own baby food is far superior than buying it. It's definitely better for your baby, better for your grocery budget, and it's SUPER EASY!

To make baby food with sweet potato, I first bake some sweet potato's, just like you would bake regular potato's, at 375 for about an hour, or until they are tender when you stick a fork in. *note Sweet potato's are sugary, so when they bake, they leak a little syrup-y type stuff so bake them on a cookie sheet**
Let them cool a bit and the peel will slide right off
Put them into a blender/food processor, or mash them with a tater masher
Now, at this point you can leave them plain, add some breastmilk or formula to loosen it up a bit, or add applesauce like I did. I added about half as much applesauce as I had sweet potato.
Whip it up real nice, I had to stop and stir it with a spoon to get some of the bigger chunks to puree.
You can really add whatever nutritious fruits/Veggies you have on hand. Sometimes I put blueberries with applesauce or steamed carrots with the sweet potato, THIS is a great source for making baby food, and when to introduce each kind :)
I put mine into ice cube trays, let them freeze over night, and then pop them out and put them in a ziplock baggie, back into the freezer, I take out a couple at a time to thaw in the fridge. I feed Everett these plain, or now that he's a little older, I'll mix it with rice or cut up noodles, or anything else we're having for dinner.
He's a fan! YUM!
What does your baby eat?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

De-cluttering, therapy for the mover's soul!

Isn't it therapeutic to go through all your things and throw stuff out?! Ahh, I breathe a huge sigh of satisfaction when I get rid of stuff I don't need. Moving is the GREATEST excuse for de-cluttering, but even if you're not moving, don't you love to organize, evaluate and de-junk your stuff?!!! I LOVE IT!

For awhile I was hanging on to my FAVORITE tops and jeans and pants because I thought...I might be able to fit into them someday...HA! Jokes on me...I'm not saying I think I'm fat, sure I wish I were 15-20 pounds smaller than I am now, but let's get real for a sec... I am not one of "those" girls who springs right back into her pre-baby body mere months after they have a baby. I used to be smaller. I loved my clothes from my skinnier days.

My excuses for keeping some of my clothes were:
-I still LOOOVE it (it just doesn't look good on me right now)
-It's practically brand new, I haven't even worn it that many times, gotta get my moneys worth
-I spent REAL money on it, I can't just get rid of it
-I could wear it like...camping/working out/painting/gardening (HA!!!!!)
-This is my sentimental t-shirt from girls camp/efy/school/special run/whatever, I can't just throw it away, that's like a slam on my experience
-This is my Valentine/halloween/christmas/4th of July shirt, I should wear it when (that holiday) comes around
-I'm sure there's more...

OKAY. Seriously?!
-If it doesn't look good on me now, when would it? Reality check. If I bought it and don't wear it, then I gotta cut my losses, and free up some closet space.
-I allowed myself ONE painting t-shirt and my trusty old painting/camping/working overalls.
-I decided I wasn't a bad person for tossing my old t-shirts. For awhile, I thought, maybe I would make a quilt out of them, as a way to hang onto them...but gimme a break, I can't even imagine a pretty quilt that would take TONS of time and effort to preserve memories that are perfectly well documented with photos, and journal entries, not to mention I can't imagine it even being that cute.
-Lastly, holiday shirts have gotta be pretty darn cute for me to keep them around and remember to wear them at the right time (I feel the same about holiday socks...)
-And as far as old t-shirts to work out in, I decided I want to feel cute when I work out. I don't want to be all sweaty and nasty, AND be wearing a girls camp t-shirt from 1997 that's stained and nasty, I want to wear a work-out shirt that is cute-ish.
-duh! Why has it taken me so long to realize these things?!
Well, this weekend I let go of them. all.

And I'm giving you permission to do the same. DO IT! Get rid of the clothes you don't love, don't fit into, don't wear often enough to justify the space they take up in your closet.

When I do get back to my pre-baby weight, I want to buy NEW clothes, NEW styles, NEW fit. I don't understand how people use old clothes as a motivation to lose weight lol, it just doesn't make sense to clothes though?! Heck yes!

I let my sister Stephanie go through the clothes I was giving to DI (Deseret Industries, like Goodwill), she is MUCH smaller than me, but she's expecting a baby in October (YAY!) so she can wear some of my smaller clothes(big for her and her cute belly)! This was SO satisfying to me, to know that someone will treasure my old favorites as much as I did...hahahaaa...

So the moral of the story is, if you haven't worn it in a year, THROW IT OUT, and if you haven't worn it in a year, but you still LOVE it, either re-purpose it, or give it to someone who will love it as much as you did.

This pile doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of everything I got rid of...

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I recently stumbled upon the "Flylady" website. She's a woman who basically helps you establish routines to keep your home running clean and efficient:) She has gobs of information, and I haven't even scratched the surface, but I love it so far. (her website is a little busy and funny to navigate but find the purple menu on the right and click on the fifth tab down "Beginner baby steps")

Are you living in CHAOS (Can't Have Anyone Over Syndrome)? You know how you dread having surprise visitors because they might see your house in a dissembled tornado of dirty dishes, laundry, toys, and stuff? Do you avoid checking the mail at noon because you're still in your pajamas and you don't want the neighbors to see is that just me? Do you feel like it takes all of 15 seconds after you cleaned the house for it to look dirty again? (I sound like an infomercial don't I)

Well, the idea is that you start with small routines that become habits, and slowly build on them. Then she sends me a daily email highlighting an area of the house to focus on, things that get forgotten like a couple days ago she had me clean my trash cans in and out. A job that needed done, but I wouldn't have thought of it necessarily. So, so far my daily routine is this: (and I LOVE it!)

Within an hour of waking up I:
-Shower and get dressed (down to my shoes...she insists this is necessary, you're much more productive with shoes on) and put makeup on

-"Swish and swipe" basically wipe down the bathroom counter and sink, swish out the toilet (she teaches to put some soap into the toilet brush canister, then all you have to do is grab the brush and swish it my canister I have water, bleach, and some soap...I love that my throne is always clean, and the bleach makes my bathroom smell clean!) I do this while I am getting ready, and really it takes me like 42, I didn't time myself, but it is fast! Quick as a wink!

-start a load of laundry

-unload the dishwasher (because then throughout the day I can put dirty dishes straight into the dishwasher and stay clean and tidy, then at night before bed, I just start the dishwasher)

This is enough to get me feeling super productive! It makes me want to tidy the whole house!

Some other tips:
-Focus on some places in your house that gather clutter, for me it's the kitchen table, and my dresser top. If you spend a 2 minutes de-cluttering it, putting things away, then it will be clean and tidy, and it won't feel so overwhelming!

-My own little tid-bit tip: before putting a dirty towel in the laundry basket, wipe the bathroom floor with it! Or dust off your tv (learned that one from my mom ;) or whatever! There's no sense in dirtying another rag if this one's already headed to the wash...I mean, right?

Please share...what little housekeeping routines do you find essential to keeping your sanity?