The Hole in my Floor, and other Sundry Items…

Many times when we’re doing a project, I forget to take “Before” pictures. Mostly because we jump right in and tear things apart before I remember to grab the camera, and sometimes because the “Before” is really not camera-worthy. At least it’s not a photo I’d like to put out on the internet for the world to see. However, sometimes we have a few “Mid-Remodel” pictures, where the worst of the dust has been swept away. This kitchen project is taking a while, so I snapped a couple of shots to share. First, let me present…

The Hole in my Floor
HoleInFloor

This may very well be the only picture I have of our old kitchen. Hubby built the cupboards when we built the house, and now we’ve stolen the “bar” section to use in the new kitchen. (We also stole the drawers, as you can see, to repurpose as an add-on to the cabinet we moved.) The good thing about being able to move this huge section of cabinets is that within a day I had a cabinet in the new kitchen to move lots of essentials into. Didn’t have to wait for Hubby to build a whole new one… Plus I still get to enjoy the original cabinets he built! The bad thing is that it left a cabinet-sized hole in the floor of one of the main rooms in our house, which then quickly turned into a room-sized hole when Hubby cleaned up the rest of the tile and leveled the subfloor. Another good thing about the Hole in the Floor was that it provided a temporary “art” space while we had kiddos visiting that I didn’t need to worry about messes! Shoes were mandatory, however, to avoid splinters. Hopefully, Some Day Very Soon, there will be a wall around the hole, creating a laundry hallway, and a new room that will either be a second full bathroom or a small art room to hide my creative messes. Still up in the air on that decision. My mind changes daily.

Important Note:
When laying ceramic tile, be sure to buy and keep several extra
boxes of the tile just in case you decide to remove a kitchen cabinet.
The Hole in my Floor could have been avoided,
had we thought of doing that when we tiled 8 years ago.

Another item of interest in this “Mid-Remodel” picture is the scale hanging in the middle of the walkway. I left it there to test our agility. And the Worm Bin, hiding under the high chair. We ordered a new batch of earthworms while our little friends were here, and let me tell you, 500 Red Wigglers in your kitchen is extremely interesting to a 3 year-old boy!

If only I could have caught that Blue-Tailed Lizard
that’s been living near our deck the past couple of weeks!
Wouldn’t that little guy have had fun being up
close and personal with that critter!

Now for the “Mid-Remodel” photo of the new kitchen…
Cabinet

Six feet of ready-made (almost) cabinetry let me move the Most Important Kitchen Stuff into the new kitchen right away! Ignore the multi-color aspect. It will get worse before it gets better… I need to paint the drawer fronts so I can put the knobs back on so the drawers are easier to open. Hubby is also going to make brand new doors, since the 20+ year-old hard-as-nails-oil-based-paint is super difficult to sand off the nooks and crannies of the old doors, but we’ll leave the funky brown ones on until that happens to conceal all the Most Important Kitchen Stuff inside. There will be upper cabinets as well, so also ignore all the random stuff on the countertop. They’re going to be extra tall to make use of the 10-foot ceilings in the new kitchen. My hope is that the cabinet section will look more like a step-back hutch than kitchen cabinets.

Mid-Remodel Disclaimer: I’m still in the “what in the world was
I thinking when I thought I wanted a new kitchen” phase of the remodel…
…Really hoping it starts looking like the vision I had in my head very soon!

Additional items of interest include the Play-Doh on the counter (used multiple times the past few weeks) and the kitschy vinyl tablecloth on the extreme left of the photo (which protected the as-yet-unsealed new butcher block tabletop from said Play-Doh). Oh, and the teapot sitting in a colander on the other counter.

So, our work is pretty much cut out for us for the next few weeks as we finish up this big change! It’s been a challenge to have everything in the “Betwixt and Between” phase while we had company, but I think it added a little thrill to our lives.

:-D

And before I go, I read through my last post and
realized I missed a few Very Important Things
that we experienced during The Last Six Weeks

LOTS of giggles and laughter.

