A DIY mommy with kids who love to get dirty.

Where’d she go?

Hi all,

So I’d love if this post was FILLED with picture after picture of all the hard work I’ve been doing and therefore I could excuse my absence that way but in fact…

I have not done ONE SINGLE THING on this house since almost  finishing the painting in the Family Room (trim is still not finished).  Why, you ask?  Well, I’m pregnant!!!!  # 3 will join us in early December!

Since discovering this exciting fact I have spent HOURS, laying in bed, swearing up and down that this is my last pregnancy EVER!  I’ve gagged, wept, slept and gagged some more.  The TV is raising my children and the house, well lets just say, if we had to put our house on the market today, we’d have to take a lot less for it then we bought if for (and we put in a KITCHEN!).   🙂

It’s bad folks!  I’m completely embarrassed for even the UPS man to knock on the door.   We’ve had family stay twice and both times I’ve managed to drag myself to the vacuum cleaner and push it around a bit, and once I even cleaned the bathrooms (kinda) but in all truthfulness the place is falling apart.   Yikes!

I’m 15 weeks along now and any day now I fully expect to get that second trimester surge and go zipping around making our house a home again.   This pregnancy is a dead ringer for the one I had with my daughter and in that case I should start feeling better in about a week or two.  (I was 16 weeks with my daughter when the light finally dawned).

Until then, we will just keep having popcorn and apple-sauce suppers and praying  extra LONG nap times for everyone.

Be back soon-I hope!


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Kitchen Part 3

I’m back!  Here is Part 1  and Part 2  if you haven’t already read them.

So the guys got my island in and went right back to work on the pantry.  This house doesn’t have much in the way of storage.  There is a closet (nice ones) in every bedroom and this funky space in the hallway…  (yes, the hall is tiger inspired-don’t have a plan for that yet!)

But as far as storage that is about it.   The laundry room is huge and once I tackle that room I’m sure it will store LOTS but currently storage is at a premium around here.   Hence the need for a proper pantry.   Now, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before or not but we looked at a LOT of houses before we bought this one.  Close to 50 would be my guess.  Even had a contract on another one which fell through (and now I’m happy about that but at the time…)  Anyhow- one of the homes we looked at had this AMAZING walk-in pantry.  It had varying size shelves all around, floor to ceiling, it was by far the nicest room in that house!  🙂   So, you can understand that when it came to planning the pantry I had high expectations.   I wanted it in the kitchen, I wanted it BIG, I wanted drawers and pull out shelves and when it was done-I wanted everything to have a place.   Matt and I had talked through it on that first day but once the island was in we walked through it again.  Then they went out and started building.  By Tuesday (this is in the week leading up to Christmas) it was sitting on the back porch being primed as the rest of my family pulled in.  By Wednesday it was in the house.

Here Matt is finding the studs to attach it to the wall.  And here it is (food went into it almost instantly as we needed the space desperately!

This is before drawers and sliding shelves but it was in and we could use it.   The guys then told me they had time and materials for one more thing.  We’d talked about a built in desk type thing and a broom closest.   When they asked me which one they should do I jumped at the chance for more ‘hide-it-all-away’ storage and went broom closet.    This one my brother drew up-he’d done a mud bench for his wife like this so adding the closet was pretty easy.   First my SIL painted the corner quick…

Then Philip hung the unit.

The last thing they did before climbing back in the car Friday and driving the 16ish hours home was hang the trim.   Now crown molding scares me.  I LOVE it-think it’s beautiful and makes the place look finished but have any of you ever tried to measure and hang the stuff?  I have-and then I passed the job to my husband who along with my dad worked on it for several hours.  And they weren’t doing anything too fancy-just a simple top of the wall around a fireplace deal.  None of this in-and-out-and-around-a-cabinet business.  Here is where the right tools and the right brain (meaning a lover of all things number related) are a must.   Matt (and I’ve since seen my brother-in-law do this too) simply took the measurements, jotted them down on a napkin, went out to the saw, told Phil the cuts and they came back 30 min. later with a pile of Crown cut JUST RIGHT!   Want proof?

He measures…

They cut and install,


and we go from this…

to this…

And the pantry and the broom closet??  They now look like this…

and this…

Amazing right?  I still just stop and stare sometimes.  I do so love my kitchen!   We love you Philip and Matt!  Thanks a thousand times over for all your amazing work!

In case you are wondering, yes we will get doors (eventually)  I am not completely settled on what I want yet (are you noticing a theme there??) so we will wait for a while.   The pantry doors will probably be the first to come because having all our food out there like that means I’m always in the mood for a snack.  Not Good!  🙂  Until then, I’m motivated to keep things looking as organized as possible and the kids LOVE helping me find things.

