8.27.2019

PSA: Do NOT use the Home Depot for Kitchen Reface/Renovations

Our nightmare Home Depot Kitchen Renovation:

We moved into our small ranch in May of 2015. Our kitchen had medium color oak cabinets, an ivory formica counter top, a 30" electric coil stove, no hardware on the cabinets, and a small stainless steal sink. Over the first 18 months, we purchased a new refrigerator and dishwasher. We held off on buying a new stove because we knew our goal was to switch to gas, and my husband and I also wanted something bigger than 30" because 4 burners was not enough for me!
I went out on a whim and painted the cabinets myself using Annie Sloan's chalk paint, in Paris Gray. You can read about that here. I loved getting rid of that old cabinet look, and loved the fresh look the chalk paint gave, but once you repaint cabinets it has a domino effect. You'll want a new counter, then a new sink, then a new everything else! We went to Home Depot to look at counter tops and instead left with an appointment for someone to come over and quote redoing the whole kitchen. This was not in our budget and not something we had much interest in - all we wanted was a new counter!
In June, we made the decision to go with it - reface all of the cabinets (a portion of the cabinets being built new), new counter, farm sink, and a dream stove that I could never imagine having. Home Depot quoted us 3 to 5 days and started the job on July 1, 2019. Two local subcontracted gentleman came over and started the job.


Here is how it all went down:
  • We received the wrong style knobs with half of them being the wrong color. We were unable to find the correct knobs in the color we wanted, and ended up having to go to Lowes to buy all brand new knobs and handles. We are still waiting for a refund on this.


  • After the job was "complete," my husband and a friend went to install the range ventilation hood and the space was not wide enough. The installers had to come back and shave down a portion of the cabinet to meet spec.
  • In doing so (shaving down one side of the cabinet), they cracked the reface material... I have to also mention it looked awful.. the way it was shaved on one side and not the other.

  • Once the hood was installed, I walked up to it and it was literally below my face. Home Depot did not take the specs I sent into consideration (since we purchased a commercial style stove, we had a commercial style hood that stuck out further than a standard hood) - so we had to have the installers back to rip out the brand new glass door cabinets, and raise the hood 13". 
  • The counter top was installed at this time, and because of the way home depot built the farm sink cabinet, we were unable to put the faucet close enough to the sink, as well as the soap dispenser. The soap dispenser does not reach to the point of hanging over into the sink, and washing out hands is difficult because the flow of water is close to the back of the counter top, causing water to splash and fill up on the back. An employee at HD told us to "have them redo that because it is 100% incorrect" - unfortunately we were unable to have it redone because the back splash.

  • We waited two weeks for material to come in to reface the entire wall (the wall where it was cracked). They finally came, the hood was raised 13" and the entire wall was refaced in the WRONG color. We did not know this until the evening (after they left) because the daylight caused shadows making it hard to tell. It was a much lighter gray.

  • The Home Depot ordered new reface material which was promised to be ordered overnight. They had issues getting the material from Canada so it took another week to come in. When it arrived, Home Depot asked me to come in to do it on a Saturday. Normally that would be fine but this was my son's first birthday and we were expecting 40 people over. 
  • The Home Depot pushed me out another two weeks because I denied them doing the job on that Saturday. They told me it was my fault that the job was still incomplete (among other things that should NEVER be said to a customer) .. Because we were so fed up, we picked apart every shitty area (pictured below) and made them redo it all at the time of refacing the correct material. We also had them level the hood which was installed crooked. They added molding to hide uneven spaces under the counter top and redid areas where the cabinets met the wall to cover spaces. They also had to redo the rollout drawers which were all installed incorrectly (on the bottom of the cabinets instead of in the center). When one rollout drawer broke after a one time use, they came back to fix it again.


  • The job was finally completed 48 days after it started. I missed many days of work, and my husband had to be docked from his new job to be there on days I couldn't.
  • We continue to wait for a call back from the home depot (I attempted calling corporate 3 different times with not one call back), and continue waiting for the project manager to call back to discuss refunds. 
  • We also just got the error fixed on our home depot credit card account which was supposed to give us 24 months interest free, yet they put it thru for 6 months only. 



Am I happy with our kitchen AFTER all of the fixes the last month and a half? Yes.. we picked out all of the colors and decor together. I am thrilled with our gorgeous Bluestar range, and the fact we have gas now! I am in love with the back splash, that my talented husband Kevin installed. We are obsessed with the silestone counter top color that we picked out 5 years ago when we bought our house. 

