Fast Forward.

Lately it feels as if someone has pressed the fast forward button on life. Like how my last post was welcoming the new year, 2016 and now we’re nearly half-way through it!

We are really enjoying life in the “new” house and with our new Big Kid! It’s a strange feeling to let our little girl run around needing less and less from us. Because we don’t want to miss any of these little moments, or maybe because we just like having free time again, we have scaled back the amount of work we’re doing. If it’s nice out, we’ll work outside. If it’s raining, we’ll work inside take a nap.  🙂

Although it is less stressful and lots more fun this way, I am also really excited to get started on finishing the upstairs and moving our bedrooms up there. Not because we need the bedroom space yet, but because we are in desperate need of a main level play room!

In the meantime, we have finished the hardwoods on the main level and any trim we could complete without having doors installed yet. I’m starting to get the feeling that doors are more of a 10 year plan. Good thing we’re a close family!

Here are some blurry, unedited cell phone pics for you, because, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That.” haha20160420_13331320160420_13344020160420_13345620160420_13351320160420_13353620160420_13355720160420_13361220160420_13404120160420_134111


We have also been finishing the interior of the garage, adding some old kitchen cabinets to house all the tools and leave plenty of space for fun toys like power wheels jeeps, strollers and wagons.  Come on summer!

Just yesterday we finally decided to replace our faucet; Yes, the one I bragged getting such a great price for on Amazon. I guess you get what you pay for because it broke right away. So one thing led to another and we decided to do the back splash! In progress now:

The backyard is coming along pretty nicely as well and we’ll be taking more of a hiatus from finishing the house to complete our new project, a Swing Set! We were lucky enough to have a family member donate this very well-loved play set that we pressure washed and are in the process of sealing and painting. Unfortunately I skipped the trip to Menard’s when the paint color was chosen so it ended up being red but Lexi doesn’t mind 🙂


Swing Set Halfway Up!

We some how even found the time to add a sandbox under the swingset. We bought some maintenance free wood panels that connect, made for a raised garden to contain it.Works great and Lexi is definitely a fan.


We also moved our garden and started adding some fruits in addition to the normal vegetables we plant. Grapes, Blueberries and ..who knows what else he’s been working on out there but I can’t wait until they’re ready! We also had no trouble filling up the new patio, how did we live without it before!?


Garden on the Hill

The exterior survived the winter with some sections only in Tyvec, so we might want to start thinking about that but my mind is on pool time now and our pocketbook is on pouring the new driveway so we sha’ll see! Until next time! Thanks for checking in.

Bonus Bathroom Pic: I am seriously in love with Lexi’s new bathroom. I still need to paint the flower vase gold and add a few more touches/hang things. I am also perfecting the purple accent color to be more of a magenta but for now, here it is! Fit for a TINY Queen, except for all the construction dust on the mirror that was just installed…story of our lives.





Auld Lang Syne

Farewell 2015,  Welcome 2016! It was a another year full of new adventures and definitely a wild ride.  Not too much has changed around here, but we have big plans to get back to work 😉

Tomorrow we will begin installing the hard wood floor. It took us a couple months to make a final decision on flooring, mostly because we’ve been slacking, but also because there are so. many. choices! I knew I didn’t want laminate but there is still hardwood, bamboo, engineered, wood look tile etc.  We finally found a great deal on some solid hardwood at Menard’s and went for it.

But first..we had to take a break to celebrate New Years’s Eve!


Celebrating NYE

After a tiresome day at”Noon Year’s Eve” I got to get some work done on Lexi’s future bathroom upstairs during her long nap.  I did all the polk a dots with no measurements..cough cough, obviously! The best part is that they are re-sticking decals so I can straighten them out now that they’re basically in place. I am in love with this bathroom, which is good because you can see it from downstairs as well!


1/2 Bath for Lexi


The laundry room is getting a lot of use and I decided to add some additional hooks to hang coats because really, who uses hangers anymore? We are still working on getting a counter top space installed to fold laundry and obviously trim and a door but it works for now!


