Designing kitchen spaces with The Home Depot #revitalizeandredesign

This post about designing kitchen spaces with The Home Depot is sponsored through my affiliation with Glam Media.  Opinions are my own. 

existing ugly cabinets

We are almost finished with our breezeway redo and it has me wanting to finally get our kitchen remodel started.  We’d decided years ago to just paint the horrible and piecemeal cabinetry and live with the ugly until our kids were a bit older and less damaging to furniture and cabinets (so far, we haven’t seen a decrease, are we waiting for something that won’t happen?).  But 8+ years of living with poor quality and poorly designed “cabinetry” has me frustrated and ready to tackle this project now and not later.

kitchen cabinet drawers

I was early for  a do it herself workshop at the Home Depot earlier this summer and happened upon a kitchen redesign class at my Local store. They were serving pizza, chips and drinks and having so much fun I had to grab a chair and partake in the party.  That also served to fuel my remodel fire. (Yes, you read that right! At least in Manchester, CT, you get pizza and cold beverages when you take the kitchen workshops!)

I keep seeing functional kitchens in all styles and designs. That’s my dream- and I want to make it a reality.  Having been at that workshop at my local Home Depot really made me stop and take a look around at all of the gorgeous kitchen cabinetry, counters, appliances and more that are available right near home!  All of this is so close to us, and so accessible– it’s time to start putting our plan into action!

I discovered all of the components for my dream kitchen spaces right on  I was a little surprised at just how many options and price points were available. Pleasantly surprised, of course.  Since we are DIY folks, we like being able to buy the grade and quality of materials that we want to use.

dream cabinets


These cabinets in Holden Bronze Glaze are amazing. I’m smitten.


With an  Antique Copper Farmhouse Sink


A pull-down faucet

open shelving cabinetry

I’d love to have shelves on either side of my kitchen windows- just looks pretty and gives more space for storage (we have a small space)

banquette and glass doors

Glass doors?  A few would look so so pretty…plus I love the banquette idea.  We have an island that holds our range right now and I’m wondering if we could make the back into banquette seating.  We’ll have to see. Sky’s the limit when dreaming, right?
mixer cabinetCan you even IMAGINE having this cabinet right in the kitchen?  Accessible 1-2-3?  I have ours in a whole separate room right now.  A girl can dream….

slide out blind base

The corner, where right now nothing gets put because it’s a black hole… there even exists blind cabinet storage so you can actually use AND access what’s in the corner!  I’m getting a little teary eyed at the thought.


With the light light cabinets I’d love a solid and dark countertop surface- this quartz is beautiful!!

There are so many other things I’ve been eyeing from for my dream kitchen spaces but for now, this will have to do…until I can get my husband to agree that it’s TIME!!!    In the meantime, check out the #RevitalizeandRedesign Pinterest Board that myself and several others have contributed to so you can see more of what The Home Depot has to offer.


Replace, Reface, ReNew are three options available ONLY at The Home Depot.  Replace allows for full transformation of your kitchen cabinets with an array of choices from top brands.  Reface is a perfect option to update your cabinets without a major renovation.  And lastly, ReNew is ideal for consumers who want to give their existing cabinets a facelift without major disruptions and cost. And to complete your kitchen project, The Home Depot is your one stop shop for countertops, sinks, appliances, backsplashes and lighting.


Now, here’s hoping the magical kitchen fairy appears and helps us with some of this!!

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by The Home Depot via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of The Home Depot.

Who left the lights on (again)?

 I participated in a campaign about “who left the lights on”on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Lutron. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

If you live with someone- anyone, chances are, like me, you’ve asked “Who left the lights on?” a time or two.  Or in my case, one hundred and eleventy billion times (each week).  If you have small children, you might ask it as much as me.  It’s pretty amazing just how often kids can leave lights on, given the number of hours they do not spend in the house when they are playing outside or at school. (It’s equally amazing how infrequently they flush toilets, but that’s a conversation we can have another day). To say this is frustrating, not to mention costly, is an understatement. 

I spend a lot of time asking “Who left the lights on” (and really, it’s always in a pleasant, even-toned manner. You know).  and following my littles around turning lights off after them.  Why?  If you know kids, you know that their immediate answer is “not me!”

Well, NOT ME doesn’t live here. I’m sure he (or she) is fun to play with, but all this little friend does is leave lights on, doors open, packaging open and never flush the toilet. So I’m not sure I’d want NOT ME to live here even if I did find a way to see the magical elfin being for myself.

Given that this little stinker “Not Me” doesn’t exist except to take the blame for things done all around the world, I’m taking matters into my own hands.

