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August In Review: Reveals! Reveals! Reveals!

If there is one word that sums up the month of August, it would be REVEAL.  In the history of my blog I have never had another month where I had more room/makeover reveals.  Finally all the work I put in over the summer is paying off.
Obviously, the biggest reveal was my kitchen.  I am so excited to hear that my de-80's-fied kitchen was really a big hit.  I am shocked that my post over on Hometalk has been shared nearly 25,000 times! HOLY MACARONI!

The most common questions I have fielded about the transformation were in regards painting the cabinets and updating the lighting which I addressed in earlier posts. I'm still working on a detailed tutorial about the pencil tile backsplash install, as well as a breakdown of the complete $3500 budget. 

This month I also gave you a tour of the rest of the money pit 2.0 and the changes I have made at the one year mark.  Can't believe it was already 12 months ago that we were moving into the house!  At this time last year I was busy installing board and batten in the girls' room.

That was a lot more fun than how I spent the last few weeks of this summer: repairing a termite damaged pergola:

The other big reveal this month was my garage makeover!  It was the biggest project I did this summer and am NOT sad to see it end.   Just in time too, since my DIY garage mudroom is getting plenty of use now that school is back in session.

I also finsihed my kids' artwork gallery wall including my no-sew "home is where the heart is" fabric states wallhanging:

Another reveal you may not have noticed involves my blog.  I have organized my past posts into categories with buttons on the top of my left sidebar.  I haven't completely finished, but for now you can find blog highlights here:
Click on the sticky notes
Lastly, no month would be complete without a few new recipes:

I am really looking forward to September.  The kids are back in school and the holidays are approaching.  I am going to be focusing on a few decorating projects and not as much home improvement, but I promise they will still be great posts! Be sure to stick around.
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Grilled Ginger Teriyaki Pork Chops

If you are frequent reader of this blog you probably think I have some weird obsession with pork chops.  In the past I have crusted them, smothered themglazed them in the slow cooker and today I am grilling them.
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The truth is that my husband actually doesn't like pork chops (he is more a "boneless skinless chicken breast" type), but when they go on sale I get them since they really are so versatile.  Today's version is just another example.  Three ingredients and NO PANS! My kind of dish!
Grilled Ginger Teriyaki Pork Chops
3-5 (about 1 lb) Boneless Pork Chops
1/2 cup Teriyaki Marinade (I use Kikkoman)
1 Tbsp oil 
1/2 tsp. ginger (or 1tsp fresh grated ginger root )
Combine all ingredients in a bag and seal, making sure all areas of the chops are in contact with the liquid.   Marinate 6 hours to overnight:

Marinating helps keep the pork (which doesn't contain much fat) from during out. 
Place on hot grill for a minute or two on each side to get a good sear.  Then turn down the heat (or move it off the coals) for 10-15 minutes more.   The internal temperature should reach 165.
Let them rest 5-10 minutes before serving. 
Here is served them with herbed quinoa and some asparagus I also grilled.  Grilling asparagus is a great way to make it.  (I just shake it in a zip-top bag with some olive oil and put it on a medium grill for about 8 minutes)

Garage (and Mudroom) Reveal!

To say this has been a long time coming is an understatement.  I began the journey of completely finishing and organizing my garage back in MARCH and now (5 months later) I am ready to show the "new" garage to you:

Can you believe that is the same place? Wait.. let me step back a little farther so you can take it ALL in:

If you don't remember, my goal was to get five distinct areas for things I needed to house in the garage (plus my giant mini-van).  They were:
#1: Storage
 #2: Workshop
#3: Mudroom
#4: Freezer
#5: Trash

Here is the original plan I drew up back in April:
I am happy to say that I was able to successfully incorporate all those areas, and more! Let me give you a little tour. 

