Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stairs and House Finished

The Stairs are finally finished, well just a few minor touch ups left, which means the inside of the house is done. The stairs were the last major project we had left. Now we just have decorating and upgrading a few lighting fixtures. Daniel has already mentally checked out of the inside of the house and has moved onto the yard and garage. We took photos of the process for redoing the stairs.

The first one here is of the stairs right after we took the carpet out. I thought I took a picture of the nasty carpet on the stairs, but I guess not. This is what we lived with for months. It is that osb board, the kind that gives you slivers.
We went to Lowes and looked at the options for replacing treads. We ended up buying some of the MFD pre-fabricated stair treads. All we had to do was cut them to length. The were $8 each and we had 14 treads to do. Then we decided to paint them with a dark brown oil based deck paint. We ended up putting 3 coats of paint on them, 2 before we put them in and 1 after. I am glad we put 3 coats on because they are much more durable and easier to clean.

After that it was time to go to work. Once Daniel got the hang of ripping out the OSB treads, the demolition didn't take as long as I thought it would.

After the demolition we glued down the stair treads. This process of ripping up the old treads and putting in the new ones took 2 days, one day for each set of stairs (upper and lower). We were able to counter sink the screws and use some wooden dowels to plug the holes from the screws. The screw holes were time consuming because we used oil based paint. We had to paint the screw holes on each of the sides first, let those dry overnight, then paint the ones in the middle and let those dry overnight. That way we could walk up the sides or down the middle of the stairs. After we painted the screw holes with 2 layers, we put one final layer on each tread to hide the screw holes better. That was the night we all slept on mattresses downstairs and went to the Aquarium the next day.
The next step was the trim work. We put a the smallest piece of floor trim we could find at Lowes and ran it above the stair treads on either side. The picture above shows the trim installed on the lower set of stairs and not on the upper set. After the trim was up we painted the area below white. We probably should have waited to paint until last because we scrapped in dinged the wall when we put the bead board in and I will have to touch up the walls.

After the painting we put the bead board on the risers and we finished installing the laminate flooring on the landing. The final step was gluing the stair nosing on. It took 30 minutes for the glue to set and we didn't have any weights or clamps to hold the stair nose on so Daniel sat on it while I brought him bowls of cereal. The bead board cost us about $55.00. This project was time consuming but relatively inexpensive.
Bead Board-$55
Floor Paint-$27
Stair Nose-$29.00
Laminate Flooring-$30
Here are some pictures of the completed project. I love them! During the whole process Daniel kept saying he can't vision how it will look and wasn't sure of how he would like them when it was done. When he was done eating his bowl of cereal he said "Wow I am good, look how good they look!" He did work really hard on them, but it made me laugh that he couldn't imagine how they would look until it was all done, which took no imagination at all. Right now they are my favorite part of the house.

A side note: When we bought the house our goal was to have all the major projects done and paid off with in a years time, we closed on the house April 1, 2010. We finished ahead schedule and used our tax returns to pay for the major purchases.

See the full tutorial for these stairs here at Prudentprojects

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Botanical Gardens

I love Botanical Gardens! I love them everywhere I go. It is not quite spring yet so probably too early to go see the gardens but we went anyway because we have never been to these ones! (we have been here 2 whole years!!! Slackers) I didn't really know there was a botanical garden here. This one is fun for children too because they have miniature trains!! Huge tracks with bridges and all kinds of fun things and they are all outside. They even had a Thomas train and little town. My favorite part about the trains was the little fake water fall/river/whatever you perceive it to be.