I guess you could say I already did, when I turned off lights left on.


But I’m going a step further. I’ve installed a motion sensor light switch.

Works with all  kinds of light bulbs (which is good since we have one of every kind ever produced, like ever, in the basement)

Senses daylight and only turns on when needed.

Now, I was going to put this into my son’s room because he’s the worst turning-the-light-off remember-er in the house.  But then I remembered, his light is also a ceiling fan and if the light shuts off, the fan shuts off, and he could be hot in his room.  Not fair.  So I went with the next light with the highest frequency of being left on.  The light in the dining room above the table.

The Maestro Occupancy Switch is also available with as the Maestro Occupancy Sensor CL Dimmer (which we don’t have, but maybe someday?)

This is a GREAT product concept. People forget to turn lights off, they go off automatically.  People walk into the room, light goes on automatically.  Imagine all of the dollars you can save if you have this in the rooms you find lights left on the most?  I’m thinking the bathrooms and living room in our house, and also the hallway light upstairs.  That’ll be a big help, especially if the kids get up in the middle of the night.  One of them isn’t too much a fan of the dark, so having that light go on as you step into the hallway will be really great (and safe) for everyone!

It’s just that I probably should wait a week or so before I ask my husband to HELP me re-install the Maestro where  it won’t be on a 3 way switch.  Thankfully he agrees with me that it’s a great idea and we’re both looking forward to seeing how it works.
A few notes about installation:
1.  Read the instructions.


Read the instructions again to make sure that you are not Brett Martin and you aren’t trying to install this on a 3-way-switch.  It won’t work.  I mean, the light will work, and YAY! but the whole 3 way thing won’t work and chances are, your spouse won’t be too happy at having to fix that 3 way light switch in your 75+ year old house…

2. After you’ve read the instructions and NOT done what I did, you can make sure you have all of the tools required to finish the job, a flashlight for just in case, and all of your parts for the switch laid out in front of you. You’re going to need a screwdriver, electrical tape, and some needle nose pliers.


3. Proceed to follow the instructions carefully.

I was pretty impressed both with how easy the instructions were to understand AND how easily I could follow along.  That says something because I am clearly not an electrical genius (if you missed why, see above) and also, our house is 75+ years old with the 75+ year old wiring still in place in some areas…including this switch. I could still successfully connect the wires all by myself.  It took less than half an hour from start to finish.  (I did them correctly, I just sort of didn’t  stop to think about  notice  the whole “3 way switch” detail). I was pretty proud of my handiwork. I still kind of am.

4. Watch your savings grow.

I think the Lutron line can also double a little bit as a security measure- if someone’s trying to sneak into  your house, a light going on when they walk into a room is definitely going to stop them in their tracks and make them think twice about staying!  Mostly, Lutron switches offer a great way to help you to ensure that your hard earned dollars aren’t being spent on lights left on when not in use!  Practical and ingenius- as soon as I’m out of the doghouse I plan to get a few more for some other lights in the house.

Lutron-survey-infographic FNL (2)

Want to check out a Maestro Occupancy/Vacancy Sensor Switch for your house?

25% off Maestro occupancy/vacancy sensor dimmers and switches on PLUS one free Claro single-gang wallplate ($4.90 suggested list price) with each qualifying item.

Promo Code: wholeftthelightson

          Code expiration date: Sunday, Oct. 31, 2013(subject to change)

You may be wondering why I decided to share what really happened during the installation process.  I don’t want nor intend to lie to anyone on this site. I’m real. This is me, for good and for bad.  I screwed up.  Had I not been sick over the weekend, we might have had time to re-install this switch, but no one felt superb in this house and I had a fever for almost the whole weekend. SO…it got delayed until today. Since my husband took the switch OUT for me to get the dining room light working properly (and safely, I might add) I wasn’t able to get a video review of the whole process. The few minutes I enjoyed it, it was fabulous.  But I’ll be updating again in a month or two and I’ll give you a much less OOPS report on how things are going and what we’ve noticed about leaving lights on.


Video of install!! It’s here!


Hectic Schedule? Some tips to stay organized #GetFresh

This is a sponsored post about tips to stay organized with a hectic schedule.  I will receive promotional items to thank me for sharing. So we’re back to school.  We’re almost fully started with all activities.  Almost.  Boy Scouts sign up is next week, my Brownies won’t start meeting until October, and preschool soccer is not yet decided on a start date.  Soccer is 1 night and 1 weekend day/week for my 3rd grader…Gymnastics after school one day, dance following that for another kid.  I’m a Sunday School teacher (shared position thankfully) at church, and fall soccer will start soon for my 1st grader (maybe 1 night plus a weekend game, maybe just a weekend game).  This, and we’re remodeling our breezeway, which is kind of like a mudroom.  I know that for many this may not seem like a lot but for us it’s a LOT and it’s hectic.


