A DIY mommy with kids who love to get dirty.

A recipe

Hi again,   I wrote this post and when I went to upload it…poof, it vanished into the neverland that is is web-space so here it is again but minus all the witty and amazing things I said the first time.

I have about 7 or so weeks left of this pregnancy.   It’s been rough.  I had WEEKS of morning sickness, followed by insomnia, followed by intense hip pain and all wrapped up in a cute bow I like to call reflux.   My hubby told me the other morning when I was bemoaning getting out of bed ‘I know you didn’t sleep well, you tossed and moaned all night’.   Poor man-he isn’t getting any sleep either.

So, I’m sure you are hoping I did not log-in just to tell you how bad my pregnancy is.   I didn’t.   I came to give you a gift.  This wonderful recipe I’m about to share has been around for a long time.  You can find versions of it everywhere.  This however is my version and it (along with my amazing husband and darling kids-of course) is the reason I drag my whale-like body from the bed each morning.

Vanilla Cappuccino Mix

1 cup powdered creamer (I use plain or french vanilla)

1 cup Nestle Quik

1 4oz box Maxwell House International Cafe Beverage Mix (I use decaf. French Vanilla or the Swiss Mocha)

2/3 cup instant coffee (I use decaf.)

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1 vanilla bean cut into pieces

Toss all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.    Use 3-4Tbs. per mug of hot water.   Feel free to add half n. half, if you, like me, love it uber creamy.

Note:  The vanilla bean is for flavor purposes only and should not be put in your mug.   Pieces can be used for 2-3 recipes (of mix) depending on how quickly you go through it.  Smell them to know if they still have flavor power.  Discard when smell is gone.

Enjoy your mornings (and evenings, and anytime you need a little sweet and creamy pick-me-up)!

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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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Family Room~Finally

Whew!  Painting large rooms during a 1 1/2 hour nap time in the afternoons means LONG project times!  Finally all the but the crown molding in the trey is done!  I LOVE the way it turned out.   I haven’t hung the family pictures on the tree yet-another project that is tricky with kiddos, and I haven’t ordered the curtains.  Will be doing that as soon as my teaching check comes in.  🙂

The kids were so excited when the pile of stuff was moved out of the middle of the floor and they could ‘wrestle daddy’ on the carpet again.  We are all enjoying our bright happy room.

Here is the ceiling before beginning…


Here is the lightest color…

And then the sides…

I was so excited when I finally had this much done!    Moved all those boxes to the center of the room and got started on the walls… I also had a pretty cute helper!

And then we got to here:

and here…

And then all that was left was the trim and putting it all back together.  Today it looks like this…

And the family tree (in progress)

It’s good-it’s coming along and I’m thrilled to have most of the dark tan/brown look gone.   We are done painting for awhile! (CAN  YOU BELIEVE IT??)   -I mean, the hall and half bath, and laundry room are all pretty desperate but we are taking a painting breather… meanwhile I’ve got the garden in and have LOTS of other projects to finish up.

See you soon!



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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Tray Ceilings

So our home has beautiful ceilings. Beautiful!  It’s one of the reasons I could look past the empty space that was the kitchen. Could see beyond the holes in the ceiling’s where lights should hang and could envision living here.  The high arch in the kitchen,the steep cathedral in the bathrooms, and the Tray(ed) in both the Living Room and the Family room.

Can I just interject here that I never get ‘tray’ right?  I have to look it up every-time, and then I don’t really know how to use it-can one be found ‘traying’ a ceiling for example?   -sorry just a moment there…

Moving right along.   We are moving into another HUGE painting project.  This time the Family Room and I have been putting it off because of the ceiling.  After looking up pictures of what people have done to their ceilings I’ve decided simpler is better.  I don’t want it to be a distraction.   But, I do need some advice!   I have a ‘family tree’ that I intend to paint on one wall of the room.   It will have (mostly) black and white family pictures all framed in black.   I thought to do a light wall, dark tree shape, then add photo’s-pretty straight forward right?  Then the ceiling stepped in.   I have to paint the lowest part the same off- white as the kitchen because the ceiling extends all the way through (note the ceiling by the columns).

I choose the off-white because it could do both rooms and stay nice and neutral.  But now, now I don’t know what to do for the rest.  Use that same off-white (called Sandstone) on the walls?  Find a light gray-blue I like? Go dark and do a light colored tree (that option doesn’t seem the best given the dark frames I have on the family pictures)?   I did find curtains I’m in love with at World Market this past weekend (they are more navy then gray), and given that we want to eventually put the TV in this room, nice dark curtains would be good.   Also, all of this effects the ceiling.  While initially I thought a darker grey-blue, I’m now leaning toward something not so dark.  Contrary to popular belief (Mom :-))  I don’t have to paint every ceiling a dark color even tho I really do like that look .   So, here is another picture of the ceiling.  If anyone has any suggestions I’d love to hear them.

And please ignore the mess everywhere except the ceiling-I snapped these quick and didn’t do any picking up first.   Also note that I had all but 2 of our book boxes unpacked when my in-laws brought about 20 more of my hubby’s books from their house.  Glory!  I’m going to build my own book shelves before this is all over-just watch me.  🙂

In other news I picked up 2 ceiling fans and we were given another ceiling light so 3 more rooms with proper lights after this weekend!  So excited!

Promise to do another kitchen post next…


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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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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The Guest Room

Well after a week away from home we are thrilled to be back but overwhelmed all over again by the amount of work still to do.  My darling hubby did get the light put in in the tiny half bath (will post more about that once we solve the vanity issue) and the trim kit put on the tub in the guest bath.  He works so hard!   The kids and I spent 3 days last week with my folks and then once my hubby was off work we all headed to his parents house for Thanksgiving.  Some pictures of my kiddos begging my brother to ‘toss them’.


Nothing like NOT sleeping in your own bed for a week to help you prepare your own guest room.   Ours has this unbelievable Morocco vibe that is fun but I have hand-me-down rose sheets for the bed and use this room for crafts too so the mural has to go.


They also painted above the fan and added jewels.  I’m not looking forward to getting those off!

Today when we ran into Wal-Mart I checked their clearance paint section.  Found a full gallon of a soft cream color in Eggshell (no flat paint for us-my kids like dirt remember?!) 50% off!   As my whole family descends in a few weeks for Christmas and to install the kitchen my goal is to have the guest room an inviting place to rest.   I’ll keep you posted!

As promised, my son bathing in the Utility sink.  As of a week ago one tub is fully operational so the sink bathing is now a thing of the past!  Notice the dishes drying on the wash machine?  The Utility Sink is also my dishwasher!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and have plans for an even more joyous Christmas!

Until next time!


New Home

Well we are here!   There were so many times over the last few days that I wanted to sit down and share what was going on but…we had no internet.  I can’t begin to tell you the frustration we had regarding internet service, the trips elsewhere to ‘borrow’ internet, and the general frustration that I was living in a tomb, cut off from the world.  That has ended (Glory be!) and we are reconnecting to the living… anyone?  Oh, how much you’ve been missed!
So I need to take a bunch of pictures to truly explain how we are living but I thought first I’d upload a few of the house pre-move in.  Prove that there was indeed very little left …

This is our kitchen-notice the plumbing and electrical just waiting for some attention?

The Master Bath, beautiful tub, huge shower, LOTS of work.

And this is one of the reasons, we love this home.  It’s pretty -especially from the outside, I really do love it, work and all!

So, more photos soon, I have a great one of my son in the utility sink-his tub for the time being.  And a great story about a $15 shower curtain that nearly was the end of all of us.  Until next time…

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Nic and Jacelyn

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