I was in love with the rocks. I couldn't figure out what they were. I don't think they are rocks because they are too beautiful. I imagine its big chunks of roughed up glass made to look like rocks? Whatever they are I want them in my garden just for looks, although I am sure they are way too expensive. Those colors are my favorite color scheme. They remind me of the ocean. To get back to the post now Eva was running ahead all the time so at one point I was with Jamison and watching the thomas trains and I look over and see this:

Daniel wasn't with her as you can see. She ran ahead and hopped up on the fence for a better view of Thomas, and invited herself to join the family in the picture. She has a lot of energy. Here she is taking a rest on the rock, I wanted to show you that Daniel chose this outfit.
They also had this castle for children where you could go in and explore the world. It was like we had been shrunk and put into a giant vegetable garden. There were giant carrots, pumpkins, peas, bees, ants, pinecones and all kinds of fun things. Here is Alexander at the entrance of the castle. One thing I have noticed about New Mexico is that there are so many bright and beautiful tile mosaics. I am usually not a fan of them but they have some many fun ones here.
Here is Alexander impersonating Lady Gaga.
Just kidding
They were actually supposed to be dragon Eggs and he said he was a dragon baby.

We then went into a giant greenhouse.
It was nice and humid with lots of beautiful plants.
Alexander was tired and ready to go by this point.

But we saw some beautiful bright flowers.

We pushed our luck and went to see some of the outdoors gardens. They had many different styles that were amazing. Eva was running from place to place (her preferred way to get places) and fell on her face, literally.

Poor girl already has band-aids galore from her mysterious skin condition and now she has cuts and things.

We had a fun packed day and hope to keep up the momentum with going places whenever we get a chance.


update: Eva has already scratched off all the scabs. I am so worried she is going to have so many scars on he face from the skin thing. Can you think of any ways to stop a child who likes to scratch and pick at things to stop? We have tried a lot of things and they never seem to heal because she wont leave them alone. Her mysterious skin thing is all healed up I think but she has many scars.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Albuquerque Aquarium

It finally feels like spring, at least it did for a few days so we went to the Aquarium in Albuquerque. It was on the smaller side but still fun and probably the perfect size for small children.

They had an exhibit with jelly fish which was great with all the glowing.

They had some tortoises which were really cool. We never saw any while we were in Guam, probably one of the things I wished we would have seen. There were two of them and they were hilarious. They kept coming right up to the glass like they were staring at us and they just sat there and stared through the glass.
I saw this picture when we got home.
A really ugly fish that looks like he is eating a yellow fish. It made me laugh

It was all carpeted so people were just all sitting around the big tank with the sharks in it just watching. It was rather peaceful. We got a bit homesick for Guam because we had seen many of the fish on our many trips to the beach. Here is one last shot of Jamison. I noticed I never take any pictures of him on our little day adventures.
He just sits and stares at whoever is pushing him and tries to get their attention and tries to make them smile. Anyway that was our day at the Aquarium it was part of our sleepover madness. We also went to the botanical gardens but I will post that next.

May the Spring come and the Winter leave for the year.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

How do you become the coolest Parents Ever

Well we really don't know how to become the coolest parents ever but we did have a sleepover with all our kids downstairs with movies all night. We brought four mattresses downstairs and set up beds for everyone (including Jamison) Our goal was not to become cool parents but to get the final coat of paint on the stairs(which needed 24 hours to dry, oil based is the best but takes forever to dry) So we packed up and moved downstairs for 24 hours. The kids LOVED it. They were bouncing around and wrestling all night. It was a rough night for Jamison but we got through it.

This picture was from the sleepover. They even wanted to do it again tonight!

So we still are not done with the stairs but the most time consuming and cumbersome part (the treads) are DONE!! Wohoo time to celebrate with a good nights sleep.

This is the only before picture I can find of the stairs but I swear I had one of the actual stairs and not a closet door. As you can see they were a beige carpet color with major dirtiness and smelliness going on.

And here is where we are right now:
We are going to paint the small parts on the stairway wall white. The stair risers are going to be bead board because well thats what we want. Obviously its still osb board with tons of beige paint speckles.

You may wonder why its all taking so long to finish these stairs. Well its because stairs are hard to do as they are the path between the sleeping/bathing area and the living/eating area in our house so everything has to be done in little steps and usually on weekends so we can convince the kids to stay in one area of the other. The other reason is beceause its the last house major project so you know how final projects go.

