This blog was started in 2008 when we did IVF for the first time to build our family after 5 1/2 years of infertility. We now have 8 and 2 year old boys (thanks to modern medicine) and we are enjoying our blessed life as parents ♥ In the summer of 2016 we took another huge step and moved across the country from Oklahoma to New York! This blog is about life and everything in between

Friday, October 25, 2013

Norman Fall Fest

I have to work on Halloween this year so I have been coming up with other festive things I can do with Brad to make up for missing it with him (yes his daddy is going to take him instead). There are all kinds of neat things around the area to do! There are several pumpkin patches, family farms, corn mazes, and festivals that don't cost much. I got a flyer recently that said tonight would be my town's first annual Fall Fest on the old Main St. with free trick-or-treating and games for the kids.

After Brad got up from his nap and we ate dinner, we heading that way! The had the street closed for several blocks and it was a challenge to find parking....but I came thru! He grabbed his bucket and we started walking up and down to check out all of the fun.

He wanted to be a skunk again--I made this costume for him last year, and he begged to wear it again this year!

 ..........this is him (3 years old) wearing it last year!

They had all kinds of neat stuff out, and most of the businesses were handing out candy. It was supposed to be from 6p-9p but by 7 a lot of them were already out of candy! There were free inflatable rides, a firetruck, music, and games.

 He had a ton of fun and happy to dig into his candy on the way home. Tomorrow I'm going to try to take him to a pumpkin patch for more good times!

I have some more updates on the kitchen, plus things I've been crafting but I will save those for another blog! Check back soon!

PS. I just started a Twitter account to try and wean off of Facebook....feel free to look me up! @kandydpierce


Monday, October 21, 2013

Kitchen Remodel -- Phase II In Progress

Shortly after Phase I, Nick removed all of the cabinet doors from the kitchen in preparation for Phase II. We went to Lowes and bought this kit:
It is an all-inclusive kit that contains everything (except brushes) that you need to refinish your cabinets. It came in two sizes--100sqFt or 200sqFt--and two shades--light or dark. We chose the large one in the light shade. We had the base coat tinted for the color we wanted and we were ready to go! Honestly we were very nervous about painting over our cabinets. They were very dark stained wood and once you make that first brush stroke there is no turning back! We were going for an antiqued off white color.

The first step is to degloss every surface that is getting painted. Their special formula eliminates the need for any sanding, stripping, or priming! This took about a day--I did the cabinet frames and Nick did the doors. Next we got started on painting! It was VERY white and had me nervous that we picked a shade that was too light. We decided 3 coats looked the best, and each coat had to dry at least 2 hours in between. It has taken a couple of days now to get to this point, and we still have about 20 cabinet doors to go!

 We moved my car out of the garage and have a little assembly line set up on a tarp for the doors. We have 37 doors altogether and can not fit all of them on the tarp at the same time. So that means we have some that are painted on both sides and ready to antique, and some that only have paint on one side. Plus there are a few that having nothing on them because they are still waiting their turn!

We actually started the antiquing/glazing process today. We watched all of the instructional videos to learn the technique for the look we wanted, and crossed our fingers that it would turn out okay. In the end, we were pretty happy with the look it gave the doors, and I was relieved to see the stark white go away. Here you can see the doors on the bottom have already been painted and now have glaze on one side, and the doors on top are still getting painted, and will need to be flipped over when dry....

We also antiqued all of the framing inside the kitchen and all of the little walls today. We can actually put the sealant coat on them tomorrow! The glaze has to dry for at least 8 hours, and the sealer has to set up for 24 hours before you put the doors/hardware back on. Honestly now that we have gotten this far, we have barely used half of the amounts in the kit. I am planning on listing the rest of the kit on craigslist when we are done! Here are my new shelves (that are getting a custom door built for them) that we have painted, glazed, and I put liner on them tonight...

