Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Boys' Room Reveal

For about the past month the boys have been sleeping in the living room and I've been moving their mattresses back and forth from my room twice a day.


Oh- 'cause I got this crazy idea that there was a lot of wasted space in their bedroom up near the ceiling and decided they needed a bed-loft, demolished the top half of their closet and turned their room into a construction zone.

Random piece of advice: when you take down or demolish drywall, please cover the carpet with something, anything or you will be vacuuming drywall dust and pieces out of your carpet for pretty much the rest of your life or until you replace the carpet.

Sunday night was their first night back in their room and they were thrilled. And I'm thrilled (I have my living room back!) and it turned out so cool.

First though, a history of this bedroom.

When we moved in, I had an affinity for painted stripes and bright colors.

A little later the room was painted all yellow (sorry, couldn't find a picture but it's the same yellow as above only all over).

Little kids, who shall remain nameless, decided to draw all over their walls, so I went with the easiest fix (and liking to paint and wanting a change); I let the kids pick the wall color.

They chose "Spring Leaf Green".  Oh my was it bright.

Other little kids, younger siblings of kids that shall remain nameless, also decided to draw all over the walls; we went back to yellow and yellow it stayed until "Momma got her crazy idea".

Their room is now grey, I'm hoping it hides pencil marks and dirt a lot better. Not only is it grey though, it has one of the coolest bed-lofts ever.

 View from the door:

 Two twin mattresses fit end to end along the wall and the twin bed on the ground has a trundle bed underneath it as well so we have room for grandparents or guests.

 And still room to play and keep things organized.

I just have to brag that I have a wonderful husband who puts up with my crazy ideas, acts as a consultant to my limited, though growing, construction knowledge, helps out on occasion and does not run from the house when I tell him I have another idea. I am so very thankful for him.

Now I just need my own set of tools. : )

Saturday, July 21, 2012


It's been a year.

Actually it's been 12 days over a year.

Since what?

Since I decided that for one year I would not buy myself any clothes.

I decided that I would make do or do without.

And I'd say that overall it was a success.

But here are my confessions; my failures if you will.

Three items in which my money exchanged hands for clothing articles for myself.

And as anyone can guess, I have my excuses.

First Failure Item: White Shoes
   I found these at a garage sale for $1 about two weeks after I started this challenge.  Two weeks in and I failed, but seriously, how often do you find brand new shoes in women's size 10 for $1!  Some deals are way too good to pass up.

Second Failure Item:  Purple Maternity Shirt
   Goodwill purchase at the end of February not long after finding out that baby number 5 was on it's way. It was on sale for $2.50.

Third Failure Item: Grey Athleta Skirt
   Garage Sale purchase in June. $1.  I've gotten the Athleta catalog in the mail before, this is a $30 skirt and I've worn it at least twice a week since I purchased it.  I think comfy skirts are a must when you're pregnant and I was lacking in the comfy skirt department.

The total for my failures is $4.50.  Not bad for a year.

So how did I make it? Well, luckily I have two sisters that give me hand-me-downs and buy me clothes for Christmas and my birthday.  I also asked Erik for a sweatshirt for Christmas and I did end up making myself a few things from fabric in my craft closet.

And it helped that I got pregnant in January and I've been able to dig out my tub of maternity clothes; it's like a whole new wardrobe!

So am I desperate to go on a shopping spree?


Still don't have the money to do that, and I've learned that I can be creative if there's something lacking in my wardrobe. Though the last dress I tried to make didn't end up turning out like I planned so I may be searching for a comfy maxi dress....they've got some great maternity ones at Old Navy. :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"We Can Fold All Our Clothes!"

 Hannah is very excited to have a place other than a laundry basket on the floor to put all her clothes.

A month ago or so my mother in law sent us a little money to find a dresser for the girls' room. So I've been scouring craigslist and garage sales and Cart'm. Cart'm came through again.

Found this beauty last Friday and put a hold on it, then changed my mind and called and had them take the hold off but I kept thinking about it this weekend and so I dragged the kids there when they opened Monday morning, praying that it would still be there.

It was, and it was only $20.

