Bathroom Update Take Two.

For far, far too long, we have been staring at and showering in an old, outdated bathroom and this weekend I had enough! If you recall, last year we started our inexpensive bathroom update project before baby Battin was born. The idea was to make it a quick and relatively inexpensive project. After running into some plumbing issues, that inexpensive update left an expensively bad taste in my mouth. And while I had plans to potentially redo the floors and maybe even the vanity, I threw my hands up in surrender. Luckily, the beautiful shower was enough to get me through another year.

And so, here we are again. I have been eyeing Craigslist for some time hoping to come across a vanity (with or without a top) that would fit our space. It’s been over a month and nothing. Nada. Then one day as my husband was bathing Liam, he went to shut the vanity sliding door and smashed his finger pretty bad. Again, I threw my hands up in surrender. That was it. Time to do something about this ugly, now dangerous, room.

Bathroom Update

Our bathroom prior to destruction. Adios ugly tile and fugly vanity.

Project to do list:

  • Remove and replace baseboards
  • Remove and replace vanity and top
  • Remove and replace closet door
  • Sand and paint any imperfections
  • Install new flooring
  • Give the closet a paint refresh
  • PURGE AND REORGANIZE (my personal favorite)

Demo day (the easiest) came and went in a flash. The man of the house did most of the work. My responsibility consisted of running after LT and keeping him busy.

Bathroom Demo

He-man hard at work.

Now that everything was removed, it was my turn. I’ve become the resident tiler in our house. A few years back I tiled the laundry room and spare bathroom.

trafficMASTER Ceramica Install

(never mind the mess, please)

Now, you may be thinking, “Whoa I might hire this gal to do my tile floors too!” Not so fast, though this may look like ceramic tile, PSYCH it’s not. It is actually vinyl peal and stick tile. It’s called trafficMASTER ceramica and let me tell you, it is one of the more amazing products I have ever come across when it comes to home DIY. The tile is thick and has beveled edges which gives you the ability to grout and best yet….the only tools needed for cutting is a straight edge and an exacto knife. Simply score and snap! There are tons of how to videos online and the product is only sold at Home Depot.

Now, that said, I always always underestimate how much time it actually takes to lay this stuff out. To do it right, you have to work from the center of the room and work your way out which means, if you are unlucky like me, you may have to cut tiles on each end of the room. One day later though, our room looked like this (pre-grout because the floor has to adhere 24 hours before you can grout).

trafficMASTER ceramica tile

 

And now….after grout……

trafficMASTER Ceramica with grout

trafficMASTER Ceramica with grout

Stay tuned for the rest of the project reveal.

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Baby favorites.

Everyone has their favorite baby products and I am not an exception to that rule. There are some products I either purchased or were given that were complete lifesavers. And though every baby is different, for the sake of keeping other mommies sane, I feel compelled to share some of my favorites.

baby favorites

  1. Let’s talk butts- more specifically butt cream. I’ve been fortunate that LT (Liam Thomas) hasn’t had many rashes, but when he did, my go-to product was, and still is, Palladin, hands down. It can only be purchased online at rashcream.com, but to make up for the shipping costs, it is a relatively inexpensive product. It’s thick, goes on smoothly and has no odor. It’s the bomb-diggity.
  2. Because my husband and I live an hour away from our families, traveling overnight is a must. We have a Pack N Play, but in some occasions, the Pack N Play just wasn’t conducive for the type of visit we were planning. For example, we went camping with my brother and his now fiancee in May. Four adults, three dogs and an infant in a pop-up camper did not lend itself for much room for a large Pack N Play. So we brought a little travel bassinet in its place. I was given the bassinet as a gift and it was perfect for our trip! We placed the bassinet on the bed where I could be close to him yet not worry all night squishing him if I rolled over in my sleep. The bassinet we received was similar to this one and can be purchased at Babys R Us.
  3. If you have even the slightest hopes of ever having a decent night’s sleep upon your new baby’s arrival, do yourself a favor and get a few swaddle blankets with Velcro. Just do it. Liam had the habit of flailing his arms all over the place when he slept which resulted in him hitting himself in the eye, nose, whatever and waking himself up. After several nights of this, we broke out the Velcro swaddle blanket and ahhhh sleep at last. This particular swaddle blanket is perfect because the Velcro really holds him in snug without the chances of him breaking free. Of course as he got older he was able to break free, but that just meant he was ready to not use them any more.
  4. I never registered for a bouncer but man am I glad my dad and step-mom bought LT one for Christmas. Having the ability to bring the bouncer in the bathroom if I was showering or the bedroom if I was getting ready was ideal! It didn’t do too much in terms of soothing him if he was crabby, but it certainly was helpful as I tried to get chores done throughout the house.
  5. The last of my baby favorites is something we are actually using now. LT is teething hardcore with four chompers coming in at the top. Though he is still extremely happy, smiley and cheerful, I can tell it bothers him, so I bought something called a Fresh Food Teether. I got mine at Target for $2.99 and he LOVES IT! It’s basically like a giant ring pop that you can fill with food. When taken apart, I add chucks of frozen fruit in the netting and close it up. He gets overly enthusiastic when he sees me take it out of the drawer. Best three bucks ever.

Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder - 2pk

There you have it. These are just five of my baby favorites. Stay tuned for more as he gets bigger!

Baby tales: road tripping with a little one.

We survived our first road trip with the little man! Last weekend the three of us traveled down to Cincinnati so I could attend the bachelorette festivities for one of my dearest friends. I was a tad anxious to see how Liam would behave during the 3-1/2 hour car ride, but I should have guessed he would be an angel! The trip there and back took about an extra hour because we stopped to feed/change him so he would stay on his routine, but the end result was a very happy baby!

Packing for the trip was quite the experience. I started making my list on Monday to ensure I wasn’t forgetting anything. Judging by this picture my husband took, you may have thought we went a tad overboard, but I assure you, almost everything we brought was necessary….almost.

Packing for babyHere is a quick rundown of what came in handy, what we could have done without and what we wished made the trip with us.

So glad we packed it:

  • Bottle Brush & Dish Soap: Rather than packing one bottle for all of Liam’s feedings (6 per day), I packed just enough for one day’s worth of feedings and then cleaned them once we got to the hotel. It was much easier than packing 12 bottles.
  • Pack N Play: Though this was a no-brainer, thought I would list it anyway.
  • Stroller: My husband and I went back and forth on whether or not we should bring Liam’s stroller. In the end, we were happy to have it. When it came time to devour the continental breakfast at the Hyatt Place, we were able to roll Liam right up to the table. We probably could have gotten away with a simple umbrella stroller though.
  • Cooler: A small cooler full of ice was essential in keeping Liam’s milk fresh and cold during our trip,
  • Bath Wash & Towel: We planned to take Liam on his first dip in the pool during our stay and didn’t want all that chlorine on his skin. We brought his body wash and bath towel to give him a bath afterwards.
  • Bottle Warmer: Since we stopped to feed Liam while on the road, the bottle warmer was a must. We have a travel warmer we bought from Target that plugs right into the adapter.

Traveling with babyWhat we could have done without:

  • Video Camera: I brought our video camera with the intention of filming Liam’s first swim, but there ended up being quite a bit of people in the water and I didn’t want them thinking I would catch them on film. We opted to take snap shots with our camera instead.

baby swimmingBath Tub: As mentioned earlier, we intended to give Liam a bath after his swim. Unfortunately, our room just had a shower so using the tub really wouldn’t work.  We opted to stick him in the sink instead, which worked just as well.

  • Formula: We’ve recently had to start supplementing Liam’s feedings with formula and though it was a must to bring, I went a little overboard. Two bottles a day is all he gets. I packed enough for nine. It may have been too much, but at least I was prepared.
  • Toys: We probably could have gotten away with packing only a few toys. One of which would have been his plush toy from Target which we have loving named ‘buddy’ and his teething rings.

Target ToyWhat we should have brought, but didn’t:

  • Burp Cloths & Bibs: Sure I brought these, but I underestimated the recent drooly-ness of my peanut. A few extra would have been nice to have.
  • Noses Sucker: I totally forgot this and felt awful. Luckily, Liam wasn’t too stuffy despite the lack of his humidifier.
  • This last item really isn’t an item, it’s more of a packing lesson. We packed the water and his diaper bag in the back of the SUV. When it came time to feed Liam, it would have been nice to have the water and other essentials at arm’s reach so we could have warmed his bottle prior to stopping the car.

All-in-all, I think I did pretty well! And though my husband loathed multiple trips to the car, I assure you, everything was necessary.

