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Friday, March 15, 2013

Next Project- Replacing Siding and Deck Damage

Photos coming soon of this fiasco!  To make a long story short… we have this weekend only to replace the water damaged siding on the back of our house, and the rotted deck boards on our back deck.  Why???  Because we are trying to get this house refinanced and we don’t want to lose our locked in rate.  Such a pain in the you know what!  I was planning on designing and having the King Fish built several raised garden beds for our garden this Spring/Summer.  But that had to be put off.  Ugh! 
So while The King Fish works on that project, I am on Pinterest gathering ideas for our next several projects!  Care to know what we’ll be attempting next?  Well the following are in the running. 
1.  Swap bedrooms so the two oldest boys can finally have their own room, and Small Fry and Munchkin can share a room.  This will probably happen sometime late this summer.  The big guys and I are gathering ideas on Pinterest for how they want to decorate their rooms.  One wants to go all out SPORTS.  At least he is into having a chalkboard wall so he can draw his own sports stuff on their, which will save me on the bright team colors!  He wanted to go Kelly Green and Gold and Orange.  Ummmm….. NOT!  Unless you have a hunting theme or Duck Dynasty.  LOL!  He wants a big cool mural on the wall, and I can see it black and white too.  I think his space will end up looking cool.  The other son wants to go vintage/industrial.  I am very psyched about his room.  He wants to go “”junking” with me at architectural salvage shops,the habitat for humanity re-store, flea markets and yard sales to find the stuff to decorate his room.  A kid right up my alley!  I have an old 1920’s wooden office chair that he can totally borrow (it was my dad’s and who knows where he got it, plus we have an antique typewriter that he could totally use in his space as well.  Music/guitars and old license plates plus industrial lighting will grace his space.  Below are some ideas I’ve been checking out.
chalkboard wall
bedroom mural vintage industrial collage
Guitar mural wall 
license plate art

2.  The second option is to re-do the dining room.  That one “seems” like it would be pretty simple.  But nothing is ever really simple here at our house.  We always seem to start a project and find that it requires more work than we initially thought.  The dining room needs to be reconfigured and a piece of furniture needs to come out.  It is tight in there…..  We use it for a work station for school, and for china storage etc… and for eating whenever we have friends over, which is rare.  Plus it’s where I teach my classes to kids outside the home.  I need more space in there and the table can expand to seat 10 comfortably, but right now it can’t because it’s at an angle.  I need everything back and straightened up.  We would have to change the doorway trim on two doors in the dining room, change the window trim, and then add new boards and batten (but more formal) to the lower part of the walls.  It currently has crown molding and beautiful dental molding that the previous owners did not paint.  So that will have to be done.  Plus, I want to stain the pretty buffet I bought two years ago.  I have no idea what color I will go.  I am leaning toward a sea blue/green.  My friend painted her shutters and door that color and it transformed her house.  Here is the molding I am thinking about for the lower half of the wall.

dining room trim
3.  Third option is to re-do the doorway trim and baseboard molding in the upstairs hallway.  We already have all the paint we need, it would just be a matter of changing out the trim.  I would also love to have the King Fish add crown molding upstairs, but that will probably have to come later…. if I just get the doorways changed and the wall re-painted I will be happy!
4.  The garden is a given.  But I really would like to add raised bed this year.  I think it will make the prep work much easier next year, AND keep the critters like chipmunks etc out of the garden.  Or at least keep most of the critters out.  I was thinking of a couple raised beds like this.  I think if you click on the photo it will take you to a great step by step link of how to build this yourself. 
5.  Finally, What I would really like to do is put a fence around our entire property.  I am really tired of dogs coming into our yard and using it as their personal bathroom.  Plus Munchkin is scared to death of dogs and we have two neighbors in particular whose dogs get out all the time.  I would like to keep them out of our play area.  Plus I think a fence would add character and when combined with the right landscaping…. it can add privacy.  We desperately need privacy in our side yard!  I LOVE the fence below.  It really goes well with the farmhouse type clapboard and it looks just beautiful with the flowering dogwoods that provide some privacy. 
fence landscaping
So there you go!  My dreams for projects for this year.  Not sure if we’ll get all of them done, or maybe one or two.  But I’m having fun on Pinterest gathering a multitude of ideas for when we are ready to move forward! 

Front Entryway Staircase Reveal!