Speaking of hardware...I have been hunting for a couple of weeks for a good price on knobs and drawer pulls. I knew I could get a steal somewhere--I just had to find where! We originally were going to get all new hinges and everything in black, but we were sorely disappointed to see that the hole pattern in similar new hinges were just a hair off and we would have to drill all new screw holes.....no thank you! Our current hinges are kind of an aged bronze color so we decided to keep them, get knobs to match, and change the color of tile backsplash we were planning on.

Today I hit the jackpot and finally found a great website with amazing prices on hardware and shipping! The knobs and the drawer pulls were less than $1 each, and we even found a great pendant light for above my sink that matches.

I would comfortably say that we are 75% done with the cabinets, and maybe half done with the kitchen remodel!! The next step is the countertops, then the backsplash. I will post another blog when we are all done with the cabinets so you can see our hard work!


Saturday, October 12, 2013

GW Animal Park

Brad has been on fall break these last few days and unfortunately I had to work all of them. He did get to spend a couple nights with his grandparents out in the country and he had fun. We had planned to head up to NW Oklahoma and rent a dune buggy for the sand dunes. The bad news was that when we called they were all booked up for over a week and there would be no where to rent a buggy.

We brainstormed and came up with a few other options and decided on GW Animal Park out in Wynnewood. We were going to try Arbuckle Wilderness too, but I read a lot of bad reviews from recently after their management changed and they got rid of their exotic animals.

It was about an hour drive from our house and right off the highway. The admission price is a little higher than I like, but it's completely ok because all of the animals there are rescued and the money goes to their upkeep.

Despite it being October, it was actually pretty warm today and most of the animals were sleeping while we were looking around. I guess it was their nap time!

There were several tigers, a couple lions, a few bears, racoons, monkeys, snakes, skunks, cockatoos, a wolf, hyenas, as well as loose geese, chicken, roosters, and turkeys running around. It was a fun day! We had a late lunch in Pauls Valley when we got done then came home and relaxed.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Kitchen Remodel -- Phase I

What have I been doing you ask? Well we have begun our kitchen facelift! I wouldn't call it a full remodel--we are keeping our current cabinets and countertops, but we are refinishing them all. We are also getting all new appliances (except for a fridge b/c it's only a couple years old).

When Nick and I first started discussing this, I brought up the idea of knocking out the cabinets beneath our cooktop to put in a combo stove/oven so that everything was together in one spot. I figured this would be too expensive because it would not be a DIY job like the rest of the kitchen projects. We decided against it and were planning on just replacing all of the current appliances with new models in black.....until we started pricing things!

Here is the "before" oven and microwave....

....and the "before" cooktop with cabinets below. They are all about 20-30 years old. They still work but are inefficient and very outdated!

We still have a distant hope of trying to sell our house again in a few years, but would like to get some enjoyment out of our updates before then. I started shopping around online for a ceramic cooktop that would replace our old stove, and found that the cheapest one ran about $500-600. Then I started pricing wall ovens and found the cheapest one of those started at around $800+. Right now we were at almost $1500 for just the baseline model oven and stove.

Those who know me are aware that I am a cheap frugal person, and that was just a ridiculous amount to spend. I glanced at a regular range that had a ceramic stove and good size oven--only about $500. I kept looking online but never really found better prices that would make me happy. So then I started thinking back to my original idea of knocking out the old cooktop and cabinets to put in a range instead. I figured with the money we would save just having to buy a range, we could pay for a contractor!

Nick brought up the grand idea that his dad Mark knows how to build a house from the ground up, so we asked him if he was interested in the job. He accepted, and came to work on it the next day! I told him exactly what I wanted, and added some custom shelving on the outer cabinets for my cookbooks. He got right to work and had it done in two days!!

Here is where the oven was.  Mark is going to put in shelves to replace the storage I'm losing under the old cooktop.

Here is where the cooktop was. We took off the cabinet doors and removed the shelves to prepare for demolition.

