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El Baño Nuevo is here!

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Welcome back! Doesn’t that picture above just scream,

“Good morning! I’ve created an amazing sunrise for you-think how great the rest of your day will be?!” Love, God-the creator of the universe.

I took that picture, well, I hate to tell you this…while on the toilet. I realize this is way too much information however-at our last house-the view outside of our bathroom was much less glorious. It was actually someone else’s front yard. Speaking of toilets…

The Bathroom! We finished it ages ago (okay, May). I no longer have to watch my self use the toilet! Now I can keep my mind on other things than how wide my hips aren’t are aren’t-oh, you get the idea-no more mirror on the shower door! I’ll stop talking now and share photos-which is really why you’re here.

We grabbed this mirror at a garage sale, added knobs we re-purposed from an old oven we found on the property and viola! Hand towel holder! You can also kind of see the beetle kill pine tongue and groove we put up on the wall under the window. We put the same stuff on our ceiling in the kitchen-it’s really great. Oh, we also covered up the sage green paint with gray-to match the rest of the house:

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Here’s a big picture of the bathroom. It’s a small space-but this new dresser we turned into a vanity has gobs of drawers-and is also adorable! We painted and distressed it and then El Guapo put his mad skills to work on creating a contoured counter top out of marble tiles-no grout lines-they are just glued together-I think he used glue? He also did some cool tricks so that we only lost about 5″ of drawer space total from the sink and faucet plumbing.

Also-you’ll sort of notice the lights in this photo…we painted them white-they are originally used on electrical substations-something like that. We mounted them on some old wood (we’ll say we got it from the barn-sounds more “pinterest-y’ that way). We also ditched the tiny mirror/medicine cabinet for this gigantor, frame-less one. Between it and the dresser we don’t know what to do with all this space! Oh, but our growing daughters, do-so good thing we’ve got extra space! Sorry the photo is so dark…oh! and isn’t the floor tile cool? Incidentally that’s “the window” from whence the sunrise came:

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Here’s a closer-up of those barnwood lights:IMG_2303

Here’s what it looks like if you were a 3-year old walking into the bathroom…3-year olds can really appreciate the details on the dresser/vanity! I told you there were lots of drawers! (Incidentally-just so you know how amazing El Guapo is: he looked for an entire year (who does anything for that long anymore?!) for this dresser-one that was narrow enough, had tons of storage that wouldn’t be lost by adding a sink and one that matched my cottage chic look. I think I should take him out to dinner, don’t you?)IMG_2381

And here’s a crooked picture of the shower! Honestly-why can’t I take a straight photo?! Thanks to my dad’s brilliant idea-we ran the tile all the way up to the ceiling-feels so much bigger! El Guapo also put in recessed shelving, and drilled holes in the little corner shelves for our razors! Maybe we should order dessert!IMG_2382Another view of the shower. I actually had a friend zooming in on these photos on my phone so she could see what kind of hair products I use. I love girlfriends. (DevaCurl, btw)
IMG_2383That’s it! It took maybe two more weeks than we originally planned (so total of six weeks-nights and weekends). The biggest surprise was that with the configuration of the floor/wall heater the new tub wouldn’t go in so we had to cut out all of the drywall under the window (hence the tongue and groove). And thanks to El Guapo’s re-selling of random things we pulled out of the bathroom and other buy/selling techniques he’s mastered over the years-it didn’t cost us much, either! That shower door is my favorite, well, and the dresser. It’s a toss-up. They were both craigslist finds so really I can have two favorites since we got such great deals on them.

“What’s next?” you say? Well, We’re going to try to take a year “off” from projects. Although he’s already installed a water filtration system since this one ended…and I really want a new deck (a house keeper, professional organzer and professional landscaping would be great, too-since you asked)…but it’s nice to have our weekends and evenings to enjoy the farm…so we’ll see. The biggest “next” is the basement…but we try not to talk about it…it’s going to be a lot of work.

Now let’s go enjoy summer, shall we?!

La Gringa

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Where I’m At

Detoxing I believe. Not from illegal substances but from going 100mph without stopping for an entire school year. I can’t seem to pull myself together lately. I mean, I get dressed everyday but having energy to do anything but the basics (feed family, drive them places, drink coffee, respond to high priority emails, write this blog (apparently), send out our “it’s not even close to the holidays but I don’t know what else to call it but a Christmas letter” letter to family and friends and last but not least text friends funny memes-what’s a “meme”? here’s an example):

And yes, I make time for sending them because they make you laugh. People in rehab need to laugh, too, dontcha know.

