Tag Archives: Kitchen

Big Home Improvement Updates & New Projects #HomeImprovement


Hi Everyone, I hope all the moms out there had a very Happy Mother’s Day.  I am here with some very big updates. We will finally be starting the process of having the interior of our home rebuilt. We received great news from our air and surface testing after the mold remediation was completed so we can go to phase 2 and start getting our house back!

Need Help?

We have had a busy week. First off if you are looking for contractors or craftsmen and women, please try Thumbtack. We live in the country and we were having trouble finding contractors, electricians, plumbers, painters etc. One afternoon on Thumbtack solved that. Our house was like a hub for the next few days getting estimates because we had such a great response.

I have to tell you, we found so many skilled professionals we wanted to work with, it was hard to choose. We actually felt really bad about having to tell them that we hired someone. In the end, we found a contractor to do it all, from soup to nuts, everything! It was the best choice for us and we cannot wait to get this home rebuild party started.

Home Depot Pro Accounts Rock

My husband and I went to the The Home Depot the other day with our new contractor and added all the SKU numbers for all the drywall, wall spackle, thin set, grout, insulation, molding and other building supplies to my Home Depot Pro account. If you are doing work on your home and do not have a Pro account, go and get one, it is free, and if you are doing major renovations and will be spending more than $1500 in 7 days, it is well worth it. They also have a Pro special buy each week.

I could kick myself for the $7,000 plus I spent prior to knowing this. The only thing that consoles me is that what I bought previously was on a huge sale, so I tell myself it probably would not have been knocked down more. That is what I am telling myself anyway.

I work with a wonderful man there and he is so helpful and friendly, he knew my contractor immediately and told me he was a good guy. So, we now have just about everything we need except for the wall paint. That is because I need to pick the colors, which I plan to do this week. My kitchen designer told me to use the Cambria site that I am getting my quartz from. It has a paint match tool that is really cool so that is a huge help. It gave me four shades that would work and so I have to decide which two colors I want to go with.

Unbelievable Deal

We bought all the new hardwood flooring for our upstairs foyer, atrium and bedrooms as well. I am so excited about that because we got a great deal on the wood. It was more than a great deal, it was the kind of deal that makes me think of the IKEA commercial where the woman is running out and screaming to her husband, “Start the Car! Start the Car!”

We also have 3 pallets of Italian porcelain tile in our garage for the kitchen and first floor of our home. I still need to choose the tile for my kitchen backsplash, but my kitchen designer has advised me to wait until the countertop is installed, so I can really see how it will look. In the meantime, I am looking at what I think I want. I have just been informed by my contractor to look at some tile mat designs for the special accent tile I want to put behind my cooktop. I will try and do that this week.

Bathroom Renovation Finally Starting

We are going to be demoing the powder room downstairs and finally installing the new vanity and toilet. I did not pick out the new wallpaper yet so that will be something I need to do. I did pick up the new light fixture for the ceiling  and we have a huge medicine chest, mirror unit that matches the vanity with built in LED lighting from Hafele.

We will then be installing a new TOTO USA Guinevere toilet in our bathroom and  the beautiful Guinevere faucet from TOTO USA in the powder room. We will be installing the American Standard Self-Cleaning Toilet in the Powder Room along with the vanity and mirror unit  from Strasser Woodenworks.

Kitchen Cabinets Due To Be Completed Soon

The kitchen cabinets from Wood-Mode are due to be completed on May 21st! I cannot wait to get my kitchen in. I am so excited. I have missed cooking and baking more than you can imagine.

Our refrigerator and dishwasher were delivered this week too! On May 19th, Home Depot will deliver all the building supplies and then work is going to be full speed ahead.

More Projects Underway

I also have some exciting little projects planned for me to do and show you on the blog. Our basement steps are still the unfinished wood from when we built the house. I want to dress them up a bit. I have thought about it for a while, but never got around to doing it, but no more procrastinating.

