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Archive for the ‘home’ Category

One Week Ago – Ice

We were in the part of the storm that left a lot of ice.  While my last post shared my fears, hopefully this post will share the wonder that we experienced.  It was really a beautiful storm.

last fall’s rose buds, encased in ice

on every tiny leaf, a heap of frozen rain

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The gifts are all wrapped and under the tree.

We’ve been talking about and celebrating the best gift; we are so, so thankful for Jesus.

The cookies are all baked!  (And boy did we bake and bake and bake . . . . These are my new favorite – dark chocolate peppermint, though we’re going to have to do some tweaking to get them just right.  I’ll let you know, if I come up with the perfect recipe!

The kids are still working on that nativity scene.  Gus is looking for just.the.right color!

Little Man is just downright silly; he wore his hat/beard almost all day!

Aren’t these so cool – my sister made them for us girls!

We’ve done plenty of monkeying around!

We’re super-duper thankful that it’s warm and cozy inside, because they are saying we might just have a white Christmas!

From our house to your house, Merry Christmas!

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{And so I am taking the summer off.  I am thinking that I will still post some of the drafts that I have written, I will do some re-posts, and I may document some of this journey I am on; but for the most part consider this “summer vacation.”  -written June 18th, 2010}

Oh, what a wonderful week it has been – following another wonderful week!

Just a couple verbal snapshots to explain why it is such a wonderful week:

The high temperature today was 85, but most of the day the thermometer wavered between 79 and 80!

Sunshine – lots of it!

Dinner two nights ago = corn from the roadside stand, tomato, green beans from the garden grilled* with carrots {from the grocery store}, salad {the most tender lettuce from the garden – mmmm!}, and mashed potatoes.  We had the potatoes, not because they really fit with the meal, but because the kids asked for them!

Water balloons – and all of the laughter that goes with them.

The flower gardens have been weeded!  {finally!}

Friends who invited us to share their beautiful pool.

Neighbors who come over to share our back yard.

Front and back doors open; windows open in the car.

Summer skirts and sandals.

Waving to neighbors as we walk the neighborhood.

*Our favorite way to grill veggies in the summer is to drizzle a little olive oil over the top, sprinkle on some fresh garlic (minced), shake a little salt or pepper over the top; wrap it all loosely in a little foil packet – it’s magical!

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The Details of The End Result

Now for my favorite part:

Once the basement was finished I had the distinct pleasure of making it pretty and live-in-able…and that’s all in the details.

Here are some of my favorite bits.

these cool little “pods” (from Ikea) hang over the “kitchen” sink, holing paint brushes, natural sponges, and other fun stuff

one vintage Monopoly game that needed a home + a couple nails + a shadow box = just one of several game displays

There was a stack of vintage games at my grandparents’ house.  Grandpa was happy for me to take them off his hands.  I was happy to put them up on the basement walls where they are now a reminder of much fun and a colorful display.  This Monopoly display is just one little area.

cheap white flower pots (from Ikea) and clearance colored flower pots (Target) hold all our shared school supplies

The kids just grab whatever flower pot they need and set it on the table when needed.  Otherwise they sit on the shelves.

feathers and shells and other blessings from nature

labeled bins: (DIY luggage tags from the big box store) and labels from toy boxes and hinged rings

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The End Result

If you checked in here this fall, you were pretty bored.  There wasn’t a lot of posting going on.

This is why:

the play area

the tv area – haha!  can you even find our teeny-tiny tv?

The couch folds down into a bed, and the shelves store games and school supplies.

There is a television, but I don’t think it’s been turned on since it’s been down there.

this is where we do our pencil-to-paper school…and art!

Usually the table top here is buried under a huge pile of paper and projects and pencils and markers and notes and books and. . .

the kitchen (area) – no appliances, just a place to put a fridge and a sink to wash out paintbrushes

Maybe we’ll get the fridge someday.

All of that is one huge room that used to be an unfinished basement.  We wanted the space to be an area where we could homeschool and not have to pick up every night before dinner.  The kids can leave projects out, and I can leave my planning stuff out.  So far, so good.  I wanted it to be bright and sunny, hence the warm, yellow walls.  The color on the walls is “Butter” from Restoration Hardware, mixed at Sherwin Williams.  We had extra heating ducts put in, so it really does stay warm down there during the cold winter days – no more cold, icky basement.