Mark stayed till about 7pm the first day, and offered to take our little one to stay a couple nights since he was on fall break. Of course Brad was very excited about that and got his suitcase ready to go!

I started hunting online for a new range and found several good deals. I narrowed it down to Sears, Lowes, or Home Depot. Lowes and HD both having 10% off appliance sales, plus free shipping. I decided on one ~$550 range at each place that I wanted to look at, so we went to each store to see them in person. HD didn't have much in stock at the store, so we moved on to Lowes. I didn't find the exact model I had picked, but they had a very similar one in stock that was about $50 more. We kept browsing around and I stumbled upon another range that was pretty much what I wanted and it was cheaper--$499 marked down to $439. I inquired about it to the salesperson and he said it was in stock, and that it rang up only $404! I got free shipping, and I just happened to have a $25 off coupon. Altogether I got it for only $379!

Mark came back in a couple days and finished up the shelving and installation of the stove. For the shelves we bought the wood and brackets at Lowes, then Nick painted the wood white and brackets black. Removing the counter and cabinets around the old cooktop left a little gap, so Mark installed some wood trim around the range for a custom fit. When we refinish the countertops it will all get painted the same color.

Here are the new cabinets he built where the oven was. The tall one is for cutting boards/cookie sheets, and the shelves on the right will be covered by a custom cabinet door we are having made to match the others. We will also paint the inside of these.

And here are my cookbook shelves! I love the brackets and rounded edges. Once everything gets a fresh coat of paint it will all look finished. I can't wait to see the end result!!

We are going to put our old appliances for sale on craigslist to try and recoup some of our costs. I already bought a new microwave and it will be installed soon.

In the end, for the price of JUST a new cooktop, we got a new range, custom shelving, and a redesigned kitchen! Our next project--painting the cabinets.....


Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's Booked!

I just clicked the "Submit" button and there is NO turning back now! I have officially booked our next European trip! It has been almost 6 years since the last one and there is no time like the present! We were going to use our savings to move out of state, but that didn't happen. Then we were going to use it for infertility treatments, but now we are waiting till next summer for that.....so I figured we should go somewhere big while we can.

Nick and I agreed we wanted our next Europe trip to be a combo including England/Ireland/Scotland, and we were planning on using GoAheadTours again (which we used for a guided Italy tour in 2008). I started there and looked up prices for next summer....they were WAY higher than I wanted to spend on a trip like this. Then I stopped--they speak English there! Why can't we just go on our own? So then I started looking into solo travel and found a FABULOUS travel site that bundles any combo of cities into a nice little package and you pay one price for everything.

I started out by plugging in the same 3 cities as with the tour company just for comparison sake--London, Edinburgh and Dublin, 2 nights at each. It was almost HALF the price. I was floored. And elated! This trip was looking even better! As I browsed the website I saw another package including those cities plus one more--PARIS for only $100 more. WHAT???? Yes please. Obviously that is the package we chose :)

The best part is we are not going alone--no, my dad is not going with us again--Nick's best friend is going with us!! He has never been out of the states so this is the perfect opportunity for him to get his feet wet (plus he's part Irish). Every time we go on trips we always wish we had some buddies that would travel with us, but none of our friends have ever shown an interest in joining anything we do. It will be great to have someone to rehash memories with when we get back!

I was able to tweak our flights there and back so we fly straight from Chicago each way, and it will only take 10 hours to get there! First stop is Dublin, Ireland for 2 nights......

...then we fly to Edinburgh, Scotland for 2 nights.....

....then we fly to London, England for 2 nights.....


....then we take the Eurostar train to Paris, France for 2 nights!

 We fly out from Paris in the afternoon and (thanks to the time changes) get home that same evening. We are all very excited and have lots of excursions planned along the way! We have already started watching some travel shows for these areas to get ideas for things we want to see. Our for-sures include Stonehenge and the Eiffel Tower.

In other news...I called our RE and booked our IVF start for next August! Yay for us.


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