LOTS of kisses and hugs, including
Fish kisses and Eskimo kisses,
and Bear Hugs and Bedtime Snuggles.

LOTS of silly songs, silly stories,
and general all-around silly-ness.

LOTS of Together Time getting to know
(and now miss!) a bunch of little people.

Now how could I have forgotten to write about all that?

:-)

Happily Ever After…

Everyone loves the old fairy-tale ending: “And so they lived happily
ever after.” But in my opinion the best part of any true-life story
only
begins with these words. Certainly life’s greatest challenge is
raising a family. My own life has been exciting, 
rich and immensely
rewarding in every way. I have been lucky enough to win fame 
and
fortune beyond my dreams. An yet, the greatest and most satisfying
success 
by far that I have enjoyed lies in my children. Helping them,

watching them grow, has been my greatest joy and privilege.
~ Art Linkletter, 1959 ~

Very true words from Mr. Linkletter! Raising children… and then watching your children raise children… has got to be the most rewarding thing we’ve ever experienced! This week our family added another bit of “happily” to our “ever after”… Another grandboy!

ZekeWelcome to the world, Ezekiel!

Stretching Chickens and Raising Kids…

A slightly quirky blog post title, I know. I’m not quite sure if I’ve had too much coffee this morning… or too little. But there you have it. The things in my head at 8:00 a.m. And Hubby escaped into the world of hammers and nails before I started exponderating. Lucky readers.

:-D

Along the thought line of making do in the kitchen, have you ever heard of “Rubber Chicken” recipes? Go ahead… google “rubber chicken recipes” and you’ll find LOTS. I can’t quite remember where I first learned the term, but the idea has been passed down for generations by frugal homemakers. How to make a single chicken last and last and last. It’s quite a fun game. One night last week, Hubby and I were pondering dinner way past the time dinner should have been, and we decided to just run to the store for a couple of TV dinners. We walked past the rotisserie chickens and changed our plans. Out we walked with a skinny little $6 chicken and a package of microwave garlic mashed potatoes. I had applesauce at home to round it out. Fast food dinner for two for under $10. At least I knew I could pull another dinner out of the remains of the chicken the next night.

Since it was so late, we really didn’t eat much of the chicken. So, the next night, I pulled it out of the fridge, warmed up the rest of the white meat, and served it with broccoli and a package of brown rice pilaf  which I had purchased in bulk a few weeks ago when they were on sale for $1 a bag. (They make a great side dish for those just-the-two-of-us dinners!) So, a second dinner for about $3, counting up the broccoli, rice, and leftover applesauce.

Two nights later, the thought of dinner came up again, and I knew that bird was still hanging out in the fridge. As I was picking all the meat off the carcass, the kids called and said they were on the way over. Chicken soup was offered if they hadn’t eaten yet, and they hadn’t. The bones and skin went into a pot to boil, and I scrounged the kitchen for soup-makings. Several carrots, some celery, an onion, a potato, brown rice, and some spices were thrown with the leftover chicken once the broth was strained. Added in some homemade bread and opened another jar of applesauce, and we all had warm and full tummies.

And then last night, instead of heating the leftover soup, we opted for rolling out a pie crust and turning the soup and the leftover broccoli (from Dinner #2) into a chicken pot pie. Sides were corn and leftover applesauce. (We both really like applesauce, by the way.) We only ate half the pie, so dinner tonight is leftovers again. I stopped trying to figure out what the dinners cost after the first two nights, since all they “cost” was a bit of elbow grease and stuff that was already in my fridge threatening to mold if we ordered out. I do know that skinny little chicken ended up being a part of five dinners…one with company. Chicken stretching… favorite sport of frugal homemakers.