I bought Minwax Polyshades in the dark brown Espresso color for the top of the stairs and for the risers, I picked up some Wall Pops, Newport Reclaimed Brick NuWallpaper, peel and stick wallpaper to use. There was a photo on the outside of the package showing it used on stair risers and I loved the look. I will take video of the project to help anyone who might want to recreate the look in their own home.

I am also refinishing some windowsills in my house with the Watco Danish Oil and other Watco products. I cannot wait to share that with you, they are coming out fabulous. I am also covering the process on video, I hope it will help others to see how easy it is to get beautiful results.

Lastly you may remember in my master bath, I have the Concealed Cabinets. Well, I have wanted to add a little bling to them and I found some mosaic tile at Home Depot that I thought would match, and it does! I am going to put them all around the frame and then grout them.

I still need to find the right thing for inside the frame. I am thinking of using one of my flower photos enlarged to that size. The lilacs are just starting to bloom and I am going to try to take a photo that might work for that or use one that I have. I may do one in a peony and one with the lilac. I will Have to see. It is either that or one of my lake photos.

So, that is my update and I will be taking lots of photos and videos of the rebuild and all my projects to share with you of our progress along the way.  If you have any questions, please ask.



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Filed under Curb Appeal, Home & Garden, Home Improvement, Kitchen

Kitchen Update and Countertop Dilemma

I am back with an update on our new kitchen. I am happy to say, that 2 weeks ago we signed on the dotted line and our cabinets went into manufacturing. Since they are custom cabinets, they will be made to order and take at least 8 weeks. We ended up going with a brand new Wood-Mode finish called Vintage Bright White. The Vintage finish is a distinctive glaze that is applied over the base color and adds a brushed appearance to the surface while highlighting the details of the door style and architectural elements. It also tones done the bright white and is just beautiful. The cabinets below are in Vintage Bright White. This is not the door I picked but I wanted to share the color with you.

We are also really excited about the integrated Häfele LED lighting matched to custom-fabricated Wood-Mode cabinetry. This lighting is brand new and we are the first kitchen that has it. I cannot wait because, I love light and I was forever saying I needed better lighting in the kitchen. This lighting will be in every cabinet and every drawer.

An industry-first, the Wood-Mode Integrated Lighting Program featuring Häfele LED solutions is a collaboration between two industry leaders to meet and drive the growing demand for integrated lighting design. The program utilizes the very best 12 volt, 3rd generation Loox LED options from Hafele. LED lighting is specified in 80% of kitchen projects overall (according to the NKBA) and offers energy-efficient, controllable, and discrete illumination with unlimited creative possibilities. You can read more about it HERE.

Beyond that, I have all the tile at the house and ready to be installed. I still need to pick the tile for the backsplash and that is where I am conflicted. The kitchen designer I am working with told me that it did not matter if I was having second thoughts on the color/pattern of the quartz now, because we have a lot of time. She said they will not  be coming to do the template until the cabinets are installed. That made me breathe a bit easier because I have been going back and forth with my choice. I selected Cambria Quartz in Nevern. I have a very large sample piece and I love it!

The problem is that Cambria Quartz does not photograph well. At least the Nevern does not. In almost every photo I see of it online, it looks like a dull, flat, ugly laminate countertop. The picture below is the one I hate the most, it does nothing to sell this countertop.

That frightens me beyond belief. I know, I like Cambria Quartz, because I had it in my kitchen for almost 10 years. It is just that they need to do a better job in showing the beauty I see in this sample. I have heard other people complain about the same thing. Most said that they had second thoughts based on photos, but were happy in the end when it was installed. They said that the photos did not do it justice at all.

So I was thinking, I should play it safe and go with something like Ella.

On my way to sign the contracts, I kept thinking about it, but my heart and my head were not sold on it at all. I was so glad that when I told my kitchen designer  I was thinking about Ella, she said, “Oh no, you do not want to go with Ella. You want something to make things pop!” I thanked her so much! It was the advice I needed! So Ella got kicked to the curb but I still am second guessing my choice.