Here are some tips to stay organized with a hectic schedule- it might help you to keep from feeling overwhelmed like it’s helping me.

1. Have a calendar and use it.  I have a nice big desk calendar I’ve started- each kid has their own COLOR and activities and specials for school and activities are written for them in that color.  Appointments, parties, playdates also.

2. Delegate.  My kids are 8, 6 and 4.  Not so big, but not so little.  They are fully able to chip in and help me to keep this house running smoothly.  One kid opens the curtains each morning, and closes them each night.  The other 2 either feed the dog or the kittens before breakfast and before dinner.  Maybe not a huge thing, but that’s 3 tasks I don’t have to worry about.

3. Shared tasks.  Laundry takes time. It’s something we all have to do.  My littlest one is a really great napkin (we use all cloth)  and kitchen towel folder.  My 6 and 8 year olds are really great at sorting folded laundry into piles for each family member. (They are also able to earn money if they help to put everyone’s laundry away where it belongs).  Often, the kids are upstairs sorting laundry while I’m making dinner.  They are helping, contributing to the family, but they are also helping to keep the sanity level where it needs to be in the house.

4. Plan your meals in advance.  Even better? Cook once, eat twice (or thrice!)

Anyone that knows me knows that I don’t mind cooking, nor do I mind shopping for the food to DO the cooking.  But the planning of the meals to cook and shop for? HATE it.

I do.  Confessions of a meal plan hater.

Except I don’t hate meal planning. Or planners. I just hate having to DO the planning.

I’ve also seen all kinds of meal planning sites and programs but none really ever jumped out at me.  Then I discovered the Fresh20.

Something felt different, and I wanted to know more.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that I love every single recipe. I don’t.  I’m quite frankly too picky to like any full meal plan.  But what I am finding is that even if I don’t like PART of a recipe, almost everything is something I can modify to my family taste or we can simply figure out our own meal for a night or two.

I’m in love.

This is a meal plan that works for my family.  Or rather, with my family. It’s pretty straightforward for preparation and cooking- no fancy skills needed, and I don’t need to hit eleven stores to get all ingredients.


Classic, Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Kosher, For One, Lunch and Dairy Free menu plans are all available on the Fresh20.  This is something else that makes this so appealing- we have friends who are Gluten free (and some quite recent, so it’s a big adjustment in their family for meals and shopping.  Having this resource can help them with shopping lists and meal ideas). We also have friends who are dairy free- some due to allergies in their home, but some friends are nursing moms who can’t have dairy right now.  The membership includes all of the menu options, so if you are temporarily dairy free, or have guests coming to visit who are dairy free, meal planning is still easy-peasy.




5 Tips for choosing the right baby crib

This is a sponsored post about tips for choosing the right baby crib.  Opinions are my own. Hey, congrats! You are expecting a little bundle of joy to arrive in your home!  Now what? Well, you’re going to need lots of things for baby, and it can be really hard to figure out what you need and what to buy.  There are countless lists and books and recommendations in stores and online, although most merchants will clearly recommend the products they make and/or sell, so how do you know that’s truly what you need or will work best in your family home?


Photo Credit: Bunnell Photography

You are going to need a place for baby to sleep.  I think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of parents have a crib in their home.  But with so so so many choices for a crib, how do you narrow it down?  Safety standards are really strict so when buying a crib what do you look for? I have tried to narrow things down to 5 basic things to look for to help make this process a little bit easier for you.
Photo Credit: Fisher Price
Style- There are so many different kinds of cribs available now.  From color to design to shape, even, there are options sure to fit with any design scheme. Obviously you don’t want an ultra sleek, modern crib if your home is decorated in country style.  That round crib may look adorable in the store but will it work with your decor scheme?   Maybe you do want it to stand out and make a statement.  It’s kind of fun that
Color- Black, white, brown, natural, there are many color options available.
Size- Most of us are able to use a traditional crib size in our home.  If you are, you’ll probably find there are countless more options available than in other sizes. If you are a city dweller, you may not want nor have space for a full sized crib.  There are many options available- once you know the color and style you prefer, you can start looking for what size crib will work.
Budget- This is the big one.  You want your little one(s) safe where they sleep.  That goes without saying.  But you also don’t want to go into debt to buy a top of the line crib because of the brand name- you want to get a crib that your family can afford.  Safety standards on baby gear and furniture are strict and you can feel confident that any pieces you purchase here in the US are going to meet those standards, or they’d not be on store shelves.  So figure out what you can afford BEFORE you go to make that purchase.
Functionality- How long do you plan to use the crib for?  Will you be like us and use the same crib for all of your children?  Or are you wanting to have a crib that can transition with your child as they get older into a toddler bed, and then down the road, into a day bed or regular bed?  Once you know what kind of crib you want (“just” a crib,
**Even families who cosleep that I have met use a crib, bassinet or Moses basket for baby to nap at times, like during the day when no adults are in bed with them. I haven’t yet met a family that hasn’t had a dedicated spot for a baby to sleep!

