I Heart Technology

This blu-ray dvd burner is amazing! After both my mac desktop disc drive stopped working and our home dvd player stopped working, my family was left with no way to put photos onto discs or to watch movies from anywhere but our Wii by using Instant Netflix. So, when I was contacted by a store I love, Staples to see if I would like to participate in a review through Staples and could choose any item I’d like, I knew exactly what Iwould choose that would make everyone in our family happy.

I can’t even begin to tell you how frustrating it was for me to be working with photography clients and needing to produce discs for them without a working disc drive on my mac. Yes, I have my little man to blame – although the apple store happily removed a foreign object from the drive last year, it has never worked the same since. So, each time I did photography work, I was going through a very long, aggravating process to get the photos to disc via another computer after editing them on my mac. I could not be happier with how this drive performs and how easy it is to use. It is so easy, that I thought for sure there must be more steps as I was setting it up and using it the first time.

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As for my kids, they can now watch their DVDs again and couldn’t be happier about that. We do love instant Netflix, but it was frustrating to have stashes of DVDs that we couldn’t do anything with before. The blu-ray DVD player/burner is the perfect solution for our family when we are plugged in at work or play. Now we can add watching new movies on DVD to our Friday night pizza and wii night.

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My daughter can pop a new CD in (Taylor Swift anyone?) and load her music to Itunes in a heartbeat. I love that it’s simple enough for ALL of us to use and that it has given us more options when it comes to both music and movies.

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We haven’t even begun to touch the options we have with this DVD burner and love it!! I am not sure I even know how (or why?) I’d burn a DVD but I love that I can if I have to and in the meantime, my family can do all the things they love and that I can continue my photography business with much more ease than before. It has been completely wonderful for all of us.

Thank you, Staples!

A Petite Pantry

One of the things that I find a source of pride in our home’s remodel is that we have made do with what we have from start to finish. We’ve never added on, only using what we had when we started. I don’t want to say it wasn’t much, because I am so grateful for every inch of this home, in all of it’s rattiness because it provided us with so much more these past 6 years than just a roof over our heads. The limited, awkward space has been enough to make me grateful and appreciative for having any space at all. I have all but forgotten that there are homes with basements, attics, coat closets and garages. Our storage space here is limited to say the least and for that I, truly, am grateful. I have learned to only keep what we need and use, and to remove all else from our lives so as to live as clutterless as a family with two small children who love legos and other assorted smaller than should be allowed toys.

All of that to lead you in to the excitement I have discovered now that my husband built me a pantry. I know, he’s a keeper, don’t you think?

My kids’ bedrooms are right off of our kitchen and when my hubby remodeled them, my daughter’s room was our room and my son was only a few months old. He built the room with an opening, a hallway of sorts, but really it was left open because we are parents who love being near our babies when they sleep and we liked the idea of connected rooms so I could swoop in there during the night to nurse the little sweetie pie when he cried. Turns out the kid slept like a log as an infant and I’d get 10 straight hours of sleep most nights and we never really “needed” the opening space. But soon, we moved out of that bedroom and my daughter moved in. The kids *loved* having their rooms connected. They could play together and it was just – neat. But, my daughter is almost 8 now and my son just turned 5. Turns out there comes a point in every person’s life when they find the need for privacy. My daughter complained when she’d go to her room to read or play and he’d come bother her. The time was coming for the “hallway” to be closed off.

These pictures are terrible, but I will try to show you what we started with. See if you can follow along.

This is taken from me standing in my daughter’s room, looking into my son’s room. See the mess? I thought about cleaning it up first, but then thought how he’d just mess it up again 5 minutes later and you’d just think “wow, her kid’s room is clean!” and that is so not true.

This is from his room looking into her’s.

And this is the wall in the kitchen

So, basically, he put up two walls – one in each bedroom – and took down the wall in the kitchen. See?

I am afraid this isn’t making any sense and perhaps I should have just shown you the pantry to begin with and forgotten all about showing the process. But, it was a long process, drawn out and complicated, so I didn’t want to just show – “Look! A pantry!” and not give my hubby the credit he deserves for all the hard work he puts into my crazy ideas.

Here it is after

because the last thing we needed was another door opening into the kitchen to drive us batty, he bought a door panel and put it on a sliding rail thingy. I am pretty sure that is what the package called it.

