Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Closet Renovation Part 3

Just looking at this picture of what the closet before gives me a headache.  It's like a toy store threw up in it.  There was just too much junk in there and no room for the boys clothes.

Clearing out all the toys took a lot of work.  My hallways were chaotic and messy, all but to create a neat space, sometimes, you first have a greater mess.  The first thing I did was remove all the shelves, but the top one on the right side of the closet.


Some light spackle and a coat of paint lead me to this point.  Don't mind the black shelf, I was experimenting which didn't turn out the way I expected.

The last step was the hardest.  I had to build out the bottom shelf with support.  That was a lot of cutting, but worth it.  The closet looks like we bought the house like that.


With clothes, it looks like this.

I did add another clothes rod on the bottom underneath the last shelf.  I wanted to hang as much of their clothes as possible.  I so hate folding and I like seeing everything out.  That bottom rod allowed me to hang up all their shorts.


The linen boxes with the taupe trim house their winter clothes.  The third shelf is home to all the linens.  I had to clear out the linen closet in the hallway for the toys that were in this closet so I needed another place to put their sheets.  More on that later.  Needless to say, I had more linens than I care to think about.

The bottom shelf is meant for them. I originally planned on having drawers for their socks and underwear, but with the new rod underneath the last shelf, I had no room for that.

 I had some storage boxes that had dividers for socks.  Underneath was another storage box for their underwear.  It was a perfect solution and it kept everything organized.

The only thing I did purchase were these linen lined trays.  I thought it was perfect to store their play clothes in.  The picture below shows these beautiful robes my sister bought for the kiddos on her trip to Viet Nam, but the tray to the left stores their play shirts.  It is so much easier for them to find the right clothes to wear.

I plan on buying 2 more trays for their gi's.  I'm tired of seeing their karate outfits all over the place.  Having it in one place makes it easier for them.

As far as the strategy for hanging their clothes, its by color.  It's been by color since day one and every one of my closets have clothes hanging by color.  I just like the way it looks.  I can find things much faster.  I didn't buy any new hangers because my kids are on the verge of switching over to adult hangers within the year so for now, I am reusing the hangers we have.

I have bins underneath the clothes for their unused hangers. They know to toss their hanger in the bin when they grab a shirt.  That way they don't have to sift through the clothes to find an empty hanger when they are hanging up the laundry.  Yes, they put away their own clothes.  I taught them young and I don't regret it for one moment.

That's the new closet in a nutshell.  I'm not quite done.  I want to buy some chalkboard labels for all the boxes and I want to hang a mirror in the closet.  Once I get those things checked off my list, I can call this project complete.  I was able to reuse a lot of the things I already owned in this closet.  I already had the linen boxes.  I bought those at Target 4 years ago.  They still sell them.  The boxes with the khaki trim (2nd shelf) is currently 22.49 each.  The square box on the third shelf is $14.99 while the rectangle box is 24.99.  The socks and underwear boxes are 14.99 each.  The rectangle shirt tray is 12.99 while the square tray is 9.99.  The red wooden boxes underneath the shirts I bought at Lowe's a few years back for $1.50 (they 75% off).  
My total purchases so far for this project are 3 closet rods, 2 rod brackets, and two shirt trays.  That's a total cost of 71.93.  Buying two additional trays, a mirror, and chalkboard labels will run my grand total to 101.91.  I am pretty ecstatic since that is far below the price I had anticipated on spending just for the closet system.  In the end, I am super happy that we have a more functional closet for our family now.
As one project nears an end, I have many more that await.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Closet Construction Part 2

Remember the kiddos' closet?

I finally made some progress. After hammering away one shelf, my hubby joined in on all the "fun" and took the rest down for me.

I was extremely grateful.

The walls got a little roughed up when the shelves were removed.

I added light weight spackle to the rough edges and sanded it down.

After the spackle dried, I decided to paint the walls an oatmeal color.  When we were shopping for homes, one of the model homes had a closet with black shelves and I loved it so I wanted to emulate it here, but after painting the shelf black, I was regretting it immediately.

The white shelves seemed to pop more against the color and it just felt cleaner so...

the next morning I painted away.  It took, not two or three, but SIX coats of white paint to cover the black.  In hindsight, I should have just primed beforehand.  In the end, I got my glistening white shelves back.  The color is decorator's white.

The shelves also got a new coat of paint after some quick sanding to repair the broken off shelves.

Last, but not least, I got one rod up!

Am I done?  Hardly.  I still have to build out my second shelf which will be a little tricky because I don't have a wall to support the left side so I will build a support for it.   If you are wondering where the closet system I bought is.  Well, its sitting in the hallway.  I took it out, held it up and thought it was too big for my closet and I thought it wouldn't match the left side (with white shelves) so I decided to build my own shelves.

So far, I've only spent $13.98 for a brushed nickel closet rod.  I already had left over oatmeal colored and white paint from repainting R.'s room.  I also already had spackle, wall anchors, nails and white caulk ready on hand.  The shelf I'm constructing will also be recycled from the shelves I tore down.  My budget was $150 for this reno, but it looks as though I will be coming WAY under.  Even with another closet rod, my spending total will only be $25.16 (I had a 10% coupon).  I guess I can splurge on the accessories then..new hangers, baskets?  who knows...

Hopefully, I will be done with the second shelf this week.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Happy Birthday E!

E. turns 8 today!  Happy Birthday!


My sweet little boy is growing so fast.  For his birthday he requested a cookie ice cream cake.  I made him a huge ice cream sandwich.  More on that later.  This year we decided to just have a small  family party which was nice.  Instead of devoting all my time entertaining, I spent my time with him.

