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Scattered Sundays

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We spent four days installing tile and doing the grout in the kitchen, pantry, and entryway. FOUR DAYS. With each tile that went down, I thought “I feel like this should be taking less time”. But it didn’t. It never sped up or got easier. Not once.

For this job, we had to rent a bonkers expensive saw because our tiles are SO huge. We ended up having to pay for a week’s rental on this sucker, but the bids we had received for someone else to do the floor was almost $2,400. So you, know…worth it.

I will say, my father-in-law took great joy in reminding Troy as he was cursing and frustrated that I had offered to hire someone. That kept us laughing. Well, it kept my father-in-law and me laughing at least.

We were sharing tile progress photos on Instagram stories, and I got so many comments on how much people loved the giant tiles. As with everything, there is a fun story behind those tiles. And with most things in my life, the size is a symbolic “see? I told you so” with a big wink.

a man laying floor tiles

First tile down! 9,000,000 to go.

Back in 2015 (I think?) Troy and my father-in-law installed our wood floors after we ripped up the hideous carpet that was upstairs. The floors we picked (and still have and love) are GORGEOUS and were discontinued so they were on sale. But…they were also 2 3/4 inches wide. So, no matter how hard Troy and my father-in-law worked, those boards took forever to lay.

Each day I would come home from work, and Troy and my father-in-law would make jokes like “what the hell, did they not have toothpick-sized flooring? You didn’t want to pick anything larger”? They have never let me live down how skinny those floor planks were.

I joked that if we ever redid the kitchen, I would pick the largest tiles on earth. When Troy and I went to the tile store back in October, I picked what I liked and then said “give me the biggest size this comes in”. But before telling that to my father-in-law, I sent him photos of people tiling with pennies and told him I had selected the floor. He loves me! 🙂

We had a decent assembly line happening with the tile. Troy would add the thin-set (which we called “floor butter”) to the floor and get it ready, I would then “butter” the back of each tile, and Troy would lay it. My father-in-law would make sure our lines were remaining straight and that everything was looking right. He also did a ton of measuring and cutting for the fill pieces.

Day two, my father-in-law and I tackled the pantry section. And then the space got really crowded through the entryway and it just made sense for Troy to be laying stuff down. I added very little value on day two.

We used a spacing/leveling system called “levolution” and Troy would then set the tiles. I know they sell really affordable spacers for tiles, but that seems like something that people who know what they are doing would use. We were not those people. I mean, my father-in-law has tiling experience, and Troy watched lots of videos. But still, this was a huge project tackled by first-timers.

Troy found the levolution system and let me tell you, it’s slicker than snot. That is my opinion as someone who has never tiled a day in her life. Ha! It is not cheap (and this review is not sponsored, we bought it with cold hard cash) but it saved us a ton of agony trying to get everything just right.

Basically, instead of normal spacers, you place a “t” shaped plate under the corner of the tiles. There are little tabs under there that you can snap off depending on how you need the tiles to lay. You put a cone on top of the “t” (we called it a “mousetrap”) and then use this tool it came with to cinch it down. It brings the tile up slightly and levels all the corners. It’s really slicker than snot.

The total area we tiled was 250 square feet, and I think this system cost us $120. Cheap spacers would have been about $20, but we know our tiles are level. And hey, it wasn’t $2,400. So we got that going for us.

a kitchen under construction with floor tiles

Day four brought the grouting process. To give Troy a break, my father-in-law and I tackled the grout. When we all did the backsplash grout last week, he kept saying “the floor will be easier”, and it was! The tiles are so huge and the lines are much easier to access than the backsplash.

Grey floor tiles

They still need to be cleaned again and sealed.

On Tuesday, we also finally got the island hooked up with electricity. The cooktop is working and there are outlets on either end. The old kitchen had two outlets. Two. I think we now have nine! The outlets on the island will be so awesome because I can use my immersion blender right at the cooktop without having to transfer hot pans to the back counter.

For months, Jack has been so excited about this cooktop. He will tell anyone we see that “my mom got a stove on clearance that can boil water in two minutes”. This kid is an old soul. The cooktop got hooked up while he was asleep, and the first thing he said when he woke up was “can we boil some water?” My boy.

We had boiled some the night before to test it, but of course, I jumped at the chance to show him. Oh mylanta you guys, that cooktop is FAST. We boiled one liter of water in 45 seconds. 45.freaking.seconds. Keep in mind I was using a really cheap electric coil stove that would take 10+ minutes to boil anything.

I am so looking forward to actually cooking on it! I do foresee have to adjust new recipes for the blog. I’m guessing “cook for 12 seconds” might not be a realistic instruction.