I have been meaning to post this forever…. and tonight seems like the best time.  We are finally finished with the entryway and staircase!  It took us over 2 months to complete the ginormous project!  DIY is not for the faint of heart, especially when you have 4 kids who you also homeschool…..  Yikes!! 
Below are before and after photos of the stairs and some of the entryway…. but unfortunately I took very few before photos of the doors and walls.  I absolutely love the board and batten on the walls and all the new craftsman style door trim.  It adds such character!  And speaking of character, the new coat hooks are very vintage, and I love the toile curtain to hide the shoe storage by the front door.  I think I’ve had that fabric for over 3 years, and have wanted to implement that idea for-ev-ah!  So glad I got around to it.  I totally made that freestyle, and somehow it worked…..  Ha!  Lots of imperfections, but I kept thinking I am not going for perfection here… just pretty.
Okay, so NOW here are the photos… enjoy!
stair remodel 002                stairs finished2
Stairs before                                                  Stairs After
stair remodel 007                    stair remodel 008
These are two doorways with the old builder’s trim.  Paint color swatches on wall… I ended up liking NONE of them. LOL!

molding doorway diningroom New board and batten and trim over dining room doors.

coat rack entry
New trim over homeschool room door, and vintage coat hooks.  Love!

shoe caddy curtain toile
Niche by front door where we store our shoes.  Now hidden by toile fabric.  Pretty!

stairs finished1
Best photo of the stairs, board and batten going up the wall and the door trim. 
Have I mentioned that I LOVE it????  :-) 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ripping carpet from the stairs!

I cannot believe it has been this long since I've blogged.  Those with 4 kids will understand.  Life gets really really busy.  I wish I had the time to write like I used too, but I am homeschooling 3 right now, and teaching an Intro to Spanish class at co-op and a Middle School Literature and Composition class at my home. Not to mention Lego Robotics that just wrapped up!  Our team took 2nd place OVERALL in the state!!  A-Maz-Ing!
Okay, so our family celebrated Christmas, and my one present I asked for was that the carpet be pulled up off the stairs so I could stain them or paint them.  Great idea right?!  Um.... well, unfortunately we did not find anything good under the stairs.  Just builders quality pine boards.  Ugly.  At least it was wood, though.. right? However,  the builders left large gaps between the stairs and the wall.  We were going to have to address some major details.  We weren't going to be able to just sand and slap some stain on these bad boys, no... we had some things to figure out.  (The hard way).
The King Fish didn't want to pull out all the treads, but our stairs squeaked and creaked so badly, that it just made sense to deal with that problem now... rather than leave it.  Gosh he was not very happy! (But it was the right thing to do!--- he even says so .... Now.)
If The King Fish and I are nothing else, we can be resourceful. Unfortunately, we learn a lot by trial and error.  The stairs project has been no exception. Not only did we have the gaps to deal with, but the builders had drywall sandwiched between the stairs and trim.  That needed to come off too if we were going to expose those stairs.  I wish I had a picture of that, but dh was quick to pull it down.
The stairs are thankfully back up, and I am happy to report that they are SQUEAK FREE!  If we don't go a step farther, that was worth it just to have silent wood stairs to climb up and come down. We just not stained or painted yet. My color issues are coming into play again as I realize we have 5 inch cherry planks at the base of the stairs, and I have to watch that the color doesn't go too dark.  So my original stain choice is out the door, and The King Fish is getting new samples as I type. If I end up hating everything and how they look stained, then I am going to paint the stairs with a runner. 
Below are some photos of where we are now in the process, plus some inspiration photos as well. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Vegetable Garden….in loving memory.

For the past two years I have chatted on Facebook with my friend Christina about wanting to plant a garden. I am not the vegetable garden type, or the vegetable loving type for that matter either.  I prefer a potato chip to a vegetable, but that’s another story for another time.  A garden really intrigued me, and I really wanted to try to grow our own food… to be a little more self sustaining.  The problem was I hadn’t the foggiest idea how to go about it.  I am talking clueless!  Picture “city girl trying to do some kind of farm work in the country”.   That would  be me.  Last spring I posted an SOS on my friend’s  wall asking what website to go to to find out what I needed to know.  She sent me a link and encouraged me with this, “Jackie- You can do it!” 
Christina, my Facebook and IRL friend, passed away this past fall unexpectedly.  I wrote about it here.  The weeks and months after her death, I thought about her and the ways in which our lives connected (mostly via the net).  She inspired me in so many area of her life; from having goats and chickens, to making homemade yogurt and bread to having her own vegetable garden.  I wistfully thought of attempting things of that nature…. the things my crunchy, granola, Facebook friend did.  She was so different than me, and yet accepted our differences with ease and grace. 
This year I knew that I would plant a garden.  In my own mind…. in my own way… I knew it would be in memory of her.  She would be really proud of me.  I posted Facebook photos of my little space, and I surely missed her comments that I know would have been there. 
Christina, I did it!  I actually planted a vegetable garden.  You’re still inspiring me to grow and change. 

garden may 2 The corn is growing well, as are the pole beans.
garden may
The garden-hard to see but sweet bell peppers and tomatoes are on the left and strawberries line the right.
garden 004
Small tomato starting to grow…
garden 006
Jabber Jaws spinach that he just had to plant!