Laundry Rm in Progress


Laundry/Mud Room

I got so sick of having keys and sunglasses and mail and all that good stuff laying around so luckily my mom came to the rescue and found me this cubby for all of those items! It works great and it’s one more item that creates a rustic feel in our house.


Key/Sunglasses Storage

Next up, creating a chalkboard wall! The main purpose, besides looking nice, is to eliminate post-it notes everywhere of things I need to do/pick up! We got some chalkboard paint, measured between the studs and started painting.


Christmas Eve Morning Gabe nailed up the trim that we bought a couple days earlier along with the fancy corner pieces. Bonus: No angle cuts need to be made!


I need to work on my chalk art but as you can see Lexi has already gotten the hang of it and added some flair to the bottom. Another fun reason to have a chalk board in the kitchen!20151231_202231Here is the entryway I decorated again despite not having any flooring! Couldn’t wait.


Front Entryway



I tried to make the house feel as “homey” as possible while we wait on flooring and carpet to be replaced. Here are a few pics of what it looks like now!



Gallery Wall in LR

Finishing up the crown on the cabinets made a big difference, luckily because it was not easy. Having full face cabinets made it very difficult and we had to re-drill all the holes and move the cabinet doors down as far as possible to accommodate the crown.  More dust and more noise that was not welcomed, but I like the way it turned out!


I got to try out the popcorn setting on the new microwave tonight as I “celebrate” New Year’s Eve by writing this post and drinking some champagne.

Have a great New Year!


And since I showed you everything but the kitchen sink (hopefully someone gets that joke) Here it is!  20151231_204841


Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.

I barely believe it myself, but we have a kitchen! Eek!

Dry wall finishing was complete last Monday, Tuesday morning I got up before my toddler alarm clock and started right away on the painting! With lots of wall space and 9 ft ceilings to edge, I had my work cut out for me. Between a morning babysitter, nap time and getting back at it after bedtime, I got the entire main floor painted in one day! Including the husband-made-mandatory painting of the closets in white over white primer which was very underwhelming.

While I was painting like crazy and loving every second of it, all of the light fixtures were being hung, outlets and switches completed and base cabinets delivered and even installed! There was such a high energy in the house and it was pretty much the best day ever.

Since then we have slowly been hanging curtains and moving furniture into the living room again which feels more than satisfying. It is pretty life changing to hang out on the main floor again and no longer be a basement dweller.  Counter tops were finally put in and this is where i consider the house to be finished! Obviously we will be far from it as we have no floors, no trim and haven’t even touched the upstairs yet but really..who cares!?!? I will a sink which is soon to be set up, which means I will have a dishwasher and also a stove again and will consider myself the luckiest woman in the world.


Outside things are getting wrapped up as well; the garage floor has been poured and door installed.  Unfortunately for our neighbors, we have chosen not to install our stone veneer this year or finish the porch/siding around the front door. That’s right, we’re throwing in the towel on the outside until Spring and I am completely okay with it.

I am so so happy to be getting my house and family time back and life is already significantly less stressful. I am loving how everything is coming together. Shout out to the husband, my dad, mom, uncles, father in law and friends for making it all possible thus far. *Also, shout out to Amazon and 11 percent Menards Rebates.*

Here is a sneak peak at the progress!


Late night cabinet hanging at its finest.

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Lexi and Griffin really enjoy all the commotion and new hiding places, and we are all enjoying being together while doing the kitchen. It sure beats having to stay out of the house during all the dangerous demo work.


The best part was obviously the maze of cabinets that is full of walls to be colored on. This is a toddler’s dream!

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This whole adventure has taught me that home really isn’t a place, it is a feeling.  Family is always most important to me and we spend a lot of time at home.  I am so thankful that we now have a place that works for us and that we can grow into for years to come!  That being said..

After staying up late in the night to paint and “move” back upstairs, I have (ridiculously) found it somewhat bittersweet to leave the basement. Although it was a tiny section of our home with no amenities, it was home none the less.