2 boys on a couch, 1 in a banana costume

The exhaust fan above the cooktop is now working too! Even with knocking down the dropped ceiling, we don’t have a ton of height in that room. At least not compared to modern builds standards + being a tall family. A big hood vent would have taken up a lot of space and really broken up the whole room.

Our electrician friend recommended this bonkers power bathroom fan. He said that is what he installed in his own house. I like it because it sits flush to the ceiling and nobody notices it. I also love that it was about 30% of the cost of a “normal” kitchen vent.

When we finally hooked it up, we flipped the switch on the wall and waited for it to start doing its thing. And waited…and waited. And then got super nervous that something had gone wrong. 

It was only then that we realized it was SO quiet that we hadn’t heard it turn on. We were delighted by holding (clean!) pieces of toilet paper up and watching the fan suck it up to the ceiling. That’s what counts for date nights these days around these parts – boiling water and watching toilet paper fly.

We took all the drawers out of the island to be able to access the power sources, and like pretty much everything in the house, they just got stacked in piles around the house. By the time the island was powered, it was too late to vacuum and clean because the boys were asleep.

a big mess

I knew that bright and early the next morning we would be starting the tile. And then that horrible feeling in my gut started and I realized that the drawers would just be stacked in my dining room for a week and I (gasp) wouldn’t be able to organize them.

For months, I had been looking forward to setting up my spice drawers and organizing the island. It was the lighthouse in the storm of clutter I had been wading through since November. I told my friend that not being able to organize the island was the plot of a horror movie for Type A people. And it was rated “aaaaargh”.

The plumber comes tomorrow to hook everything up. Once that occurs, the kitchen will be functional but not finished. We’ll still need to seal all the floor grout and use some tile cleaner to get everything squared away. Windowsills still need to be installed, trim on the floors, trim on to fill the gaps between the cabinets and the ceiling, the pantry built and assembled, drawer pulls installed, transitions for the flooring, and 1 million other little things. But it will be functional and that is what matters.

It has been a busy week in a busy few months, and I’ve been dealing with low blood pressure for the last few weeks. How do I know it is low blood pressure? Because Captain Safety Pants has been following me around the house with a blood pressure cuff taking my BP. Ha!

It could be a mixture of not enough sleep + eating like junk + constant hustling + little to no exercise (other than kitchen work crossfit) + stress. Who knows. It sucks, but I can manage it. If it doesn’t get better when life calms down, I’ll chat with a doctor. The funny thing is, I have only seen a doctor that isn’t an OB, dentist, or eye doctor, just twice in the last 11 years, so I’ll probably have to do a new patient intake again.

I did manage to fit in one walk this week before things got busy. I miss my walks, and it felt incredible to be out there, just hoofing it up our steep hills. The weather was lovely this week – mostly sunny with crisp temps. I’m so excited to start doing that on a regular basis again.

Our food intake has been utter crap this week and I feel like an over-caffeinated but under-nourished slug. Vegetables have not been a shining star on our plates and we’re just eating to survive and grabbing whatever is available. This too shall pass and I see a giant bowl of roasted veggies in my future.

We were tiling on Tuesday but had the inauguration ceremonies on in the background. It felt like some of the pressure had been released from the country and I was relieved that it was something I could show my kids without worrying about what was going to fly out of the mouths of grownups.

My heart was in my throat during the part of the ceremony when the poet, Amanda Gorman, was speaking. Her (performance? Is that the right word? Recitation?) was so moving and her words were beautiful. And then later I found out that she, like the President, has a speech impediment, and I wanted to cry.

My sweet nephew has had a stutter for as long as I can remember. He also has asthma and one of the side effects of one of his more powerful meds is stuttering. And because he already has one, the med can exacerbate it.

Picturing my nephew watching two people, who are like him, speak with grace on the national stage just sent me into a blubbering mess. Representation and seeing yourself in someone else matters.

a boy wearing clothes backwards

This week we also said goodbye to Odie, one of our oldest chickens. She was preceded in death by her friend Garfield who passed away almost three years ago. Odie was a sweet chicken, and we’ll miss her, but knowing she isn’t suffering anymore has brought us some peace.

This coming week, I’m doing something I haven’t done in over five years. I’m taking the week off. Yep, this is happening. I will still publish the Confessions post on Saturday, and we’ll be back for our normally scheduled Scattered Sundays on the 31st. But five days off. Swearsies.

The fact of the matter is, I’m beat. Pooped. Exhausted. During this remodel, I haven’t missed a single post or slowed down my schedule. I’ve been working my normal pace with less than half the time dedicated to working. And that is dumb and I need to step away for a beat. Oh, and I definitely need to start working out again.

