School Projects

Fun Projects

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

House Update - The Drywall Edition

Almost eight years ago a guy named Aaron married a girl named Dana.  A few years later, the guy risked his life, his fortune and his sacred honor to buy the girl a backyard she really liked, that came with a fixer-upper she made plans for.  Now THAT is true love.
Here is that guy, working like a madman to make his house a better home.  In this picture he is working on the revamped linen closet.
I know these following pictures aren't the greatest, but you can probably figure out some of the changes we have made.  Things are really starting to take shape.  This is the view walking in the front door.  It used to be the door to our bedroom, but now it is a strategically placed coat closet.  Imagine that - a coat closet near the door!
Here is the living room, with the wall that was moved.  The wall used to sit on the line that the broom is pointing at.
This is the new door to the master bedroom, and at the back is the door to the future master bath.  That bathroom has been non-functional since we bought the house, and the entrance was from the kitchen.
Another shot of the bedroom, this time with the closet door in the background.  That closet is the old "hallway" to the bathroom.  This was Aaron's idea and a fantastic use of wasted space.
And another of Aaron's cool ideas - a pocket door that closes off the kids' bedrooms from the living room.  It will be really nice when we have company after bedtime.
Every day brings us closer and closer to the part of the project that I get to help with: PAINTING!
Stay tuned.....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not A House Update

The work on our house is progressing nicely, but I haven't been out there for in the past few days to take pictures of the new drywall and plaster.  So, no house update today.  But, lest you feel short-changed, I'll update you on the non-remodeling goings-on.  
Yesterday the kids helped me make skin-care products.  They didn't really know or care what exactly it was they were making, they just enjoyed scooping and dumping and mixing.  If you care, we mixed coffee grounds, white sugar and oil to make a skin scrub.  Oh, does it smell good!
Today we collected some nearby cousins and went on a nature walk in the woods near my Grandpa's house.
We heard noises:
Found bones in hollow oak trees:
And then the kids used their cute faces and pleading voices to talk Great-Grandpa into ruining their lunches with an ice cream snack.
Big Fun!
Stay tuned for another update.....

Monday, July 23, 2012

House Update

Well, it's the start of another week and work on our house continues.  As with most home remodeling projects, things have been taking longer then anticipated, so the kids and I are still staying at my mom's house.  As if that isn't excitement enough, Ian decided he wanted to sleep outside in Grammie's tent.....alone.  I agreed, mostly because I thought he'd never actually carry through.  Well, he did and he loved every minute.
Back at the homestead the framing is all done and so is the electrical.  Drywall is going up, and the new layout is starting to feel real.  I think we came up with a good plan.

For the kids, this is just one big, long adventure.  On Saturday we visited the Farmer's Market for donuts, egg rolls and flowers.
There has also been lots of pool time.  
I have a feeling that they are going to want us to do some more remodeling next week.....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Summer Checklist: Stepping Stones - Check

The big news around here is that all the framing is done for our remodeling project, but I haven't been out there since that happened so I don't have any pictures.  That will have to wait until another post.  

In less big news, the kids and I carried on an annual tradition yesterday by making hand-print stepping stones.  Last year I tried to cheap out and buy concrete mix from Menards.  However, I don't really know that much about cement or concrete or whatever, and I bought the wrong stuff.  It had rocks in it, instead of all sand, so the stones we made from it were all rough and lumpy.  Oh well.  This year I broke down and bought Hobby Lobby's "Stepping Stone Mix".  Using their 40%-off internet coupon (and several trips to the store), I got three boxes of mix for $3.77 each.  I got the decorative marbles last week for 50%-off, and I already had the molds, so it really didn't turn out to be that expensive.

This is a project to try a mother's nerves, because there is so much temptation to touch at all the wrong times (Okay, admittedly I might overreact at this point in the game....maybe....probably not).  Ian also insisted on "checking" frequently after we were finished working, which I was convinced would result in a face or footprint superimposed on the hand print, but so far the results have remained intact.  The moment of truth is this afternoon, when we take the finished products out of the molds.
Cross your fingers people, because if these things don't turn out, I'm not going to get to cross them off the checklist, and I am going to be in the doghouse!

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's Always Worse Before It Gets Better....Right?

The last few days have been busy, busy, busy!  Demolition started bright and early Friday morning, and continued on into Sunday.  People have been asking why we didn't just knock the whole house down and start over.  I don't really have a good answer.
Here is the Master Bedroom:
The Living Room
The huge (and thankfully very old and very empty) bee hive in the Living Room wall:
The Hallway and Closet:
The dumpster overflowing with junk:
But it isn't all work around here, at least for some of us.  While Aaron and company slaved away, the kids and I got to enjoy some time with Auntie Sony at one of our favorite places - Bookworm Gardens.
Blair really liked the little rocking chair inside the "Little House in the Big Woods."
Today we talked Grammie into going to Lake Michigan with us.  The water temperature is much higher then the average for this time of year because of all our heat waves, so the water was pleasant instead of frigid.
Ian enjoyed trying out his surfboard.
While we were staying relatively cool at the beach, Uncle Jeremy was sweating away, building a temporary wall to hold up the house while a new "header" is installed.  He is - at least for the moment - my favorite brother-in-law =) 
Aaron is working just as hard, so I guess that makes him - permanently - my favorite husband.
Stay tuned for more updates!