Back soon


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Kitchen Part 1

So I should just warn you that given my children’s age, and the type of person I am, and the fact that we are attempting to do all this with cash only, there will probably be at least 50 ‘parts’ to the kitchen series.  We are taking it slow and steady now that the cabinets are up.

Here, however is part 1.

Remember this?  

The bare empty shell we moved into?

Then it became this  we had a fridge, a stove, a microwave.  Folding tables were counter/prep areas, and the sink was in the laundry room around the corner.  We live out of boxes and used the kitchen table for everything.  

It worked, but then these two showed up and everything changed.

  They measured and drew the first day, well, Matt did.  Phil and my hubby went to the big city to pick up the lumber.  Turns out the trailer wasn’t strong enough for all of it so they got all the poplar (strips for the frames) and some of the plywood (enough for the lower cabinets).   Plans were made for my brother-in-law to pick up the rest at the end of the week when he was up there with his truck on business.   My brother brought his little girl so the kids did a lot of this…

I realized that painting the kitchen would be easier without cabinets (probably should have done it before moving in). So with some wonderful help from my Sister-in-law who watched the kids for me I started on the walls.       We decided to be cheap and only paint what wouldn’t be covered by cabinets.  So it looked MUCH worse before it started to look better.   I questioned my color choices evey few seconds and when my sisters showed up to help they had to listen to mutter after mutter about my decisions.

Then suddenly I had cabinet lowers to paint!  Monday they were drawing and planning, and Wednesday they were sitting on my back slab needing priming…it was unbelievable.


  So we started priming, and yes, that is me in all my paint speckled glory.  I hadn’t really thought about the fact that my daughter would want to paint.  I decided she might enjoy the change more if she was part of it so I let her help.  She did a great job and since we were going to power wash the slab anyway I wasn’t too worried about spills.  We did two coats of primer because they were raw wood and I view primer and paint as the cabinets uniform -it protects and defends and in my kitchen with my cooking skills and my dirty kiddos-the stronger the defense the better!

Thursday night I had a girls night scheduled.   My hubby had to run back to the city to exchange on of our counters (becuase when we opened it, it was the wrong color).   I should point out that our ‘big city’ is 3 hours away so this was no quick trip.  Opening the box to a beech instead of birch counter was very stressful.   That is what happens when you don’t have IKEA in your own home town.  My sisters watched the kids so the guys could keep working, hubby could drive, and I could still have my girls night.  Looking back that was quite a gift and I probably should have just skipped it but oh, was it fun.   And the Thai Pizza from Mellow Mushroom is so Yummy! When I got home this is what greeted me.

The girls had cleaned up too so that it didn’t look like a construction site and having the lowers in made it feel oh so real!

Ok, Kitchen Part 2 soon…until then-Happy New Year!


Christmas by the Numbers

I’m working on the kitchen post.  Still working on the kitchen actually… but here are some fun numbers to give you an idea about our last 2 weeks.

After 14 hours in the car 2builders arrive with 1 two year old.   25 sheets of plywood, 1 eight foot trailer with a poplar load and 3 pages of sketches later they start cutting.  They brought ALL the tools they would need with them-including a table saw strapped to the top of the mini van. 

4 Days later my 2 sisters arrive-they brought 100’s of Christmas presents, 25 lbs of potatoes, 3 gallans of Apple Cider and my sanity! I also got a phone call from a friend who had made Christmas Cookies and offered me a plate.  She gave me dozens of goodies which paid the builders very nicely.

2 days after that my sister-in-law and mommy to the above mentioned two year old arrived.  She had sent 1 batch of fudge that was nearly gone and the best homemade peppermint hot cocoa mix I’ve ever had.

On the following Tuesday 6 more family members arrived bringing the total to an amazing 14 + our 4 which left my house bursting with (wait for it) 18 people!   I started painting the ceiling the next day (because I am that crazy).

We purchased 2 gallons of primer and 8 gallans of paint, we  were also given another 3 gallons of primer, We painted 13 differant cabinet pieces, all the walls, primed the ceiling, painted part of it, and started on the trim.

We celebrated Christmas with 2 Christmas Dinners, including 2 Turkeys, 1 ham, 5 lbs of sweet potatoes and 15 lbs of white potatoes,we ate 5 cans of cranberry sauce and we drank a total of 5 gallons of hot cider, had 3 pies, 2 cakes, and all those Christmas cookies disappear.  We went  2 Christmas services, opened untold number of gifts and I received 1 Dishwasher which makes my kitchen appliances complete!  My brother power washed the house which meant we borrowed 3 ladders from our (very understanding ) neighbor.  We had 4 bonefires to burn all the yard trash that was cleaned up and we filled the trash can 4 times.