So we replaced all the treads as you saw in a previous post. Instead of nailing them in we screwed them it and put lots of wood glue on so there would be no sqeeking and so it would all be up to code. Daniel sunk all the screws and then put wooden dowels in to fill them. I had put two coats of Valspar oilbased floor and deck paint on the treads and let them set and treat for a month prior to installing them. Then I needed to touch up where the wooden dowels were and then we put a final coat of paint on all the installed stairs and here we are. It took so long because the goal was to make sure you couldn't see the screws or dowls or anything.

So here is a picture of the stairwell tonight:

We have a few more steps and then we are done with major house renovation things. Just in time for our backyard and spring.

Now onto that lovely nights sleep.


Friday, February 18, 2011

This is why I coupon

Its not a secret (or maybe it is who knows) that I coupon. I also like to shop clearance and I love thrift stores. Its almost as though its built in for me. Anyway I was just going to show a couple of pictures showing why I still do this.Today I bought 28 packs of diapers and 12 boxes of wipes for $68.88 total with tax I average one pack of diapers a week so I have enough diapers for 14 weeks for both kids! I did this with coupons I found at the store, and the kind that are stuck to the package.

While buying diapers I checked out some clearance stuff and I bought these:
can't beat 24 cents a pound for brown sugar.

Thats not to say I don't shop like a regular joe. I buy stuff at regular price too, I just try to stock up when I find it for a steal.

P.S I don't get the Sunday paper either.

I just wanted to show why I do it thanks for listening :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alexander's Birthday The Final Chapter

Alexander had been changing his mind about his birthday for a few months. First it was How to Train your Dragon then it was Spiderman with touches of Transformers and other super hero things. So finally he decided he wanted a birthday party at school with cupcakes spiderman rings and party hats (transformers) I figured it was a small thing to ask so I set about getting it done. He was sooo excited to have cupcakes at school for his birthday. He even said one sentence to his teacher (he doesn't speak to his teacher at ALL but that is for another blog post some other day) telling her we were bringing cupcakes to school. So we brought the cupcakes and they were doing show and tell and his teacher said "Ok class Alexanders parents brought cupcakes to celebrate his birthday." Here he is peeking out from show and tell looking at us with his shy smile type face:and he yelled "and my sister" I was surprised to hear him talk because he doesn't in public settings. Anyway they sang happy birthday to him and he was just beaming (as you can see in the picture below) his teacher even had him wear in a special birthday hat. They got their spider man cupcakes and their transformer hats and Eva made herself at home at the head of the big table. A side story: we always talk about how loud Eva is. She can out speak anyone and she can do it at any volume. Well she was chattering along with whoever would listen and the boy next to her said "Wow did you know you are very loud" I was laughing after that because if a 5 year old hopped up on sugar tells you that you are loud then you ARE LOUD. Anyway he said bye to his friends and not his teacher and came home with us.

We were lucky his birthday landed on a Saturday because we could all be there all day. So we went to the zoo and had fun. Then we went home and tried to get his little party (with just us) ready. I was going to decorate and blow up balloons but he wanted to come help with the balloons so we all decorated together. We got pizza (his request) then we had cake (which I made, nothing special but a great prop in the middle)
Eva kept asking many questions about her own birthday and if she would get a class party at Alexanders school so I got her two gifts just little party favors to lighten the load.
Here he is blowing out the candles.
Here is the coolest part about the cake. I made it blue and read marble its was just cool to me because well I usually buy the cakes.
Anyway he had a great birthday and didn't want to go to sleep because he knew it wasn't his birthday the next day. He is now 5 years old! He starts school next year and he is progressing so well (at least from what we have seen). He even shared his gifts with Eva. He had a pile of them and kept giving her gifts and saying they were hers. We are grateful to have such a sweet little boy oh and sweeten it all tonight after we said prayers and I was getting ready to shut the door he said "Mamma" and i said "yes" and he said "I Love you" He doesn't say it a lot and it just made me so happy! So happy I am not affected by the other day anymore :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Alexander's Birthday part 1

