Saturday, March 29, 2014

Leaky Dishwasher Remodel

About a year ago it became apparent we needed to replace our kitchen floor. The peal and stick tiles were popping up and the flooring under started swelling in spots. We didn't know what was going on. But I hated the floor and was happy to be forced to replace it with a much more appealing porcelain tile. Who knows how long we would have lived with that floor if it hadn't become a problem.
We had a few theories as to what was making the tiles swell. Possibly water damage from kitchen spills over the years, or maybe the people who installed it didn't know what they doing. Whatever the case, it needed to be replaced.
So we budgeted in the materials for the tile project. It was kind of funny how at exactly the time that we had enough money, we realized there was a bigger problem. The dishwasher was leaking!
Curtis took it out and started tearing up flooring to find this. Wet particle board. Moldy wet particle board. Nasty moldy wet particle board. YUCK!
After removing all of the wet particle board we put a fan on the subfloor to help it dry while we tried to figure out what to do next.
Clearly the only option was not the best option. But being that it was the only one, we decided to tear out the cabinets and see what was underneath them.

More nasty moldy particle board! Some mold starting up the walls and on the underside of the cabinets. It was a good thing we had no other options. Thankfully Curtis had lots of physical and informative help from a friend JR.

A funny thing about home improvement- you learn more than how to improve your home. For example, we didn't really know that we were "do it yourselfers" but it looks like we are. I think we always had this idea that if we had more money, we would just hire someone to do this kind of work for us. But the truth is, we like to do it ourselves and have the peace of mind knowing it was done right. Of course there are things that a professional would do better than us, but if we had more money, we'd probably just replace more and do more projects ourselves.

So all of the old stuff came out. We bleached, scrubbed, and Kiltz'd everything that was wet.

Good stuff!

The kids helped by watching tv for an entire weekend.
Then he laid plywood on top of the subfloor.
Put the cabinets back together and replaced any damaged wood on them.
 And VOILA! The kitchen was a kitchen again. Now on to the tile!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March Book Club Meeting

This Month Mary was the host for her book club meeting. Mary selected the book Ivy & Bean by Annie Barrows, with help from her big sister who read the book a few years ago. It was a great choice! We all really enjoyed reading it together. I laughed out loud at so many cute parts and that made the girls love it even more. Victoria (2) even loved it. So we let her listen in and I read aloud during Paisley's naps. It was short and super funny. Perfect for my crowd :)
Ivy and Bean | [Annie Barrows]
We were lucky enough to have mother nature cooperate on the day of the meeting. I'll be honest, we did little prep for the meeting due to an unexpected Atkins Meal Bar reaction (don't ever ever try one) that took me out for a few days. So a few hours before the meeting Taylor decorated the chalkboard and that was basically all we did.
The girls arrived and decorated magic stick wands just like Ivy and Bean did when they were sprucing up Ivy's magic wand.

They are so cute :)

Then, they made muddy worm oreo bowls for a snack (they ate worms just like Bean's sister did when she fell in the mud).

They quickly found the chickens and played in the yard, while the moms hung out.

Garden Story: The Fence

 This spring we decided that it was finally time to build a permanent fence around the garden. We've spent too many years watching the deer, rabbits, and who knows what else fatten up their families on our veggies. Our fence budget was $500.
Mary loves to help Daddy outside. They are two peas in a pod! She could stay outside all day and well into the night if Daddy is with her. She is Daddy's girl for sure. So, he dug the holes with a rented auger from a friend and then set the posts.
The fence took a little longer than expected. Mostly the weather and the kitchen floor were to blame. It would figure that this is the year we get more snow than usual.
But it sure was beautiful!
After the snow melted he was back to work. He wrapped the fencing around the posts and secured them. I was really surprised how sturdy it is. Nothing is getting under this baby unless it can dig!

And at last the tilling began. Well until the tires needed to be replaced on the tiller. Of course they were special order so we're still waiting for them.
Lastly he built this amazing gate! I am so proud :) Now lets see what we can grow!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Attitude Adjustment

We're feeling pretty crummy around here this week. It's probably because I need an attitude adjustment. With a busy weekend of kitchen construction, a ton of activities planned, a chicken murderer (maybe a possum), and a wacky unrealistic budget for this month, I'm a little on edge. I spent Monday stressing and worrying. My seedlings are dying because they need to be transplanted. The garden isn't even close to ready because of a flat tiller tire. The list goes on and on. On top of it all I'm trying to plan a trip to my mom's in Florida, which may or may not work out.

Close to tears, I decided to take a time out. I logged on to Facebook and immediately saw an article posted by One Thousand Gifts. It looked inspiring so I read it and it was. It was about complaining kids. My kids complained a lot this week. But I complained more. I remember last week on Sunday morning I said the words "when you're feeling down, the best thing you can do is serve". It was clear to me that the kids and I desperately needed to serve. We needed to work on our hearts. We all needed an attitude adjustment. We needed to create an attitude of gratitude.

So I dug out some cards. Blank cards and thank you cards. I put them in a pretty basket and cleaned off the kitchen table (which isn't even in the kitchen) and set everything out. While I was at it, I got out the supplies to finish Mary's science project. Then I gathered up Taylor's social studies project materials and took them to her. I kindly told her that she is on her own and I expected her project to be done in time for the fair on Thursday night. Her eyes widened with shock. But she smiled and said ok. I knew she could do it. It wasn't even a difficult project. I've been babying her and she's been taking advantage of me.