 

 

 

What’s for dinner?

For quite some time now, I have been eying various menu planning techniques that people use in their homes to stay organized. While I found a lot of them in blogs and on Pinterest, not one of them worked completely for our family. Instead of replicating one of the plans I found online, I took bits and pieces of a bunch of them and developed my own. The best part – it cost me a total of $9.00, give or take a few cents for tax.

I started off needing a cookie sheet. Believe it or not, this was more difficult than it seemed. I couldn’t fine one that was large enough, and I didn’t want to spend a fortune on one. After visiting Target and Walmart, I ventured over to Ollie’s. I should have went there first! I found an awesome cookie sheet for $6.99. Rather than making a craft out of this sparkly new cookie sheet, I opted to keep this new one and use one of my old ones for my craft.

Once I got my cookie sheet, I was ready to craft! I searched through my craft cabinet for fabric, ribbon, magnetic tape, construction paper, ribbon and letters. To my surprise, I actually had everything I needed! I gathered it all together while my husband did this…..

dinner planning

I started by applying fabric to the back of the cookie sheet using Elmer’s Adhesive Spray. I absolutely LOVE this stuff!

Elmer's Adhesive Spray

Once that was accomplished I added the title, “BATTIN MENU” and days of the week. Because my husband and I would prefer to plan meals only two weeks in advance, I added two lines of ribbon to break up the weeks.

meal planning

Once this was finished, I started cutting,, cutting cutting squares! Each square includes a dinner that is often eaten in our home. The dinners with an * means there is a recipe to follow (I will get to this more later). On the back of each square, I taped a small strip of magnetic tape.

materials for meal planning
At this time it was back to the store for me! I wanted to have two small boxes on my board – one to hold all the dinner options and one to hold the recipes needed if one of the meals that week requires a recipe (remember the *)! I found the perfect size boxes in the One Spot at Target. They were actually band-aid boxes, but they worked! I brought them home, cut them up and origami-ed construction paper around them, added sticky letters and BAM I had my boxes.

meal planning boxes

The last step was to add a ribbon to the top of the board so that it could hang. Using my handy dandy hot glue gun, I secured this ribbon. Now our menu board hangs beautifully on the side of our fridge!

meal planning board

Here is the entire station – calender and shopping list included. Ahhhh I’ve never felt so organized! Now my husband has no excuse not to start dinner if he gets home before me!

meal planning station

What you see is what you get.

For a few months now, I have been collecting photos of my crafting projects and filling up Word documents with how they were done. I’ve gone back and forth wanting to start a blog of my own, but it wasn’t until my fellow co-worker, Rachel, started her blog, The Reveler, that I decided it was time.

Generally speaking, just about every week day around 5:00 pm, my husband receives the following text or call, “Are you going to be home on time after work to let the dog out?” This usually means one of two things – I am heading to the gym (I love to run) after work, or I need to run into Pat Catan’s. And by ‘run into Pat Catan’s,’ I mean, spend at least 45 minutes there, along with $50 more than I had originally planned.

I currently work full-time in the advertising industry. When I’m not at work managing clients, I like to craft. To me, the idea of crafting is synonymous with taking on a challenge. Can you turn this ugly piece of furniture into a work of art? Can you string these beads into a pair of earrings for next week’s part? Challenge accepted! And when I am not crafting, I organize. My motto is, “An organized life is a happy life.” I love giving everything a home, even if it means spending $75 on baskets to hold a pile of light bulbs and wash cloths.

Truth be told, I wouldn’t have so much passion if it wasn’t for my encouraging, loving husband of 2+ years. He always thinks the highest of me and loves everything I create. And if by chance he does not love it – he tells me that, too.

While I am starting this blog to share my crafting, organizing and home improvement projects with the World Wide Web, I started finding my zazu for no one other than myself. I wanted a place to keep all of my ideas, visions and creations. All of you reading them is just an added bonus.

So what does finding my zazu mean? Not to be cufused with the bird character from the Lion King, zazu (pronounced za-zoo) is defined as something special, a passion, a feeling like love. Zazu is precisely what is inside me when it comes to organizing, crafting, home improvements, designing, cooking, running, music and now, anything babies thanks to my new baby boy, Liam. The blog name pretty much speaks for itself. By reading this blog you will be witness to me finding my zaza through everything I create.