I went on the Cambria Facebook page and asked them about my dilemma, but received as Verizon would say, a “half fast” answer. It was like they did not even read my question because they responded that I should look for a larger sample. I guess they missed what I wrote about having a large sample and the photos not looking at all like what I see in front of me.

I don’t know, I know I have time, but until I decide on the countertop, it halts the selection of the backsplash tile. Speaking of being halted, we have been halted for weeks with the demo crew. They should have completed everything by now. We have been held up for over 3 months, but let’s not even go there. Hopefully, work is going to begin next week. I feel like we are behind the 8-ball in getting everything done before the cabinets are ready.

Anyway, I guess this is not much of an update, but I wanted to let you know that things are still moving along slowly. The bathroom renovation has been halted a bit by this whole situation as well. I will have a post up about the faucet we chose for the bathroom in the next few days.

If you made it this far, thank you. If you would like to add any insight on the countertops, please do so in the comments. I would like to hear your thoughts. I will tell you one thing, if I do go for the Nevern and I love it, I will do everything in my power to get great photos of what it really looks like. I don’t want anyone else to have this uncertainty due to poor photos.


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Filed under Curb Appeal, Home & Garden, Home Improvement

My Top 11 Kitchen Essentials

I am in the middle of a huge home renovation including a new kitchen, 2 bathrooms, flooring throughout and more. It is a bit chaotic to say the least but I am trying to focus on the end result. I was thinking about what I would consider my top 11 kitchen essentials. I have a lot more than that, believe me, but let’s start with 11.

KitchenAid Mixer

My first would be my KitchenAid Mixer, it is actually my second one. My first was a classic and is still great but when we redid our kitchen almost 10 years ago, my husband bought me a bigger, badder one that matched our stainless steel appliances. I have the KitchenAid Professional 600 Series Bowl Lift Mixer in liquid graphite.

I never use anything else to mix up dough, cookie batters, cakes, frosting and so much more. It is definitely at top of my kitchen essentials list. 

Number 2 would be a good set of knives. I have a Wusthof Knife Set with Knife Block. However, in our new kitchen we have a knife block that is built into a cabinet and a drawer with knife storage so we will be storing our knives there. With or without the block they are a great set of knives and tools.

 VitaMix Blender

Number 3 is my VitaMix Blender. I did a lot of research before getting this blender and I have not regretted the purchase once. I have both the wet and dry container and just love it. I used to have to keep it on my island as it was so tall with the container, but in the new kitchen design we created a special area for it. The cabinets will be raised up so that my VitaMix can fit underneath the counter even with the tall 64 oz container on. Imagine designing our kitchen around our VitaMix! That is how much we love it!

I use it to make all kinds of smoothies, soups, frozen treats and more. It works so well and I love the retro look. If you are considering one, just go for it, you will not regret it. I just found out they now make a low profile VitaMix with a wider 64 oz container that fits under most cabinets. I am still confident I did the right thing because these blenders are workhorses that last forever. I also like the retro appearance of mine better that the low profile models.

Cast Iron Cookware

Number 4 is our cast iron pans. I no long like to cook in non-stick cookware due to the potential health effects. We have our stainless steel pots and pans but also invested in several pieces of cast iron cookware. I really like that it releases iron into the food which is important to women like myself, who need to supplement their iron.

 Emile Henry Bread Pans (Number 5,6 & 7)

Another favorite is my Emile Henry Bread Loaf Baker, Bread Cloche and Baguette Baker. I never knew I could make bread like this constantly from the first time. I adore these and would not dream of baking bread any other way.

 Emile Henry Butter Jar

With fresh bread you need to have butter and that brings us to number 8 in the top kitchen essentials list, the Emile Henry Butter Jar. I love how I never need to deal with hard butter and have spreadable butter all the time.