Fisher Price is helping to ease the mom-and-dad-to-be’s worries by showing her/him that Fisher-Price is there to help ready the “nest” with quality products as s/he counts down the days until baby comes home.

Fisher-Price Convertible Cribs are a delightful addition to any nursery. Each crib works is incredibly versatile and the sturdy design easily transitions to a toddler bed and daybed. With a variety of styles a colors, you can find the perfect fit for your new little one.


What was YOUR biggest deciding factor when selecting a baby crib?


Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

Making beds is not fun. Not until now. #KickStarter #sponsored

One of my least favorite things to do is change sheets on beds.  If you know me at all, you know that when the kids were in the crib, I layered a mattress pad, then sheet, mattress pad, sheet, about 7 or 8 times.  That way, if there was a spitup or diaper leak, or just time to change the sheets, I could just pull the top layer off and not have to change the mattress.  Changing regular beds isn’t any more appealing to me.  When I learned that StayMade was looking for bloggers to write sponsored posts in order to help them to secure KickStarter funding to launch their product that helps make making beds easier, I had to jump at the chance.  I mean, there has to be a billion folks across the world who are as lazy about  hate making beds as much as I do, right?  So why not tell them about a new way to make beds that is easier?!


The StayMade is truly the world’s most functional, remarkable, and lovable bedding solution for kids. The best way to describe it is like an old-school sleeping bag that fits onto a child’s bed. The fitted sheet, the top sheet, and the comforter are all connected by thick, high-quality zippers. The comforter is made to hang over the zipper so that when everything is completely zipped up, it looks like a well-made bed.  You can check out video footage to see how it works and learn about the product more. I would like this for all 3 of my kids’ beds!  My oldest sleeps on a top bunk and my son is in a loft bed.  Neither is fun to make.  Ever.  Also, they never have a top sheet.  They kick it to the foot of their bed and then wake me up asking where it is.  Sounds fun, right?  Thankfully, they “find” the sheets magically each morning when they grudgingly make their beds neat before the day begins.


Of course, this product isn’t just for making beds easier. It also helps keep the covers where they need to be.  For us, living in New England in a small rural town, most of the areas here have above ground utility poles.  That means when storms hit (and it’s been big storms Labor Day and then again before Halloween) and knock power out, we’re out for days on end, sometimes a week or more.  It’s hard to feel confident when the nights are cold that my kids are going to be warm enough when we don’t have heat in the house, so StayMade would at least reassure us that the kids had a sheet and blanket on them.  I would imagine on super cold nights, a blanket tucked between the sheet and comforter would stay put as well.  Take that, Superstorm Sandy!  We lose power a lot. It may not seem like a big thing to some but living in an area where we’ve had snow in October, losing power for a week in that time frame can be kind of uncomfortable.

This product makes it super easy for kids of all ages to make their bed in the morning and have it look amazing.  One zip, that’s it!  The fit of the sheets is loose and comfortable. Getting into the bed is as easy for kids as unzipping the blankets and climbing into bed.


The StayMade also helps parents have peace of mind during cold nights when their kids often kick off the blankets or sheets as they sleep. With the StayMade, the blankets and sheets stay comfortably on children, all night long, keeping them warm and keeping Mom and Dad worry-free. (I would officially like to add this to my holiday wish list for ME- because, like so many couples, there seems to be a constant battle over covers in this house and once in a while, I’d like to actually have  at least a sheet to cover up with when it’s the middle of winter!! King size, please!

The different layers of the bed can be zipped off completely so that you can mix and match different comforters with sheets, or zip in a thicker sheet during the wintertime, or a thinner comforter during the summer time.


The StayMade will be sold as a kit, with one fitted sheet, zipped to one top sheet, zipped to one comforter. It will be available in twin and full size, at least for now.  

