Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ho Ho Ho...

So what do you think.... Have they been Naughty or Nice?!?!??!

This shot was taken after Ally's school program. That's cousin Brett in the middle!

Hope everyone is getting ready for the holidays. We are still trying to clear a spot for a tree in the house!!! Will Santa still bring stuff if you don't have a tree??

Saturday, December 5, 2009

And what color is your house?

So I was giving directions to our house the other day and the salesman asked what color the house was. I replied "blue.... no actually brown.... well technically it looks a little green at the moment.... Honestly I'm not really sure what color my house is right now."

I suppose all of the above were correct on that given day. One side was the old blue siding, a couple of sides were green with the new house wrap, and one side was brown with the start of the new siding. IT LOOKS AWESOME!!!! I can hardly wait to see it on the addition. It really makes the windows stand out.

Here's the before (picture has the new soffit but still has the old windows)...

And here it is with a little sample of siding...

Notice the big ugly chimney has disappeared?!?! Yippee! It will look even better when we get all the trim work done. Now if the inside just looked this nice!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Here comes the school bus!!!

Guess what? We can actually watch for the school bus now without standing with our head pressed to glass and our neck crooked at an angle to see to the North from a rather high West facing window! Confused? Me too. What I really mean is that we now have a beautiful tall casement window facing to the north in the living room so we (even the kids) can see the bus coming down the road without being a contortionist! And better yet, we have a door on the front of the house that you can actually use! Yes... I realize there was a door there before, but this one actually opens. And you can go out it. And it even closes. Woohoo!!!!

Here is a shot of the northeast corner of the house before. The wood stove is gone and the new window sits just behind where the stove originally was.
And now here it is with the new window...

And here is a shot of the old door. See the pretty insulation we had stuffed in between the door and the outside storm door in an attempt to slow down the wind from coming in??

And here is the new one. Insert drum roll here.....

Okay... so that's not really our house but that really is our door. Except ours still looks like this (minus one sidelite)...

Now dad doesn't have to nap in the lazy boy in that cold, drafty corner of the house when they come visit :)

Things are changing by the day. Our favorite thing to do when we come home is to go around each night and try to figure out what they've done that day. It's like a scavenger hunt for the kids!!!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

A room with a view...

I am SOOOO excited to share these next photos with you! They started into the existing house to get the windows in this week. Our biggest problem is that nearly all the furniture from the 3 bedrooms is now in the living room and hallway. Needless to say... ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!! Good thing Thanksgiving wasn't hosted at our place this year, although you could have eaten dinner on a dresser or bed in the comfort of the living room!

As you can see, the windows are mostly in, but there is LOTS and LOTS of finish work to be done. We moved a lot of the windows so they have to patch walls and re-drywall this coming week. Hopefully sooner than later... it's a little drafty around here!

Any suggestions for paint colors in any of the rooms? We're taking suggestions and looking at all kinds of samples these days. Decisions... decisions... decisions.....

I think the living room transformation is my favorite so far... Maybe it's just getting rid of so much of that ugly dark paneling we had!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Construction is for the birds!

If you thought my post about the turkeys was funny, check this out. These big fellas squeezed thru a hole in the soffits prior to getting them finished and were the first to spend the night in the new addition. Not sure what kind of birds they are so if you know, please share it in the comments! As usual, GR saved the day and rescued us from the scary things when he came home from work!!! Isn't he great?!?!

Stairway to Heaven

Ok... so it's maybe not heaven yet.... but I it's close enough to imagine. We just need drywall and plumbing and heat and paint and flooring and tile and trim and...

So maybe it's not even close but at least the stairs are in! The pics don't show it all that well but it is starting to take shape. At least we have a visual now! The old overhead power lines are now buried and the ugly pole is out of the landscape so that's an improvment. Given the October weather challenges, we are thankful for the beautiful days we've had in November to make so much progress. Now if it only hangs on thru December!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Construction or Destruction??

My what a difference the sunshine makes! They have gotten so much done this week, despite the 1.2" of rain and 6+ inches of heavy wet snow last week. They seem to be tearing things off the old house just about as fast as they are building on the new part. As I type, I can hear the sounds of sledge hammers and crumbling dry wall. Gail keeps reminding me that now is not a good time to wonder what we have gotten ourselves into! Time will tell I suppose! Here are a few shots of the progess this week...