 Vita Clay Smart Organic Multicooker

Next up, my Smart Organic Multicooker by Vita Clay. With all the news about crock pots leaching lead into food, I love this healthier option to slow cook my food. Not only that, this is a rice cooker and yogurt maker. Best of all no lead leaching in our food.

 Keurig 2.0

The strangest thing happened, I used to be a major coffee drinker but my friend told me about bullet proof coffee, you know that coffee you make with grass-fed butter and coconut oil or MCT oil. I hated it, but drank it to see if it would give me the crazy energy it promised.
It did not, I am high energy anyway and it did nothing to boost that. I will tell you what it did do, it made me hate coffee! Coffee was something I used to savor and look forward to. The short time that I was drinking the bullet proof coffee, it totally killed my taste for coffee. Even when I went back to drinking it like I wanted, I could barely finish a cup. Anyway, I totally cannot drink it now and drink only tea.
My husband on the other hand is a coffee addict and so my next kitchen essential is our Keurig 2.0. We have been Keurig users since 2010 and have 2 larger Keurigs and one mini. However he has full use of it now that I am not drinking coffee.
 

 Electric Tea Kettle

My Electric Tea Kettle as a tea drinker is my best friend. I can bring it almost anywhere like in my office and have my tea without any hassle. There are all kinds of electric kettles, my daughter loves her Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle and has it at her desk at work. She says it is the best and can have her tea at the perfect temperature any time.

Well, that is my top 11. It was hard to pick and I could go on for at least another 11 that I feel are essential to the well performing kitchen. I will do that another time.

In the meantime, tell me what some of your top kitchen essentials are? I would love for you to share your answers in the comments.

 


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Filed under Cooking, Home & Garden, Kitchen, Mommy Ramblings

Do You Really Need a Pot Filler in Your Kitchen?

If you are designing a new kitchen, you probably know all about pot fillers. You might be wondering how we lived all these years filling our pots at the kitchen sink and carrying them over to the stove. Maybe you are thinking, it makes no sense because you still have to carry that pot of boiling hot water over to the sink to drain or empty at some point. There is also a point to be made that it is  another source of a potential leak, problem and of course expense in what already is a very expensive project. So, let’s take a look at the reasons why they are becoming so popular.

Less Strain on Your Body

Water has a weight of about 8 pounds per gallon. If you are filling up a large stock pot with water at the sink it can put a strain on your back as you carry it. However I don’t sit my pot in my sink and fill it, I usually set it up at counter height and fill it with my extended spray arm. If you are setting a large pot down in a deep sink and then hoisting it up and out, that could strain your back, especially if you have issues. However, most people have been doing this for years and are just fine.

Saves Time

The other point that is made to the advantage of a pot filler is that it saves time. I like to save time and work more efficiently but really, I doubt I am saving that much time to really make a difference. It is true you can turn it on and fill your pot on the stove and then go back to your sink to wash veggies or prep other foods. That could save you a few minutes, as long as you remember to keep watching the pot and run over and turn the water off before it overflows. I can see the advantage that you can easily be sauteing or cooking another part of the meal while you have a pot filling up on the stove. Not sure if this really is enough of a reason to convince people they need a pot filler.

Adds Style

I think this is the biggest reason you see them in more new kitchens today. It adds a touch of style and sophistication to your kitchen. I think many would say it adds a certain status to your project. I was speaking with a woman a couple of weeks ago and she was telling me about her son and how well he was doing. She went on to describe his house and said, “You know he even has one of those pot fillers in his kitchen.”

 

The facts remain that you need to carry that pot of water back to the stove which can strain your back as can hoisting it and pouring over a colander to drain pasta or other foods. That kind of negates the first reason. Sure, it may save a few seconds to minutes but does that truly justify the additional cost and of course potential source of a problem like a leak? I think the reason people put them in is based heavily on the third reason. Pot fillers look nice and they add a wow factor to your kitchen.