Am I satisfied with the quality of work that was given by Home Depot? No.. What about their customer service? I am actually truly disgusted with the customer service we received from a project manager named Peter. To tell a customer "turn the news on, there are worse things going on than your kitchen cabinets" really deserves someone to be fired in my opinion. That is NOT someone that should be working with the public in customer service, especially for a multi billion dollar company. It is a very poor reflection on the Home Depot. This whole experience was NOT worth the money we spent and the stress we've been put through. While I await for refunds and corporate to listen to my complaints, I will continue sharing my experience to everyone I know and urge them to use a different outfit to do their kitchen renovations.


Ombré Pancakes

Good morning! After seeing an awesome post from Lisa @ Pink Salt food blog, I knew I had to try these ombre pancakes for my daughter, Kora. I used stonewall kitchen pancake and waffle mix, and added a dash of food coloring (purple, pink, and burgundy) to each bowl of batter. Using a small fry pan, coated with butter, we cooked one pancake at a time to ensure being around the same size. After piling them on a plate, Kora drizzled on some syrup and dug in! Even baby brother got to try some for the first time! We had so much fun making these, and look forward to more colored pancakes for holiday traditions.





8.15.2019

Picnic Theme Birthday Party

How in the world is my son 1 year old already? My once 34 week preemie, is now so big and beautiful! Everett has been such a joy this past year, crying less than I can count on my hands. He also sleeps 10-12 hours straight since he was just six weeks old. When it came time to celebrate his first birthday, I wanted to do something fun and easy. It was the summertime, unlike my daughter who is born in the snowy month of February. I figured the easiest thing would be a BBQ so I started researching and came across the picnic theme. On etsy I found a red gingham tie with ants crawling on it and that was it for me! I ordered plastic ants to walk along our table settings, plastic ants to walk along the cake we ordered, and red gingham everything! A local baker and artist made the incredible cookies (she always amazes me), and friend Lisa made the most delicious white chocolate mousse cheesecake. Not one piece left!!

Food: BBQ staples - burgers, hot dogs, potato salad, mac and cheese, salad, corn on the cob, corn bread, rice & beans and bagged ridge potato chips. Appetizers included sliced seedless cucumbers topped with goat cheese and raspberry champagne jam, tator tot skewers (kids went CRAZY for these), shrimp cocktail, guacamole, jalapeno dip and chips with salsa. We had about 35 people.

Below are some ideas from the party that I will pin over on pinterest.

yes, these are cookies! Made by Liv Creativity



Absolutely love the way this cake came out. Lisa adding the lights added such a special touch!

Outfit and tie from Etsy shop CuddleSleepDream


I like to display the food options by the plates and utensils so people can prepare themselves!



Custom felt boards are the best way to announce and celebrate occasions!


Big sister Kora's dress was from Etsy as well - shop EllaBellaBoutique49

The skewer holder was from Amazon and I will be using it again and again for appetizers! So easy to grab and go.

5.07.2019

Cinco de Mayo

Every year, Cinco de Mayo is a happy celebration for us. We are a taco loving family, as most know, so we try to make a fun meal each year with a Mexican theme. Given my early Mother’s Day gift, it made this years table extra beautiful. My husband found this taco serving platter by MudPie. I’ve always had a slight obsession with all their kitchen brand items.


As for our meal this year, I decided on crispy ground beef tacos, white rice with white beans using homemade fresh sofrito, and tostones on the side (fried plantains). Add a few Coronas with lime and it was the perfect meal. Kora even got to use her new taco plate from her 2nd birthday!
To finish the night, we made warm brownies to munch on during Game of Thrones!

Hope you all had a great Cinco de Mayo as well!





4.14.2019

Fried Mac and Cheese balls

There is nothing better than these crispy mac balls, filled with a creamy, cheesy center. I cut my Grandma's Mac Recipe  in half, and instead of baking the mac, there are a few different steps involved. See below and comment if you try them!


Time needed: 5-6 hours

Ingredients:
*See note: Follow your favorite mac and cheese recipe or use the one linked above (as mentioned cut recipe in half and **DO NOT bake it).
4-5 eggs, beaten
2 tbs milk
2 1/2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
Canola oil, for frying
*Optional - you can serve with a cheese sauce or marinara sauce for dipping


Directions:
1. Once the cheese sauce and boiled noodles are mixed together in a casserole dish, do not bake it. Refrigerate the mac and cheese for 2 hours.

2. Once chilled, use a scooper to make meatball sized balls and place onto a baking sheet. Freeze for 2 hours.

3. Beat together the eggs and milk to create an eggwash and place into a small bowl. Fill a separate bowl with breadcrumbs. Dredge frozen mac balls into egg wash, then breadcrumb. Once all balls are coated, REPEAT. The balls will be double dipped (eggwash, breadcrumb, eggwash, breadcrumb). Freeze until ready to fry, at least 1 hour.