It was an amazing 2 weeks!

Hope your Christmas was Merry and Bright and the New Year dawns peaceful…until next time.


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Favorite Things

Tomorrow morning my brother, his buddy and my adorable niece are showing up.  (My Sister-in-Law has to work one more week before she can join us).  They are going to measure and draw, build, and install our kitchen!  Quite suddenly I’m completely overwhelmed by this fact and am terrified, (not that my brother can’t do it, He CAN, I’ve seen his work, it’s amazing!)  but that my vision and idea’s will fall FLAT and when it’s all over I’ll hate it. Or even worse, I’ll love it but 5, 10, or 15 years from now when we move, everyone else who see’s it will hate it.  I’ve never designed a kitchen before, never even owned my own kitchen and here I am, having one custom made, just for me and this amazing house.  So yeah-stressin’ just a bit!

I was washing dishes tonight and grumbling and recognized my attitude was not one of thankfulness and trust, so I started praying for grace, and peace, and LOTS and LOTS of wisdom and then it hit me.  I needed to write a list of my favorite things.  So here it is, in no particular order…

  • My hubby, we’ve been married 7 years today-he is my very favorite person!
  • The landscaping around this house, all I have to do is maintain it!
  • My daughter’s bear snuggles, she runs up and squeezes really hard…it’s amazing.
  • Milo-fell in love with it when I lived in Papua New Guinea and drink it almost every morning now.
  • The smell of citrus, it’s so refreshing.
  • My bed-so comfortable, especially on clean sheet night.
  • Hearing my son say ‘Mama’.  Is there anything sweeter?
  • Watching my daughter be an angel in the Christmas Pageant.  Tonight was her 3rd year and except for some silly faces for the camera she did great!
  • Our trayed ceilings.  I’m a sucker for a tall ceiling.
  • The mocking bird who is nesting in the landscaping by our mailbox.  He/she sings to me all the time.
  • The rake my parents are letting us borrow-you think I’m joking but I”m SO not!  It’s clog free and makes cleaning up from 23! pines almost easy!
  • Christmas-truly, I really love Christmas!

Ok, I’m sure I could go on and on but I’ll stop.  I’m going to reread this list a lot this week and just enjoy all the wonderful things…even when I can’t find a pot to warm soup in for these wonderful guys who are building me a kitchen.

“This is My Kitchen” coming soon so stay posted!

Oh, and who doesn’t love a white dress with a blue sash? (didn’t read the post just LOVED the picture).

Off to my bed, tomorrow comes quickly!



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So yesterday we had about 20 international students from the local college over for a Christmas/End of Semester bash.  They brought lots of yummy international food, Russian carrot cake anyone??, and carried Mitch around the ENTIRE time.  He loved it!   Now, if you are thinking about this at all you will realize that mere days ago I posted about the amount of work left and how boxes were still ruling our lives.  So how, you may ask, did we have 20 + people over?   Simple, I worked like a MAD woman to empty boxes, re-box storage items and stack boxes that can’t be unpacked yet in neat corners.

The living room has been our one ‘clean’ room since we moved in, and MJ helped me get the tree up so it looked pretty nice…and yes, we ran out of white beads to wrap around it and I can’t find more…still looking!

But do you see the boxes in the room behind her?  Every corner of the Dinning Rm. had them and since the Living Room and the Dining Room are the first thing you see when you walk in it had to be cleaned out!

Success!  This is what it looked like after our wild and crazy Wednesday.  When my hubby got home on Wednesday night he was forced to carry box after box out to the shed for storage.   (Our Shed/Barn will be another post-the fact that it’s missing doors means it also need some DIY work!)  All that work paid off tho, the Living Rm. looked very nice, the Dinning Rm. looked VERY empty, and the Kitchen, while still holding mostly boxes, was swept, mopped, and produced Coffee brilliantly.

Several of the students did wonder at our kitchen, in particular where to wash hands, no problem there, except the laundry room had not been cleaned for company.  I decided to just go with it and showed off the Utility Sink, dirty laundry and all.

Amazingly enough having been forced to get to this point has made the whole house thing so much nicer.  Last night after everyone left, I just sat and relaxed!  It felt great to know that we have done what we can for now!   Dec. 12 my brother arrives with his adorable daughter and amazing cabinet builder and we get to dig back in.   Until then, I’m going to enjoy this…oh, and get that guest room painted!

Until next time…

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