The first accessory for the StayMade is called the PeaPod. To use it, simply zip out the top sheet and zip in the PeaPod. The PeaPod is like a giant pillowcase that a kid climbs into to sleep. (I can’t even believe we are actually out of the stage in life where we need a PeaPod but I think my kids would have loved this.  Especially my youngest- she really likes to be tucked in really well and I think the pod would make her feel tucked all night long…and would have saved us many “MOM! I not tucked” shouts a 2, 3, 4 and 5 am)

This accessory is designed for children who are going through a phase of wetting the bed. The PeaPod is made of special material that is fully breathable and comfortable, but is also 100% waterproof. To clean up an accident, the parent can simply unzip the PeaPod and throw it into the washer, without the mattress or any of the other sheets being affected by the accident.

The PeaPod is sold in a two-pack so that when the soiled one gets zipped out and put into the washer, the second one can be zipped in and the child (and parent) can quickly and easily go back to sleep.


PLEASE NOTE: StayMade will be offering the product as a pre-sale on KickStarter for $85 (regular retail is $130).  By pre-ordering, you are also helping to ensure that this product reaches consumers by backing it.  I just backed them- will you?  I’m putting my money where my mouth is, because I really think this product is amazing. I was asked to share about the StayMade product and the KickStarter campaign for this post- my decision to back this product was mine and mine alone.  (I hope they let me order blue, though, because I didn’t see a place to request which color and this will be in my son’s room).

So, what do you think? Do you agree this is an awesome product?  Would you order?  Did you go support the KickStarter campaign yet?

6 Tips for Managing the Busy Back to School Season

This is a sponsored post about managing the back to school season. We’re still over a week out from school starting here but I’m already sort of cringing a little bit inside at what is yet to come.  I’m a Brownie leader, apparently also now a Sunday School teacher (although I’m sharing this with 2 other moms), I have 3 kids who will be playing soccer, a son who’s going to start Boy Scouts, a daughter in gymnastics and a daughter in dance.  Trying to sort this whole new routine out is a little daunting, but I’m making a list of things to help stay organized and on top of things.


1. Calendar.  Have a calendar on the wall that has a color for each kid.  That way, even the kids who can’t read can know that they have “something” on the day they see their color.  I need to find an enormous calendar so I can put things like stickers for gym days, dance shoes for dance…that kind of thing. Or I need to get separate calendars for each kid.

Not just for kids, but include meal ideas on the calendar.  Even if you have a family “meeting” of sorts on Sundays to decide what you will eat for the week, it leaves the person who has to prepare dinner with a plan and ideas.  It also makes shopping for groceries easier since you know what you will prepare- and save time in making lists.

2. Organization board.  Wouldn’t you just know that we’re in the middle of gutting our breezeway but I have this decent-sized cork board and I’m going to make it into organization/calendar central.  This is where we can keep papers for each kid, things that have to be signed or saved, their weekly schedules, etc., keep track of library books due.  That kind of thing.

With the beginning of the school year comes all of the papers to fill out and be signed.  Parents, you know what I’m talking about.  Eleventy billion pieces of paper…multiplied by how many kids you have.  It’s a LOT to keep track of, and not always something that we can sit down and complete in one sitting.  That’s why each kid will have a folder on that board- clearly labelled- so we can all keep track of who’s paper is what. I actually filled out my son’s paperwork in triplicate last year before realizing what I’d done so not only did I waste all that time, cover my pinky in ink (I’m a lefty) and get a cramp in my hand, I had to humbly ask for 2 more sets of papers from the school and fill them all out AGAIN for each of the girls.  Don’t be like the Brett of the 2012-2013 school year.

I am going to have a meal plan section for this too so I can get all of our favorite meal ideas up and hopefully help simplify my dreaded what do I make for dinner times.  Being organized with meal and menu plans will also help ME to get dinner prepped and cooked on the days when we have after school activities and I won’t be able to cook after school, but will need to cook midday.  (My actual organization board/station is a work in progress since that room is under construction but when it’s done, I”ll update this with a photo).  Being organized saves a LOT of time and makes that hectic back to school season a little less hectic.

3. Routine. We need to get into a routine.  Routines are great for all families. Figuring this out BEFORE school starts is key- so, starting today?  We’re getting up, making beds, cleaning out backpacks, and doing extra journaling.  Bedtime isn’t whenever anymore, it’s 7:30 sharp.  Baths or showers after dinner…you know.  Whatever our school routine is going to be, that’s what we’ll be practicing.