But then I walk in the front door to this view and watch Lexi run laps while squealing with delight I can’t wipe the smile off my face!


My DIY Farm House Table came to life.

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I have just barely scratched the surface of decorating and quite honestly it just hasn’t felt right. It still feels like I can’t put anything up because there’s more construction to do, but I’ll have to get over that because there will always be more to do 😉   Maybe I am just in disbelief that it is actually coming together!

Just as planned, we were able to get home from our 5K on Saturday just in time to make hand prints in the cement of the back patio! Now Lexi will forever have her mark on the home, even though she was appalled at the messiness. Love it, love her and love our up and coming home!


Is this going to be forever?

Is this real life? Is this going to be forever? I am feeling significantly like “David After Dentist” at this point in the remodel, construction, sh*t show..whichever you prefer to call it.

As you might have guessed, our timelines are have been stretched again and we are still kitchenless. <—A word not found in the dictionary, probably because everyone has a kitchen!

Siding is going well and we continue to be blessed with good working weather. We took a few days off for a wedding and some other real life things, and then diverted to pouring the front porch and adding a back patio! I wasn’t sure I was actually going to end up getting the back patio due to time and budget constraints but here we go again dreaming big.. Gabe decided it was a good idea for our future hot tub. We sha’ll see about that!

Flower Girl!

Flower Girl!

We got some gravel rock delivered at a good price since we didn’t need it to be “pretty” like the gravel we have had delivered in the past for our driveway. This gravel is going to be covered with concrete and is used to fill and level the space. We borrowed skid-steer to make an easy job out of it and are ready for concrete this weekend!

I know that concrete work is less than fascinating, except for the fact that I fully intend to get some cute, chubby little baby hands to make their mark on the back patio when it’s wet, so I will share some of my design inspiration!

I don’t plan to copy any of these rooms exactly but these are the ideas I have chosen to start from.

The first room we focus on finishing is the kitchen. Paint must be done before cabinets so I will stay up all hours of the night when it is time to get that done if I have to! After spending the last couple weeks buying sample cans of the perfect gray, I have reverted back to using the same paint from my basement. I already know I love it and it just enough of a “greige” and less of a silver that it goes with the warmer gray in the counter tops.


Most of us know the trick to choosing a paint color is to look at the darkest color on the swatch.  That color makes it the most obvious to our eye what undertones we are going to see after painting any of the colors on that chip.  Armed with this knowledge and the process of elimination, I am still unable to find that perfect, Joanna Gaines inspired blue! I am desperate to find something that looks like the bedroom photo below, and am more than willing to take your suggestions!

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This color will flow through our added entryway as well. Oddly enough, I happened to already have this “hello” sign and similar wire basket hanging that I will put up there. I am going with an entry table in lieu of a bench.


Followed by the kitchen, the laundry room will be painted immediately so we can get the washer and dryer up there.  I am going to give Candice Olson’s Devine Colors for Target a try here. I purchased this wallpaper and paint set for a nice, fresh teal color. I am hoping this color keeps it crisp yet calm in there and will pop when flanked with some white cabinetry mixed with some distressed, dark stained shelving to house my glass jars of detergent.


Cabinet Inspiration. Swoon!

Cabinet Inspiration. Swoon!

This leads us to my next “Mission Impossible,” finding a good door with glass in it to work like these:  Everything I have found is too distressed, or glass all the way through. Again, help is appreciated!

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Flooring is still up in the air and quite honestly I don’t care much as long as it’s a light tile.  The other room I am most excited for is Lexi’s powder room upstairs! We are going to use some leftover hardwood look tile from behind our bar for the flooring, the pedestal sink I shared before from a garage sale, and lots of GOLD! It’s a little girl’s bathroom, the one place I feel like I can get away with the gold trend and I am going to run with it! Here is my inspiration picture for that room:


I am not going to go quite as rustic with it but I love the gold with dark brown accents, so this is the feel I am going for.