We went to the zoo for Alexander's Birthday. We were going to go to the circus but we figured the zoo was a better option for 2 adults and 3 children (less stressful with wrangling children) Alexander was very excited to go. We woke up Saturday morning packed a lunch and left for the zoo. I gave Alexander a birthday boy badge that had blinking lights on it and he LOVED it and wore it all day, even with his pjs later in the evening. When we got there he really wanted to see the giraffes. He just kept asking where they were and wanted to move along until we got there.

Here he is finally seeing the giraffes (look closely and you can see a giraffe in the picture)
We saw all the animals and there were people at many of the animal places who were informers about the animals (this wasn't the case last time we came). The animals were a lot more lively than I have ever seen them. The gorillas were even throwing poop at us! The Seals were barking and swimming like crazy. It was pretty great. A zoo lady told me it was because it was so early in the morning. When we got to the Polar Bear exhibit they were very active too. They kept diving in the water and we happened to be underneath so see it and we caught some photos:

Here it is freshly diving in.

You can even see him breathing out the air in the water in this one. I liked watching the polar bears because of all the swimming but I usually don't like the Polar bears because everytime we have gone they pace back and forth and I feel like they are antsy and are just waiting for someone to fall down the creavice so they can eat them! I guess its built into my blood to fear the Polar bear (being Icelandic and all). Anyway they make me nervous. Here is Alexander while we were looking at the Polar Bears from the top:

Here is a cougar look at me, the other one was eating some giant bone with meat on it I didn't want to show that photo though.
Here are the kids on a giant brass hyena (or not I can't remember what it is)

here they are on the giant chair thing.
Eva was all over the place but having a blast. She did this pose all on her own so I took a picture. Yeah those are band-aids on her face.
Here was the main event! There is this huge play ground there and the kids love it. I mean kids from all around know this is at the zoo and want to play there.
Alexander was so happy. He had a great birthday and I will do another post about it. He also brought his camera to the zoo looking for Animals to capture on film (or memory card)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Just one of those days

Yesterday was plain awful. Isn't that how the song goes?

My day started with this:


and also this:

That is the result of pushing the snooze two extra times and your children not getting the memo. They usually play in their room for a little while in the morning so I thought I was safe. Nope.

These pictures are after 30 minutes of cleaning and I didn't show you the tub because well its was full of paint and painted children.

Here is what I learned yesterday morning:

  • water based poster paint is the only paint that should be in a home with children
  • stainmaster carpets are THE ONLY WAY TO GO with children
  • Ripping out the carpet in the masterbath and replacing with tile was a great decision
  • SEAL YOUR GROUT SEAL SEAL SEAL (a lesson learned too late)
  • shop vacs are your best friend with paint in carpet
  • 20 extra minutes of sleep might cost you 4 hours of hard labor cleaning
Yeah pretty much a bad morning. I went out for some retail therapy after this and that seemed to make it worse. It's Alexander's birthday tomorrow and I went to pick up some spiderman cupcakes with rings. That is all he wanted for his class oh and hats. I had the hats went to smiths they said they were out of spiderman rings. No big deal I will get the rings from Walmart. Walmart is all out of rings. Target doesn't carry rings. Albertsons is out of rings. WHAT IS GOING ON. Nobody has rings. So I run to Party City and they don't have any rings either!! Who is buying up all of these:

So I finally go to Party City and find these:

I bought 18 of them and called it a day. That took 5 hours with Jamison and Eva. FIVE HOURS. But when I drove home I was grateful to come home and be home. So much for retail therapy more like retail trauma.

I hope your days don't start off like that.

The bathroom is all clean the paint came right out of the carpet but the rugs are lost. Can't win em all. Heres to tomorrow a much brighter and warmer day!