I’ve also found time to read (make sure you understand-all I am doing is reading) about house organization. It all started when Sarah handed me a book at the library and said, “Here mom. You need this.” When Abby saw this interaction she quickly put her arm around me, rubbed my back and said, “It’s okay mom. You’re a really good mom.” Here’s the book she handed me:

So I checked it out (I never said I was a proud woman) and started reading. This author is a New Yorker. She’s also OCD. She has good tips but I was feeling as though she really didn’t get life on a dirty farm, in a small farm house with three kids that were home all day. Making messes. Big messes that left long trails of more big messes. She doesn’t own a car much less a mini-van with enough crumbs in it that could feed a small country in an emergency. Then I found this book for sale at the library for $.25 because of water damage (I love the irony of water damage on a house organizing book)! A sign of hope that this just might be my kind of organizing book!

Now THIS is a book that’s right up my alley, er, gravel driveway. She’s witty, from Colorado, has two kids (not homeschooled, but that’s okay-I can work around that), a cheap, er, budget conscious (you’re welcome, honey) husband, and is hilarious. I guess now I just have to put some of these things into practice…*SIGH*. Let’s refer back to the first paragraph, shall we?

Anyways…I’m assuming my energy will come back just before El Guapo organizes that intervention he’s been secretly planning. I’m sure he’s wondering if I’ll ever get to the basement. (Meme warning):

If you haven’t seen the movie “Mom’s Night Out” you need to. There’s this great scene where the mom (Allyson) is hiding in a closet-maybe eating chocolate, I can’t remember, and her husband (Sean) finds her. Here’s the dialogue:

Allyson, in the closet:  Actually, I’m hiding.
Sean:  Hiding from what??
Allyson:  The house.  It’s awful.

Allyson:  I’m stress paralyzed.
Sean:  I don’t think that’s a thing.
Allyson:  It might, it might be a thing.

Right, it’s sorta like that. Stress Paralyzed. Just go rent the movie (even if you’ve seen it before).

So that’s Where I’m At. Except my closet is too small to fit inside of. Irony.

Thanks for listening.

Oh, and here’s another meme-if you need another example:

La Gringa

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Rain. More rain. Snow. Rain. 

We’re majorly under some wet weather these past few weeks. We were in Oregon this time last year and I think it was sunnier there than here! Mother’s Day had us under a foot of snow here at the farm. (See photos below for proof)

El Guapo finished the bathroom-that post will come soon! For now-I’ll leave you with some pics from around the farm, including some from our little pond turned lake. Thanks to our friends (and neighbors) for letting us borrow their canoe!

   
      
   

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Un Baño Nuevo

The fall of 2014 found us with a Cocina Nueva (see how I am making you remember your high-school Spanish class vocabulary? No need to thank me…). This Spring will find us with…Un Baño Nuevo! I can’t wait to not look at myself in the mirror while using the toilet (yes, there is a mirror on the shower door that lands right in front of the loo…who does such a thing? I mean, it takes any good body image thoughts you’ve managed to scrape up and flushes it right down the, well, toilet. (I know what you’re thinking here-“did she really have to use that pun?” um…fantastic pun!!)

Also-blue sinks show WAY too much toothpaste for a family of five to keep up with.

Not to mention the spigot in the shower that should fill the bathtub doesn’t work so in order to take a bath (which never happens because of what I’m about to explain) had to be shut off due to a leak or something…I’m not the plumber here…just the blogger. Let’s picture filling up the bathtub using the shower-head shall we?

There’s hope! T-minus 7 days to the start of a new bathroom! Now we’ll be doing this project on weeknights and weekends so we’re estimating about 1 month to a completely finished, new bathroom (we’ll see if that timeline changes at all…what?! of course it will! This project will cost us twice as much and take twice as long…they ALL do!! Silly). Also-we’re dealing with 1960s plumbing mysteries so who knows what that will hold. Thank goodness we have a toilet crammed between the washer and the dryer in the basement we can use…and a standing shower down there, too. All set for demolition day!

Anways…El Guapo has been working hard at finding amazing deals (as always) on eBay and Craigslist…a dresser for the vanity, a vessel sink,an faucet that will blow your mind, some really great mosaic tile to go in the shower…I’m so excited to show you pictures!