Some other cons are that they collect grease from cooking and it is another thing to clean. Cleaning the pot filler is something you would not have to do if you did not have one. Cleaning the pot filler will actually take longer than the time you saved in filling the pots on the stove. For those that like clean lines, having a pot filler extending from the backsplash may be an eyesore. There are deck mounted pot fillers as well but that is another permanent fixture protruding from your counter top.

I am still deciding if I am going to put one in my new kitchen. What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts.

 


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Filed under Curb Appeal, Decorating, Home & Garden, Home Improvement

What Could You Do With A More Powerful Blender? #Giveaway #HolidayGiftGuide

Looking for some help in the kitchen? How about some very powerful help? The Vremi Super Power Blender will be your best friend. It will win you over with its ability to whip up fruity frozen delights or its power to pulverize greens into gazpacho in record time!

vremi-blender-4 vremi-blender

The blender has a powerful 1400W motor and includes an oversized 2L pitcher, measuring cup and tamper. See my unboxing video below:

 

vremi-blender-1

I am in the middle of some major home renovation projects and my kitchen is one of them. In fact my kitchen is about to be dismantled and I don’t have anything in it anymore. I whip up a quick frozen fruit smoothie with this blender and show you a great way to clean it in the video below.

 

It is a very nice looking blender, sleek stainless steel and very powerful. We think it would make a wonderful and very useful addition to any kitchen. You can find it on our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide. We have a special present for you too, a giveaway!

 

Giveaway

Vremi is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win a Vremi 1400W Stainless Steel Blender. Thank you to Vremi for the review product and for sponsoring this fantastic giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Vremi Super Powerful 1400W Blender Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Maximize Your Kitchen Storage #Giveaway

Right now, my home is under construction in a few areas, one is my kitchen. I literally have had to remove everything in my cabinets and kitchen in order to get ready for the demo that is going to begin there. Having all my cabinets empty is so strange. I should take a photo because it is a rare thing. Normally, I think of ways to maximize storage of my plastic containers, pot lids, spices and more.

Are you looking for ways to organize, condense and maximize your storage space? If so, I just discovered some great products from YouCopia.

kitchen-storage

I knew I had to have the StoraStack because I really need to organize my food storage containers. I used to spend so much time digging around the drawer looking for the right lid.

drawer-storastack

The StoraStack smartly organizes food containers in your kitchen drawer. Two clip dispensers can be positioned as needed to hold two container stacks in place. Individual slots keep matching lids upright so everything stays tidy and easy to find.

storastack

 

My next issue was pot lids sliding around in my roll outs. That is why I like the StoreMore Lid Holder.

lid-holder

The StoreMore Lid Holder organizes all of your pot and pan lids in the cabinet or pantry. Strong wire dividers can be adjusted to keep lids upright, separated and easy to retrieve. Save space and reduce clutter by storing lids vertically!

 

lid-holder-1

Last issue for me was how to deal with all the spices I have. I have so many spices that the built in spice cabinet is not enough. I ended up using 2 cabinets to store them all. The problem is that smaller spices get lost and so when I saw the spice steps, I knew I had to try them.

spice-stairs

The 24-bottle SpiceSteps™ is the easiest, most affordable way to organize spices in the kitchen cabinet. Maximize space with four tiers instead of the standard three. Label the bottle caps with included stickers to quickly find spices.

spice-steps-1

Would you like the chance to win a product of your choice from YouCopia? If so, enter the giveaway below and you could win your choice of product from YouCopia up to a $40 value. Good luck!!! Open to US residents.

