New Countertops on a dime…well, sorta.

If you’re thinking about getting new countertops, but don’t really have the budget for it this is the post for you!  Have you considered countertop paint??

Before, During, & After

Rustoleum sells two different types of countertop paint.  The first, and less expensive, is their basic countertop coating.  It is available in sixteen different colors including, white, black, gray, blues, creams, greens, and browns.  There is certainly a color to match any existing kitchen decor.  You can buy the paint at any local home improvement store including Lowe’s and Home Depot.  The can of paint costs about $20 and covers 25 linear feet (with the typical 24″ depth).  There are some supplies you’ll have to purchase, so plan to spend about $45 or $50 after buying all of the supplies.  This is an easy weekend project.  Go to Jennifer’s blog, I Love Rehabs for some tips on using this basic countertop coating.

The second product is the one I will plan to go into further detail here.  Rustoleum Countertop Transformations  take your laminate or wood countertops to a different level with a granite-look finish.  They have five (5) different finishes.  We used the one in Charcoal.  Using this kit could not be easier.  The written instructions and instructional DVD that are included in the kit were incredibly well done.  They are not at all confusing.  This kit is, however, more expensive than the other kit…by a lot.  The kit costs around $250 plus about $50-$80 in other supplies that are not included.  So, plan on spending upwards of $300.  (We were lucky and bought ours at a store closing, so we got everything for under $200.  Keep your eyes peeled for deals like that!)

When deciding what to do with your countertops, you should really consider what your “dream” kitchen is.  It isn’t worth it to go into debt over new countertops.  If your current ones are just not working for you, then painting them might be a good mid-point while you wait for the countertops of your dreams.  If you’re really just wanting a new laminate, then it may be more cost effective to save your $300 and wait to purchase new laminate tops.  Plan on your painted countertops to last you around 3-5 years if you take care of them.  They could go longer, though.  Just be sure to not use any abrasive cleaners (like Ajax or Comet or steel wool scrubbing pads) and use a cutting board.

Here are some great tips for using the Countertop Transformation kit.

1.  Sand really well.  Corners are really hard to get into, but make sure you do it and do it well.  You need your current laminate to not be shiny at all.  They include one (1) diamond imbedded sanding block.  If you can find a second it wouldn’t be a bad idea.  You and a partner can sand at the same time.  The better you sand, the better the base coat will stick.

2.  Be sure to tape plastic to the surrounding cabinets to avoid splashing paint on them.  I almost skipped this step thinking that I would just be extra careful.  I’m so glad that I didn’t.  The steps require you to move quickly, so you’re not always being as careful about the dripping.

3.  Tape really really well.  We used Frog Tape.  We really liked it and would highly recommend it over some of the other leading brands.

4.  Take care when removing the tape!  The directions have you tape just once and allow everything to dry.  This is not how you typically use painter’s tape.  So you need to really take care and score the area really well.  The video uses a putty knife.  I suppose you could use that, but an Exacto knife or a box cutter (used carefully) might be a better bet.  You want the tape to be completely scored all the way through to avoid bringing up any of the topcoat.

5.  If you get claustrophobic, then wearing the safety glasses & mask might be uncomfortable.  Don’t skip this step, though.  The dust gets EVERYWHERE and you really don’t need to be breathing all of that in.  If you simply can’t handle it, then try to find someone else who can.

6.  LEAVE IT ALONE!  If you have pets or kids, then make sure they’re not around…better yet, in the house…for at least 48 hours.  If you can do it longer, then do that.  Kids will make this job nearly impossible.  Just like any paint or cement project, the longer it takes to dry & cure the more solid it will be.  So leave it alone and let it dry.

7.  Be really generous with the chips.  It is really important to get the decorative chips EVERYWHERE.  Pile this stuff on thick!  It will be ok if you have mounds of decorative chips everywhere.  This is one of those areas that less is definitely NOT more.  It will not hurt to have too much–you cannot have too much of the decorative chips.  Just save a bag for possible touch-ups.  You’ll end up wasting a lot of them and vacuuming them up from your entire kitchen (they get everywhere… and make a huge mess), so it doesn’t hurt to have a lot piled on.

