Quick and Easy Kitchen Makeover!

wall clockAs you can imagine with me as a stay-at-home mom and our family officially a one income household (we appreciate the hard work Dave!), money is tight for home makeovers.

I didn’t let that stop me when I wanted a makeover for my kitchen. It is the one room in the house where we hadn’t changed a thing since moving in. Dave agreed we needed to do something, but painting or redecorating were out of the question. We decided the best approach was to change a few things in the kitchen by buying new bar stools for our counter, a funky wall clock and installing some pendant lights.

I turned my attentions online once again as it really is possible to find whatever you want!

Speciality online stores

As I wanted very different items for the makeover, I decided that buying from speciality stores would be the best option. Dave would have preferred if we bought everything from one online store, but who listens to a man when it comes to makeovers!

Starting with the bar stools, I jumped online and had a good look around. I found that specialty stores that only sell stools are often the best pace to get as much information as you need about the products you are after. Because they are just focused on one thing, I find that they have a lot more knowledge and can give you some great advice.

Next I went on the hunt for a wall clock. Now I was skeptical about this because I wanted a big wall clock and I thought the shipping costs of buying this online might be prohibitive. Turns out that’s not the case. There are plenty of stores that sell large wall clocks that offer free shipping. Go figure!

Lastly was the pendant lights. These were a bit more difficult because I was worried about breakages. In fact, I didn’t event think you could buy them online because surely, the they when handled by all the people required to get them to you. Turns out my fears were unfounded. There are tones of stores selling pendant lighting and shipping is not a problem!

Sourcing the bar stools, wall clock and pendant lights proved very easy and they were delivered within a week. Our kitchen looks amazing!

A few tips for online shopping

As I have been shopping online for a fair amount of time now, I have some advice to make the experience as safe as possible.

1. Only use reputable online stores

Do your research. Make sure the store is reputable and has had an online presence for a number of years.

Read customer reviews and see how they rate the store.

2. Get the contact details for the store

Make sure you have an email address, phone number and physical office address for the store, especially if you are using it for the first time.

3. Check guarantees, billing and delivery before you buy

Dave is a stickler for this, and he always makes sure I double check these, especially if we are using a store for the first time.

4. Only enter your credit card details on secure sites

Sometimes we can get so excited when we find a product we have searched for that we do not check if the site is secure. Never input your credit card details on an unsecure site.

5. Never email your credit card details

If you receive an email asking for credit card details from a site you might have browsed, never, ever send it!

6. Record your purchase details.

This is something I forget to do sometimes. Either print your order, or take down the order number, time and date of purchase and the cost.

Online shopping really is the easiest way to buy any items you might need. Oh and did I mention my kitchen looks amazing!

Buying a Dog Bed for Toby

Just the other day Dave came to me with a suggestion. He thought we should get a dog for the kids.

At first I wasn’t sold on the idea. Dogs don’t look after themselves and need a lot of daily attention. There is the feeding, walking, cleaning of dog beds or dog cushions and picking up their mess. I explained my concerns to Dave, but after a while he persuaded me to go along with his plan. I think Dave’s words of “I will handle anything dog related” may have convinced me!

dog cushion

The kids were ecstatic when we told them! We decided our first task even before went looking for a dog was to name it. Dave and I already knew that we wanted a male dog, so we told the kids that they could suggest some boy names. “Snuggles”, “SpongeBob”, “Chocco” and” Woof” were the early contenders but when the twins shouted out “Toby” and the other kids immediately joined in, we knew we had the winning name. Thank goodness, I can just imagine Dave standing by the front door calling “SpongeBob, SpongeBob.”

Last weekend we went to the local pound to find our new best friend. This wasn’t an easy task as they all were so cute with their sad “pick me” eyes. After what seemed like hours, we decided to go for a four year old fox terrier. He was a real cutie and everyone loved his good nature, especially when he took a turn to lick each of our kids as they greeted him. Toby the terrier was going to be our dog and he was just about perfect.dogs

On the way home Dave realised what he had let himself in for. We had to make an emergency stop because Toby had left a little present on the back seat!

