Giving Our Kitchen a Makeover

Since we’re moving, we’re getting ready to put the house on the market. We’ve done some freshening and updating. It’s amazing what a little paint and polish can do to freshen a house. We live our busy lives with work and school activities then before we know it, five years have passed and that beautiful sea-foam green has faded to a boiled green bean water.

If you want to go farther than just fresh paint, you can update kitchens and bathrooms. According to several sources, the kitchen is the room that sells the house!


Be sure to check on the market value of your house before spending thousands on a new kitchen, to be sure you will get enough return on the investment. If you don’t want to go to that extent, you can freshen up a kitchen for far less money.

Our cabinets are oak in a dark stain, which I love, but apparently lighter stain cabinets are more popular these days. So, with the help of a kit from Rust-Oleum, and family, we repainted our cabinets.

my kitchen before

Excuse the mess, I had to snap this photo quickly before my husband began taking the doors off (even before I had put dishes away).


painting cabinets kit

Here is the kit we used. There are two versions, one for lighter cabinets and one for darker. Then they tint the paint to the color you choose.

The first step is to take off the cabinet doors and remove the drawers. Carefully take off the handles and hinges, clean and set aside if you will be reusing them.

kitchen without doors

Kitchen without doors

While your husband is cleaning the cabinets, you will have to empty the kitchen cabinets and counters. I crammed it all into the dining room and we lived out of bags and boxes for almost a week.

dining room

It’s best if you have lots of room to spread out the doors, so you can set up an assembly line and they can dry between steps. We set up saw horses and shelves in the garage. You use the cleaner (provided in the kit) to remove the dirt and grease that accumulates over the years. Don’t skimp on this step. The success of your painting depends largely on how clean you get your cabinets.

After cleaning the wood, you begin to paint. Usually, I get headaches from paint fumes but I was happily surprised that all the supplies in this kit have very little smell to them. You will do two coats of the paint, letting it dry 2-3 hours between coats. Buy good quality brushes or they will leave too many brush hairs behind.


cabinet doors

We chose River Birch to lighten our cabinets.


After the paint step, there is a glazer you can apply which will enhance the wood grain. Since our cabinets are oak with a beautiful wood grain we opted to use the glazer. You paint it on then wipe it off and the color remains in the wood grain. The longer you leave it on, the darker it will be. If you prefer just a painted look, without the wood grain, then skip this step.

The last step is a clear protector that seals and protects, giving the wood a slight shine. You have to let everything set for at least 48 hours before attaching the doors and drawers because the paint will be soft enough to nick and dent if you hit it while re-installing. We waited three days to be sure.

In the meantime, we replaced the counter top. Things went pretty smoothly up to this point 🙂 My next post will cover the rest of our kitchen makeover weekend.

Has anyone else refreshed their kitchen? What were your experiences?


Every Day is Earth Day to Me

Happy Earth Day everyone! Loving nature as I do, every day is Earth Day to me.

Let’s celebrate with photos of this wonderful place we call Earth.

me on big rocks

Me at Thunder Rocks, Allegheny State Park, NY


Cooper’s Rock State Park overlook, WV


Waterfall at Letchworth State Park, NY


Me at Lake Erie, PA


My son climbing behind a waterfall at Ohiopyle State Park, PA


Our summer home


What can we do to support our Earth?

  • recycle & reuse
  • conserve water & electricity
  • carpool or walk whenever possible
  • use natural products instead of chemicals
  • eat organic

How about it? What else can we add to the list?


Clutter – Where Did It All Come From?

I am currently decluttering a house we’ve lived in for the past 30 years. Why, you might ask?

Because it’s official:

We are moving to North Carolina!

Our sons and I have lived our whole lives in Pennsylvania, but now is the right time for us to pull up stakes and move south. The state of Pennsylvania is a beautiful place with so many things to see and do but for those of us who live here permanently, the summer is too short and the winter too long 🙂 My husband and I have wanted to move south for some years now, but our jobs and our sons still in school put that desire on hold. Now, one son being finished with college and the other in his second year of college, along with a recent loss of a good-paying job makes it the perfect time to move.

This decision was not easy to make, but I feel it is the right one for us.

If you have a big decision to make, read Big Decisions Can Be Scary!


My office/library has become the donation pile, packing pile and haven’t-decided-yet pile room.

So now we come to the subject of this post: clutter – where does it all come from?

Before putting the house on the market, we need to downsize from 30 years of accumulating stuff. I’ve been decluttering for about a month and have sent 5 trips to the local thrift store. But there’s still more! How could 4 people accumulate so much stuff?

I never realized that all these closets, drawers and cabinets can hold a lot of clutter. Now, I’m not talking about hoarding old junk mail, used take-out food containers and plastic silverware. The clutter I am going through is 16 sweaters when 4 would do, doubles of photographs from the boys’ childhood, old brides’ maid dresses and that plastic, Tupperware melon-baller that I won during a 1990 party that I never used.

melon baller

And why do we hang onto these ‘extra but still useful’ items?

  • Sentimental value
  • “I may wear/use it someday
  • Being a pack rat
  • The old boy scouts motto, always be prepared

What’s the solution? Recycle, reuse!

Bag up clean, useful items and drop them off at your local thrift store or drop off location. You will be freeing up your house of too many possessions and at the same time providing help to those who could really use the item.

Here are some sites that can help you declutter and organize:

How about you? Do you have clutter? What ways do you use to eliminate clutter?



The Future of My Clutter

This week’s Daily Post photo challenge is entitled Future. In my immediate future, there is a huge adventure coming up. My family has decided to relocate South. New job, new town, new everything.

With the decision to move, comes putting up the house for sale and in order to do that I need to de-clutter and downsize.


My office/library has become the room where my donation pile rests, waiting for the weekly trip to our local thrift store. 

So while thinking of our future, I’ve also wondered about the future of my donation items. I like to think another family will pick up the picture frame I no longer need and hang it in their house with a picture that speaks to them. Or some child will enjoy the board games my boys have outgrown.

Recycle – reuse is the future!

To read my post on making a life-altering decision, click Big Decisions Can Be Scary.

Photo Challenge: Nature’s Beauty

This week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge is entitled Landscape.

I love to take photos of landscapes, especially in nature. My family does a lot of camping at state parks where we hike, kayak, etc. So here are a couple landscape photos from our trips.



Niagara Falls, New York

Our recent anniversary trip to Niagara Falls, New York.


Cooper's Rock State park, West Virginia

Cooper’s Rock State park, West Virginia



Letchworth State Park, New York


I love cityscapes, but to me the most awe-inspiring landscapes are in nature 🙂