As for the kitchen, here is  a very loosely based inspiration picture for color:b6645e828c2454de7aa446b9b1254cdc

To add to the character of the room, my next DIY endeavor will be these stools below:


Well now that I have shared my Pinterest boards, I will leave you to daydream about your perfect house and decorating it, and also with a picture of our siding progress out front!

Have a great week, and I challenge you to get started on at least on of your DIY projects that you keep saying you’re going to do this weekend and feel free to share!


Ex-“SIDING” Week.

What started out as an exciting week ended in more disappointment. Our drywall finisher got injured (No, not here), so we are playing the waiting game to get things going again on that. The sheet rock is all up though and looking good!

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The good news is that Gabe, my Dad and Uncle Mike kicked some serious butt and got two sides of the house sided.

I took this sloppy, drive by picture nearly a year ago through my car window as my color inspiration for the siding.

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I wanted a dark gray/navy siding like this one below, but it was harder to find than I thought! Especially during a spur of the moment trip to Menards during the little one’s nap time on the last day of an 11% rebate offer with a crabby clerk who didn’t feel like waiting for me to go back and fourth on which blue gray I thought I might like from the 1 ft samples hanging 10 feet above my head in a florescent lighted store. But anyway, I picked something I thought was close and it is definitely more blue and less gray but we love it!



The best news of all is this GORGEOUS weather we are blessed with in October!  Perfect weather for siding and perfect weather for getting some staining done on our new dining table and chairs.  This farmhouse table was the look I was going for:

Luckily for me, my mom came through and found nearly the exact table at a garage sale for $100! That included the table and 5 chairs, 4 for the table and 1 for the adjacent command center, so I was more than pumped about that find! Fortunately and Unfortunately, it was brushed ivory with a blonde wood, so I got to learn something new..staining! Only having painted before I wasn’t sure what I was in for and like everything else, it was more work than I thought. I used a secret weapon though. Gel stain. It requires almost no sanding! (Contrary to what my husband and dad told me over and over.)

For starters, I stained butchered Lexi’s little stool bench for her bathroom.



I learned that you really need to wipe it off well in between coats and that it dries much faster than regular stain.  I also learned that I needed to get the actual brand and color Pinterest has been raving about. I had the Minwax kind that was brand new at Lowe’s. Then, I got General Finishes Gel Stain in Java color and was very happy with it!

I had to laugh when I asked for Gel Stain and the lady rolled her eyes and asked, “What is Pinterest up to now?” since I apparently wasn’t the first to ask for it. Of course I told her that you don’t need to sand first and she gave me the same look I got from my father and husband. But on I went!

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I used fine sand paper and went without the nifty, battery powered sanding tool my dad lent me. I used it on this chair below and it was just too strong for someone like me who doesn’t know what pattern to sand in..or whatever else I did wrong?  This chair still sits as a complete eye sore; it needs to be sanded back down and stained again but I am sick of the process so I will just strap Lexi’s high chair onto it for now. I won’t tell anyone if you won’t!


I still need to seal the wood with a couple coats of whatever they suggest at Lowe’s this weekend. As for how the color turned out? When I finished I told my husband it doesn’t need to be perfect, it’s supposed to look distressed. His only comment was that yes, it sure looks distressed! My other judge was a drywall finisher who walked by and called it, “interesting.” I think we all know what that means, but I am sticking with the table and am still proud of my endeavor 😉 I will just consider myself lucky to be able to have a table after all of this!

After yet another rough week and working until after dark, we found a few moments to sneak in some family time at a bonfire in our backyard. It’s nights like this that remind me why we truly love our house so much and decided to go through all of this. The Yard! I never want to leave.


We hope you are enjoying this lovely weather every chance you get!

Here’s to hoping for a kitchen before Thanksgiving and having something else to be Thankful for!