Now my plan is to utilize every baby and toddler tool that will keep the two littles busy and distract them from terrorizing. Then, I will put my kitchen back together, transplant any seedlings that have survived and put the big girls to work. The floor is on hold until Curtis has time and the garden is on hold until we can order tiller tires.

Prayer and thanksgiving will adjust the attitude of our hearts and good old fashioned hard work will adjust our circumstances. Some times we all just need an adjustment.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Garden Story: Seeds


We're slowly but surely making progress on the garden. The girls and I have seeds started and most of them are looking pretty good. But this is really a learning experience for all of us. We've started tomato plants from seeds for a few years, and we've sowed seeds directly into the garden before but this year we're starting more in the house while the garden is being prepared.
For the first time, we're starting some of our seeds in eggshells. The shells are biodegradable and super cute. I like cute. Cute makes everything more enjoyable and I think the girls had more fun doing it this way. Plus they'll give the seeds added nutrients as they decompose in the ground.

Victoria (2) got bored pretty quick so Taylor (13) whipped up this amazing tent fort in the living room to keep her busy while we worked.


I made a tiny greenhouse to make watering and moving the seeds around easier. Some seeds are in the kitchen window and little shelves on the sides of the window and the rest are in the clear bin. I alternate the seeds between the two spots every two days or so. To be sure they stay warm and that they get enough light, I put the bin behind the curtains in front of a sunny window in the den. You could easily cover the bin with Saran Wrap for added warmth.

Another bonus of this is that the seeds are not in constant sight of the little ones. Out of sight, out of mind. They almost never mess with them.


 We'll be starting another round of seeds in a few weeks in an attempt to stretch out the growing season as long as possible.
Please note that this is totally a learning experience for us and we only have a small idea as to what we're doing here :)




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March Ladies Luncheon

We've tried over the last few years to practice some new outreach ideas. Our latest idea was for the girls to host a ladies luncheon once every few months. These luncheons will have to work into our monthly food budget so they'll be fairly inexpensive and mostly homemade goodies by the girls. This month was an exception to the homemade part because our kitchen floor is currently plywood and we have NO dishwasher. So the girls trashing the kitchen and dirtying every dish we own didn't sound like the best idea to me. Instead, we just bought most of the food from Walmart.


But I did want each girl to make something that they could share. Mary made chicken salad and Taylor made potato soup. We made enough of both to have extra for dinner that night also (in an attempt to not go over our food budget).

We added a few colorful treats and I gave the girls a quick lesson on being a good servant. We talked about working hard to ensure that our guests feel comfortable and can relax while they're here. We also talked about the importance of us being relaxed and went over the bible lesson about Mary and Martha.
The girls enjoyed the food and fellowship and I think the ladies did too. Next luncheon we're thinking about doing a brunch for some of the ladies from church.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Plains Indians Project

It's that time of year again!! Project time! 

Our home school group hosts a talent show and project fair every spring. Last year I had a newborn and a 15 month old so we opted out of the projects. Mary did enter the talent show but I wouldn't call it a success. We had planned on doing science projects but we bombed out at the last minute. 

I'm probably overdoing it but this year we're doing a science and a social studies project for both big girls! 

For the social studies project, I gave them ideas but ultimately let them decide on the topic. Mary chose to study Native Americans that lived in the Plains. So we studied and got to work. We did a diorama of a Plains Indian village.

We made tipis out of paper lunch bags and skewers. After they were shaped and taped, we coated them with mod podge (my favorite thing on the planet) to stiffin them up some. Then Mary painted them.

These were our original horses. They were way too big for our people :) We eventually got rid of them.

We added a buffalo hunt in the distance.

Then we needed a background to really tie it together.

Now it's coming along.

I was so pleased with the way everything turned out. We both learned so much and we had a ton of fun working together to make something cool.
We also found a friend who had some material that was similar to a buffalo hide, so Mary painted pictograms on it. It tells a story about her hunting buffalo and being invited to eat with her friend during the hunt! I love first grade! Good thing too because I get to do it two more times :)

We didn't want Victoria to be left out so she participated by doing her own worksheets, coloring her own Native American boys and girls and dressing them, and painting her own buffalo hide.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

This Week: Filled with fun

This week began with a beautiful sunshine filled day! A perfect day for playing outside and that's exactly what we did.

The girls seem to be enjoying the day too.
First signs of spring are beginning to pop up every where.

I worked my behind off on the toy room this week. The kids and I purged and organized the toy room. I think it stayed like this for about an hour. We donated two full trash bags of toys to the Hope Center so maybe the clean up process wont be as bad.


Mary is super busy lately. She had a sewing club meeting, a birthday party, and a book club meeting this week!
She read "About Average" by Andrew Clements. It was ok but a bit long and lacking in action for Mary.
Fortunately the fun she had at the meeting made up for it. The girls made hamburger bun pizzas and chocolate milk.
Then they made tornado's in a jar.
And they recreated the fort from the book.

Oh and I cant forget to mention the bunnies! Yes, bunnies. No, their were not any bunnies in the book but they were at the meeting and Mary fell in love with them.

Unfortunately we came home to this!

NO dishwasher and a big hole in the kitchen. Our dishwasher bit the dust and during it's death it was nice enough to leave us with a nasty rotten floor as a remembrance of how much we hated it :( BOO!