I still cannot believe that he is 8 years old.  I get so weepy-eyed looking through his scrap book.  He is the most caring person I know.  He loves all animals and I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes a vet when he grows up.  Today is his class field trip to the zoo!  There couldn't have been a better field trip on a better day. 

Happy Birthday my dearest E.  I love you more than words can say and I hope you have a wonderful birthday. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

For E.'s birthday, he wanted a cookie ice cream cake.  In looking for a giant cookie recipe, I found this one.  With over 5,000 great comments, I couldn't resist.  I decided to make a batch for E.'s class.  It was SOOOOOO good, we made a second batch right away (that and the recipe only made 15 cookies per batch because they were HuGe).

If you are looking for a great Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe that is crispy on the edges, chewy in the center and one that just crumbles and melts in your mouth, this is the recipe for you.  It definitely was as delicious as any store/bakery bought cookie.  It was so good right out of the oven that E. who normally would only eat half a cookie and R. who really doesn't eat many cookies asked for seconds and thirds.  Have I convinced you to make a batch? This recipe is definitely a keeper in my book.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F . Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

These are enormous cookies.  One batch makes 15 cookies.  If you half the scooping size to 1/8 cup, they become normal size and that makes 30 cookies.  As gifts, the HuGe cookies make a great impact, but for the kiddos at school, I made normal sized cookies instead.  They still turned out delicious!

It's scrumptious dipped in milk (so I'm told by E.)

Yum-o.  I just ate another one.   I couldn't resist.  I better stop now or I won't have any for the class :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Chicken Tenders

Chicken Tenders are one of my hubby's favorite comfort foods.  I remember the first time I made it, he was surprised that it wasn't store bought.  It was probably the first recipe that I learned watching a cooking show.

It is so simple, but absolutely delicious.

Chicken Tenders
3 lbs chicken tenders
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup milk
Heat a pot of oil on high.  Soak the chicken tenders in the milk.  Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl.  Coat the chicken tenders in the flour mixure and shake off excess.

Fry the chicken tenders in hot oil so that the chicken tenders will be crispy on the outside and remain moist on the inside.  Fry the chicken until golden brown and cooked (about 10 minutes).  Drain off excess oil

Serve hot with your favorite sauce or gravy!

I never have any complaints when I make this.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Closet Plans

I've been undecided about the closet I am supposed to be redoing.  I've measured a handful of times, drawn out plans, but can't seem to take the plunge.

I do need to do something as I plan on redoing my hubby's new office, which means I really need to clear out the kiddos closet.   I finally decided upon this shelving unit.  I will remove the white shelves and replace it with these dark stained shelves.  They will have a brushed nickle closet rod underneath for hangers.  I'll also paint the walls a taupe color to have the shelves stand out.
On the other side, I'll paint the built in shelves black (maybe*).  Those are my plans for next weekend.  Now that I have a game plan, I need to demo.  That's the scary part for me.   I was too nervous to do it this weekend, but will have to jump on it next weekend. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 14, 2012

My New Best Friend

After hemming and hawing over an electronic paper cutter for over a year, I finally took the plunge and bought me one.  Here's my new baby, the Silhouette CAMEO.

For such a long time, I wanted the cricut because that is all that I saw in the store and after finding no deals for black Friday, I decided to wait.  Good thing that I waited because just as I finally decided upon purchasing the Expressions 2 machine, I discovered the cameo and I love it.  I have boxes and boxes of punches right now and the thought of not having to replace boxes of punches with boxes of cartridges was enlightening.  Doing my research, I learned that the cricut requires you to purchase additional cartridges in order to cut different designs and you are limited to their designs.  I decided upon the cameo because I wouldn't have to spend oodles of money on cartridges and that I am not limited to their designs.  I can create my own if I wanted.  For me that would be the deal breaker.

The other major difference between the two is that the cricut does not require a computer to operate.  It works on its own.  The cameo does require a computer as an interface.  If you don't want to lug around a laptop, then the cricut might be for you.  I don't mind and would prefer using my laptop to create my images.  The only time I need the cameo is to cut so I can sit anywhere, design and save the image to cut it out later if needed.  I'd rather have my laptop verses carrying around different cartridges.

I was able to snag 96 free images right out of the box.  50 were already loaded in the software and there were 45 more online I was able to get for free.  The last free image I snagged was the free image of the week.  I'm off to a great start, being able to use it right away with no purchases.  I love the "free" image of the week.  I just wish I was downloading them while I contemplated the purchase.  That would have given me a lot more images.

After selecting and resizing my images, it is time to cut.  It looks exactly like a printer, but instead of ink, there is a blade (although, you could use pens in place of the blade to draw).

After the cut, I peeled the paper off the mat for my image cut.

Love it!

Now, you wouldn't think that I purchased this beauty at retail price, now would you?  I did a lot of searching to find the best deal.  This is what I did.  I found a coupon code for 25% off a $100 purchase at ohmycrafts.com.  When I went there, I noticed that the item was delayed in shipping due to high demand.  I really didn't want to wait for who knows when to get my cameo so therefore, I went to fotobella.com (which had no wait time) where I emailed customer service to get a price match for the item.  They verified the purchase price and sent me a link to purchase the cameo for the discounted price.  It retails for $299, but was on sale at ohmycrafts for $269.99.  After applying the coupon code, the price dropped to $202.49.  The one bad thing is that you do have to pay $15 for shipping, BUT $217.49 was still the best price.  I saved $52.50 AND I was able to get it in 3 days.  Isn't that fantastic?  Who'd thought you could price match over the internet?
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