A DIY mommy with kids who love to get dirty.

The List

We have accomplished so much on this house that at times I can hardly remember what it looked like before.  It really does feel like a home now, messy bedrooms and all.   In order to start the new year off right however Hubby and I sat down to make a list of what remains on the house.   This is not the standard maintenance stuff (like cleaning up from 23! pine trees),  this is ‘if we had bought a move-in ready house all these things would have been done’  list.   Here it is, in no particular order…

  • Seal Sink
  • Pressure Wash Front of House (one of my brothers did the back and patio slab).
  • Weather Seal under the House
  • Barn/Shed Doors
  • Outdoor Plugs -replace
  • Finish Dishwasher (it needs a moisture barrier to protect those precious counter-tops).
  • Find or Build then Install Mantle
  • Sweep Roof
  • Paint Family Room
  • Finish Kitchen Paint
  • Master Bath Vanity (yep, we still don’t have a sink in our bathroom).
  • Replace Roof
  • Replace AC unit
  • Trim on outside of house
  • Fence backyard
  • Remove Trees (as many Pines as possible)
  • Build and Install hall door
  • Buy and Install Laundry Room Door
  • Paint Laundry room
  • Install Cabinets (hand-me-downs) in Laundry
  • Light Fixtures x8
  • Replace rotting window trim
  • Paint House
  • Tile Back-splash in Kitchen
  • Get Cabinet Doors

See it’s not much -haha.   Hang around there is going to be plenty more pictures to see.  By the way, after writing the list my dear Hubby promptly did the first two.  I love that man!

Until next time.

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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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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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Moving Day

So I’m not much of a writer.  I love run-on sentences, comas, and exclamation points, but sometimes the voices thoughts in my head want to come rushing out so I’ve decided to join the millions of others and toss them into the blog spear.  Tomorrow we move into our first ‘own’ home.  Married for 7 years and we have always shared our walls with others.  I must admit I’m thrilled at the idea of all our walls being JUST ours!  This is our 8th move in 7 years!  Crazy huh?  Even crazier, we’ve been in this apt. for 3 years.  Let me tell you our first few years of marriage were busy.  So, our first real home and what did we do?  Decided that being DIY’ers was our dream come true and bought a house that upon fore-closer was stripped of it’s interior.  When I say stripped, I mean stripped, they took the cabinets from the kitchen (and appliances), the hot-water heater, the faucets, the vanity’s, the sinks, the mantel, the ceiling fixtures, they took the door off the back yard shed, and  even the security lights from outside.  We bought a shell.  But, it’s our shell and it has beautiful hardwood floors and more then double the square footage of what we are living in now!  It’s going to be great.   So, I’m going to tell you all about it.  When my kids voices are all I can hear and I can’t figure out if I should do aqua or apple green for the kitchen, I’m going to come on here and think out-loud for awhile.  Oh, and I’ll post pictures…because what fun is a DIY project without pictures?


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