YouCopia Product Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Giveaway, Kitchen, Review

The Best Way To Cook A Hearty Beef Stew #EmileHenry #Giveaway #HolidayGiftGuide

As soon as the cold weather hits, I immediately start thinking of stews and soups. They are such comfort foods that warm your body and heart. I cook for an army and found that some types of cookware were not good at cooking everything evenly without burning. That is when I discovered Flame ceramic last year when I used my Emile Henry round stewpot for the first time cooking Pasta Fagioli. emile-henry-pot-9

That round stewpot is one of my favorite cooking pieces so I was thrilled to try out the oval 6.3 qt stewpot for my beef stew. You can see a video of me preparing this stew below:

The benefits of Flame ceramic is that it provides for slow, even cooking which brings out the flavors in your food. The lid is designed to make sure the flavored condensation circulates inside thanks to the dots underneath. The stewpots are made to be used on all types of stove tops, even induction with the addition of an induction disk. They also work in the oven and are dishwasher safe for easy clean up. Their color remains as beautiful and vibrant as ever through all that!

emile-henry-stewpot-oval

emile-henry-stewpot-oval-2

emile-henry-stew

All Emile Henry products are made in France and come with a ten year warranty! We love the Emile Henry Stewpot so much we are adding it to our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide at Mommy Ramblings.

We also have a giveaway below where you can enter for your chance to win an Emile Henry Oval 6.3 qt Stewpot! Be sure and enter our giveaway for a Emile Henry Bread Loaf Baker and Butter Pot!

Giveaway:

Emile Henry is sponsoring a giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!  One lucky blog reader will win a 6.3 QT. Emile Henry Stewpot! Thank you to Emile Henry  for the review product and for sponsoring this fantastic giveaway on Mommy Ramblings!!!  Open to US residents.

Emile Henry 6.3 QT Stewpot Giveaway on Mommy Ramblings Rules:

Please enter the giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget below.  Good Luck!!!

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Filed under Christmas, Cooking, Gift, Giveaway, Holiday Gift Guide, Home, Kitchen, Review

Kitchen Renovations-What You Should Know

Kitchen renovations are much different today than they ever have been before. It used to be that when someone did a kitchen renovation or a remodel the only real options they had were the design and architectural features of the room such as arches/doorways, walls/ceilings, and flooring or additional space options.

These days, though, you have many other elements you can add such as smart appliances and products for a smartly designed kitchen. If you are curious about the different smart kitchen ideas available, consider reading the article below for some cool and technology driven ideas to make your kitchen more forward friendly, convenient and comfortable.

smart appliances

Smart Appliances For A Smart Kitchen

Most appliances in the kitchen are already pretty darn smart in terms of timers and knowing when to stop cooking a product. But, you also have a lot of other different “smart” options available to you, such as:

– Touchscreen Stove Tops: Not only is this a really cool type of cooking technology, but it can also be used in a kitchen with children as well, since it’s a very safe product to use. Essentially the cook top uses conduction to heat things like pots and pans. But, the other parts of the stove stay cool – to the touch. You can actually use the touch screen to browse the internet, look up recipes to make, check out cookbooks in digital format and more.

– Home Chat: This cool little app is meant for specific things like the fridge. It will essentially keep track of items and ingredients inside the refrigerator and you can ask it questions such as: Do we have butter and it will reply back via text yes two sticks or no we do not. This is really efficient because you can use the app even out of the house.

Smart Fridge

This is a really cool option but in the near future, we will also have an even cooler option (it’s a concept right now) that will actually order food, keep track of what’s in the fridge and alert you when you are running low, and do a plethora of other cool options. For now, though, you have these smart refrigerators. The LCD display allows you to watch TV, listen to the radio, check the news, leave memos for yourself or other family members, check out the calendar and leave notes on specific days and more. It’s quite expensive, at around $3600 but if you want a tech driven kitchen, this might be the addition for you… for now anyway, until that higher tech fridge comes along!

Pair 3D Design Application

Okay, this is a really cool app and unlike any other smart application above. It’s only an Apple App right now, though. Essentially what you do is you bring up the camera on your iPhone and the app will give you different furniture options for that camera viewer. In the camera viewer, you can see how that piece of furniture or an appliance would fit in your space, what it would look in a 3D manner and more. The app can also be used by brands and businesses as well. But it’s also a great design tool for home owners that allow you to set up a room in real-time.