Rocking and Rolling

Yes we are officially Rocking!  Sheet rocking that is. (Ha)

Anyway.  I have remained calm all summer but after a couple cool nights and only having one operable furnace ( yes we’ll soon have 2) I am starting to panic.

Sidenote: we compared our options to replace our existing furnace and change some things around, adding a second furnace and ac, or going Geothermal. Geothermal was the husbands first choice because he’s always trying to save the world. The cheapest route was my first choice because I am always trying to save on the budget buy more exciting things.  After a month of debate and pros and cons we went with the cheapest option, adding a second. I must say I rarely win these “debates” when it comes to remodeling but again we have a good system in place. He makes building decisions and I make design decisions.  Once in a while it’s debatable where something lies but we’ve almost made it through with no major fights! Miracle.

So I decided to take some control myself and get going on cleaning out the garage, which was a 3 person, full day event. I called in my parents for reinforcement. It looks great and is a lot safer. We purchased a magnet on wheels to pick up the nails and small metal scraps and it really got the job done. We got it at Lowes and it was very affordable. Now I can park in the dirt floor, no door garage and I’m ecstatic!


The other project I took on was to remove the tile from the floor on the main level. After day 1 I had a whopping 5 tiles removed and was looking for another tool. It turns out that’s not what I needed; I needed more help from my dad of course.  These guys make this stuff look easy!

We used a small pry bar and a hammer to get underneath the tile and pry them up. It moved decently quick with two people but got even faster when we stared getting under the cement board below and pulling it up that way. Both layers had to be removed anyway and with this method I was able to get two tiles at once a few times which made me ridiculously excited.  One we had them all up and stacked neatly outside it was time to unscrew every.single.screw. Back breaking work as it was,  it felt good to finish in just one day!  That marks the last thing to come out of the house and only things to come together!

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Definitely felt the pain of hard work this day, now I know why the guys always have sore backs! Much harder than a good day in the gym.

It is really fun to see how the rooms are starting to feel like actual rooms as the drywall goes up and I’m holding my breath until it’s time to paint. Eek!!  Now as the finisher arrives next week I have to resist being the crazy lady who follows the him with a paint roller and getting yelled at because it’s not even dry yet. The things I would do for a kitchen though!  Sigh.

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Besides that, Gabe finished 80 percent of the soffit outside on his rickety old, non OSHA approved scaffolding on a trailer. Boy will I be glad when he’s done with that death trap!


Cement board sits on the laundry room floor waiting for tile that I have yet to choose, but the washer and dryer can be moved upstairs immediately following drywall and paint even if we have to slide them around to do the floors. Is this really happening!?  OK I’m still getting ahead of myself but I feel like it’s getting real. (But not real fun)

Up next is some more drywall along with scrambling to add insulation in any areas it will still fit, and trying to finish soffit and begin siding before it’s too cold ..and gutters, and making time to pour the garage floor and add a garage opener and door and ..oh boy I hope the weather holds out


Until next time!

The beginning of the end.

Another trade is done and gone and I can now say the same for our uninvited guests, spiders and mosquitos!  Nothing like getting bit up while getting ready in the morning.

The last thing completed was spray foam insulation.  We opted to use spray foam on the walls and ceilings in the new part plus a few gaps in the existing.  I won’t pretend I know why, or how much we spent but somewhere during their schpeel they mentioned a 2000 Sq ft house they completed that has a $40 avg utility bill. Yes please! Obviously we can’t hope for best case scenario because we didn’t redo the existing house, and nothing is as good as the sales pitch, but I’m hoping to save some green by going green! It is also supposed to repel mice for life.



Even though this is done I was, like always, getting ahead of myself preparing for drywall because we still have a laundry list of things to do before cover up inspection. The foaming took 5 days instead of the estimated 2 which meant being kicked out of our home for a week and unable to do any work inside. We took the opportunity to take Lexi to her first Theme Park and had a little peaceful enjoyment to make the best of it. I’m finding that’s what life is all about, doing the best you can with what you’ve got and that home really is where the heart is.