#1: Storage
This was a biggie.  I wanted to sort and organize all the junk that we keep in the garage.  Holiday decorations, camping and sporting gear, kids clothes and equipment, suitcases, coolers.. you name it.  We don't have a basement or attic so everything is stored in the garage.   There was some rough shelving already installed, but it was quickly overflowing with our stuff:

I taped, mudded and painted the walls (and ceilings), as well as painted the shelves, sorted and boxed all the stuff and labeled it all with my label maker.  It is amazing how much stuff can fit once you just get organized!

The niche to the right of the shelves was the perfect spot to house my #4: Freezer.  I surface mounted an electrical outlet near the shelves above the freezer so I would no longer have to run an extension cord to it.  (I also surface mounted an outlet above my workbench to use with my circular saw and other power tools.) 

 #2: Workshop:
The full reveal of the workshop can be found here (in case you want to see how I was able to figure out exactly how to fit all my tools, lawn equipment, paint, workbench and paint.) Needless to say I am thrilled with being able to find everything at a glance. 


And my favorite part of my workshop is still my painted pegboard:
Previously this side of the garage was stacked with boxes of old kids clothes and lawn/garden equipment.  It was pretty much a disaster.  Now there is plenty of room, not only for my workshop but also to house the  #5: Trash and recycling bins:

Hanging the bikes off the floor, and in front of the furnace and water heater (which are ugly but can't be enclosed) is another great space saver.  And to honor the fact that is a garage, I hung all the license plates we have collected off the cars from all the states we have lived in over the door. I love them!

#3: Mudroom 
Without futher ado, here is everyone's favorite part of the garage, the mudroom built ins: 

This is still one of my most popular posts of all time.   The fact I constructed this unit out of $300 worth of Ikea Cabinets seems to hit home with people:
More details about the construction of the built ins can be found here, as well as additional FAQs here.

It has been great for us, since it provides a lot of easy-access storage right at the threshold to the most trafficked entry point of the house.  And speaking of thresholds, lets not forget my newly beautified garage door:

Before the mudroom install, this space was my workshop, but it was so cluttered with stuff that you were barely able to get to the door.  The grungy white door and unfinished walls made the garage feel like it wasn't a real 'room' of the house.   But no more: 
 It was a LOT of work.  I would even say it was more work than my recent kitchen makeover and it ranks right up there with the Money Pit 1.0's kitchen remodel as one of my biggest projects of all time.  And even though it may not be nearly as dramatic, I am still really proud of it.   Not everyone can say they love their garage.. but now I can!

"Queens for a Day" and a little blog housekeeping

modified image source
It has been a busy weekend around here.  Friday, after reading Centsational Girl's post about it,  I decided to let my kids be "Queens for a day" since school starts next week. I didn't say 'no' to anything.  I let the kids pick what we would do, what we would eat, and when we would do it.  They were more than happy to take charge.
After a breakfast of Krispy Kreme donuts, we headed to the splash park, and then to Chuck E. Cheese.  After that we spent the afternoon at a Paint-Your-Own-Pottery place and then back home to the pool until the sun went down.  Cold pizza and a movie on the sofa finished off the day.

I don't know how my kids had that much energy, since by the end of the day I was exhausted. They could have keep going.  Here they are bouncing on a trampoline. 

I had so many shots I decided I would see if I could figure out how to make an animated gif out of them. The photos are actually taken over a series of multiple jumps, but melded them into one jump. Here is what I ended up with:
Ha ha ha!  Hilarious!  (Who knew it was so easy to make a gif?!)

Anyhow.. Since I was so busy, I won't have a DIY post up this weekend, but I do have big plans to work on a little blog housekeeping.  I hope to organize some of my older posts and get some general category buttons and index pages on my sidebar.
A few other minor tweaks you may notice: 
I have changed my commenting system over to Disqus so I can more easily reply to your comments by email.   If you use Facebook or Twitter to leave comments I still can't email you, but this system is a step up from Blogger.  I try to reply to all my comments by email, and if the question is pertinent to all the readers I also reply in the comments thread.

After reading all the comments at Addicted2Decorating on biggest blog pet peeves, I have also decided to stop center aligning all my text.  I was just doing it because it was the default, I never really thought about it, I didn't realize it was annoying!