Right now in you’re head you’re probably thinking “she’s taking time off to finish organizing” and YOU’RE NOT WRONG! 🙂 I can’t get everything ship-shape this week, celebrate Bennett’s birthday (oh, yeah, that kid is turning five on Thursday!), and work without going a little bit bananas. Plus, preschool is closed for two days for conferences.

I’m also taking a week+ off of social media, but you’ll still probably find things posted over on Instagram stories. Because I just can’t quit those. 

Housekeeping

We got our Thrive Market order this week, and goodness, I’m so glad we found Thrive a few years ago. They have all our favorite things at super-affordable prices, all delivered to our front door. And since our brains right now are in 100% “finish the kitchen” mode, the delivery aspect is soooo appreciated. Try Thrive Market out for yourself and start saving today

What I’m Listening To This Week

I stumbled onto Norco80 last week and it filled the hole that the end of Sons of Anarchy left in my life. Norco80 is about one of the most violent bank robberies in US history. You know…happy listening. 😊

Reader Spotlight of the Week

Rosalind left this five-star review on our Air Fryer Cinnamon Rolls {Pin this recipe}:

Awesome recipe!!! I really appreciate how you put multiple methods of cooking, we have an air fryer but I wanted to bake in the oven to compare to my tried + true cinnamon roll recipe. Thanks for making Saturday morning yummy!!!

a knife with frosting and a tray of cinnamon rolls

On Sustainable Cooks This Week

Enabling Adventure With The Burley Piccolo – I share our experience with this awesome trailercycle we got last summer to ride bikes as a family. Also, I got A LOT of emails about my outfit in that post, because everyone loves activewear that doesn’t look like activewear.

The skort is from Title Nine (and it is on sale and the staple of my summer wardrobe) and the shirt is from Pact Organic. The shoes are my old beat-up Madison slip-ons from Dr.Scholls, because I am 80.

A mom and her son on a Burley trailercycle

Air Fryer Egg Rolls – one of our most popular posts got a refresh this week! We’ve streamlined it to offer better tips and more value in a shorter post. All the crunchy egg rolls you love with no fluff! And as always, you’ll find non-air fryer cooking instructions in the post. {Pin this recipe}

Three air fryer egg rolls on a wooden tray with a dish of soy sauce

Mini Quiche Appetizers – Perfect for make-ahead breakfasts or hors d’oeuvres, Mini Quiche Appetizers are always a hit! Easy to make and freeze, bake these delicious muffin tin quiche and store them in your freezer for months. {Pin this recipe}

three mini quiche appetizers on a plate with tomatoes and herbs

The Five Most Popular Posts This Week

Air fryer recipes were still on fire this week! Everyone seems to still be playing with their holiday gifts. No air fryer? Remember, ALL my Instant Pot and air fryer recipes also include conventional cooking instructions.

  1. Air Fryer Potatoes – skip using the oven and make these crispy taters in the air fryer.  {Pin this recipe}.
  2. Air Fryer Pizza Rolls – like a healthier homemade version of my teenage self’s favorite snack.  {Pin this recipe}
  3. Air Fryer Egg Rolls – vegan/vegetarian as written, but you can make your version to your tastes.  {Pin this recipe}
  4. Air Fryer Pretzel Bites – recently, a new acquaintance asked me about my favorite air fryer recipe, and I told her these pretzel bites. So fast and easy to make and they’re SO GOOD.  {Pin this recipe}
  5. Air Fryer Pickles – love these!  {Pin this recipe}

 

Wishing you the best week available to you!

 

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10 comments on “Scattered Sundays”

  1. I just can’t – Bennett is turning *5*??????? I mean, I know I’ve been pretty religiously following your blog for a long time, but where is time going?? Seems like just yesterday you were posting about him being born! I swear, it’s always the kids that show you how fast time flies.

    On another note, you know how Facebook shows your friends when you comment on a page/post, well when I commented on your picture of the kitchen and how open/airy it was, apparently my husband saw it and wanted to know who the heck we know that is remodeling their kitchen…I told him WE don’t know anyone doing that, but I’ve been following you since, well, ever, so WE are happy that you are finally getting the kitchen you deserve!

    Take your time off, and take some more time if you need it. You deserve that too! We’ll all be here when you get back ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Awww, I love that! Thanks so much for being so sweet about our remodel. We’re so excited and I have been so honored to see how others have felt the same.

  2. Yes take a week off. You certainly deserve it and hope the low blood pressure thing levels out!

  3. Your kitchen looks amazing!

    And good for you taking a week off! I hope you are able to relax and recharge and get your BP figured out.

    Happy birthday to your littlest man. I can’t believe he’s 5 already!!

  4. Enjoy your time off! You all have worked so hard!

  5. I LOVE ๐Ÿ’˜ your tiles, and can’t wait to see the final reveal of your kitchen. In the meantime, enjoy your well-deserved break.