This reminds me that a week ago I was complaining to my husband that I wish I could fast forward until drywall was done in a few weeks. That’s when he referenced the Adam Sandler movie “Click” and how I shouldn’t wish to miss out on time with our 1.5 year old during this time in her life. Touche. Instead I am going to cherish the moments even when they’re sandwiched in chaos. So that’s what we’re doing! Still living and loving life between countless  trips up and down the steps and to and from the neighbors with a 25 lb baby on my hip, sometimes just to create one meal.

Anyway,  one more trade left and just thinking back on life with these temporary roommates. I learned their nick names and could identify who was there by the chosen radio station. They would arrive as early as 7 am which made life like being in a hotel, where you have to “get ready to go down to breakfast” every morning. Shoes and all.  I prefer to slowly wake up and leave my pj’s on past 6:30 am… but then again I have a toddler so that’s wishful thinking anyway 🙂 At the (almost) end of it all we had one contractor I would invite to my daughter’s Bday party and one I would never allow back.  You never know who you’ll get I guess.

So the biggest thing we had to change based on inspection was framing on the gable ends of the house. We apparently created a pivot point by stacking the trusses on top of the constructed 8ft wall, so we had to cut out the 2x6s and make them go all the way up. Done and done!


Now that weve cleared a few things up weve been hanging a couple sheets of drywall at a time and bam! The living room ceiling is up.


Bring on the next steps and the refreshing weather!

Retail Therapy

Samples of the Same Granite

Samples of the Same Granite

So I know it happens every day, but I learned something new.. about granite! Looking at the two samples above, I’d swear these are different selections. But actually, they’re both Crema Caramel, both from the same distributor.  This fact led us to a quick road trip and a little more money spent!

Since it is a naturally occurring stone it can vary, which I knew, but I didn’t know it could vary so much. Since the main floor of the house was planned around the neutral grays and cream of the bottom sample, I knew I had to personally select the stone to be happy with it. This is just a budget friendly promo color, but totally worth it to me to avoid the surprise of having a gold and brown stone delivered on what will be my most exciting day ever. (Getting counter tops equals a usable kitchen, eek!)


Luckily the supplier is located in Iowa City and luckily my mom understood the importance of the color uncertainty, so made it a road trip and squeezed in some shopping along the way. I was happy to see that the current supply was the color I am after, so I reserved a slab, and then an extra one for our future command center. This was supposed to be added in a couple years when we saved some more money, but since we can’t be sure we can match the counter top later, we had to go for it.

Cue the additional cabinet order for the command center, some lighting and a little more sticker shock.

Kitchen and bathrooms sell houses though, so it wasn’t a tough decision. If we need to, we’ll make cuts elsewhere. I always have resale on the mind even though there are no plans to sell this house.. maybe ever. That’s what I love about Real Estate, it’s a great investment if you do it right!

I also got lucky enough to find a great pedestal sink for the kid bathroom with aged bronze faucet  for less than just the hardware from Lowe’s at a garage sale thanks to my mom! For less than the price of the faucet, I got the entire sink too. Score!


Amazon has been good to me as well. I got everything and kitchen sink (literally) in the mail this week with again no tax and free shipping! I was able to get a higher quality 16 Gauge stainless steel sink with extra deep basins for less than the price of a standard sink locally. I decided against a farmhouse sink but found you can get a sink just as spacious in an undermount. While it’s not a 60/40 sink, it is off centered a little so I can wash my crock pot in the larger side. That sounds like just a dream right now. Sigh.

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I already mentioned the great deal I got on lighting; my main dining room piece (shown below) plus two matching pendants for over the island all for under $200. Unbelievable.

Inspiration for Entryway

Inspiration for Entryway- Currently Shopping for That


Cabinets were (finally) ordered through a local store, KBD and I chose hardware as well. I didn’t think I was up for that kind of decision in one trip and I tend to ignore the store clerks recommendations but he brought this handle over and I loved it.  Our cabinets have lot so detail (below pictures are just samples in the store for color) so I didn’t want to get anything too complicated or it might be too distracting.


