Friday, September 19, 2014

Simple Things

We moved into this house in 2001 and so it has all oak trim and woodwork, a lighter honey oak. It's nice, but not quite a current trend. It also has all brass doorknobs and brass trim on the fireplace. Last weekend we decided it can't be that difficult to just spray paint the gold parts of the fireplace, right? Right!

Before (both top and bottom trim was brass)



The fireplace now looks like its always been trimmed in black and we'll probably tape and protect the glass and surround and spray the rest of the box to make it all look like new.  We should have done this years ago...when we started remodeling other areas of the house.  Next up, doorknob replacements! Slowly but surely!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Summer, School and a Smart Kid

So, summer is over. We've been on vacation, it's been a difficult summer. I don't really want to talk about it right now. Maybe when it's a distant memory and we've overcome some of the hurdles in our way right now..maybe then I'll talk about it. Anyway, we went on vacation to the Iowa State Fair and was mostly fun. The first grader had a really great time.

We went to Adventureland first and the first grader rode two roller coasters pretty much all day. Until the adults with her could no longer stomach another lurching ride. She's just brave and grown up, in a flash.

Of course there's face painting at the fair, which I promised we could go straight to so they'd have paint all day long. They loved it.

We also discovered the oldest needed glasses. I took her to the eye doctor and while we were waiting she was looking at the letters on the mirror/screen and reading them oh so very wrong. I was surprised...and I guess I'm really glad that flute lessons showed us she needed glasses. The left lens is prescription, the right is not, but I imagine as she ages her bad left eye will bring down her good right eye. Heh. She looks great in them.
She couldn't stop grinning when she got the glasses.
It's been a long summer. It's been beautiful weather, but not really great for swimming, until today, when it's super super hot. Today 91F, tomorrow 72F...honestly I'm glad they're back in school and learning and scheduled and in a routine. Next summer will be better.

And this first grader of mine, is smart as a whip. Obviously all parents think that of their children, but I got confirmation today from her teacher. They've done reading assessments and she came home to say she read at a 2nd grade level, which I wasn't surprised to hear. She's been reading Junie B Jones   over the summer...but it turns out she's actually PASSED the 2nd grade assessment, so she's really closer to 3rd grade reading skills. So she'll be taken out of her class four times per week for 20 minutes with a special teacher that will challenge her in reading. I couldn't be more proud.

Face painting at the state fair. Elsa of course.

To be fair, the 11yo is also very smart and a really great reader, she just wasn't this far ahead at this age.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Deck Expansion

The husband has been working on this for the last three weeks, pretty steadily. Our house was built with a 10x10 wood deck, which works ok to hold a grill and a small table. But the weather has been so perfect lately, we thought it would be really nice if we had more space to sit and maybe even entertain out there.  It's not 100% complete, we still need to trim the 4x4 posts and add a top rail to the stair rail, and potentially stain all the non-composite to match, but generally speaking, it's usable. And we LOVE it.

Also as a sidenote, we put in a paver patio down below the deck a couple years ago, which we use, but the sun beats on that spot in the afternoon so it's a little difficult to use. This new expansion shades that area now so it's much more usable. 



I also spray painted the small iron table and chairs I had up top and I'll show those in a later post when they're placed. I went with a teal-blue seabreeze color and I love it. I'm hoping to find or make some small cushions for the chairs so they'll be even more usable. I also have a ton more pictures of the process this deck took, but I haven't quite figured out how to embed just a slideshow into a blogger post, so I dunno if that will happen.

UPDATE: I downloaded picasa and used that to create a youtube slideshow video of the process of the deck build.

TDC Before and After

Bedroom art

I hunted for a long time for artwork or photos to go above my bed. With the newer furniture and new bedding I wanted to choose something that went well with all of it. I didn't want anything too crazy and I didn't want to have to explain anything abstract. I also decided that photos wouldn't be the best idea, because those would be outdated pretty quickly. So, I was reading Linda's blog about her experience with Prowl and figured I'd give it a try.  I got a lot of really great ideas about what to put there, how to make it matchy or not matchy and then I saw these and knew that was it.

My bedspread is green, brown and cream, the walls are cream and my curtains are brown, so finding this comforter set was awesome. And now, these wall art pieces match the starburst pattern I have on the bed perfectly.  I love how simple it is and how well it goes. Now I just need to find a way to pad the back of them a little bit so rumbly thunder doesn't rattle them so much :)

Next up, dip dying my lamp (maybe!?) and an attempt at long term meal planning.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer catchup

Really, truly I am the worst blogger. I always believe summer will be fun and relaxed and slow. It is not. Summer is a mad rush to do as much fun things as possible, while still working and doing home improvements and anything else you can't fit in during the school year. I really think I would hate (and my children would) year round school, but sometimes it seems like it'd be a little more predictable for planning breaks and vacations.

So far this summer we've done nothing. We'll be taking vacation in August and then we'll likely visit the state fair and/or an amusement park. The oldest really wants to horseback ride again, so I need to look into that. We're expanding our deck, which is looking amazing and we're trying to get into the pool as often as possible - which has been difficult with the coolest July ever.