Searching for the right dog bed

dog bedAs soon as we got home I immediately started searching online for a dog bed for Toby.

You would think it is pretty easy to find a dog bed, but there is a massive range out there! I was determined to find something perfect for him. I knew I wanted something that was comfortable, easy to clean (for Dave’s sake) and not too expensive!

In my research of online dog bed stores I found out the following:

  • Dogs mostly like to sleep stretched out, or curled up nose to tail. Sometimes a dog will use a combination of the two sleeping styles.
  • The right sized dog bed is of the utmost importance. Your dog needs to fit into his dog bed properly to be comfortable. Never buy a dog bed that is too small.
  • Dog beds come in various shapes and forms. I suggested to Dave we should get one with a removable and washable cover.

As we didn’t really know Toby’s sleeping habits we decided to order a medium sized rectangular dog cushion with a removable cover. We observed Toby for a week and saw that he liked to sleep all curled up in a ball. He looked extremely cute!

Armed with this knowledge we found the perfect dog bed online, a snug oval shaped padded bed with a removable cover for easy cleaning. Toby really loves sleeping in it, when the kids give him a break that is! I am still not sure if Dave’s decision to handle everything dog related is working out for him though!

Finding the Ideal Gift for a Picky Husband

So Dave’s birthday is fast approaching and I am stressing out! With four small kids, Dave helps out around the house all the time so he really doesn’t have time for a hobby. This makes it so difficult to buy a gift for him.

This year though, I think I might have found the perfect present for him! I am sure he will love it! Dave is big music fan and he has collected around 100 old records over the years. The only problem is that he cannot listen to them. I might just have had something to do with that! You see, I sold his record player in a yard sale just before we moved out of our old house. Dave wasn’t impressed, but I packed the records away out of sight and he has forgotten about them (I think).

Time for me to make amends for my poor decision in selling his record player and become a heroine in his eyes!

Of course I started online in my research. I want to make sure I get the perfect record player for Dave.

Types of records players available online

I didn’t realise there were so many record players available. There are a few things that you should note of when looking to buy one.


Crosley Cruiser Portable Turntable - Orange-LEFT 11. USB vs. Non USB

Did you know that a record player could plug into your PC or laptop? If you buy a record player that has a USB connector you can actually convert your records into MP3’s.

I think Dave would really appreciate being able to have his old records on his phone or even playing on the car stereo.

2. Price Range

The prices on record players vary… a whole lot! I don’t think I need to get anything too expensive for Dave. His music always sounds like someone is about to fight… using guitars and drums as weapons. A mid range priced record player should be fine!

3. Manual vs. Automatic

At first I wondered why the record player had gears. After some research I found it that a manual record player means you have to move the arm and put the needle on the record. An automatic one does this all by itself.

I think Dave would prefer a manual one. Our last one was like that. It puts you in charge, Dave will like that!

4. Style

Record players come in a variety of styles. I am leaning towards a more retro look, in the same kind of style that Dave’s old record player was.

5. Replacement parts

With small kids in the house, you can be sure that something will be misplaced, broken or possibly both! Replacement parts will have to be available for the record player I choose and of course I want to order them online! You might at some point need to replace the stylus, needle, the arm, drive system or the rubber mat.

So I have a fair idea of what record player I want to get for Dave for his birthday. I am leaning towards a retro style, manual, USB compatible player. I really think Dave will love it, and just maybe he will forgive me for getting rid of his old one!

My new blog is coming soon!

Hi! I’m Cathy and this is my new blog. I’m a busy Mum with a busy household and I love it. While things can get tough at times, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I’ll be posting regularly about tips for keeping your household running smoothly, keeping your kids happy and keeping you sane! I also love home decorating and want to make my home as ‘homey’ as possible for my kids. I’ll share some tips on simply but effective home decorating techniques.