Monday, December 21, 2015

Fall 2015

Hello!  I hope everyone is doing well.  We've been sick off and on since late October or early November, but as of right now, everyone is back on top.  I hope and pray we stay that way for a while!

A few months ago we caravaned to Ikea with my family to get a few things including and most importantly a new dining table.  The seven of us have been eating around the same little table that Jeff and I bought as newly weds many moons ago.  I'll be keeping that table in the same little corner of the house because it works well for crafts and school and has so many great memories etched into its top.  Now we gather around a table that seats up to twelve which means each kid gets their very own chair!  They're loving that but I kind of miss all of us crowding around the little table, sitting elbow  to elbow with them.

We broke it in on Thanksgiving and plan to fill it up again on Christmas so we're already making great memories at this table too.

I've recently been on a crazy crocheting jag where I crocheted chargers for each of our Thanksgiving dinner plates then declared to the children that there shall be only crocheted ornaments allowed on the Christmas tree this year.

I did eventually allow glass bulbs and a few candy canes on the tree, BUT THAT'S IT!  Everything else must be crocheted.  That's just the kind of mood I'm in.

I made gingerbread houses for everyone to decorate this year and my palms were bruised and sore for a couple of days afterward from rolling out all that dough.  This is something my mom has done a lot of for everyone and I had no idea it was so physically demanding, but I could just be wimpy.

Last week Jeff built this breakfast bar out of a huge, solid piece of mahogany that friends gave us years ago. We've been lugging it around with from house to house waiting for just the right project and this was finally it.  I couldn't be happier with it.  He ran metal pipes into the wall and then into holes he drilled in the back of wood to give it a floating look.  He's so creative! 

Now for some really exciting news...we have a second bathroom!!!


There's still some work to do but the toilet and sink are functional which are the most important parts to us.  We'll be tiling the wall behind the sink and there's trim and the shower to finish.

You have to walk through a small construction zone to get to it which makes it too scary for the little girls to use when it gets dark but I'm okay with that.  Less sharing that way.

Oh, and one more very exciting thing is mostly done...the deck has a roof!

Those are all the major updates on the house I can think of so till next time, Merry Christmas!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hardwood floor dilemas

Summer went by waaaay too fast.  This month started my 12th year of homeschooling and now all five of my babies are in school.  It breaks my heart.  It's the end of another era for me as a mother and I miss having actual babies and toddlers and preschoolers in my house but there are perks to having only kids that can communicate coherently and get their own dadgum snacks.  Really, heh-heh, those are the two biggest perks.  Mamas with little ones, savor every moment, even the sticky, stinky, exhausting ones because it passes by so quickly whether or not you're enjoying it so you might as well soak it all in and enjoy it.

Besides schooling, we've been eating a lot of veggies lately.  Madison loves, loves, loves to garden. It's right up there with painting in her book and every day this summer, and still now, she spends time tending to her huge garden.  She has brought in loads and loads of vegetables, a grocery bag full, every day. Everything she has grown this year has been delicious and we really hate seeing the growing season end.  Well, except for Sophia, she does not like vegetables.

This is only a portion of the produce that we have at the moment.  There's more in the freezer and all over the kitchen counters.  Yesterday, she brought in a THIRTY POUND watermelon!  The watermelons she grew this year have been fantastic.  (The pretty potted flowers in the background are also Madison's doing.)

This month Sophia and Evelyn turned six and eight.  Thankfully, that's still young enough that I get to do all the baking for their birthday's. I always combine their birthdays to keep myself from too much baking in one month but I still manage to get a little bit carried away and make more than necessary.  I had so much fun decorating sugar cookies for them, especially the ice cream cone cookies.

Okay, now onto the housey stuff.  A while back we finished the spare bedroom upstairs and I'll show you the pictures in a second.  It's the first room in the house that is completely finished (except for one light switch cover).  It makes us feel like there is hope for this place yet; although, we're seeing that it would take a miracle for the house to get finished by the end of the year.  Time, energy, and drive are resources that are hard to come by so we continue to plod along slowly.