I'm subscribed to the HGTV Handmade channel on Youtube, which has given us a few cute ideas for storage and display items this summer. Here's the bracelet holder the oldest and I made, it was fun and cute and pretty easy. I also spray painted my iron table and chairs that were on the upper deck, but will now be a beautiful sea breeze blue/teal and moved to below the new deck. I'll get a picture of that when it's all done.

Two paper towel rolls, a dowel cut to length, platform

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Don't Stop Believin'

We've just had a general music concert and a band concert for the oldest. She is not a fan of the singing class, but loves playing the flute.  Feel free to watch the other videos in the channel. I've done some catching up today...

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Speaking of too grown up...again

Finally got back the Kindergartener's spring photos. I swear, it's some conspiracy between the photographers and my cute kids to force me to buy all the pictures. Fine. They win. She loves this shirt with it's tank top under and the pretty flowy top.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

too grown up and beautiful

We got back Spring photos for the oldest today. She is so beautiful..and she looks so grown up. I'm a little afraid of our future with such a pretty smart girl.


We've been on spring break and such also, maybe i'll get around to posting about that someday.  It's just so busy with work, and both of them in school.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Too much snow

The snow can stop now. This is too much, we are officially out of places to throw it. The husband keeps having to adjust the snowblower to throw higher and I don't think it can go much higher. We're out of room. We're done. And it's supposed to ice/snow Wed. night again. The kids are never going back to school (snow day yesterday, they're back today) and they'll end up going to school until July.

The snow banks are taller than the trash cans

The snow has just about taken over the mailboxes

The dogs have to have a path shoveled and they still don't want to go.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I am fairly sure...let's say 80%...that my 6yo has been abducted and replaced by a completed different child. Starting in late September and up until last week, I was driving her to school. She had motion sickness and was throwing up on the bus, she even threw up in my car a couple times when I started driving her. This week, I kept her home sick on Monday - we were both sick really - so she could fight her cold just one more day. Tuesday it was super windy and cold, so the roads got a little slick. So there was a two hour delay for school. I suggested maybe she wanted to try the bus, since she slept in and had plenty of time to be ready. She agreed.

She has ridden the bus every day since.


This morning, I took her to the stop (it's four houses down the street, which is awesome) and when we got there her neighbor friend came as well. The 6yo turns to me and says "you can go now".

See, clearly she's been replaced.

I have no words. I am both super excited that I don't have to drive her, super excited that she's growing and learning and comfortable with her friends, the bus (her Grandpa drives it), and school...and I'm also sad, just a teeny tiny bit..that she doesn't need me quite as much anymore.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Terrible Blogger

I am really terrible at this. Most of the time I feel like whatever I might have to say isn't worth saying out loud, or in writing, because no one cares about it but me. So then I talk myself into not writing anything and end up with a blog that hasn't been updated since November. Well. Sorry. How about a general catchup...

We smoked two turkeys for both sides of the family on Thanksgiving which was delicious and fun. I went out that night with my aunt-in-law and mother-in-law for some black friday..or brown thursday as I prefer to call I bought a couple small gifts but didn't find much and fighting the people was not worth it. I did find the perfect comforter set for my bed though, on sale, at JCPenney. I love it. It's the Galaxy 10-pc Comforter Set and I did NOT pay that price for it. It looks fantastic on my bed because the walls are the cream color and my curtains are the brown..and green is my favorite color, so it's perfect. I almost didn't buy it, but my cohorts convinced me I could always return it if it didn't work vs not buying it and it going out of stock or something. So they were right. I love it.

Christmas was crazy. We planned to smoke about 16 pounds of pork shoulder for a large husband-side dinner/birthday/Christmas but the weather cancelled those plans. So we still smoked some pork, the gathering was just smaller. Still delicious. The husband's sister and her husband and toddler came up from GA to visit and it was really great. To see them and see how big she's getting. I got a Hoodie Footie from the husband and some really nice silver hoop earrings. The girls got me more socks (I love socks for some reason) and bath&body soaps. The girls got what they've always wanted, Deluxe Webkinz accounts and stuffed Boo animals, among other things. It was a great week.

New Years was uneventful, the kids spent the night with the grandparents, and we played Final Fantasy XIV most of the night. On New Years day we headed over to the in-laws to watch a bowl game (Go Hawkeyes! they lost.) and do some puzzles. I love doing puzzles, I just never make the time to do it.

School break started a day early due to snow..and was extended by two days due to super super super freezing temperatures. It was -40F here at some point with the windchill, -27 was a little crazy. So the kids stayed home, the rest of us worked and they finally went back to school last Wednesday.