Now…go enjoy your own Baño today!

May your body image not shrink & your bathtub fill quickly!

La Gringa

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Keeping Calm. And sane. And everyone alive. And fed. 

  

Do you, like me, have a hard time staying focused on what your daily plans are? I also find staying, er, emotionally balanced, is also a challenge. Now don’t get me wrong. If it was just me involved in my days then for the most part emotional stability would be easier…add three 9-14 year old girls and…do I need to finish this thought for you or are you already catching my drift? Needless to say I was at the Dollar Tree the other day and stumbled upon this poor man’s, er…I mean cheapskate’s, no…let’s go with “financially responsible” version of vinyl wall letters. I bought them, for $1!, and quickly placed them in a location visible to pretty much everybody all day long (please note I am pointing out here the pro of our smaller, downsized house)! I also captured a photo of it and set it as my “locked screen” image. It’s funny how a little reminder like this has helped me ground myself in the midst of life that at many times can feel anything but “calm”. We CAN do all things through Christ. And it doesn’t have to be crazy and hectic-and when it is I can still have Christ’s peace in the midst. Thanks you Jesus! Also Coffee. Jesus has provided “seattle’s best #5” coffee which also helps. A lot. 

It’s going to be a great day!

La Gringa

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Spring is so close! Photos!!

(note: funny story…I meant to post this on my Classical Conversation’s Community Website instead of LaStradaTostada…which would explain why some of you have no idea who “Esther” is…however the pictures and her quote speak for themselves so I’ll stop clarifying now.)

 

Esther sent me these photos (I think she cheated and grabbed some from Switzerland’s Spring some time ago). But aren’t they beautiful?

Here’s what she said about spring (I couldn’t agree more-which is why I’m quoting her instead of trying to say it myself!)

I love spring and all the symbolism of new life sprouting all around….reminding me each year of the miracle of new birth, resurrection and all that Christ has accomplished in making us new from the inside out!

What a gift!!!

Thank you Esther, for sharing!

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Switzerland Spring!

Switzerland Spring!

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A Confessional of Sorts

You may remember when I posted about not having an iPhone anymore and how wonderful it was. I also told others how simplified my life had become with my not-so-smart yet brilliantly non-addictive , albeit antiquated, flip phone. All of that is true. Then I dropped it and the screen went blank forever. I was up for a new phone through my phone company. Someone close to me offered to buy me an iPhone (the cheaper price that comes along with an upgrade). I caved. No. “caved” sounds so weak. I “chose” to go back to an iPhone. I’m still not back on Facebook-so there’s less to get distracted with, however I did put on the BBC News app and find myself going to that too often during the day. I can text my friends my facial expressions while eating cake (it was this caramel apple cake I made and the photo just had to be sent!). I can even see when another iPhone friend is texting me with those three little dot thingys (that’s new since my last iPhone)! How did I ever live without that? See how much it’s improved my life?!

I can also post pictures like this from my phone! I know. Instagram. I'm not on that.

I can also post pictures like this from my phone!
I know. Instagram. I’m not on that, either.

Justifying you say? Okay, maybe a little. It is so convenient, though and it really comes in handy when one of the girls is bored and needs to stare mindlessly at a screen for a few/several/”wait, how long have you been playing on my phone?!” minutes.

Okay. My conscious feels better now.

Thanks for listening.

La Gringa

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Back to the Front (Burner)

Oh my. Please take my blogging silence to mean exactly what you think it means. I’m busy and blogging got pushed off the stove-it wasn’t even on the back burner-just completely shoved off the stove-top and out of the kitchen entirely.

However, I have brought it back into the kitchen and onto the front burner today to share with you something oh so relevant to my above blogging analogy…more before/during/after photos of our kitchen! The ones I posted earlier just didn’t do it justice. El Guapo worked all year (evenings and weekends) to hand build the cabinets & custom design…everything! I am so happy to have a kitchen that brings the entire family in and allows for us to cook together! I’m also loving having El Guapo back-that was a lot of time away-now we spend time cooking together on evenings and weekends! Also-note the dishwasher. We now have a dishwasher. You can see it just to the right of the sink. I like to run it in the middle of the day and just listen to the sound of a machine washing the dishes. Ahhhhh.

Without further ado…

Getting ready!

Getting ready!