I also wanted the room to be durable.  The countertop is laminate, because laminate is functional and durable…and easy to replace, if we stain it with paints or a science project goes awry.  The floor is stained concrete; that was quite a risky venture, but that is the thing that gets the most compliments when people visit.  I told the man that I wanted the floor to look like worn leather, and that’s exactly what everyone says when they enter!  The big, beautiful table is indeed beautiful, but it is also a damaged piece from the store.  It already has its share of scratches, so when the kids slide their scissors across it, I don’t wince in pain.  We were so blessed as we did this project; it seemed that the Lord provided everything just as we needed it.  I was able to buy all of the rugs, the tables (big and little), and quite a few other bits at a sale of store “seconds.”  The items were all damaged in one way or another, but like I mentioned with the table, that was perfect for our purposes!  We were also blessed to have a great builder who honored his Christian witness by being gracious and generous and honest – noteworthy indeed!  His wife was also a great help to me, as she was gracious with her time and talents; she helped me pick colors and encouraged me to be bold in my decision making.  There were so many other ways that the whole project (though time-consuming and a bit overwhelming) came together; indeed I feel SO blessed every time I go downstairs!

the bathroom

I think I could live in this bathroom.  It turned out so, so much better than I thought it would (if I do say so myself.)  I felt fairly clueless about what to do in there, and every step of the way I felt unsure of my decisions.  I changed my mind about the tile approximately 346 times.  I settled for white stock subway tile with a beaded decorative piece below the bullnose – love it.  The paint is a Restoration Hardware color mixed at Sherwin Williams, but sadly I can’t tell you the color name…because I don’t remember, and my builder took my paint chip.  (Really, I handed it to him and never asked for it back.  Oops!)

And so there you have it:  Besides starting school with another child home and a new curriculum and soccer season and a new job for Handsome, this is my excuse for not blogging!

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Seven Things This Summer

Almost two years ago Owlhaven did a post about the things she wanted to accomplish over the summer.  I copied her with a similar post; it’s here.  Then just recently my cousin posted her summer list for this summer, and I’m going to follow suit.  Here’s my list for this summer:

Seven Things I Want to Accomplish This Summer:

  1. Bring Y’s scrapbook up to date.  Her book has been made up until the week she arrived home.
  2. Bring Little Man and Bubba’s scrapbooks up to date (this is a normal summer task – once the kids reach about 4, I simply keep all of their stuff in a pile and then scrap 3 or 4 pages for them at the end of the school year.)
  3. Stay sane through the process of choosing a contractor, then watching and participating as our unfinished basement becomes live-in space.
  4. Finish teaching Little Man to read.
  5. Teach Bubba her multiplication tables and get her started on some fun learning-to-type computer games (her request).
  6. Continue to teach Y to read.
  7. Spend a bit of one on one time with Dimples every day!
  8. (Oh, does that say 8?  I guess I can include this one since it’s getting done this very weekend.)  Paint laundry room, master bedroom, and master bath.

Seven Fun Things for This Summer:

  1. Go camping
  2. Take a quick trip to a big city
  3. Visit my aunt and uncle and cousin
  4. Send my husband on a fishing trip with at least some of our children (his request, but I don’t mind at all since this will hopefully allow me to do some of 1 & 2 from the first list)
  5. Play hostess to my parents-in-law the weekend of Handsome’s residency graduation and bask in the glory that I will no longer be a resident’s wife! (more fun for me than the kids, but they’ll benefit too)
  6. Sign my children up for and complete the library reading program.
  7. Field Trip Fridays – again, my group of friends and I will be out and about on Fridays – seeing and doing all there is to do in our area!  The kids have been asking me for months when the “field trips” are going to start!

Happy Memorial Day, Everyone!

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For the Sake of Contrast

When we moved here, our house was brand spankin’ new!  It was lovely.

The yard was not.

It was mud.

Undeterred by the tons and tons of mud, right away I started planning what to do to make the mud into a yard – complete with pretty flowers to welcome us into the yard.

To the basic builder landscaping in the shady front yard  I added hostas then bulbs.

The back yard required some back breaking rock laying and flower bed making.  Opting for pretty perennials, I put in shasta daisies, a couple tall viney bits, scabiosa, hydrangea, lavender, coreopsis, and a bunch of other pretties.

It might all sound like I know what I’m doing, but I assure you I don’t!  For two years now I have been planting and praying.  I’ve moved things around and watched helplessly as more than a couple little tiny plants withered right where I put them – ug!  Almost everything that I have planted has been from a big sale or free.  I’ve replanted little sprouts from my mom’s and grandma’s garden, and I bought a LOT of plants at the end of the summer when the nurseries are practically giving things away for fear of the coming cold.

Then just a couple weeks ago, it was all worth it!

I was sitting right here, typing away, and I looked over and this is what I saw:

oct282008_0085a

Oh, I was so excited!  When I planted these roses, I envisioned exactly that…but the reality was scrawny little bushes that were planted just before the frost came to rob them of their beautiful flowers.  They were a bit lopsided and only visible from the window if you were standing right at the window looking down for them.  And now they have grown up so lovely and are waving at me from right where I sit!  I couldn’t be happier.

Here are a couple other things that by the grace of God I have managed to keep alive in my flower garden.

oct242008_0030a

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And for the sake of contrast, here is what the view will look like, if we move:

oct312008_0383a

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