Family Things

Star Wars Bathroom

Our boys’ bathroom was due for an update.  There was only so much that I could do with paint and molding without going through a major bathroom overhaul.  It was time!  The boys agreed that they wanted a Star Wars themed bathroom, but my 3rd grader wanted a minimalist look.  “Don’t go too overboard on the Star Wars mom!”  (Ummm, ok, this is the one who lives and breathes Star Wars.)  So away I went, pinning ideas and creating a look-book for the bathroom to incorporate the elements that I thought were cool, while keeping a minimalist look in mind.  Subtle, easy to clean and not too overwhelming.  So I created this idea board below.I knew that I wanted a gray palette for starters.  Then to incorporate rustic, modern and minimalist elements… a.k.a. easy cleaning.  These are boys!  🙂  I have included below the elements that I incorporated along with my notes and website links below.

Hillsbury 36 in. Vanity in Cool Gray with Marble Vanity Top in Carrara White
I had a specific size that I needed and found this cabinet which also has a Carrara marble top affixed to it!  Great bundled deal as this marble can be pricey to purchase and custom cut.

One thing that I do have to note from what I have read, is that marble stains!  Since this is white marble with gray swirls, I had to change up some of the toiletries products for the boys and avoid anything with color.  So no blue toothpaste, colored soaps and etc. as I know that sometimes they forget to clean after themselves.  So I opted for color-free, white or clear products.  Probably better for all of us in the long run!
allen + roth Hainsbrook 3-Light 7.48-in Antique Pewter Cone Vanity Light
I can’t take credit for this as my husband found this.  It’s a perfect unique and vintage look.

Style Selections Natural Timber Ash Wood Look Porcelain Floor and Wall Tile
We went to several flooring stores.  Some were priced 4 to 5 times as much as the ones that we found at Lowes.  In addition, the reviews were really good.  We have had this for about 3 months now and really have no regrets.  It’s really surprisingly easy to clean and hid dirt and dust pretty well.  The look of the flooring is really cool since it looks like it would be uneven, but that is just the design print of the floor.  It’s matte and doesn’t create issues with wet feet.  LOVE!

American Standard Studio 1.1 White WaterSense Dual-Flush Round Chair Height 2-Piece Toilet
I knew that I wanted two qualities in a toilet: POWER flusher and super easy to clean, especially with boys!  I spent a lot of time on the research and found this modern toilet.
1] I love the fact that it has two flush options: one for liquids and one for solids.  The levers are also on the top button.  This is that toilet that you see where they are able to power flush at least a dozen golf balls.  Nice.
2] The toilet seat is easily detachable for easier cleaning.
3] The toilet seat has a soft close feature which means no more slammed toilet seat noise.
4] The toilet sides are easy to clean!  Did you notice that there are no visible hard-to-clean trapway grooves on the side?  Just smooth sides to clean.  Genius.
5] The toilet has a “EverClean” surface technology which make the inside stain resistant.

Pfister Ashfield Brushed Nickel 1-Handle Handle(S) Included WaterSense Tub and Shower with Rain Showerhead
The shower head went well with the sink and wanted something that complimented the lighting fixture.  I also loved the fact that this was a rainfall type of a shower head.
Ashfield 8 in. Widespread 2-Handle Bathroom Faucet in Brushed Nickel
I loved the look of how this looked rustic, but had a calming waterfall-like effect.  I thought that the boys would get a kick out of it.

MOEN Banbury Pivoting Double Post Toilet Paper Holder in Spot Resist Brushed Nickel
MOEN Banbury Double Robe Hook in Spot Resist Brushed Nickel
MOEN Banbury Towel Ring in Spot Resist Brushed Nickel
These paired nicely with the overall look.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the fact that the toilet paper holder does not have a spring hook.  I hate those things!!  Instead, you push up, insert new roll, push down, done.  I think that all rolls should be designed like these!

Star Wars Death Star, Tie Fighters, and Imperial Crest in Gray
I found this super awesome shower curtain at  What I love about this design is that it’s subtle!  You have to look twice to realize that there are imperial crest symbols patterned through the entire design.  As a bonus, it matched my color palette.  Yes, it was a little pricey, but the site pays an actual artist.  Pretty cool.

Suave Star Wars Collection
I found these at Target and they come in a variety of fragrances.  Perfect addition and nice on the wallet, too.

May the force be with you!

Posted on 5/4/17.


School Supplies for $7.44?

I LOVE finding good deals.  It’s almost like a challenge that I am always up for and had to share with you all.  If you have kids, you know that back-to-school shopping can be pricey!  I like to stock up on hot deals and store them away to use throughout the year or for future back-to-school needs.  Although I didn’t get everything on my school list, I wanted to showcase some of the hot ticket items that our out there now.  For this trip, I purchase ALL OF THE ITEMS THAT YOU SEE here in this photo for $7.44!!!  That is a combined savings of $40.48!  Mind you, I live in CA and the sales tax here where I live is 8.75%.  I went to Office Max and Staples who are offering some awesome deals this week.