Pie

And in the area of raising kids… Mom and I have been taking my youngest daughter, Kate, who is great with child, on looong walks in hopes that the grand baby will be born soon. Last week we went to an antique shop that takes several hours to peruse, and I was very well-behaved, coming out with only a $3 book that looked interesting. And it has been. Absolutely, utterly refreshing, and rather funny… which couldn’t be helped considering who the author is. Common-sensical wisdom on child raising combined with humor and whit, written over 50 years ago. I’ve read a lot of books on parenting, but I’ve never laughed quite so much or agreed any more than I have while reading this one…

Kids

I have to put the disclaimer that I don’t agree with everything Mr. Linkletter writes, but Oh. My. Stars. he sure hits the nail on the head in so many areas. It’s like having a great conversation with your grandfather about how to raise happy, healthy kids. I may be sharing some of it with you in the next few posts.

Have a great Tuesday!

A Finished Project… And a Just Begun Project!

Since our youngest daughter Kate got married and moved out, we’ve been slowly but surely working on remodeling the upstairs. Plugging along, like Aesop’s Tortoise… and we know eventually we’ll get to the finish line. (And then we’ll move downstairs… but don’t mention that to my carpenter… he needs to see some light at the end of the tunnel!)

First, we worked on Kate and her sister Jordan‘s old room. And we moved in… How nice to have a bit of extra space to spread out! Then we began working on our old room. That went a bit faster because we had a deadline… Grandboys were coming to visit and needed a place to sleep! After Hubby ripped up the old carpet and sanded the pine floor, my Dad came over and helped me paint!

When we pulled the carpet up in the now-spare bedroom, we decided there was no time like the present to yank it off the steps as well. Our motto is, “If you’re gonna make a mess, you might as well make a big one.” So we did, and Hubby sanded the steps too. And we’ve been trudging up and down the bare construction steps since May. The California Kids went home mid-June, and then we had some wedding-related company, who may or may not have pondered taking up a collection for us, considering the state of our steps and the last remnant of original flooring in the upstairs bathroom. When it was back to just the two of us, I started the task of painting the steps.

Which, by the way, can be interesting. We went with an oil-based paint for durability, since the steps are a high-traffic area in our home. Each coat took quite a while to dry, and with each coat, I had to alternate steps so we could still get upstairs and downstairs. (Incidentally, if you go upstairs and downstairs by skipping steps for several days in a row, you will become well acquainted with muscles you didn’t know you had.) We also were careful to not paint on days when there was a possibility of little visitors or pregnant visitors due to the smelly-ness of the paint.

So. It took a while.

And then came the fun part! We’ve been trying to decide what to do to snazzy up those plain steps for quite a while. I had pinned a whole bunch of ideas on Pinterest the past few months. Maybe a carpet runner? A painted runner? Stenciling? Words? What words? One day toward the end of July, my friend Beth posted a photo of steps with the “In our home…” motif on my Facebook page. It was perfect! Almost. I thought I wanted a slightly more industrial feel to the lettering, so I went looking for it on Etsy, and found one I loved! And it was perfect! Almost. We had 14 steps instead of 13. And the shop graciously added another “step” for me in a custom listing!

I couldn’t wait to get started!
It took a bit of measuring…

Process1

And a bit of patience…

Process2

But it began to shape up nicely…

CloseUp2

And I love the finished project…It’s good to get things done!

StepsDone

And if you look closely, you’ll notice a bit of dirt on the steps…

CloseUp1

But that’s okay, because it means my carpenter has moved on
to the next project… A new bathroom floor!!!!!

Floor1

I think I need to take this man out to dinner!

MyGuy

The Past Few Weeks…

The past few weeks were very busy…

We had some very special company…

Our California Kids!

IceCream

I’ve not had time to sort through photos yet…

Shoes

…but thought I’d give you a peek…

Flower

…into our days together.

Leaves

We played…

Fish

… and fished…

Movies

…and rested…

Climb

…and climbed…

Craft

…and crafted…

Playground

…and played some more…

Chicks

… and met new friends…

Who Is This

… and were a bit goofy…

BEthany

…and smelled the salt air…

Beach

… and got some sand between our toes…

Sleep

… and pretty much wore ourselves out!

:-)

But we’d do it all again in a heartbeat.

Blossom…

This past Sunday, Hubby’s Mom and Dad had a little garden party…

…In fact, the garden WAS the party!