4. Delegate.  No matter how old or young your kids are, even toddlers can help with household tasks.  All 3 of my kids fed the dog and/or cat before they were 2.  Scoop of food into dish.  Voila.  My kids also clear their own dishes from the table.  Life is going to be busy, and hectic, but for example- my oldest is 8 and wants to have money of her own.  So she’ll be able to earn $1 each time she sorts the laundry baskets full of laundry into each family members’ piles.  Putting away the laundry can earn her more money.  She’s learning reponsibility and I have effectively delegated a task.  Win- win, right?

There’s a lot that kids can help with- it also teaches them responsibility at the same time. We keep the kids’ dishes in a drawer next to the dishwasher- that’s so they can access whenever they want. It also means that from a young age, all 3 kids have been able to help unload the dishwasher.  They are able to help and it’s a little less for me to do.

5. SYNC.  This just may be the most important one for we parents.  Sync those calendars.  The schedules. Routines.  If the soccer coach emails one parent the practice and game schedules, forward the email to your spouse.  I can’t tell you enough how much having a calendar feature on my phone that is synched to my email account has saved me and made me more organized.  There’s many many reasons I love this amazing and wonderful and glorious calendar feature on my phone, but

  1. I can set reminder alerts for whenever I want.
  2. I can see if we’ve already got other things going on that day and NOT overbook myself
  3. Did I mention the reminder alerts?  I can have email and pop up alerts to my heart’s content.
  4. We can share a calendar.  By we I mean my husband and me.  So even if he forgets to tell me he’ll be wicked late because he has a work meeting, I can see it. Or if we’re not going to be home until super late because there’s a game in a neighboring town, he can see that too.

Seriously. I can’t even explain how much I love having a calendar for family activities that is accessible to me almost 24/7.  It’s saved me and helped me be more organized. It might be my favorite tech thing ever.  It’s a beautiful thing!

Help your family manage the back to school season with Sprint’s limited time Buy One, Get One FREE offer on the brand new HTC One. Got a kid heading back to school?  Get one for them, and one for you!  Or get one for you and one for your spouse. I won’t judge. Of course, if one of you wanted to get the HTC One but didn’t have someone to give it to, I would gladly help you out. I’m hearing really great things about this phone and would love to try it!  (Kidding. Mostly).



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Sprint, the Only National Carrier to Guarantee Unlimited Talk, Text and Data for Life.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Sprint via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Sprint

How to Install a Vanity and a Faucet Yourself!

This is a sponsored post about how to install a vanity and a faucet yourself.Brought to you by The Home Depot®, click here to learn more. I recently attended a Do It Herself Workshop at The Home Depot in Manchester, CT.  The workshop I attended was all about how to install a vanity and a faucet yourself….and it was AWESOME.  I’m kind of handy myself, or so I thought. I mean, I’ve assisted my husband in gutting our old house and doing many projects here, but apparently, that does not make a DIY success.  I have one or two things to learn.  Or eleven hundred.  Usually in our house, when it’s a Brett-by-herself-project, it puts my husband on high alert and he ends up coming to help.  (Or maybe it’s part of my diabolical plan to have him do it for me. Either way, right?)

When I first heard I’d be attending the workshop on how to install a vanity and a faucet, some feelings of panic set in.  I kept thinking, for real?  And then you want ME to install a faucet that someone’s actually going to USE?  I was laughing on the surface and inside coaching myself through the anxiety.


But then I got to the store, and was connected with the wonderful Jay, and after I decided how funny he found me, he quickly assured me that yes, I could absolutely handle the install of a vanity and a faucet on my own.  Which, of course, made me all smiley and stuff, and we were instant friends.  For life.

We were lucky to find a vanity set out on the floor- super convenient, right?  I had no idea that installing a vanity was actually as easy as I’d imagined.  There’s really just a few steps.  And what follows?  This is MY general “take” on how to install both a vanity and a faucet.  The general idea is accurate, from what I’ve seen and learned at The Do It Herself Workshop and watching my husband, father, and father in law over the years.

1. Set vanity against wall

2. Set level on top of vanity

3. Shim bottom of vanity (we use scraps of wood in our house, you can actually purchase shims at The Home Depot if you are more normal than we are).

4. Find where your wall studs are

5. Screw vanity into wall studs.  Be sure your screws are long enough that they really grab into the studs. Don’t screw into sheetrock alone because it won’t hold.  Safety first, my friends!

6. Attach counter (if it’s a one piece with the sink attached, install the faucet first!!  It’ll be a lot easier!)  You’ll need a bead of a good bathroom caulk around the top of the vanity, then set the counter into place.  Then, don’t touch it for 24 hours.  For real.  Just walk away.  This is REALLY hard with kids in the house if you have just one bathroom but do your best). The silicone needs to set and cure- once it does, the counter won’t go anywhere.