Radiant Flooring

In a lot of cases, you see radiant flooring done in a bathroom. But, since more and more people are also using porcelain in the kitchen as well (its durable, budget friendly and beautiful) some manufactures have started to make radiant flooring options for the kitchen too. This is a perfect option for any flooring in the kitchen, but especially stone or tile like porcelain because even though it does have a lot of benefits, one of the disadvantages are that it can get quite cool to the touch in the winter. In order to fix this, you can use radiant heating underneath the flooring to warm it up before you ever set foot on it.

Radiant flooring can be set on a timer so that it turns on every morning before you wake up to make the floor nice and toasty so when you come down for breakfast or coffee the floor is already heated up. You can also use Wi-Fi with a lot of radiant flooring systems so as soon as you wake up you can turn on your app – and have the floor heated so by the time you make it downstairs it’s warmed. Tile flooring like porcelain is a great conductor of heat. In fact, the two best materials to use a radiant floor on are porcelain and wood. Porcelain is a really good option though because it won’t expand as it warms and cools which means it won’t crack which means your flooring will last for longer!

radiant flooring

There you have it, kitchen renovation ideas that you should know before you start your project.


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Filed under Guest Post, Home, Home & Garden, Home Improvement, Sponsored

Help Kids To Stay Safe Through Play #DumbWaysJR

I think as parents one of the most important things we want to do as parents is keep our kids safe. We want them to understand how to be safe and not to be careless especially around things that can hurt them. Teaching them the importance of safety in the kitchen and around trains is very important.

So many needless accidents occur around trains, train stations, platforms and crossings. In 2012 a very popular PSA campaign Dumb Ways to Die effectively communicated the message that it is dumb to take risks that have serious consequences, especially around trains. While the message is very effective in educating people about the risks, the graphics are a bit too graphic and gory for younger children.

dumb ways jr logo

I was thrilled to be able to try out two Dumb Ways JR Apps to help younger children learn through play how to be safe. Dumb Ways JR Boffo’s Breakfast and Dumb Ways JR Loopy’s Train Set are available for download for iOS at the App Store and for Android on Google Play.

Dumb Ways Jr. Boffo’s Breakfast

boffo breakfast log

Dumb Ways Jr. Boffo’s Breakfast helps even young children who can’t read have fun while learning. They can create so many combinations and recipes for a very hungry Boffo to eat. There is a cutting board where they can choose whatever ingredients they want. Then they can cut them, dice them or grate them. They can feed him the foods one at a time without cutting or cooking them and they get a kick out of seeing his reaction to certain foods. Sometimes he burps, holds his stomach, passes gas, gets the hiccups and more. He falls asleep if children are not interacting with the app.

dumb ways jr app

There are no limits to the amount of ingredients they can use, they can feed him one thing or a combo of several things. After they have the ingredients they can use the mixer and then cook it up for Boffo. He will then eat what they made and show his reaction to it. When they are using the stove, if they turn it up to 4 or 5 (the highest settings) Boffo gets nervous and it serves as a springboard for discussion as to why. The flames on the stove also increase when the child turns up the stove.

There is a parents guide that comes with the app to explain how parents can assist their child in learning key concepts while having fun. Dumb Ways JR Boffo’s Breakfast app can be downloaded for iOS at the App Store and for Android on Google Play.

Dumb Ways JR Loopy’s Train Set:

loopy's train set logo

In Loopy’s Train Set, players can select from two modes of play: Drive or Build. In Drive mode there are 3 levels and kids use controls on the screen to drive Loopy’s train on the track. They do not have to steer the train but they can choose from forward and reverse and 4 different speeds- stop, 1, 2, or 3.