If you build it, they will come...

Guess you don't need to send an invitation to get guests... the welcome kind or otherwise! I consider these fine feathered friends to be our first official guests in the new addition. And if they're still around come Thanksgiving, we might be hosting the family dinner!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy Friday!

This made me laugh out loud.... Hope it brings a smile to your weekend!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

After school snack

This amazing recipe came from one of my favorite blogs and I just had to pass it on. If you like pumkin, you will love these muffins. The chocolate chips even make the kids like them!
Pumpkin Chocoloate Chip Muffins
1 2/3 c flour
1 c. sugar
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup plain canned pumpkin
1 stick butter, melted
6 oz. milk chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the first 6 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
In an electric mixer beat the eggs.
Add pumpkin and butter.
Mix well, but do not over mix.
Add the dry ingredients a little at a time and mix.
Add chocolate chips.
Bake for about 25 minutes

We have a 2nd story... and snow!

The good news is they got the 2nd story outside walls framed... the bad news is that we also got several inches of snow today. Check calendar. Yep. October 22. Since when do they forecast 3-6" of snow on October 22? Apparently in 2009! Hopefully it warms up soon.

Here are a few shots of the progress. It looks a bit like a look-out tower but the contractor assures me the porch and siding will "tone it down". Hope so. The neighbors have already called to see how much higher we are going.

Isn't this the coolest view from my new laundry room? Who wouldn't love to do chores in a room like this?!?!?

Aside from the water running down the wall and into the existing house last night and a minor re-do of the upstairs floor plan due to a glitch in the stairway layout, I think things are going well!

Monday, October 19, 2009

House Project 10.19.09

So it's been a long wait and a few minor changes in plans (ok maybe a few MAJOR changes) but they finally started on the house. So for anybody who cares, I will try to post some pictures here as we go along the next few months. We are SOOOO excited to finally be started, but man... somebody should have warned us how many decisions are required when you do one of these little jobs!!! Who knew there were 3,008 options available for a wooden door!

Here is the before - we are building to the west of the existing house toward the garage (where the dog pen used to be if you've ever seen that).
The foundation has been done since August...

They just started construction on October 6...

Given the weather challenges we've had already, it's going fairly quickly. Check back soon... they are putting the walls up on the 2nd story as I post so things are changing quickly!!!

My very first Before and After!

Not that it's anything too exciting, but I've been trying to do a project so I can post a before and after just like these girls... , , and . They can turn trash to treasure quicker than you can say "Did she really just do that?!?!" The best part of my project is that I used scrap lumber from our new addition. Yes... read that line again! They started the new addition on our house a week or so ago. Is it really dumpster diving when it's on your own property?!?

Here is what I've discovered (and saved from the burn pile) so far...

And I've discovered the staple supplies of any DIY'er.... POWER TOOLS, sand paper, spray paint, and a little imagination!

I admit it... I'm a copy cat (sorry Beck) but I couldn't resist. It was too cute! I already have my words printed for Thanksgiving and Christmas!!! Can hardly wait and best of all... it's FREE!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The new basement we didn't really get a new basement but I'm officially reclaiming the space after 4 years so it's almost like getting a new basement! We've been storing Auntie M's things for several years (along with a lot of our own junk) so the one small room we have down there has been non-existent up til now. The last of the furniture is moved out so we're making plans for the new space. Don't get me wrong, I still have lots of sorting and BURNING to do, but we're well on our way. The de-humidifier is on full force and we're getting closer to our dream "play room". I've already bought some chalk-board paint and we've been evaluating potential wall colors. You'll have to check back soon for a sneak peek! I was thinking of using this cabinet to hold a TV, movies, and board games. I'll pull the back off, possibly add a coat of paint to the whole thing or maybe add curtains to the glass. Can't you just see it with an old quilt draped over the door?!?!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jogger's Blog

Have you ever done anything just to see if you could? Well... that's just what I did this summer. I had a few over-achieving friends that had taken up the silly sport of running for some odd reason, so I thought I'd give it a try just to see if I could. I've never been a long distance runner (not even in my school days!) so it seemed a little out of reach. I can remember trying it out just by trying to jog (ie walk fast!) up the little hill last spring after doing chores. Needless to say, I was so out of shape I could hardly make it to the barn and believe me, it's NOT that far! So I kept plugging away a few yards at a time (literally) until I was doing a mile. I distinctly remember proudly announcing that I can jog the whole mile south of our house and only had to stop to walk up the big hills. I was soooo proud! Well, I kept at it and actually ran 3 different 5k races (3.1 miles) this summer. So if I can do this, ANYONE can!!!