Island Color.

Main cabinet color

Main cabinet color



Also, since the plumbing was going in that week, I designed our new bathroom vanity while I was there so we knew our measurements. I need a sit down make up table and wanted it attached to the bathroom vanity so I inquired about a custom order and found it was MUCH cheaper than ordering one similar online somewhere and additionally paying for shipping. Score again!

Then with the miracle of having plumbing, HVAC and electrical complete enough for cover up inspection, and with the help of a few good friends who aren’t afraid of heights, we saw some much needed progress!


The front window is in, making that all of the new windows installed with just two left to replace on the old section of the house. Soffit was completed on the old part as well, thanks go my dad!

We’re spending the beginning of this week finishing up small things that the inspector needs to check off for cover up then it’s time for spray foam insulation mid next week before drywall!  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and am looking forward to the fun parts.

This has all been quite the adventure and being a toddler mom makes it even crazier. I really appreciate having a house back after a long summer of not being able to easily fill up the water table or spray off yard toys.  I am also appreciating some more family time in the evenings now that Gabe is working on less demanding items.

We have been so incredibly blessed to have had a mild summer since we’ve had to survive with almost no A/C. Surprisingly I haven’t noticed much as the basement is always cool and we have ceiling fans in the bedrooms.  On the nights that it was scorching in here, we would run the air for small amounts of time before bed and kept our bedroom doors shut and all of the other vents in the house sealed.

The cooler weather makes me crave some home cooking and baking lots of pumpkin treats!

Here’s to a future of enjoying some pumpkin beers inside a functional kitchen! Cheers.20150805_092226

Blood, Sweat and Tears

This has been no ordinary summer. We are surviving by basically living outside and keeping a positive attitude.  I for one think I am handling this ridiculousness pretty well, but  am SO ready to have a normal life again. I am so proud of all the work my husband has done around here. Who knew he could do .. everything?!

There are always times I try to jump in and help and realize it’s not as easy as it looks. For instance, doing the framing upstairs. You just build a wall and stand it up, right? Wrong! While it was an easy task on the main level, the cathedral and vaulted ceilings threw a wrench into that plan. Each 2×4 is a different height and has to be cut at the right angle on top. The math and sheer numbers is enough to make my head spin, but he plugged away completely on his own and got the job done!

However, I was able to help with the framing around the roof. Unfortunately I was in a dress and about to leave for a closing. I slipped on some tennis shoes for safety but I doubt if the neighbors were fooled into thinking I had any business being up there!  Where is the camera when you really need it?

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We changed the pitch of the existing roof to match the new 6:12 pitch.  A lot of work for what I probably wouldn’t have noticed but if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right!



Luckily I was able to keep him company while enjoying some pre made dinner from the grocery store. This has to count as a date for the time being! Bring too busy is not becoming any less of a reality in this house.

We worked double time to finish up the framing to allow for the plumbers and electricians to get going! I was definitely holding my breath that everyone would show up on time and that we would be ready. For the most part, it was successful.


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For whatever reason the “tinners,” that’s what the other trades call the HVAC people I have learned, have put us on the back burner and only show up about once a week or so. This wasn’t a problem until the electrical and plumbing got finished and now we’re starting to see some lag time. Not happy about this set back since they started first.


In other news, we got to handle some odd jobs like the front door! We got this as a “Special Buy” from Home Depot and got a great deal.  The knob is from amazon, it has a combination code so I can go keyless and it was a return so also a complete steal! I am pretty obsessed with amazon shopping right now as you’ll see.

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Above are a couple angles of the current situation on the main floor. We crossed our last huge and dreadful job off the list, phew! Tearing out the living room ceiling to be reworked to match the new 9 foot heights. What a mess of insulation debris, wood and lots of sweat. It feels good to not have to think about that one anymore.

You can’t tell by the picture but we put in new rafter ties at 9ft and then cut out the old (bottom of the triangles as I called them). This leaves us with a slant on one side but I think it will have a big effect.