There are waiting passengers at the train station and kids need to stop the train and pick them up. They assist passengers on and off the train. The app design encourages kids to create their own dialogue when helping passengers board or exit the train. The first level has a basic track but in level 2 the track is larger and has a tunnel, more track direction options and more train stations. Level 3 has all that and more, there are bridges, railroad crossings, more track and options to keep the app fresh and exciting.

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In Build mode, the children are the designers. They create their own unique track by arranging and connecting different-shaped pieces of track. They can also add  houses, trees and animals to their scene to really customize it. After the track is built they can drive Loopy’s train on it. There are 3 levels starting with the simplest and as the levels go up so do the choices of track and other options that kids can choose to add to their track. The ability to build their own track keeps it fresh and fun because they can build something different each time! Dumb Ways Jr 3

Through this fun app kids can learn about various aspects of train safety. They will come to understand that characters cannot cross the tracks and the boom gates at the level crossings automatically come down when the train approaches. This provides the opportunity for parents and caregivers to expand on these concepts to talk about being safe around trains in a productive way. There is also a parents guide that gives parents tips on how they can get the most out of the app for their child.

You can download Dumb Ways JR Loopy’s Train Set for iOS in the App Store and for Android on Google Play.

My kids really had fun with these apps. Of course being kids they took great pleasure in seeing Boffo have certain reactions to the food they gave him. They really loved the option they had to create their own train route in Dumb Ways JR Loopy’s Train Set. Since my kids have an older sister who works as an analyst for a major transit organization it really opened the dialogue about train safety even more!

The apps appeal to a range of senses so they really work with whatever type of learning kids like. The apps encourage kids to problem solve and role play which gets them really thinking. These are definitely favorite apps for them and I feel good there is that learning intertwined throughout.
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Connect with Dumb Ways to Die and Dumb Ways JR online:

 

This post is sponsored by Dumb Ways JR and The Motherhood. As always my views and words are 100% my own.


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Beautify Your Home With Porcelain Tile

Porcelain floor tiles are the hardest and most durable tile option available.  They are available in two types – through bodied and glazed.  Through bodied have the color and pattern throughout the tile whereas glazed tiles are covered with a hard finish, which makes them very strong and dense.  They are available in a wide selection of colors and sizes, making it very easy for you to customize patterns.  They resist water, stains, scratches, chips and even mold and mildew.  They are also relatively easy to keep clean.  Because of their versatility, porcelain floor tiles are a fantastic option for just about any room in your home.

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Bathroom

The bathroom sees not only a lot of foot traffic, but a lot of moisture as well.  People often spend a lot of time in this room.  Humidity often finds its way onto every bathroom surface.  Water from showers and baths is routinely splashed or dripped onto the floor.  Damp towels may be left lying around.  Porcelain is an excellent choice for flooring, walls and even counters.  It will resist all of the moisture in the air.  It will also make your bathroom a gorgeous place to be.  By choosing the right colors and smaller tiles, you can create a relaxing pattern on floors and walls.

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tile bath vanity

Kitchen

The kitchen is another room that sees a good amount of use.  The durability of porcelain floor tiles ensures that your floor will resist damage from foot traffic, but remain shiny and bright for many years.  Large tiles can make the kitchen appear more open.  Smaller porcelain tiles are also excellent for walls and floors.  You can create unique patterns on your wall to create a specific atmosphere.  Their durability makes them excellent for counters.

 

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Entryway

Large floor tiles can create a very open and inviting entry to your home that is also resistant to most damage.  You can also use a variety of sizes to once again create a unique pattern.

tile floor

Porcelain floor tiles are extremely versatile.  You can use them on the floors, walls and counters of various rooms to unify the house.  And, with the overwhelming variety of colors and patterns available, you can create your own unique atmosphere that is both beautiful and long-lasting. For more information on porcelain floor tiles, head on over to PlumbTile.com and request your flooring samples today!

 

 

This is a sponsored guest post and the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Mommy Ramblings.

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