VOILA.  Vanity installed.

Now, for faucets, well, they take a little more time and many more steps.  But…I can honestly tell you they make it kind of easy.

The counter/sink we were installing with the vanity was all one piece, so that made life easier. I’m a fan of one piece tops because it means less places for water to find it’s way into and under, you know?

To install a faucet:


P1. Take faucet and all related materials out of the packaging.

P2. Read instructions. Or rather, re-read.  I totally recommend looking at the instructions at the store so you can plan ahead and buying things you may not have at home to save yourself another trip back to The Home Depot).

P3. Gather your tools and materials needed (you’re going to need some Plumber’s Putty and some hose pieces, possibly a connector- it should all be outlined in your instructions).


1. Set faucet in place over the holes in sink

2. Secure faucet onto sink

3. Attach hoses for water supply (Be sure to get these tight enough!)

4. Install drain and pop up stopper  (This is where that plumber’s putty will come in handy)

5. Attach drain pipe

6. Attach drain trap (it’s the white pipe in the photo- see the dip in it?)

7. Connect water hoses to the wall

8. Set the pop up (thingy) to the right height and secure

9. (This isn’t in the photo, but Jay emphasized it and I think he’s totally spot on) Once you are all hooked up to the water and stuff, and your sink/counter are secured, run the water.  Not for 30 seconds, not for 3 minutes, but for about 30 minutes.  Open both sides of the faucet and run it at full strength for a while.  (This is usually when we’re trying to pick up the work area and get things back to some semblance of normalcy). You want to do this to really make sure that there are no LEAKS in your beautiful installation job.  (It’s totally ok if there are, just tighten things up and you should be fine. It happens to the best of them. I promise.  But if you don’t check, you can have a slow leak, which could go undetected for a while and end up ruining the vanity, the floor, wall, etc.  Take that 30 minutes and be safe not sorry).

Now, earlier today my crazy, crazy neighbors (bless their hearts) let me come over and install the faucet on their new vanity.  Yes, that’s right, they trusted me.  Mostly.  D supervised my progress but I think I wowed him.  I’m sure of it.  It was totally do-able!! By me!!  You can see all the photos here- sorry if they were dark, K was taking photos with my iPhone. I wasn’t able to 100% finish the job, only because they are having some issues unrelated to the vanity/sink but in the bathroom and will need to be doing a lot more work before they can permanently install. But I DID IT!! Thank you, Jay! And to D and K, for having (on the surface anyway!!) faith in me!!


 Now, don’t you feel all excited and motivated and wanting to go see what YOU can learn at the next Do It Herself Workshop?  The next one is August 15th- Chore Charts and Mail Storage Ideas Inspired by Pinterest.  I would be there in person learning it but I have to work so I can’t attend. I’m hoping that someone will attend and then share their knowledge with me- I’d love to make a chore chart that looks pretty that we can hang on the wall- and I’m ALWAYS wanting storage ideas!!! 

Brought to you by The Home Depot®, click here to learn more.

Upcycled Torn Fabric Garland

We found a way to make an adorable, reversible photo prop without spending a dime.  It’s an upcycled torn fabric garland, and it’s really easy to make!


Supplies:  Fabric Scraps, Ribbon, Scissors

Directions:  Wrap ribbon around your basket, placing a knot at each end of the ribbon where the ends meet.  Leave enough ribbon after each knot to allow you to tie the garland onto the basket when you are done.  Snip your fabric pieces every 1.5″.  Rip fabric at each snip to get strips.  Tie your strips onto the ribbon by halving the strip,  and pulling the ends through the loop at the center of the strip (as you would if you were making a tutu).  Push each strip towards one knotted end as you work.   Tie onto basket.


Left:  Tie your garland onto the basket.                         Right:  Fabric Strips tied onto ribbon


Tip:  Save time and supplies by making one garland, half girl colors and half boy colors!!


Love fabric crafts? Check out our Fall Torn Fabric Wreath and Lighted Christmas Garland with Fabric!


Keurig MINI Plus Brewing System for #BacktoSchool on Campus

I have a niece and a nephew who graduated high school this spring.  Keurig was nice enough to send us two of their MINI Plus Brewing Systems for the kids to bring on campus with them- which means they can keep them in their dorm room (be sure to check your school’s rules about what you can use there!) and have coffee, tea, cocoa, water for oatmeal, etc, in just 2 minutes tops.  The small size is a must for small dorm rooms (at least it was for my dorm room back at Plymouth State!!) and with 10 colors, you’re sure to find something that’s going to work with room decor.  I would have loved one of these when I was in school!