8.  Get a shop vac.  If you don’t have a shop vac, now is the time to invest in one.  Like I said above, the chips get EVERYWHERE and make a HUGE mess.  You will not want a broom and dust pan for this.  I also wouldn’t think it was good to vacuum them up with your normal household vacuum.  You will also want a good brush attachment for your shop vac.  If you don’t have one, get one!

9.  Have a partner help you…or two…or three…Just make sure you have enough supplies for everyone.  (save receipts & packaging for whatever you don’t use)  I cannot imagine having done this project all by myself.  No fun.

I know I wrote all kinds of tips, but it really is so easy.  It is a no brainer because the directions are incredibly easy.  These are just things that might save you a little bit of time while you’re working!  Enjoy!


4th of July Party

On Mother’s Day of last year my in-laws told us they were thinking about buying a rental house.  They were hoping that we would want to move in and rent it from them.  At the time I was pregnant with my 2nd son, Levi and we were living in a decent sized, 2 bedroom, upstairs apartment that did not have a washer or dryer.  We really liked our apartment.  The managers were great.  The apartment was actually a pretty good size!  The 2nd bedroom was bigger than the master and both rooms had great closet space.  The fixtures were all updated and it really just felt like home.  We knew, though, that the trek from the parking lot, through the complex, up the stairs and over to our door was going to be really tough once a 2nd baby came…especially with groceries.  It was already extremely difficult being pregnant and having a 2 year old to do the trek with.  (So that’s how I kept off the pregnancy lbs this time around…hmmm…).

Anyway, we agreed that if they found a place that we would rent it from them as long as we could maintain our current financial situation.  Little did we know that they would find a place, put in an offer, and sign papers within two weeks!  The realtor said that escrow was to take about 30 days.  Levi’s due date was June 18th.  So, move-in weekend was scheduled to be the weekend of his due date?  Yikes!  I wasn’t sure if I should be hoping to go into labor early or late.

Well, as you know if you’ve read previous posts about Levi, I went into labor and had Levi on May 31st.  So…we moved when he was 2, almost 3, weeks old.  (I DO NOT recommend doing this if you can avoid it…very highly extremely indescribably stressful).  But the house wasn’t ready.  For whatever reasons we weren’t able to move in for an extra week.  To add to the stress, I had planned a housewarming/4th of July party at our new place.  Wow.  Not smart.  There was so much work to be done and we literally had to crunch in everything we could into just a matter of a few days!  Despite of our time constraints, however, we got a lot done and had a great 4th of July party.  So, here are some photos of last year’s shindig!

Desserts, Tableware, & Glasses

Desserts include 4 oz Pies in Jars and cupcakes.  We used pint sized Ball Mason Jars, purchased from our grocery store, for our glasses and wrapped them in a strip of bandana that was purchased from our local craft store.  Couldn’t have been easier!

Corn on the Cobcakes were adapted from Disney’s Family Fun website.  They turned out so cute and fun to eat!


Our “Red, White, & Blueberry Pies” were the show stopper.  Everyone loved them!  We used red raspberry pie, apple pie, and blueberry pie.  All of the filling was homemade–not canned.  They tasted great and were the perfect size.

We loved adding in the star on top for some of the pies.  They were so cute.  Strips of bandana just added to the overall look.


We didn’t get overly creative with the centerpieces–and they were one of my favorite elements.  The simplicity of the lone American Flag was just beautiful.  We put a little sand at the bottom of a large quart sized mason jar and tied a raffia bow.  Talk about “Old Glory.”  It really was quite beautiful.  The flags were purchased from our local craft store, but you can find them at a Dollar Store also.  Just don’t wait until the last minute or they won’t have any! 😉

Levi & I getting close :).  He was just 2 months old here.

Emery had a great time playing outside.  It sure was a hot day!

This is one of my favorite shots from the day!  Our awesome friend and photographer, Jen Beasley, did an amazing job!



4th of July is only 6.5 months away!  I’m already planning again!  Please feel free to ask any questions about any of the elements you see here!