Home Improvement | Building a Better Kitchen

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I have a confession. Sometimes, I can’t stand my kitchen. And constantly scrolling through pictures on Instagram or Pinterest of kitchens that are big, bright and beautiful doesn’t help one bit. It can really make a person feel like their kitchen won’t ever measure up unless a wall is torn down, cabinets are put in to the ceiling, or an island is put in.

Now, by no means, do I think my kitchen is terrible. No not at all. It works and does it’s job and it isn’t hideous. Though, I have wanted to update this kitchen since moving in. And now that our dishwasher leaked it’s sort of has pushed that want into it’s time to do it.

Would you change anything about your kitchen? I’m dreaming of soft closed doors and drawers since ours clank around and can be slammed shut. Also, this house lacks ample storage space and the kitchen is no exception to that. So, when a previous owner put in metal pull outs, while a good idea, it took away space for storage. I gave so much of my kitchen items to Goodwill and Salvation Army due to the lack of storage when we moved in!

They say putting your money in your kitchen has shown to be one of the best investments you can make in your home. Have you guys looked into getting your kitchen renovated? It’s astounding at how expensive a project can be. Even when you are just replacing the cabinets and countertops.

We have been thinking we would add cabinetry to what is intended to be used as a breakfast nook. This will help to solve one of the issues with this house, being the lack of storage space. Also, since the ceilings are 10 ft, using 42″ upper cabinets instead of the 30″ cabinets we currently have will not only look nice, they’ll add more storage space.

I am finding that the biggest hold up with actually beginning a kitchen remodel isn’t even that I would lose the use of the kitchen. It’s actually the cost. Quite a few of the companies we met with to get an estimate have been pushing us to get rid of the peninsula and put in an island and/or tear down the wall separating the kitchen from the dining room.

You don’t have to have an open floor plan to have a beautiful home. It is possible to make a home “too” open. Oh, and a kitchen with an island is very nice but don’t just put one in to put it in.

So, what if you have a limited budget or what if you’re just not wanting to spend a lot to update your kitchen. I mean no offense to those who gave us quotes, but I just can’t see myself ever spending the averaged $26,000 to just replace the cabinets. Oh, and no that doesn’t include them removing the existing cabinets and countertops.

Perhaps because we recently looked at homes, I think as long as your kitchen looks nice and clean, no one is going to care entirely to see who made the cabinets or where they came from.

One evening while scrolling through Pinterest, I noticed an advertisement for various companies that sale pre-assembled cabinets and ready to assemble cabinets. It got my gears going and I started watching YouTube videos on how to install cabinets.

You probably think I’m crazy and possibly I am and I’m being over confident in my ability to do this job, but I really think my husband and I can do this. I mean we know how to use a drill, how hard can it be?

We plan on doing the demo ourselves, as far as getting rid of the existing countertops and cabinets go. We may have to call in someone to take down the bar top and make the peninsula one height.

We have decided to test this out and document everything. Also, to help any of you out there that may be considering this route. This way you can know if someone whom has absolutely no experience can really do something like this. And if so, what and how they did it.

We’re in the design and exploring companies phase right now. I’m trying to get as much information on as many companies as I can and I’ll share what I find out with you.

A lot of of these companies I’m finding offer samples which I highly recommend you getting. This way you can touch and compare and see what you would actually be buying. That’s where we are in this stage. It’s beginning to get very exciting.

Stay tuned and check out my instagram @jessicasmith.319, where I’ll post more in the moment pictures and ask for advice when it comes to picking out options such as cabinet style, color, hardware, light fixtures, and more .

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Salmon Dinner| Ginger Teriyaki Salmon with Coconut Rice and Broccoli

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Are family dinners a thing of the past? At our house, we try to always have a family dinner each night. Though some nights when my husband works late, it unfortunately doesn’t happen. But, when we do get to sit down together and have dinner, it’s such a great way for us to catch up and bond. Hopefully, we keep this tradition going on even when our girls get older.

On either Saturday or Sunday evening for dinner, we usually have a bit more of a heartier meal. It’s a no rules I can have a bit of a splurge and eat what I want.

This past Sunday, I made a ginger teriyaki Salmon with broccoli and coconut rice. It’s fairly easy to make. And if you live nearby a Publix, I highly recommend using their ginger teriyaki finishing sauce. That’s what I used and it turned out amazing. So, that helped tremendously with cutting back on time.


  • 4 cups of white rice
  • ~1 lb of salmon
  • Publix’s Ginger Teriyaki Finishing Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp. Of margarine I used the one with coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 7 ounces of broccoli
  • Salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Take your salmon and rub the olive oil all over and then sprinkle salt and pepper on top.
  3. While the oven was pre-heating, I began cooking the rice and when finished drain the rice.
  4. Place salmon in the oven for roughly 15 minutes- it will depend on how thick your salmon is.
  5. For the rice, melt the coconut oil, margarine, and sugar together over low to medium heat.
  6. Add the rice to the mixture and mix completely.
  7. In another pan, cook the chopped broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper.
  8. For the last 5 minutes on the salmon in the oven, verify that the salmon is almost done to your likeness and then add the ginger teriyaki finishing sauce.
  9. Prepare your plates and enjoy!

Home Decor| Baby Girl’s Paris Nursery

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Ok, so one advantage of having your children close together- especially if they are the same gender- is you can save money by passing on what the first child used on to the second. And guess what? That’s just what I did with my girls!

Our youngest daughter’s bedroom had carpet in it. In fact, we’re pretty sure it was the original carpet from when the home was built in 2003!

With that said, we knew we wanted to probably put the wood plank tile in the entire house when we were looking into flooring options and what to replace the existing flooring with.