I would be lying if I said we weren’t struggling with the stress of it all. Some things that help are playing outside, finding decent food to eat without a kitchen and ordering fun stuff on Amazon.  If you find yourself in a similar situation I would advise you do all of these things!

It can be difficult to eat healthy right now but I don’t use that as an excuse. We stick to healthy almost all of the time and probably haven’t had pizza or anything you’d expect yet! We have survived on “Buff Bowls” from Noodles and Company, they’re like the pastas only served over spinach. Also, pre-made Hy-Vee meals, salads, and anything grilled. Lunch meat sandwiches and of course some PB&J are always in the mix too.


As for shopping on Amazon, I found that you can find most everything with no shipping/tax and its delivered pretty quickly! Besides saving a FORTUNE on a glass shower enclosure, costing $500 less than the same on at Lowes, I also a returned light fixture for next to nothing. Anything helps!  We’re going with mostly all bronze/black fixtures so I hope I don’t get sick of them.

Bonus Pics:



Taking help wherever we can get it 😉

The “Dirty” Truth

I decided to have a little fun and share just what it’s like living day to day through the renovations. I have captioned some pictures of our reality below 🙂

Need to microwave something? Here it is!

Need to microwave something? Here it is!

Oops, don't set the toaster oven on the stool!

Oops, don’t set the toaster oven on the stool!

Need to do some dishes or brush your teeth? I hope you only need cold water!

Need to do some dishes or brush your teeth? I hope you only need cold water!

Having to park the car down the street to avoid all the mud.

Having to park the car down the street to avoid all the mud.

Cooking outside in the rain!

Cooking outside in the rain!

Just slide in through the plastic on your way to bed at night, but don't forget your flashlight! No power in the middle of the house.

Just slide in through the plastic on your way to bed at night, but don’t forget your flashlight! No power in the middle of the house.

Need to use the hose? Just run it down the fireplace and plug it in to the washer's water supply!

Need to use the hose? Just run it down the fireplace and plug it in to the washer’s water supply!

Now that we’ve covered the struggle, let’s look at what we’ve been up to! It doesn’t look like much and I must say progress has been a little slow the last couple weeks, but we’re not at a stand still.

To my surprise, you don’t need to live near the Bermuda Triangle to mysteriously lose contractors.  For every 10 contractors we called, we got maybe 3 appointments. For those 3 appointments, we probably only ended up with 1 actual bid! After all the scheduling and phone calls though, this place has been crawling with contractors and constant tours/questions taking up some of our working time.

To add to the off time, my husband had to work a 48, attend an out of town bachelor party and even threw his back out. This meant I had to be the muscle and it was finally my time to shine! Ha, I have been dying to work on the house but since it’s not very kid friendly I usually have to stay behind with the kiddo, which I am not used to.

I was able to get the deck pressure washed, lift all the 2x4x8’s to the second story for interior framing preparation, tear off some siding, install a couple windows and knock out a wall. The rest of the week then consisted of hauling block out of the basement, but it was a good alternative to the gym 🙂

Executing Perfect Form with the Sledge Hammer

Executing Perfect Form with the Sledge Hammer

I was very pleasantly surprised at how stupidly easy it is to install a new construction window apposed to replacing an existing one! This was probably the first time in construction I have seen something go more quickly than we planned.

I always feel like I look so tough when I’m working until I see the photos.  Geesh lol



Although I might not look tough, Lexi did earn a new nickname from her cousin. He is convinced her name is DIRT, and we think it’ because he visits her here. It cracks me up!

I was worried her childhood would suffer during all the chaos but Lexi loves the noise, loves watching the big trucks and really enjoys being outside. So far I  think she barely notices. We are still very ready to live in the new house and get back to normal.

Soon(ish) Enough!


Update: Gabe is feeling better and is finishing up changing the existing overhangs and roof pitch to match the new part. All with a little direction from Lexi.