Next stop, the fabulous Salt and Paper in Manzanita for a roll of fun wrapping paper (inspiration from this blog and this one), then a dig through the leftover paint in the shed. I used the same paint that's on the wall in the girls' room; "Australian Morning", or as Hannah was describing it to our neighbor Karen, "It's like the color of your foundation only not dirty."  (it's a gray/green).

A little Modge Podge to put the wrapping paper on the drawers and voila!
An adorable dresser for the girls for just under $25.

If Marilyn finds a marker and draws on it I might cry.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chicken Coop

 The chicken coop is finally done! Painted and run enclosed completely. And there are chicks in there!

 These big doors on the front open all the way up for ease of cleaning. And the little door is for everyday use by the chick-a-lickies (as Marilyn calls them).
 We've got Australorps, Buff Orpingtons and Reds. Seeing as we can't tell each bird apart, all the blacks are "Blackberry", all the reds are "Cinnamon" and all the Yellows are "Honey".
They've hit their awkward stage.
They have yet to venture down the ramp but they sure like to crowd around the open door. The Australorps...Blackberries...seem to be the most adventuresome so I'm betting they'll be the first ones out.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Garden Pictures

 The sun has still been shining and I've spent many afternoon hours in the garden and yard slowly checking things off my to-do list. It's been oh so much fun! 
The above picture is taken from the garden gate.
The one below from the opposite corner.
Tomatoes are the only thing planted at this moment; the rest of the seeds should be going in this weekend.
 Mother's Day for me was spent in the garden with a hammer and a pile of bricks. It was lovely. The little brick patio here will someday have a bench or a chair and a table. It is surrounded by chives and herbs.
 The garden shed has been painted and one shelf has been installed.
 The pallet compost area is set up and doing it's duty of containing the weeds pulled from various parts of the yard.
The chicken coop is still not done, but it's on my list.
 Blueberries are within the brick edging, surrounded for now by tomato cages so Quincy doesn't run them over.
 And see that large hydrangea in front of the window? Erik saved it from the job he's working on now. I'm hoping it survives the transplant!

Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


I feel like I want to tell you everything that's been happening in the last few weeks.

Either that or I want to tell you next to nothing.

I'm so tired tonight, but I feel like I should blog; it's been awhile.

This sunshine is glorious, and it's wearing me out because I feel that I must "make hay while the sun still shines" or get all the yard work done before it starts raining again.  I've weeded flower beds, planted blueberries, worked on the chicken coop (it's still not done), tilled and limed and tilled the garden again, moved fences and ...and... oh, "built" or set up a yard debris compost area out of pallets.

Pictures may or may not be forth coming.

In the midst of all of this outdoor fun we have been changing our diet. Turns out both boys have some level of immune allergic response to wheat/gluten and dairy. And thus left all my filler foods.  I've been learning to bake gluten free, we switched the whole family to gluten free (easier that way) and we've been going through produce like crazy. We don't do baked goods all that often now, and we all agree that our guts feel much more stable/ settled throughout the day, though we never felt terrible before.

Thus this is the first pregnancy where I've actually lost weight while pregnant! Usually I just start gaining but without all my favorite breads, biscuits and pancakes I've actually lost 4 or 5 pounds. I find it amusing.  Oh and if you missed it, baby #5 is due beginning of October.  Just a few weeks shy of half way there!

If it's sunny tomorrow I may paint the garden shed. Or mark off my planting beds. Or move brick or rock.  Or maybe I'll just sit and take a day off. Nah. Or I could take some pictures for you...

Oh, the green and the blooming and the green and the flowers and the green and the growing! I love this time of year.

 I hope you've been able to enjoy some spring wherever you are!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Love My Kids

My kiddos made up for being adorable yesterday by being squirrel-y today.

I won't tell you about today.

But I will let you in on the adorable.

Yesterday morning I put Marilyn's new dress from Lynn and Kathie on her, she was standing on a chair. Clayton was eating his morning snack and looked up, "Marilyn, you look bee-you-ti-ful."
to which Marilyn replied, "It's my birthday dress. I want to give you a hug, 'cause you don't like kisses."
Clayton nodded his head, set down his orange and started wiping his hands on his pajama pants.
Marilyn cocked her head to the side and pulled one of her half smiles, "What are you doing?"
Clayton: "I don't want to get your dress dirty."
Marilyn hopped down and they gave each other a huge hug.