garden 008
  Close up of the corn and beans.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


It is hard to believe that it’s been this long since I’ve blogged.  Life is crazy!  Homeschooling my kiddos is busy!  Good, but it keeps me busy and away from this blog.  Oh well, I guess I’ll just update a little at a time, and then maybe I’ll get caught up.
School has gone really well this year.  We are in the final stretch, and trying to complete major projects for the end of the year.  My older boys take outside classes in subjects that I do not excel at…. and so we have a Science Fair project coming up, and a big history presentation.  We also have Finals in both of those subjects as well.  I say “we” because I will be making sure the studying gets done etc.  We will still be doing school through the summer in Math.  The boys will have some vocabulary to finish this summer, and then I am making them do some summer reading.  (I know what a terrible mom!!)  They are going to have to read at least 4 books and they will also be writing papers on them.  It’s not THAT bad, and it will keep their writing skills fresh. 
Small Fry has started K4 this Spring, and will be in K5 next year (here at home).  I am so impressed at how his fine motor skills have improved over the last year.  His gross motor skills have always amazed me, but his fine motor skills seem to have caught up.  He cuts with scissors so well, and his coloring is really good!  His own creative drawing could use some work, but we’ll get there.  I am loving doing the K4 program with him, and how he is learning his vowel sounds and blends.  I have saved both Tiger Shark and Jabber Jaw’s Kindergarten work, so it will be fun to pull it out and compare all three.  (I love that I saved all that!!)  ;-)
Munchkin is wanting to do everything his big brother does, but he can’t.  He loves to color on blank white paper, and will ask to do so every day.  He is also learning all his ABC’s through osmosis I think, because I am not formally doing anything with him.  But he can point to letters and tell me what they are.  Kind of scary really…. he’s only two!  I’ll have to do a separate update on him later, as there is much to tell.
I am winding down this year and thinking about next year too.  I will be doing Abeka’s K5 with Small Fry and I will do some fun Tot stuff with Munchkin.  (Once he stops trying to put everything in his mouth).  I think age 3 will be a good time to start some fun stuff with him.  The big guys will still be taking Science and History outside of the home, which I love!  At home I’ll be using Teaching Textbooks Algebra for math, Easy Grammar and Abeka Grammar and Composition, and some type of Spanish.   I have also planned to teach a middle school boys literature and composition class with some friends.  I am really looking forward to reading some great boy’s literature, and working with them on writing.  Planning my books next month and working out the syllabus.  Love it!  The King Fish and I are also taking a lead role in Lego Robotics next year.  That alone is VERY scary for me.  I can organize, but there is a lot about Robotics that I really don’t know.  Plus it’s at our home.  And I don’t have a very neat or clean home… (just lots and lots of clutter!)  I’m just praying it will be a good experience for everyone involved. 
I guess that’s it for the school update.  I’m sure there is more, but it’s all I have time for.  I’m just glad I can get the Christmas pictures off the front page of my blog!  And speaking of photos.  We lost our camera on our trip to Florida to visit both sets of grandparents.  UGH!  I don’t even know where to look, and I can only hope it will show up in all the clutter.  
Next update:  Home stuff

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Please Consider Helping These Families!

Adeye at No Greater Joy Mom (who I just love!) is trying to help about 20 adopting couples bring their children home. There are some urgent cases, and some where the financial mountain is so huge it's discouraging. So many of these couples are alone in this journey. It is sad to say, but very few churches "get it" concerning adopting, or they don't want to set a precedent in their congregations, and so they do nothing. I hate that. We have experienced that as well. One day I a going to write a post regarding my heart on that issue as well. But not for here....

No I just want you to go to Adeye's blog and view the couples up there who desperately need help. Then consider donating $10 or more. Every little bit helps. You may think, what can $10 do? But believe me it all adds up and immeasurably helps. It might help offset the cost of a plane ticket, or it may help pay visa fees, or passport fees for the new child.

If you donate a minimum of $10 you are also eligible for a drawing at Adeye's blog for a $250 Walmart gift card. I also have a friend who is on there who is trying to adopt a last chance orphan in Russia. He is 16 years old, and will be on the streets soon. He has an 8 year old brother who they are also trying to bring home. The amount they have to raise to adopt these two is staggering. Over $65,000. Crazy! She is also offering a $50 gift card to Target for anyone who donates a minimum of $10 to their adoption. So if you choose to donate to her family, you can leave a comment on her blog, to be in the drawing for a $50 Target gift card.

Whatever you do today, take some time to go to Adeye's blog and view the couples that are on there... and consider helping in whatever way you can!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas Card Photos

Happy New Year from our house to yours!
boys xmas
Josh xmas  zach xmas 2
jon xmas 2
david xmas 4
david xmas 5
jon and zach xmas 2
boys silly xmas
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