For the floor we used low odor, water based polyurethane on unstained tavern grade oak flooring and I absolutely LOVE the way it looks.  However, the polyurethane caused some pretty bad allergic reactions in a few of us that forced us to come up with a new, safer plan for the future floors.  We decided to try pure tung oil mixed with citrus solvent on the next floor we did as our safer alternative and I'm not loving the way it looks...but it's safer.  Now I'll show you the two to compare.

This is the tung oiled floor in our upstairs living room/craft room/school room/play room...I don't really know what I'll use this room for yet.   It takes a month to fully cure and we're a bit over half way there.  The color keeps lightening ever so slightly but it's just too dark and rustic looking for my taste...but it's safer. Behind the door is the finished bed-now-storage-room with lighter, more contemporary and glorious floors that I love, love, love.

You can see the big difference in colors between the two floors and the lighter floor only accentuates the aspects I don't love about the tung oiled floor...that's safer (lest we forget).

If I were more dedicated to my blogging craft I would have taken pictures of the bedroom before we shoved it full of crap but evidently I am not.  Below is the only portion of wall that isn't hidden behind piles of stuff (because I moved said stuff for the picture).

And while I'm showing you bad photos of my house, I might as well show you the other side of the room I have yet to purpose.  (For the record, I would like it to be a second living room which would be way more fun to decorate than any of the other more reasonable/useful options.)

You and kind of see that this room is in a large dormer which is why it has such an unusual shape. Jeff almost didn't build the dormers which would have meant the upstairs would have been one long, dark, narrow room with one little window at the end.  I asked for dormers a few of times in the drawing stages and Jeff always said it would be too much work, time, and money so, no.  Then while he was framing the addition with the help of JJ, who must be his very-best-friend-in-the-world-in-all-times-ever!!!, JJ suggested building dormers and Jeff thought it seemed like a pretty good idea so they did. Now every.single.time we're in that room Jeff says, "Can you believe we almost didn't build these dormers?!"  Sigh.  Thank the Lord for good friends. 

So that you can get a feel for what I'm talking about, below is an outside picture of the back of the house. Can you imagine that as one long room with only one little window???  Also, please don't judge us based on the level of redneckedness you see in the picture.  Aw, who am I kidding.  It's really much worse than what you can see here.  You should see an aerial view of our house, it's really sad. If you look closely at the background in the birthday picture you'll get a glimpse of what I'm talking about.  Home sweet home, gotta love it!!  :)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Project wall

We moved out of the living room and back into the old part of the house.  I resisted that move as long as I could, probably too long, but now we're back in a good working grove and we have very defined goals to keep us on track.  We have six months left on our construction loan so we made a project board on the living room wall with post its to help us stay focused.  We are a list loving couple.

And now my living room looks like this...

Here's a side by side of the transition.

Pretty impressive before and after if I do say so myself.

A few years ago, back when lockers were all the rage, Jeff brought me several including a big set that we never got around to fixing up till just recently.  He stripped and repainted them for me and put them in the hall by the back door for us to use as shoe storage.

Jeff wasn't thrilled with the color I chose but I think it's a lot of fun and I know lockers are so 2010 but still, I LOVE them!  Kids dirty shoes have been the bane of my existence for years.  They were like a terrible infestation and I would continually consoled myself by saying they're just signs of all the precious kids that live here.  While that was very soothing and I was usually pretty good at overlooking them EVERYWHERE, I've got to say, I do not miss always seeing the shoes!  At some point down the road we may case them in with wood to give them a built in look.

I made a little video the other day, just for fun and one of the clips is of the kids painting mugs for themselves with ceramic paint.  I think they turned out so cute!