Here's my tally since I starting tracking my progress:

June - 36.8 miles
July - 33.1 miles
Aug - 26.5 miles
Sept - 29.1 miles.. do the math... that's over 125 miles total! WOW!

And my 5k race times:
6/13/09 - 34:07
7/4/09 - 31:31
9/26/09 - 29:00 woohoo!!

I am making this entry for the sole purpose of trying to motivate myself to get going again. I have run a big ZERO miles since my last 5k. Not sure if it's lack of time, motivation, energy, or what but I don't like it. Maybe if I know the world has access to this (even though I only have 1 follower!!) I will get my butt in gear!!! I'll let you know!

Pay attention America....

I recently took a trip up to the Sandhills of Western Nebraska and as I drove for miles on end without a town in sight, I realized that the rest of America could learn a thing or two from the people who call this home. If you aren't familiar with this part of the country, let me tell you that it is the most beautiful but desolate place you might ever find. The towns are easily 30-60 miles apart if not more, and by town, I mean a group of 10-15 houses and a post office if you are lucky. The nearest Walmart or McDonalds is 3-4 hours away for some of these folks. Shopping takes on a whole new meaning when it takes a full day's drive to get to the nearest grocery store. They are resourceful, genuine people and America should sit up and take note of their way of life. Here are some of my simple observations from last week's visit to a ranch....
  • People, without exception, drive with a 'one wrist grip' at the "12:00" position on the steering wheel so that they can easily give a full hand wave when they meet you on the road... and not just the little 'raised finger' waive like you sometimes see either!

  • EVERYONE you meet looks you straight in the eye, smiles, and says hello. I don't know if it's just that they are so happy to see someone for a change or if they are really that friendly, but it's amazing how contagious it is.

  • Their simple philosophy is that "If we take care of the land, it will take care of us". This applies to every aspect of their operation from the land and facilities to the livestock and neighbors.

  • The use any excuse to have a get-together. This probably stems from the social isolation that most folks experience in the sandhills, but it's inspiring to see the neighbors (ie anyone within a 100 mile radius) band together for a common cause. Be it branding, shipping, or haying, they always throw an "after" party for their friends.

  • Their idea of "fast food" is pulling a roast from the freezer and putting it in the crock pot.

  • You can buy all your essentials at the local lumber store including milk, beer, and tabacco!

  • I would challenge any animal rights activist to find happier cows anywhere. Belly deep grass for miles and miles during the summer and an "all-you-can-eat" hay buffet during the winter months. These folks stay up all night during calving to make sure the new babes don't freeze, and will sacrifice everything for the sake of the herd. America's farmers and ranchers are feeding the world, one day at a time.

So the next time you are stuck in traffic, faced with a grouchy attendent at the gas station, or considering "running to the store" to pick up a few things, think about the hard working folks of the Nebraska Sandhills (or all of rural america for that matter) and be grateful for what you have!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My first time...

Okay... so I admit it. After following several blogs these past few weeks, I've decided this could be totally addicting! Everything from cooking to exercise, home decor to travel... and all of it totally motivational. If they can do it, why can't I? So here I am... my very first blog. With the start of our new addition on the house as well as my new lease on life (more on that later), I thought I'd try my hand at sharing bits and pieces blog-style. I always wanted to write a book so maybe this will serve as the cliff-notes of life. Stay tuned for plenty of before-and-afters, yummy recipes, my joggers journal (to keep me motivated), and much more! We'll see how it goes! My goal is to search and surround myself with "all things inspirational" so put your dress-up clothes on and come play with us... You might just get inspired along the way!!!