We use our Keurig here at the house multiple times per day, I’m not sure what I’d do without it…. We make our coffee- my husband and I have very, very different tastes in coffee, so we are able to make our own with a reusable K-cup.  I also love Chai Tea and Hot Cocoa, hot tea, and so many other fun beverages and having the K-cups means I don’t have to worry about opening packaging and having it go bad.  We also use it to heat water for the kids’ oatmeal on many mornings- it’s just the right temp to get the oatmeal ready to go but not so hot it takes a while to cool off.  Perfect!!


The MINI Plus Brewing System brews a perfect cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or iced beverage in under two minutes at the touch of a button. With the choice of three cup sizes, the MINI Plus brewer offers a removable drip tray to accommodate short travel mugs. To operate, you simply add fresh water into the single-use reservoir, choose your favorite K-Cup® pack, brew and enjoy.

Key Features of the Keurig® MINI Plus Brewing System include:

  • Convenience of choice of any K-Cup® pack

  • Heats and brews in only 2 minutes

  • Brews 3 different cup sizes: 6, 8, 10 oz.

  • Available in 10 different colors: Platinum, Midnight Black, Cobalt, Banana, Red, White, Flash Green, Purple, Orange, and Teal

  • Compact size

  • Bonus variety of K-Cup® packs included

One US reader will win a WHITE Keurig Mini Brewer


Hands Free Cordless Phone from VTech #VTechConnect #ad

I received a hands free cordless phone to review  from VTech and She Speaks.  Opinions are my own. While I love my iPhone, I don’t always have a strong signal here at home.  That presents a problem if I’m trying to move around and be productive while on the phone.  Also, I don’t know about you but phones next to my ear and cheek make me all hot and sweaty.  I hate it.  I’ve long wanted (secretly) to have a way to be able to use my cell for calls at home without having to actually touch the iPhone at all. With  VTech’s Connect to Cell™ phone- 2 Handset Connect to Cell™ Answering System with Cordless Headset I can finally be sweat-free and talk anywhere in the house- even the basement!!


Typically, by the time I hit stair 3 to get into the basement, I’m getting static.  By stair 7?  No one can hear me talking (I can normally still hear others talking).  The problem isn’t what I hear but what others do not here- specifically- ME, when I’m downstairs.  If they ask a question before I get back to the third step heading back up, they think I’m not listening.  It’s super annoying.  With this hands free cordless phone system, I leave my cell where IT has great reception and pop the headset on- I’ve got that great reception all over my house, to the end of my driveaway and all the way to my garden.  I’m a little nervous to push it past the garden area but we do have a fairly big yard and I don’t know that I’d expect any phone to reach over an acre using bluetooth!

This phone comes with some great features- like you can opt to use the ear hooks with the cordless headset or you can hook it up to a head band (my choice).  I hate ear hooks. Maybe I haven’t found the right ones but none seem to work for me.  I love the head band because it feels more secure and the padding on the ear piece is much softer and more comfortable for me to wear.  You can also program this device to have your iPhone’s ringtone so you know when the call is coming to that phone as opposed to your land line (if you have one).  A bonus for people like me who set phones down everywhere is that the cordless headset charges right with the phone- so as long as I keep making a point of putting the headset to charge when we leave the house, I can find it with ease and also find it charged.


How many times have you wanted to make a call from your cell and realized that the battery is almost dead- so you can either wait on the call or be stuck to the wall where it’s charging.  Neither option is very appealing to me- with this hands free cordless phone system, you can charge your phone by the base of your system and chat away while the phone charges- and you can wander about to get what you need done!

Other features:

  • Download Phonebook From Cell: Store 2000 records from up to two different cell phones; no need to input names and numbers into your cordless phone system.
  • Virtual Multi-Line Operation: Pair up to two cellular lines and one landline with your cordless system. Then, enjoy the freedom to make and receive calls on all three lines—all at once.
  • Make and receive landline and cellular calls: Connect to BLUETOOTH®-enabled cellular phones to make and receive cellular calls with the ease and comfort of a home phone system.



I love this system- once I took the time to read the instructions through, I got things working smoothly in no time (I may or may not be a direction skipper). Setting up the bluetooth feature took mere seconds.  This hands free cordless phone set retails for about $99.95.  I’m signing off so I can go make more calls.  It’s like I have my own phone for the first time ever!!