(Now you know…one thing my hubby cannot do well is paint walls without getting paint on the ceiling. It is like this all over my house. But I don’t care. I love him anyway. )

This is the teensiest little pantry ever. It is annoying me that every time I type pantry, I type panty first and then have to backspace and fix it. Panty is my least favorite word in the english language. Maybe I can arrange to have a pantry called something else. Food closet? Hmmm.

Anyway, the pantry is only 18″ wide, but hey, 8 feet tall and 18 inches wide is a lot of space when you are going from no food closet to one. I love it. And I love that my hubby puts up with such crazy requests of mine.

The kids got new paint in their rooms because of this project, too, because of their new sections of wall.

My daughter’s room doubles as our guest room when we have company. Who wants to come stay in her very pink room?!?!

More soon.

xo
Emily

An Addition to the Kitchen

It has been a loooooong time coming for this little addition to our kitchen space. Space-wise, our kitchen is big. Functional and storage wise, not so much. There has always been a big gap between the sides of the kitchen and I have played with different ideas for an island to bring everything together.

Just for fun, let’s take a look back at the kitchen from way back when we first bought this mess of a house.


Yes, that is me, many months pregnant in a rickety old kitchen with no wall.

My, how far we’ve come.

It went from that, to this:

Then we painted it a lighter blue last year:

And now, we have this:

I first saw this kitchen island, the Ikea Stenstorp for those that are curious, at my hubby’s family’s cottage. They have a tiny rustic little cabin in the woods up in Canada and did a few changes this past summer, which included adding this island to their small space. Well, the moment I walked into that cottage and saw the island, I knew it was perfect for my kitchen here at home in Florida.

I forgot all about it, as often those things we want but don’t need fall to the back of our minds.

Then, back in January, my mom and I went to Ikea together to get some dishes she wanted. I was strolling through the kitchen area and saw it and said “Oh! That is the island that would be so perfect in my kitchen!” My mom eyed it and agreed and we continued walking. She was going to surprise me that day and buy it for me, but it turned out that it didn’t fit in her car so we had to leave it for another trip with another vehicle (or at least one without kids in the back).

Another month passed and a couple of weeks ago my mom said she was ready to go back to Ikea to get me that kitchen island. I checked online and they had one left in stock. It’s a 2 hour drive each way. A little risky for one left in stock. And my mom remembered the one box we saw that day being damaged so she was worried about getting there and having it not work out.

In a fleeting moment of resourcefulness, frugality and wanting to save time, I looked on our local Craigslist for “Kitchen Island” and a looooong list came up. I scrolled through and there was “Ikea Kitchen Island”. Before I even clicked, I thought, “there is no way it is *the* kitchen island”, but it was. The listing was almost a month old. I thought, “there is no way it is still available”, but it was. I made arrangements to pick up that very island the next day from someone an hour closer each way and for $125 less. Score! My mom was thrilled, I was thrilled. We drove there together to pick it up in the pick up truck my father so graciously let us girls borrow. The girl had the stools I wanted also and threw those in for a few more dollars. We drove home happy as could be. Then it started raining. I kid you not, it has not rained here in Florida in months. The *one* afternoon that we are driving with a piece of furniture in the back of a truck, it downpours. I couldn’t make these things up. We stopped at my mom’s house and found a tarp and she and I stood out in the pouring rain, laughing at the ridiculousness of it all, while strapping the tarp down over it. I still had to drive it another 45 minutes to my house by myself in the storm – and oh, that storm followed me all the way home.

But when we pulled that island off the truck and carried her (congratulations! It’s a girl!) inside and set her in my kitchen, I just heaved a sigh of relief and laughed at what an adventurous day it had been.

She’s been in my kitchen just over a week or so now and I am seriously in love. The extra shelves with storage space.

The surfaces for my kids to do artwork and for my hubby to leave tools laying around.

I thought about straightening up, clearing everything out and making everything shiny and perfect before I took pictures for this post, but I decided against it. It can be so draining to see spaces online that have no signs of life in them. Yes, I love clear counters and I love clean floors. But we live here, too. So, today, you get to see art laying around, my hubby’s tools from the new project going on, and my running hat. I hope you’ll love me anyway.

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