4. Use deep fryer or large sauce pot to heat oil to 300 degrees. Fry for 7 to 8 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving.





3.04.2019

Sharon's Pistachio Cake


If you are like me, baking is not our strong suit. But this cake... this is the easiest, and most delicious, moist cake you could imagine - even my 2 year old helps me make it! My dear friend Sharon shared the recipe with me and gave permission to share with you all. Also note, this recipe could be used with many different kinds of pudding mix, not just pistachio!


*This is a mini bundt pan from Pampered chef 

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix - I prefer Duncan Hines Butter Golden Cake Mix
1 box of Jello pistachio pudding mix (3.4 oz)
4 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
Optional: 1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. Grease/spray bundt cake pan.

2. Add all ingredients into a bowl and mix well by hand, or with stand mixer.

3. Fill cake pan and bake in oven for 50-60 minutes. (If using a mini bundt pan like the one Kora is holding, cooking time will be 40-45 minutes)

4. Let the cake cool inside bundt pan for ~60 minutes before removing.

*Sprinkle with confections sugar if you'd like!

Enjoy!




2.05.2019

Taco Twosday - Themed Birthday Party

This past weekend was an absolute blast hosting my daughter's 2nd birthday party! When I saw the theme "Taco Twosday" on Pinterest, I knew I had to do it. My daughter, Kora, loves tacos (and all food, as most know) so this was right up her alley too. Most of the ideas shown throughout my pictures, are from Pinterest. I created the menu myself using family recipes and my own. The food was easy and cost efficient, which is excellent for serving large crowds! I will explain more below under each photo, and include links to where I bought certain items! Please feel free to reach out with any questions about this party.


We baked crunchy taco shells and soft tortilla boats (if you never saw the boats, check them out). Served with a choice of my favorite taco beef, seasoned grilled chicken, or fried boom boom shrimp. Two kinds of rice and beans, white and yellow. Grandma's mac and cheese for the kids. Buying in bulk from Costco allowed for big savings on meats, cups, plastic ware etc.

These mason jars were such great condiment and topping holders! I used a step stool to display the jars, and make them easy to see and get to. We tried to include every popular taco topping: shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, red onion, tomato, sour cream, jalapenos, black olives, pineapple salsa and a variety of different hot sauces.

Using the pineapple shell as a bowl for pineapple salsa was a really fun presentation! You can find the salsa recipe here: Pineapple Salsa 

Kids drink: Cactus Juice! Green berry Hawaiin punch in a two tier dispenser. Ice is held below the juices to keep them cold. You can switch tiers or even fill them with two different kinds of drink.


Tons of invitation ideas on Etsy! Our specific invite was made by TheOliveCorgi on Etsy and then I used Vistaprint to have them printed and shipped to me with envelops.

Using a chalk board display allows you to get creative. In this case, I used it for our taco bar, letting our guests know to dig in! I used liquid chalk markers, and also use this menu board for our dinner planning each week.

Why didn't anyone ever tell me how easy these balloons were?! Each letter comes with a straw to blow in and fills up within seconds. They also self seal! String was supplied to hang the letters up (each letter had holes cut on the top and bottom for hanging). I will definitely use these types of balloons again for our next event! I purchased these at PartyHaus on Etsy.
If you notice, I used mini sombreros to hold food name tags! That wasn't my intention for the sombreros when I purchased them, but I really loved how it looked!


Another Pinterest find... Using cans for flower vases. I wish I had a big Goya can leftover but these did the trick! These gorgeous roses were so cheap at my local grocery store. Adds some color.

Extra party sombrero laying around? Use it to hold your plastic ware! I purchased "Let's taco bout a party" napkins on Amazon and just rolled the forks and knives in them.


Brown paper bags to hold the chips - Creative and easy cleanup! I cut them down a bit and folded them over. These bags were also used for the kids goodie bags - markers don't run through and fun decoration ideas on Pinterest. The orange guacamole bowl is a garlic grating bowl from IseeSpain - they are absolutely gorgeous, and hand painted!


A local friend made this incredible, most delicious cheesecake on earth. 
She decorated the taco and ribbons around the cake. The hand made cake topper 
with the word "two" is from BellsNBerries on Etsy.

For goodie bag treats, we had a pinata (open by pulling strings, instead of hitting with an object), so kids filled their bags up with the pinata goodies, and I also gave each child a taco plate. They came in 6 different colors and came in sets of 6. I had 12 kids so purchased two sets. They are really awesome and well made! 


It is safe to say that Kora had a blast turning 2 years old! We may even stick with the same type of theme next year... Adios Dos?!