Right now, between typing sentences, I'm helping Jeff plank the walls in one of the upstairs bedrooms which is just one of the 154 post it notes on the project wall.

I set up a little blogging work area for myself nearby.  I like to keep the kids red play phone handy while I work in case I need to make an important pretend phone call.  It just makes it feel more official that way.

Here's the video documenting bits of an ordinary day for us if you're interested.  Just be sure to take your dramamine first because it's a little rough.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Erin's bridal shower

Erin's shower has already come and gone.  :(  
But, it was a lot of fun and will hopefully make for some sweet memories for Erin.  :)  

We ate lots of sweets.

I didn't get a close up of the macarons or the amazing cake Jennifer made...and I can't stop kicking myself!  The cake was a lemon bundt with a lavender glaze and sprinkled with lavender buds.  It was soooo good and flowery and feminine and perfect for a girly party.  

She also made lavender sachet party favors out of vintage style hankies that filled the house with the heavenly scent of lavender.  Last night I slept with mine on my bedside table right next to my face and it was divine.

Tanner, Erin's fiance, stopped in before the shower.  I'm sure he would have loved to stay but you know the rules...he had to spend the afternoon with the guys and kids...elsewhere.

But not before he got a little snuggle time on Erin's lap.  Silly boy.  :)

We all spent a few hours together playing silly games and razzing Erin as she open each of her gifts.  It was a lingerie shower so all the gifts were really more for Tanner but Erin is a great sport with a good sense of humor. We also loved pouring out an abundance of gratuitous advice.  There were a lot of years worth of experiences and successful marriages represented in my living room yesterday and I pray that God preserves and blesses Erin and Tanners marriage just as much.

After the party was over the guys and kids came back and we ended the night with a simple meal of sandwiches and chips while my mom danced in the dining room to bluegrass music with every willing dance partner in the house.  Wish I had a picture of that too.  Good times.  :)

Today is turning out the be the laziest day I've had in a long time.  Overnight we got buried in snow and it's still coming down so I declared it a snow day and canceled school.  The kids and I are still in our pajamas at noon and we're eating leftover chocolates as I type.  Today I'm mom of the year.

I cleaned up and took a few pictures of the living room this morning because, naturally, I forgot to yesterday.

We're taking the next two weeks off from working on the house but after the wedding we plan to move everything back out of the living room, chandelier and all, and get back to work.  The living room has been our work room with a table saw as the centerpiece and that's worked out really well, so I only get to enjoy this room like it is for a little while.  That's not so bad though because up next will be the new bathroom.  Yippee!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Battle of the sexes

Last month Isaiah and I celebrated our birthdays with a camo theme.  Jeff gave me a big bouquet of pretty flowers and as bright and colorful as they were they just couldn't balance out the camouflage.

It's every woman's dream is to celebrate her birthday with camouflage.

That really is what you want though when you share your birthday with the sweetest boy on the planet!

Madison tried jumping in at the last second to blow out a few of his candles for him but she was a little too late.  So much love!

We bought a wood stove last month too since the house has doubled in size and the pellet stove doesn't quite cut it anymore.  It's a dream come true for Jeff.  At first I wasn't too excited about having another stove in the house because they always look like they belong on a train or in a man's hunting shack deep in the woods or used for repelling women but I went along with the idea and started looking for a stove I like.  Turns out they only exist in Europe and cost an arm and a leg.  So we agreed on the simplest looking American made stove we could find and then I went to work trying to figure out a way to pretty it up.

Our first fire.

I figured we needed a visual distraction from the newest train like unit in the house and decided on cement tiles.  I've loved them since I first laid eyes on them.  They're so unique and beautiful they're more like art!  You know how you're not supposed to overwhelm newborns with too much color and light because it overwhelms their senses?  That's what happens to me when I'm fabric shopping or hunting for the perfect tiles.  I love them the point that my head starts spinning and I feel like I'm going to have a stroke or something.  Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest decisions of my life.  I felt like the bachelorette and I had to eliminate all kinds of gorgeous tiles from the competition.  