Besides the alignment, I am doing pretty well about most people's peeves.. No autoplay music, no pop-ups, no giveaways, no sponsored posts, very few guest bloggers, no CAPTCHA, not much religion,  and I don't host a link party.. *Whew! What a list!* 
image source
I am curious about my blog page load speed.  I know a lot of people have trouble with BlogHer sponsored blogs loading, and it does take me a few seconds for me to see my blog, but is it really slow for anyone else?  I do try to keep my advertising to a minimum, but I did join the BlogHer network to recover the cost of my hosting fees (and to be able to tell my husband that blogging is a money making venture.. bwa-ha-ha-ha.  If I could only keep a straight face while I said it!)

Any other changes you would like to see at the Money Pit?  It is your turn to be Queen for a Day!  (Not that I am making any promises.. I learned my lesson on that one!) 
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Kids' Artwork Gallery Wall (The Lazy Way)

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My family/play room is one of the places in my house that have been the most neglected.  Mostly because it is always a hot mess of toys and shoes and clutter.  It is also the room that houses the TV and the room we spend most of our time.  

I have updated the fireplace and built-ins, but that is about all that has been done.  I have a bunch of cheap IKEA furniture (since I love the washable covers in bright colors), but it isn't really a cohesive design. It is definitely very kid-friendly with lots of toys and colorful artwork above the fireplace:

Because the room is really intended to be the kids' playroom, I decided I wanted it to truly reflect them. I have been collecting their art work for a while and frequently taped it to the sliding glass door in this room.   After a while I got a little sick of scraping tape residue off the glass and I decided that it was time for a gallery wall. 

I mean, come on.. with drawings like this how could I resist? 

Because I was going to be using all sorts of random art and photos, I knew I wanted the frames to be one color.   I have previously done an all black gallery wall (with black and white photographs) in my dining room, so for this space I settled on white. 

Inspired by this pin on Pinterest I knew I wanted to use the girls' initials, and also wanted to do something other than all rectangular frames like I did in the previous gallery.

Enter the thrift store:

I picked up these lovelies for a steal:
And although they were FILTHY dirty, a little bath in the kitchen sink made them look as good as new.  

I removed the embroidery and sprayed them white.  A quick trip to Ikea (where I spent about $25 on cheap frames of various sizes) and I was ready to start my gallery.
I know there are a ton of tutorials out there on "how to make a gallery wall" and most of them require all sorts of templates and measuring and blah blah blah.    And if you know nothing else about me, you know I am BUSY and I am LAZY.   Which means, no templates or fancy markings.  A little chalk and I am good to go.

The first thing I did was collect up my frames and laid them out on the floor until they were basically a large rectangle. 

I measured the length and width of what was laid out on the floor and drew it with chalk on the wall:

Starting in the outside corners and working my way around, I added all the frames to the wall, eyeballing them as I went and making sure they aligned with the chalk line.  

Eventually I got them all up on the wall.  You can see how some frames (which previously held photographs) were turned on end.  I re-used the large black initials that were previously in the girls' room, and I also added in my fabric 'home is where the heart is' art. 
 You will notice that the frames aren't all perfectly straight at this point, since they are all going to come down and get filled with artwork.  That also gives you a chance to tweak the nails if you need to.

And after the art is added I made sure all the frames were level and used a small square of double stick foam on each frame to make sure they didn't rotate (especially in a room with two kids constantly banging into stuff.)

I used some of my favorite drawings and pages of homework that I have been collecting:

Some of the art is a little more abstract than others, but that is because one of the little artists is only 3! 

 I also considered the idea of constantly upgrading the art as I get new favorites.  This little guy reminded me that fall would soon be here:

I have a sofa table pushed against the wall, and I set up a vignette with some fruit, a plant and a little ceramic rabbit that the girls picked out during that same trip to the thrift store.  They love her (she is a she since she has eyelashes) and eventually I have big plans for her, but for now she can hang out in the playroom. 

Not bad for a couple thrifted frames and a quickie trip to Ikea! 
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