The adorableness was not limited to the younger two either:

I was singing at church so we were there for both services. Hannah and Ivan came upstairs for worship second service and were sitting in the back with a friend. In one of the songs the line was, "We stand and lift up our hands" and I looked back to see Hannah singing as loud as she could with one hand straight up in the air. Ivan was standing on the pew behind her and even though he had his arms crossed his mouth was open wide singing as loud as he could as well.

This momma's heart was pretty full.

Then there was today. They were, like I said, pretty squirrel-y today.
But it wasn't so bad; I figured it was coming.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What I'm Learning

I've been reading a lot lately. Every once in a while I pick up the "Little House" books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and reread them. I think this is maybe the 10th time I've read through the series.

They're like an old friend. And I learn something new, or find a new treasure each time I read them. As I was finishing "These Happy Golden Years" the other day Hannah came into my room and hemmed and hawed a little bit and then asked, "Could I try reading the first one all by myself?" ( I read them out loud to her last year.)

"Sure." I answered, trying to contain my glee.

I am happy to announce that after two days she has finished "Little House in the Big Woods" and is ready to start "Little House on the Prairie". This momma is excited.

Instead of reading "The First Four Years" this time though I pulled off my shelf the biography "Laura: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder" by Donald Zochert and devoured that.

And that's where I found my treasure this time, pg. 207 (emphasis mine):

"One day Laura and Almanzo sat by a cozy fire in the parlor at Rocky Ridge and complained good-naturedly to each other that there was not time for anything in life except work. They thought back on the days when people always seemed joyful and happy. 'I was wishing, ' Laura remarked, 'that I had lived altogether in those good old days when people had time for the things they wanted to do.'
For a long time Almanzo was silent. Then he spoke up, remembering all the work Father Wilder had had to do on the farm and all the work Mother Wilder had had to do in the house. There was so much work it didn't stop at supper or sundown, but carried over into darkness. Laura thought back to the way Ma so often sat rocking by the fire, sewing or knitting long into the evening, when the world outside had fallen into silence and darkness- not because she wanted to, but because the work was there to be done.
'Surely,' Laura thought, 'the days and nights were as long as they ever were. Why should we need extra time in which to enjoy ourselves? If we expect to enjoy our life we will have to learn to be joyful in all of it, not just at stated intervals, when we can get the time, or when we have nothing else to do...A feeling of pleasure in a task seems to shorten it wonderfully and it makes a great difference with the day's work if we get enjoyment from it instead of looking for all our pleasure altogether apart from it, as seems to be the habit of mind we are more and more growing into.' "

Oh lately the days have seemed tedious and the tasks at hand overwhelming, and some of that is the emotional state I find myself in nowadays (darn pregnancy hormones). And I've been waiting for mini breaks and moments of time in the day to try and enjoy myself instead of finding the enjoyment were and when I can. Mostly cooking has become a chore because I haven't found enjoyment in it lately. Worried that maybe we're eating too much of this and not enough of that and should we be eating this or is it healthier to eat that? Those worries have crowded out the enjoyment of being able to cook, of being thankful for the ingredients and the food that surrounds me. For being thankful that I can choose what we are going to eat and that we can eat. Tonight I was so overwhelmed and on the verge of tears that Erik sent me to bed for a little while and we had yogurt with peaches and bananas for dinner. And I laid in bed and read that passage above. And I did cry and then I felt better and a little more hopeful.

Apply it how you will, but I'm going to work on enjoying life, even when it's 5pm and I don't have anything ready for dinner.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Head Wounds

Yesterday morning right before we left for church we heard Ivan come sobbing from his room, "I bunked my head."

And we turned to see blood dripping down his face.

He split his head open, right above the hairline. It's not very deep and is holding together nicely with butterfly bandages.

I am so thankful for a husband who has gone through the First Responders class with the Fire Department. Ivan was very very brave and sat still while Erik cleaned him all up and dressed the wound.