There's a hole in the wall looking into the living room-yay! Also...You'll notice we dress-up for demolition day here at our house. Who says you can't wear a dress and heals to shop-vac the drywall?!

There’s a hole in the wall looking into the living room-yay! Also…You’ll notice we dress-up for demolition day here at our house. Who says you can’t wear a dress and heals to shop-vac the drywall?!

Our helper with the electric oscillating tile chipper

Our helper with the electric oscillating tile chipper

This is the part we're glad is behind us...never fun ripping out old tile/sub flooring!

This is the part we’re glad is behind us…never fun ripping out old tile/sub flooring!

Thanks to El Guapo's dad for helping hang that huge cabinet!

Thanks to El Guapo’s dad for helping hang that huge cabinet!

In process

In process-you can kind of see the ceiling we put it…it’s beetle kill pine tongue and groove planks. It is amazing and was a very last minute decision. It’s one of our favorite parts of the kitchen-I feel like I keep saying that about things!

Mid-way through!

Mid-way through!

This is the finished version of the window we put in. LOVE!

This is the finished version of the window we put in. LOVE! I notice that the frame around the window isn’t finished in this photo-but it now has marble tile going all around it. The chalkboard is right above this window.

El Guapo Chalk Painted the frame around this chalkboard. It's hard to tell but this is hanging at the top of the window that goes from the kitchen into the living room.

El Guapo Chalk Painted the frame around this chalkboard. It’s hard to tell but this is hanging at the top of the window that goes from the kitchen into the living room. Thanks, Jen, for my new chalk!

Love it!

Love it!

These lights hang above the sink. El Guapo made them from electrical insulators. He's even sold some on craigslist! They are really a great addition to the kitchen-and the light they bring is great, too!

These lights hang above the sink. El Guapo made them from electrical insulators. He’s even sold some on craigslist! They are really a great addition to the kitchen-and the light they bring is great, too!

My baking drawers. Everything is soft close...even the pull out drawers inside the cabinets! Full extension drawers, too!

My baking drawers. Everything is soft close…even the pull out drawers inside the cabinets! Full extension drawers, too!

This is quite possibly my favorite part of the kitchen. El Guapo made these hidden drawers under some of the cabinets-this one holds my aprons! You just push it with your foot and it pops out! How cool is that?!

This is quite possibly my favorite part of the kitchen. El Guapo made these hidden drawers under some of the cabinets-this one holds my aprons! You just push it with your foot and it pops out! How cool is that?!

Love my new Ikea apron front sink & the rubbed bronze faucet!

Love my new Ikea apron front sink & the rubbed bronze faucet!

Here's the before. Please notice all of the terrible work-space areas and the awkwardly hanging cabinets in the middle. Also note the fake leather covered peninsula thingy.

Here’s the before. Please notice all of the terrible work-space areas and the awkwardly hanging cabinets in the middle. Also note the fake leather covered peninsula thingy.

Just look at all of that usable space! Alleluia!!

Just look at all of that usable space! Alleluia!!

I so hope to blog again soon. I really miss connecting with you all in this space.
I’m also working on a Christmas, er, Valentine’s, shoot! St. Patrick’s Day/Lent/Easter/Spring Break…Memorial Day?! cards.

Que Dios Les Bendiga,
La Gringa

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A new kitchen!!

I’ve missed you! In the meantime here’s a hint of what we’ve been up to at True Mountain Farm…

Here’s a “before” and a couple of afters:

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El Guapo is completely responsible for this ENTIRE remodel! He built the cabinets from scratch over the last year, tiled the floor and backsplash and out in the butcher block. What a blessed Gringa I am!!!!

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Mom? Can I read Divergent? All the girls I know have…

Oi Ve. There are a lot of interesting books out there for tween and teenagers and if you’re like me you don’t have time to read each one before approving (or disapproving) for your kiddos. Focus on the Family, in addition to their resourceful website for movie reviews that I have mentioned in a previous post (PluggedIn.com) also has a site for book reviews. LOVE!!

You can check it out here. Quite helpful. They even provide discussion questions. How great it would be to do a book club for the girls and use those discussion questions as jumping off point for deeper discussion! Mentally filing that great idea and placing it in the “To-Do Summer 2015” folder.

And the answer, btw, was “No, not yet” regarding Divergent. Too many complicated themes for an eleven year old.

La Gringa

Zucchini Phone

Zucchini Phone

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