Wouldn't it be nice if that's really as hard as life ever got?  I finally settled on these beauties and Jeff and I got to work installing them.  They're a little trickier to work with than normal tiles but easier than we expected them to be.

Ahhh.  Now I actually love it!  (And so does Jeff.  Win, win!)

My sister's bridal shower is coming up this weekend so between coats of paint and chop sawing (I've learned how to use many a power tool lately) I've been baking things like these adorable French macarons.  I can't wait for her shower!  I told my other sister I'm going to be lost and sad once the shower is over and Jeff wonders if I'm actually doing all this for Erin or for myself.  Hmmm...both.  It's too much fun not to enjoy the whole process.

This is the current state of the room we're having the shower in in 5 days so I need to get crackin'! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Happy New Year!

An update is way past due but I'm in the midst of the busiest time of my life...and loving it.  Most days we hit the ground running and fall in bed at night exhausted but out of all the houses we've either built or remodeled this one has been my favorite so we're really having a lot of fun.  This one really feels like home.  It's a little quirky and unusual but I think that's one of the things I love about it most and out of all the houses we've lived in I'm sure this will be the one the kids will have the fondest memories of when they're grown.  

It seems like every time I turn around it's someone's birthday or another holiday is upon us.  We'll be celebrating Isaiah's 10th birthday and my 40th this weekend and in my blogging absence we celebrated Madison's sweet 16th as well as a slew of holidays.

 Madison made a fun cake with sea foam candy that we saw on a cooking show a few years ago.

This is the look of shock and horror that Isaiah would have the nerve to blow out a few of the candles for her!  Ha, ha!  Oh to have a brother.  I wouldn't know what that's like as I only have sisters but I think my girls would say he's mostly fun...except when he blows out your birthday candles for you.  He's blown out my birthday candles every year since he was born and I happen to think its pretty sweet that I'll forever be 29.

Over Thanksgiving we had a puny little pup.  Chili developed bladder stones and had to wear a catheter, diaper and a the cone of shame as well as take lots of meds for two weeks.  We decided to have him neutered too, just to add insult to injury.

We took him to the vet four or five times in just about as many days and his little eyes were so bloodshot from exhaustion.  Once all that was over with he slept most of the time for a few weeks and he just now seems to be back to normal...but so much sweeter.  That must be why they call neutering getting "fixed".

A couple of days before Christmas Jeff and the kids went out into the woods to hunt down the perfect tree which I guess actually required a gun for some reason. 

The kids spent the better part of a day crafting and decorating the tree which only spent four or five days in the house before it had to come down to make way for the new stairs.

You have no idea how excited we all were about this particular part of the project!  It's sooo nice to be able to take the stairs instead of the ladder.  Stairs are always complicated for us to design and build but they came out perfectly.  Jeff's so smart!

As much as we are absolutely loving being able to walk easily up and down the stairs, as opposed to climbing the ladder, I don't think anyone is nearly as excited about it as Chili!  He watched Jeff glue and nail down every single tread.  It was the funniest thing to see him run up and inspect each one like he knew he would finally be able to get upstairs all by himself once this was done.

Now he runs up and down the stairs checking on everyone.  This has been a dream come true for the little guy.

We've been nailing up planks and filling in holes which is a pretty fast process and so gratifying to see.

My goal is to have window trim, paint and lights in the living room before my sister's bridal shower next month and it's starting to look like we're going to make it if we keep hustling.

There goes Chili to check on things upstairs.

And speaking of upstairs, It's mostly wired and insulated but we're putting anymore work up there on hold till after the shower unless we finish the living room early.

As for the exterior, we got a lot done before it turned cold but still have some siding to do and the deck and wrap around roof still aren't done.  We've got a lot of work ahead of us still but we've come so far since we started the add on.

Happy 2015 everyone!