Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bathroom Remodels - Prep and Demolition

Usually I wait until after we complete a project to share it with you but I decided to take you along the journey this time. We may be a little crazy but we have decided to remodel both 2nd floor bathrooms at the same time...actually there was no way around doing one at a time. We did scale it back from our original plans of expanding the 2nd bathroom which is suppose to be the master bath.

The smallest room in the house is actually the master bedroom although we have never used it. The plan had been to connect our bedroom with the "master" to make a larger bathroom and walk-in closet but in the end we decided to scrap that idea and do a more simplified impactful remodel.

The best money we have spent so far is paying Lowe's $59 to shop and deliver the large bulk of our supplies...doors,bathtub, plywood, drywall, concrete board etc. Next was probably getting a dumpster instead of loading the trailer for the dump especially since we only have a week to completely gut the 2 bathrooms before my dad comes to help lay the new subfloors.

We started Saturday on the smaller bathroom ripping down the tile, removing the vanity, and smashing the cast iron tub. I was hoping to remove it in one piece but that was before we knew it was cast iron and installed very tightly.

This meant we had to turn off the water to cap off lines and such so I knew we had to get up Sunday early to get showers in before services. Our first issue came after my husband and boys took their showers. I was headed to take mine when I ran to our basement to get a razor and found the floor drain backed up. One project is now 3! My wonderful husband was able to unclog it but not in time for me to jump in the shower. Either the baby wipes and throwing my hair in a ponytail fooled everyone or they were just to polite to say "you stink." I was thrilled to come home and finally jump in the shower. I can't say that drywall and tile was not washing out of my hair, yes it really was that bad.

Second Bathroom:

The demolition of the 2nd bathroom began with removing the vanity and finding live wires in the wall. Sometime I wonder how the house is still standing. I am just happy we are finding and correcting the issues throughout instead of finding out when we sell the house.

I was in charge of removing the tile, this is very theraputic for me. My goal was to get the bathtub surround out by the time my husband returned. In 2 hours even answering normal mom calls..."I'm hungry" "Where's dad?" "Come see this!" oh and the fighting I removed all but 4 pieces of tile and had about 45 minutes to sit and relax before my husband came home.

The dumpster arrived this morning so tonight will be removing the rest of the debris so we can tear out the rest of the drywall and subfloor.

Hopefully next week I will be sharing the starting of putting the rooms back together!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Robin Hood and Little John

I know Halloween was a couple months ago but since we typically keep costumes top secret until they are finished. So... my post is a bit late...OR let's think about it as early for next year. It gives you some time to plan.

Our kids have been all over the place with costume ideas which is why we keep them secret. At first it was a dog and robot, then it turned into Minecraft Steve and Creeper, then they started changing every day and I couldn't keep up. I only had a month, a little less before the first party, to figure out what they were going to be. It bothered me so much that I had a dream one night and started to put my plan in motion.

In school we had been reading about Robin Hood and his adventures. The boys were very interested in it and wanted to see movies and talked about it frequently. So as we were finishing up the book I pulled up some pictures of what they may have looked like and the weapons they used. My youngest was sold for being Robin Hood, now I had to convince my older to be Little John. We went back to the first encounter between Robin Hood and Little John and how they were equally matched throwing each other into the river and then realizing who the other was.

Robin Hood, Maid Marian, Little John  Friar Tuck set of 4 Postcards:

I may have also said he would get a bow and arrow too in order to persuade him to join in. He did but it is still in the package in the closet.

Now that I have them agreeing to what they will be it was time to figure out how to make it happen. Pinterest to the rescue. I didn't want to spend a bunch of money on something they wouldn't wear. Last years costumes were a huge success as they still put them on. This year I mainly used ideas from The Crafted Sparrow. My In-Laws had just bought the boys new dark khaki color jeans which was perfect for their pants, we found long underwear type shirts in the men's department at Wal-Mart, and I made their capes and hats. The belts were fabric belts I had in my closet that we also used for their pirate costumes a few years ago. Halloween to Remember I had planned to make boot coverings but I was already feeling overwhelmed and my youngest had cowboy boots that worked well enough. My oldest was the issue.

We had a garage sale the 2nd weekend in October and as I was packing up I found some old black rain boots that were my brother's. PERFECT! Maybe a little big but we made them work.

Now the capes were a bit tricky which is why I gave up on the boot coverings. Originally we purchased a pattern although it was for an adult so I knew we wouldn't need as much fabric as they called for but my husband convinced me to go ahead and get it for the extra items like the hat and boot coverings. As they were measuring it out I felt a little fear creep in.

That evening I spread everything out and started to lay out the pattern...fear took completely over. It has been about 10 years since I used a pattern and 15 since I made anything that mattered like a skirt. Reading patterns or at least this one was hard so I turned to Pinterest. First I found DIY Fashion for a cape and hood but I didn't care for the cape. I wanted something that would flow and feel like something they could throw around themselves to hide in the forest. I remember my grandma making us full skirts so when I discovered Stitched by Crystal I knew it was a perfect match. I added a few more inches since it was for a 7 and 4 year old. I went back to the DIY Fashion for the hood pattern because again I wanted it to be bulky easy to hide their faces. Let's face it, it was also an easier pattern. Using a kitchen towel as my guide I cut out a rectangular piece of fabric for each cape.