We tried a new restaurant with some friends recently - saturday night - which was really great fun. However, I woke up at 230am on Sunday with what I think was food poisoning. I don't know whether to blame the pork belly from the restaurant or the frozen yogurt from the dessert place. Either way, I'll be avoiding both for awhile. After three days of queasyness - which feels disturbingly like morning sickness - today my stomach seems much better. So Monday I stayed home sick, and I kept the 6yo home as well because she's working on a cough/cold. Tuesday it was super super windy here, which was freezing some roadways, so school was delayed by 2 hours. So the 6yo agreed to ride the bus, since she had plenty of time to get ready and read and play beforehand. So loved it and Grandpa loved getting her hug when she got off. So this morning, she wanted to ride the bus again...and she did. So it's possible (shhh don't jinx it) she might be fully ok with school now. I'll still drive her anytime she feels like sleeping in a little, but it was really great to see her ready and happy to ride the bus with her friends. Now if she could just stop catching colds from all of them.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


That's right. I now am in possession of an ELEVEN year old girl. She's smart and tall and beautiful. She has loads of friends and she's learning the flute and she's started caring about what she wears and what matches and her hair. She still hates bath/shower night and going to bed for school, but she also hates waking up early. But she loves the bus rides and her friends and fifth grade. She's pretty fantastic.

This happened.

Friday, November 1, 2013


Happy Halloween everyone. I'm grateful that it's over. Halloween should be moved so that it's ALWAYS on a Friday or weekend. Week night trick or treating is just exhausting. The 6yo went as Batgirl and had the best time. She kept seeing kids that ride her bus, which was blowing her mind. Apparently kindergarteners do not understand WHY they're on the same bus. It was hilarious. The friend in the picture is also a kindergartener and they ran into another friend which blew both of their minds. It was hilarious to watch. And then the 6yo started trying to make play dates. "You wanna come to my house sometime?"

friends on a candy hunt
The soon to be 11 yo (thursday the 7th) wanted to trick or treat with her friends. I think I was misled on the plan, but it worked out ok. She went with her friends, and her pumpkin was overflowing with candy. She said it was the best time ever.
11yo and friend on the hunt
It was around 45 degrees so we've had worse Halloween nights, but it stopped raining about an hour or so before we went out so that worked out pretty well. The kids are so excited that they don't get cold, so the 6yo had gloves on but kept refusing her coat. The 11yo went with gloves but at the end she was wearing her jacket also. I was wearing my big winter coat with gloves and I was still freezing. It was a pretty good night, and they were pleased to miss bath night and go to school again with pink hair. Of course, the 6yo's cold got the better of her this morning and she's had trouble from both ends, so I kept her home from school. I still have every confidence she'll grow out of this eventually. For now, she's bored on the couch.

And now, more halloween cuteness.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Growing so fast

We had church directory photos taken a few weeks ago. I intended to buy nothing...and bought everything. It's a racket for sure, but the photos were good and we hadn't had any family pictures in awhile. The girls are growing too fast..they should stop that.

We also got photos of them individually which are so good. The 6yo is always suspicious and the 11yo is always posing. It's a funny and adorable combination.

The 6yo is also doing much better with Kindergarten. I've been driving her to school for a little over a week now so she's getting a little more rest and she's avoiding the carsickness of the bus. She's fine on the way home because it's a shorter ride. She's the 2nd stop, so in the morning she has to ride an extra 30 minutes after she gets on, but on the way home, she's still the 2nd stop so she's off pretty early on.

Also, a word of warning. I've been giving her children's claritin while she's had a cold, to keep the snot that ends up in her stomach overnight to a minimum. So I give it to her at bedtime, it keeps her from puking first thing in the morning. After a few days,t he claritin kicks into her system and Let's say that..Active. So I put her to bed on Sunday night at 8pm because they take a little bit to fall asleep and they have to get up at 645/730 to catch the bus/get to school on time. at 825 we hear thumping upstairs...what the...she's standing in my room.

Me: "What are you doing? "
6yo: "I'm not tired."
Me: "Ok, but what are you doing in my room?"
6yo: "Staying up."

She'd also gone into her sister's room and climbed up her loft bed ladder, shaking the bed a bit, as it does...and freaked her out as she tried to fall alseep. more claritin for a bit. The cold has mostly subsided so she can fight the rest. I'll not give it to her so many days in a row next time, giving it time to build in her system, hops her up.  The next morning she said she had been under my bed...I cannot even fathom why. She was hopped up :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Birthday girl.

The five year old turned six a couple weeks ago. I know that I "should" have planned and thrown her a party with her friends, but it's just so much work. I'd rather wait until she's got a good group of friends and just invite them. Next year. Maybe. We had family come over of course, and everyone brought gifts which is really all she wants anyway.
She got clip on puppy earrings, lip gloss and nail polish, a new Lite Brix set, a new webkinz pegasus and some things I can't remember. She came with me to pick out a cake and get some balloons and I think she had a great day.
Hello Kitty lip gloss and purse, puppy clip on earrings
She still doesn't want to go to school. She still throws up before she gets on the bus nearly every morning. So this morning I drove her myself. She still threw up before we left, but at least the bouncy bus didn't make her throw up again. She'll ride home on the bus like normal (she never gets sick on the way home) so she'll still get to see grandpa (he drives it). And maybe someday she'll get used to this whole going-to-school-without-mom thing. I'll drive her as long as she needs me to.