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Today marks the end of my "Get Caught Up You Idiot" countdown.  My goals were to get all the laundry done, prepare as much as possible for the "Worker Guy Uncle" who will be staying at our house during our project, and then pack for the kids and my visit to my mom's house.  I think I achieved those goals, but we'll find out for sure tomorrow morning when it is time to evacuate.  It's those things that can't be done until the last minute that get me every time
After Aaron came home from work, we moved out the last of the furniture (except for the stuff we need to survive this final night).

Here are some BEFORE pictures of the main areas we are going to be working on:
The Living Room
I can't wait for that fake wood paneling to be gone!
This is the master bedroom - Aaron calls it the Sarajevo Room.
In case you are wondering, the green squares are paint test patches.
And finally the bathroom - although calling it a bathroom is using the term very loosely.  Since it leaks in ever conceivable place that a bathroom can leak, we used it for storage instead of the intended purposes.  Someday though, it will be our super-awesome non-leaking fully-functioning master bathroom.
Tomorrow, demolition begins, 
and so does my countdown to moving back into an almost new house!
Stay tuned for AFTER pictures - cause they are going to be AWESOME!!!!


How do you get behind on a "Get Caught Up You Idiot" countdown?  I don't know, it just happens.  So this post covers yesterday, and maybe there will be another for today later on.
I discovered yesterday that my children really have no idea what is about to happen at our house.  When I mentioned to Brynn that a wall was going to be moved, she had a small panic attack.  Then she forgot about it and went back to doing plies.
Ian expressed concern over his toy box.  When I assured him that his bedroom wouldn't be touched, he decided to draw a rainbow picture to celebrate.  The picture included an elf (also known as a leprechaun) and a pot of gold.  I guess he is dreaming of better days ahead.
My project yesterday was to empty out all the stuff that was stored in this...."thing".  That "thing" is actually the wall of the master bedroom.  I will not miss it when it is replaced by a real wall and an actual closet.
On a side note, we always find interesting things then we do house projects around here.  Last time, we found love letters from several of the former owner's mistresses.  This time, I found a box of flashcubes, purchased at a store that went out of business when I was a child.  We are still hoping to find a hoard of gold coins or a wad of cash, but so far Ian's pot of gold hasn't turned up.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Meet my new best friend.  His (Her?) name is HandTruck, but his friends call him Dolly.
Yesterday I posted about clearing out bookcases in my "Get Caught Up You Idiot" countdown.  I am happy to report that not only did I get all the books moved, I also undecorated the walls and stowed all those items away in random places around the house.  Since that extra effort put me ahead of schedule, today I decided to move all the small furniture out of the house.  Since our basement storage area is full of stuff from the basement room that is "in process", and since the garage is full of construction materials, a good chunk of our furniture got hauled out to the gazebo.  I KNEW Aaron had a good reason for working so hard on that project last summer....
It is really strange walking around the living room right now, it is so bare.  On a happy note, however, I don't have to feel guilty about not vacuuming up all the dust and crumbs from behind the furniture I moved.  In fact, I don't have to feel guilty about not vacuuming all week!  It's all gonna come out soon enough.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Our lives during the past few years have revolved around our house remodeling projects, and this summer is no exception.  This month we are gutting our living room and master bedroom - as well as some other random spaces - in order to make the entire house more functional and structurally sound.  It is going to be AWESOME when it is done.
For the past while, my husband has been busy staging materials, plotting strategy, and generally preparing for this undertaking.  He is smart.  Clearly, I am not so smart.  I was thinking about getting ready to move with the kids to my mom's house for a week.  No sweat, right?  Suddenly, over the weekend, I had a rather belated epiphany.  It went something like this: "Um....uh-oh.  If we are going to gut the living room, the bedroom, the storage bathroom, and a closet, I've got to get all the stuff out of the way.....oh boy!"

So, I've started a "Get Caught Up You Idiot" countdown.
Today my goal is to get all the books moved to.....oh yeah....the other problem.
Where in the world is all this stuff gonna go?

Monday, July 2, 2012

You Never Stop Needing Your Mom

This coming Saturday my husband and I are going to the wedding of one of his cousins.  Obviously, I need a new dress for this occasion.  I've had a pattern and fabric sitting around for a while, but I just haven't been able to get it done.  Partly because of my kids but mostly because it is a really slippery fabric and therefor rather intimidating to work with.  
What to do....what to do......?  Oh yeah - call in back up.
Last week, my mom came over to help me get started.  Grammie's grand kids decided they needed sewing lessons.

By the end of the morning, we had made some, but not a lot of progress.  My sainted mother uttered these fateful words:  "Do you want me to just take this home and make it for you?"
And that is why you never stop needing your mother.