Check it out!  Inventory is limited, so be sure to make this a priority.

Office Depot / Office Max
$.01 Office Depot brand #2 pencils, 12/pack, limit 3 (with $5 minimum purchase)
$.01 Slider pencil box – limit 3 (with $5 minimum purchase)
$.01 Office Depot brand mini staples – limit 3 (with $5 minimum purchase)
$.25 Crayola Crayons, 24 pack – limit 3
$.25 Bic Brite liner highlighter, 5 pack – limit 3
$4.00 Elmer’s giant glue stick (Ok, this was just $1 off, but needed items to fulfill my $5 minimum and this was on my school list.)

Office Depot ad for Back-to-School Ad for 7/10/16 - 7/16/16
Office Depot door buster front page ad for Back-to-School Ad for 7/10/16 – 7/16/16

$.25 Staples pink pencil caps, 12/pack – limit 5

Staples door buster front page ad for Back-to-School Ad for 7/10/16 – 7/16/16

There are a handful more deals out there depending on what you need, but this is a good showcase of what you can get.  Check out your site for the full add or pick-up an ad when you go to the store.  It pays to shop around!  Keep in mind that quantities are limited!!!

Target will also usually offer a pretty good back-to-school sale towards the end of summer.  So you should wait for those deals if you don’t get them at the Office Depot / Staples and aren’t in a rush.

Happy shopping!

Posted on 7/10/16.




Chores for Kids = Practical Skills for Life & Professional Success

I came across a really insightful parenting article that made me pause and really think.  This makes a lot of sense.  Bottom line, chores for kids are more important that you think!  I am sure that your kids will have a hard time processing this, but someday they may appreciate it in retrospect.  In this article it says,

Research shows that doing chores as a child is a predictor of professional success. If we don’t teach children that life requires a willingness to do crummy stuff, we are not giving them the tools it takes to thrive,” says Julie Lythcott-Haims, the author of How to Raise an Adult, who, as Stanford University’s dean of freshmen, started noticing that her incoming students were lacking in practical skills. She discovered that parents—like her—who failed to teach their kids to pitch in were partly to blame.”

There are some other best practices along with helpful tips and tricks.  You can find the original article here in the Real Simple April 2016 magazine.  Here is a full version which also includes tips for younger kids: realsimple-april2016

Artwork extracted from the Real Simple article, by Gwen Keraval

Posted 6/24/16

From Blah to Blog

The idea of starting up a blog drew from turning my personal pain into something positive and therapeutic.  Here is my personal story.

Late in 2014, My husband and I realized that something was not right with our son’s health.   In addition to the food allergies and sensitivities, there was something else that we noticed.  We decided to seek medical help and tried to explore options with our primary care physician to seek a medical specialist who could help us.  After exploring a few dozen doctors in the area, we finally found one that was able to help.  This overall process took a few months.  Our son went through testing, evaluation and finally received his diagnosis.  It was a bit much for us as parents to take in.  (Out of respect and privacy for our son, I won’t go into details with his official diagnosis.)

During that year, we experimented with several medication types, dosages, combinations, homeopathic supplements and diets in an effort to find the right combination.  Some had really adverse affects on him and it was a bit much emotionally to see the impact.  He lost a ton of weight to his already thin build and had to come up with reasonable solutions on how to add more protein to his diet.  That was a huge challenge given his allergies to nuts.  We also had weekly medical treatment appointments which led to a lot of time spent in the waiting room.  A lot of time.  Thinking.  Stressing.  Thinking.  It was mentally tough logging all the details and to know that we were doing all of this with an effort to help him get better.

As any parent would do, I went into full throttle on a quest to help him get better.  In addition to the regular appointments, I did a TON of research to understand his medical condition.  I overloaded myself with reading medical reports, newsletter, listening to podcasts in the car, books and even went to parent support group meetings to talk to others in the same scenario.  You name it.  I was living and breathing trying to help our son 24/7.  Through this time, I knew that I just simply lost myself.  I used to love to be happy, social and creative.  That zest in me was simply gone.  I felt like a fighting zombie.  I had to put my own interest aside and help our son and our family.  After spending so much time in the waiting room thinking, I knew that I needed to find myself.  I needed a personal outlet to rejuvenate me.  It occurred to me that perhaps I might have it in me to create my own blog once our son’s health became stable.  The wheels in my heads started to turn.  This was the good diversion that I needed in my life!  This was my opportunity to go “From Blah to Blog.”

It’s been over a year and my son is doing relatively better.  We are all doing a bit better as well.  He is not fully cured of his diagnosis, but is in a better place.  I will take that and know that I truly can say that we gave it our ALL and continue to do so.  I feel truly blessed and grateful for the love and support that we received.  This would not have been possible without you all.

Posted 3/18/16