After getting the capes and hoods cut out I pulled out my sewing machine...Only to get Robin's bottom hem completed. The thread kept binding and I tried to fix it only to break the bobbin holder. Maybe I should mention that I thought I had only 3 days to pull these costumes together for their first party so I was freaking out. I turned to liquid stitch and hand sewing the rest of his costume. But since I didn't double the fabric (it is only a Halloween costume) It bled through and wasn't as nice looking as I wanted. My thumb was throbbing after hand stitching the hood on because I was pushing the needle through pleated fabric and I had liquid stitched the hem of the cape neck. I decided to go on a mission to find a replacement bobbin case hitting 3 stores. It wasn't until the last one just 15 minutes before they closed that we found the last one they had. It was like we were in a movie cutting it close each time. Then it was time for the moment of truth, would it solve the binding issue as well. We were successful and only took about 30 minutes to sew Little John's cape and hood. So much easier.

Now onto Robin's hat, I know they had hoods to their capes already but Robin Hood needed his feathered hat. The first one I made was to small for my 5 year old so I made the second one a little larger using the Peter Pan pattern from Sew In Harmony. I should have used her suggestion using felt or a stiffer fabric but I had so much fabric left I didn't want to spend more money.

Our homeschooling party was cancelled :( Luckily Hy-Vee was having kids come dressed up to decorate pumpkins and make cookies so it made up a little for me rushing around. My sister was in town for the weekend so she helped me track down feathers and she decorated the arrows with the help of my brother in law.

The boys spent most of the next week in costume with a party on Tuesday, Trick or Treating Down Town and a Halloween party back home, and finally trick or treating around my sister's neighborhood.

Most people recognized my younger son but my older was thought to be Friar Tuck which didn't bother him much. I think we should have used a bigger staff for him but I was afraid businesses would consider it a weapon. Although we did have a few ask if they were dressed up as Star Wars characters, I had never seen the movies but after seeing so many dressed up as the characters I could kind of see it.

Let me know what you think!

Saturday, January 2, 2016


Happy New Year! I hope you all have had a great start. This is the time of year for your resolutions, change of mindset, your reset to begin anew.

I haven't made resolutions in a long time but yet always use the new year as my starting point as I near the end of the year, although if I make a goal I usually always use either the first day of the week or month to begin so the first of the year falls right in line.

Of course the most popular resolution is to "lose weight" and while I do want to do that it has kind of drifted to the back of the pack. Instead I want to get Healthy. Healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually. It really starts with the spiritual which helps set your mind right and in the end your body will follow.

While there are a few other resolutions or goals we want to meet...pay off debt, finish the house to sell, more family time. There was a new trend people have started talking about and it is your word or your mantra for the year.  I have heard ones from motivate, renew, grow, and discipline. I drifted off to sleep last night thinking about these when it hit me what I really want to use as my word this year...

Encourage! I want to be an encourager for others and myself. I have tried to be one that is positive but noticed lately I have let negativity come into my life. I nag at my husband and children, I have found myself lacking at being hospitable, or caring to the sick outside of our family.

It all starts with the Word and changing my attitude to become positive. Intentions have always been there to be a better person. Even Paul had times where he intended to go encourage others but was held back. Doesn't mean that he was a bad person but even if not in person he encouraged through letters.

Romans 1:11-13English Standard Version (ESV)11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you— 12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 13 I do not want you to be unaware, brothers,[a] that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.
We had a birthday party for my boys last night and they were showered with gifts but it wasn't the gifts they were interested in...it was having their friends surround them. The kids took turns, put others first, and the positive energy was apparent as I went to check on them every now and then.

This morning after I decided to become more of an encourager I sat down with them to go through their gifts and write thank you notes. Then they each took a card to decorate it. By the 3rd round (6th card) rolled around I could tell they were needing a break because they weren't spending as much time being creative as they had on the first 2 cards. Normally I would have made them keep working at it just to get it done. Today I decided to give them a break, ok so their work area is covered in glue and paper...and maybe some icing...but in order for them to be an encouragement to others I have to give them space to help give them that encouragement to keep at it...later.

They are not being hateful or negative they just can't give their best and that is what I need to understand too. Sometimes I have to take a break so I don't become the nag or yelling mother or doing something because I "HAVE" to. This is about the right attitude to keep everyone moving in a positive loving encouraging direction.

We had a ton of leftovers from the party so I am taking dinner to a sick family, thank you notes will be finished later, and my husband is taking a test for school all in all it has been a good start to this improved mindset.
Please take the time and think of one way to encourage someone around you this week.

1 Thessalonians 5:11