Azaleas

I mean, look at all that COLOR!

Winter Berry

The sky was a little gray that afternoon,
but that seemed to make the colors even more vibrant!

Lambs Ear

Mom and Dad have a knack for creating color contrasts in the garden!

Lilac

Everything was in bloom, and very fragrant!

White Flowers

Even the tiniest of blossoms…

Bleeding Heart

… seem to tug at your heartstrings.

Outside In

So I went home, and brought some Outside In.

Go not abroad for happiness,
for see,
it is a flower blooming at thy door.
~Minot Savage~

Branching Out…

In the midst of a long-distance Mother-Daughter phone conversation, somewhere mingled with Design Ideas, Mommy Advice, Airplane Tickets, Business Brainstorming, Children’s Drawings, and Plans-for-When-We-Next-Get-Together, my oldest daughter Jordan and I came up with a Brilliant Plan. While we were talking about the possibilities for developing a single design, the idea of a Grand Collaboration popped into both our heads at just about the same instance! And so did a quote that we both liked…

Home is Where You Are

It’s been nearly four years since Jo’s family has been back on the East Coast, and a good part of our conversation was about  Jo, her Hubby Luke, and her boys Jack and Derik traveling back home to Delaware for a couple of weeks in the late Spring. We’d both been searching online for airline tickets, and let me tell you, the price of airline tickets for four people to go across the country is nothing to sneeze at… As a matter of fact, it could make one swoon and fall over in shock.  But, where there’s a will, there’s a way!

We gals had an Idea…
…Take that single quote about “Home,”
create some Art around it,
and get those designs on the website, post haste!

Home is Where You Are

Jordan was feeling rather artsy that day, and jumped in feet first,
and got the ball rolling by coming up with
a beautiful sketch in her loose, happy style...

HomeIsWhereYouAre

Her Mama, on the other hand, was a tad bit slower, and took a couple days
to produce a matching papercutting in her somewhat-tight, in-the-box style…

WherYouAreCut

And then we set to work to produce a sweet line of prints and cuts that we’ll be
selling on our Etsy shops and websites to help play for those tickets!

WhereYouAreLine

Click Here to Purchase on our Website!

Or Click Here to Purchase on Etsy!

And don’t forget to stop by THIS POST and leave a comment to enter my current Giveaway!

Comings and Goings…

I’ve been trying to keep “home” in my thoughts as the new year unfolds,
but so far “in my thoughts” has been about the extent of it!

We “overed” Christmas and the New Year… That’s a pretty busy time of year for our family. We cleaned up the wrapping paper and cleaned out the fridge. And then we packed, and left home for 12 days. Almost two weeks… Almost half the month! But it was worth it to see these two sweet faces…

SweetBoys

And even though we were far away from home, we discovered that…

Home is where they love you.

Even if they are a little bit silly…

GoofyBoys

And My OTHER Girl!!!

Wow!

This has been a week of my girls doing amazing things!

Our oldest daughter, Jordan Boesch is the featured artist today on

Annapolis & Company
Creativity in the Everyday

Mary Beth is doing an awesome series about young creative ladies.

It is truly inspiring.

And so is my girl, who made her Mama cry as she read the interview.

…And also laugh when she saw pictures of her
sand-covered chock-full-of-life Grandboys!

Jordan, who mastered Spencerian Penmanship at the age of 15,
has a design business where she specializes in hand-drawn
logos and lettering for websites, branding, and marketing.

If you are in need of an artist that will work with you to
create a very special look for your business or blog…

Go visit my girl at…

Hey There. Design

And My Girl….

Exciting News Flash!!!

Our daughter, Katie Donovan is being featured for the next few days on

One King’s Lane!!!

They’re producing her beautiful hand-lettered art on canvas,
and framing them in pretty white frames!

Look for her wonderful quotes, like this one…

And yes, I borrowed that picture to share with you, because

1. I’m her Mom and am pretty sure it would be okay.

and

2. The original is hanging in my art room.

And it is awesome.