Do you or anyone in your family suffer from sensitive skin or allergies? Tile is a great choice for a multitude of reasons. It can help reduce allergies, asthma, and ease eczema- which is what me and my girls suffer from. Another added bonus to tile is it can even help to keep your electric bill lower by keeping your home cooler.

So, we got rid of the carpet and had the wood plank tile installed into her room. It has actually helped tremendously with her eczema. Cleaning is also much more convenient too!

Installing the wood plank tile in this room along with a new paint color has truly transformed and even brightened the room. I painted the walls what ended up becoming my favorite gray out of the entire house, Sherwin William’s Repose Gray. If you’re in need of a light, airy gray take a look at Repose Gray. I also painted the ceiling Repose Gray but had it lightened by 20%.

If you live near a Home Goods and you’ve never been to one, you are missing out. I love periodically walking around Home Goods to see what neat things I can find. That’s where I found the Paris canvas and suitcase from. I think both look great in her room.

I initially found this rug online at Pier 1 but debated back and forth on whether or not to spend the amount of money they were asking for it. Partly because, I knew this rug wouldn’t always stay clean with very young children at home. So, I decided to search other sites for rugs.

Well, one night as I was looking on Overstock.com, I could not believe what I came across. The exact same rug from Pier 1 was on Overstock.com. And even more amazing, it was a bit cheaper on Overstock.com than what it was selling for on Pier 1. I purchased the rug and I am so glad I did. I think it really complements the room.

We ditched the black drapes that were left here when we purchased the home. I got this single gray one from Pottery Barn, then took a white ribbon and tied a bow. I had the pink flower with a clip on it but it’s super easy to replicate. Just go to any craft store that sells silver clips and flowers. Then you just need super glue and you attach the silver clip to the back of the flower. Super easy and is a budget friendly decorating idea.

Let me know your thoughts and if you have any questions just ask!

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Paleo Coconut Cranberry Drop Cookies

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By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the paleo diet. And if you haven’t, it’s a great diet that you can fairly easily introduce into your life. Trust me on this one, I’m not the best at sticking to diets.

I started on this diet during my first pregnancy after wanting to eat healthier for my child and myself. I must say I am so happy I did!

For those of you that don’t know, a paleo diet consists of high protein and low to no intake of carbohydrates, sugars, and processed oils. So, in more simpler terms, you just need to cut out breads, chips, sugars, and the unhealthy oils such as vegetable oil. By no means does this mean the end of enjoyment of food for you! You realistically can find healthier paleo alternatives to replace those items with.

Also, if you’re a busy mom like myself, or anyone for that matter who is pressed for time, I highly recommend doing your grocery shopping online at Publix. They use Instacart that does the grocery shopping for you and then delivers your groceries right to your door! This has saved me so much time and headache I would get from doing my shopping in store with two toddlers.

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Another great thing about these cookies, is they are super easy to make.


1 egg

3 tbsp. Maple Syrup

2tbsp. Melted Coconut

1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp. Baking soda

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/2 cup dried cranberries


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract together.
  3. Add almond flour and baking soda to mixture and mix well.
  4. Add shredded coconut and dried cranberries mixing well.
  5. Makes roughly 10-12 cookies. I sort of just eyeball them
  6. Bake in the oven for 9-10 minutes, then let them cool down completely.
  7. I store them in the fridge but they don’t have to be.
  • You can swap the shredded coconut and cranberries for other comparable mix-ins or whatever you’re in the mood for. I hope you enjoy them and let me know your thoughts and if you try them out!
  • Home Remodeling| Dining Room Inspiration

    *This page contains affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you use those links. I will only recommend brands I use and trust.

    As we approach our 1 year anniversary of closing on our first home, I thought it would be a great time to share the progress of what we have done so far. I decided to start off by sharing one of my favorite rooms, the dining room.

    Though there’s still more I would like to do with this room, it has come a long way since we moved in. Unfortunately, it didn’t occur to me to take many before pictures until after we had started a lot of our work. So, I will do my best to describe and post a before picture when possible.

    When we first moved in, our dining room had a trim that ran up the walkway entrance on each side. That trim had been there since the home was built. Grapes and vines were engraved along it and the trim was quite outdated. Removing the trim was the first thing we did in this home, and I’m so glad we did.

    We also painted the walls in the dining room. I went with a neutral gray, Sherwin William’s Agreeable Gray, for the walls. If you haven’t searched for a gray paint, let me forewarn you, there are many different grays to choose from. Also, if you’re lost on choosing a gray paint color, Agreeable Gray is a good neutral gray with a hint of warm undertone to go with. I’m glad I went with this color as it really helped to give the home a fresh, lighter and neutral feel. We also painted the ceiling in the dining room and used Sherwin William’s Agreeable Gray but had it lightened by 20%.

    I’ll admit I was apprehensive at first to paint the ceiling a non-white color but seeing the results I’m so glad I didn’t go with white. Lightening the paint color for the ceiling helped to give it a subtle change along with making the walls appear a bit taller than they really are.

    In January, our dishwasher leaked and ruined the wood flooring that was in the home. This caused us to replace the flooring in the majority of our home. So far we’ve replaced the flooring in all the rooms with the exception of the bathrooms. When it came to choosing flooring to replace the wood flooring with, we decided on a wood look porcelain tile.

    We went with a tile since it’s more durable especially with children that are constantly spilling their drinks. Now that we have tile in our home, I’m no longer stressing over racing to clean up spilled milk or juice! We also chose a neutral colored wood tile that would give more options when it came to picking out different furniture colors and tones.

    I purchased the table and chairs from World Market and it’s a favorite piece of furniture in my entire house.

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    Overall, I love what we’ve done with this room so far. Stay tuned for more updates and let me know your thoughts!