I took the other three kiddos to church while the wound dressing was happening as I still had to sing and later Erik said that Ivan started sobbing again after it was all clean. Erik asked him over and over again what hurt and where and what kind of hurt it was but Ivan kept sobbing. So Erik asked if it actually did hurt and Ivan shook his head no. Then Ivan explained that he was afraid people would laugh at him, but once his partially shorn head was covered in a hat he was fine.

After church Erik cleaned it again and called me in to take pictures of the head wound. I walked in and exclaimed, "Ivan it looks like you lost your arms as well!" Which is why his grin is so big.

He thought that was hilarious and stuck just his hands out for good measure.

This morning it looks like it's healing really well and we are praising God for it, and also that we didn't have to make another emergency room or doctor run.

And I think once it gets a good scab on it, we'll shave the rest of his head. Ivan isn't so sure about this idea because then he has to change the hair on his Mii (his character for the Wii).

Silly boy. I like him.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Winter of the Outbuildings

This has been the winter of the outbuildings. My goal this winter was to get the backyard ready for spring planting, chickens and hopefully goats.

The first building built was my garden shed. As is true with most of our projects it is only partially finished. It still needs the door and the shelves inside but I am thrilled to have a place in the garden to store all my gardening tools. Erik got it to this stage before Christmas, the winds came and knocked it over but thankfully didn't damage it. It is now staked down and has withstood fairly substantial gusts of wind since then. Oh, and paint. It needs to be painted.

Next we started work on our chicken coop. Or the "Chicken Palace" as I've started to refer to it. I spent more hours than I want to admit pouring of coop/enclosure designs at Backyard Chickens. Then based on a few of them, drew up some plans.
And the work commenced.

Erik has slowly gotten better at delegating through the whole project and so I've been able to hammer quite a few pieces of the coop together.

I quite enjoy it. And it sure beats standing out in the cold just watching.

This is as far as we've progressed. Still quite a bit of work to do but it's getting there.

We've even put down leftover linoleum from our kitchen on the floor of the coop to make the plywood floor last longer and make it easier to clean out. The front here will have large doors that open up (also to help with ease of cleaning). And those holes at the back (the black squares right now) are where the nesting boxes will be attached. The nesting boxes will open from the back so that we can reach in and grab the eggs from there. The whole area will be enclosed with chicken wire and we found a neat door at Cart'm for $5 for the door into the run.

Here's an overview of how the backyard is progressing. It's the view from the backdoor. Eventually the goat enclosure will go back to the left behind the garden shed.
Slowly, slowly projects are getting done.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Projects and My Excuses

I have been remiss in posting as of late and I am sorry.
So to sort of catch you up to date I'm posting pictures of most of the lovely projects that have kept me busy and away not to mention the getting back into the schedule of all things homeschooling as well as nursing sick kiddos back to health and trying to get my own health woes under control (darn thyroid).

This is the little stuffed soccer ball I made for my adorable nephew Will for Christmas.

Marilyn liked it so much I made her one for Christmas as well.

The boys each received a crocheted dinosaur, these were awfully fun to make.

And Hobbes. Hobbes belongs to Jessie.

This circle scarf belongs to my sister Mindy now, I made a red one for Hannah's violin teacher and an aqua green one for myself. I love the pattern.

I crocheted a blanket for my sister Beth but alas forgot to take pictures. I'll have to borrow it back for a photo op.

My MIL gave me a Joann's gift card for Christmas and it went towards the recovering of my dining room chairs. We were tired of sitting on plywood. You see, my wonderful mother recovered these chairs about a year and a half ago or so in oilcloth. They were easy to clean and really fun. Only Clayton decided it would be fun to jab a pencil down through the seats and then pick at the holes. So I duct taped them. And then it was fun to pull off the duct tape and pull out the old foam pad.
So.... new foam, regular cotton fabric, vinyl and a little work and they look as new ever (and are still easy to clean). The children have been dully warned and/or threatened about stabbing and otherwise destroying the new coverings.

And if you notice the feet of this chair, it is wearing socks. (Please don't notice the floor, I didn't sweep.) I've been crocheting "socks" to fit over the feet of the chairs so they won't scratch my floors any longer and I don't have to be forever buying those ridiculous little sticky foam pad things that don't adhere very long to the bottom of your chair. It's a great use of scrap yarn and it's quite colorful depending on how tall your "socks" are.