Gettin’ Those Moody Blues

I couldn’t take it.  Not one more day.  Once my feet hit the floor this morning as I got out of bed, I knew today would be the day when I bit the bullet and  buy paint for the chicken coop.

And I did.  Before I could change my mind, I went to our local hardware store and told Deb what I wanted.  And this is what she mixed for me:

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Oh, the can doesn’t tell you much?  How about this angle?  🙂

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Normally, I don’t make decisions without really thinking it through first.  However, when I saw this color it seemed like everything fell into place.  So, this afternoon while Adam was at work, I painted the first coat.  As soon as it went on it was like…magic.  (That was a Sleepless In Seattle reference in case you were wondering…)

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It needs at least two more coats, but I’m liking it where it’s going.  And don’t worry. I didn’t forget to paint that area under the window.  We have a special guest living under our window.

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Is that not cool?!  My hope is that I’ll be able to take pictures of it as it develops for my first graders.

Oh, and on another note, this is happening not even a quarter of a mile from our house:Image

I really love this time of year!

Here Comes Peter Cottontail!

Because of such a busy Spring, there are a few events I want to fill you in on over the next few Thursdays.  You can call it my version of throwback Thursday.  🙂

The first event that I want to fill you in on is the baby shower a few friends and I hosted for another dear friend.  Last Summer, I mentioned my friend Mariah got married in August.  Just a few months after saying their “I dos”, they were saying “a baby is on the way!”.  

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The date of the baby shower was determined by the MCC sale date because we felt there would be more people available that weekend.  Oh, wait.  You don’t know what the MCC sale is?  That’s ok.  Because next Thursday I’ll fill you in on those delicious details.  🙂

Because the baby shower was happening in the Spring, it was almost immediate we settled on the theme of Peter Cottontail.  Why?  Because Pintrest had adorable ideas.  

The original thought was that we would host it at our house in the basement.  But the closer the baby shower came and we received the guest list (there were over 50 people on that thing!), it became very clear it wasn’t going to happen.  Plus, we still weren’t sure when our basement project would get started.  It would have been my luck that the weekend before the shower, they showed up to have anything ripped up and concrete dust everywhere.  So, we had to go to plan B.  Our local senior center.  And it worked out really, really well.  

When our guests arrived, they were greeted with a washtub full of pansies along with a chalkboard sign welcoming them to the baby shower.  I didn’t get a picture of it.  I’ll blame it on baby shower brain.  But, it was adorable.  

Not only were there fifty people on the list, there were quite a few small children we knew would be in attendance.  We wanted to make sure everyone felt welcome.  Including the little ones.  So, along with a pot of pansies to welcome guests right inside the door we had a small pail of chalk so they could draw on the sidewalk outside.  I found the carrot chalk in the dollar aisle at Target.

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Once the guests came into the main room, there were tables set up for guests to gather until the shower began.  Knowing there were going to be quite a few guests and wanting them to feel as comfortable as possible, we wanted them to know where the bathroom was.  That’s important, right?  So, we had them follow the bunny tracks.  Literally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We kept the table decorations pretty simple.  My friend Mandy had the white table cloths, but ended up buying burlap to place in the middle of the table.  We also placed a piece of fake grass (I found these at Hobby Lobby) and then put a few plastic Easter eggs on top, with a chocolate bunny in the middle.  Mandy planted herbs in terracotta pots which were then placed around the grass.  The herb pots were then used as parting gifts for our guests.

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When Mandy and I first walked into the Senior Center, we first noticed the black, white, and red chairs.  The black and white chairs were fine, but the red clashed.  Bad.  Real bad.  So back in the storage closet they went!  🙂

Once we felt like most of the guests had arrived, we began our first game; break the water!  You all probably know what the game is, but the basic idea is that you give each guest an ice cube with a tiny baby frozen inside.  Don’t think about it too hard.  It’s kind of a weird game.  The only instruction I gave our guests was the first person who could “break the water” won the game.  Keepin’ it simple.

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After this first game we opened up the buffet so our guests could enjoy some light snacks and beverages.  

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Need a close up of the cake?  I thought so, because that cake was adorable and delicious!

 

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We knew that guests who were at the beginning of the line would be finished eating before everyone else got their food, let alone had time to eat it.  That’s where Dana came in with her game.

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I’m not exactly sure what her game was called, but involved having people close their eyes while they searched for baby safety pins in a pan of dried rice.  When people first saw the pans they exclaimed this would be easy.  There were only a few people who were able to get five or six in the minute they were given.  HA! 🙂

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The mom-to-be decided to give it a try…

 

 

 

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Once everyone was through the line and had a chance to eat a bit of their food, we had Mariah sit in her “throne” to open up a few gifts.  People aren’t very excited she’s having a baby.

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I should mention this picture was taken pretty close to when people started arriving.  When it was time to open gifts, this table was overflowing with items to help welcome a sweet baby into the world.  

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While Mariah opened and Dana and I helped organize the gifts for Mariah to take home, Mandi was busy too.  She had a genius idea to not just make a list of what items Mariah received and who gave them to her, but to do this on Thank You cards.

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That way when it came time for Mariah to write her Thank You notes, she was all set.  Mandy even put the address on the sticky note!

 

Anticipating the gift opening would take a while and the little ones could get restless, we set up a play area in the back.  This play area had books and even a gift bag for each of the kids at the baby shower.

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Remember our table settings?  They ended looking like this towards the end.

ImageAdorable, no?  I wish I would have thought about the Lego towers.  😉

 

Towards the end of the shower we were getting a bit worried about the time, as hostesses.  With as many people as there were and as many gifts, we were getting a bit anxious on finishing in a timely manner.  It’s one of those things you worry about and then wonder why you worried about it after the fact.  It was literally four o’clock on the dot when we wrapped things up and sent our guests on their way home with their beautiful parting gifts.

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Love these ladies!  

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Mariah, it has been wonderful to see you become a momma within the last month.  Much love to you and your little miracle!

It’s ‘Bout Time!!

The end of this summer should see the finished product of a project we have been waiting a long time to accomplish.  Adding a second bathroom and a third bedroom to our humble abode!  Even though there are only two of us living in this house along with two eccentric cats, a second bathroom would have been handy fairly often.  Thank goodness we live in the country and can use the good ole outdoors when necessary. A-hem.  

With our house’s original intent to be a school, there is a raised platform area in the basement.  Over the years it’s been a junk room, an “office space”, and then a place that only houses on of our freezer.  It’s a bit pathetic and it’s time to get this bad boy whipped into shape! 

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A few months ago, we had an architect friend come over and take a few measurements of the space.  Before he came out, Adam and I discussed what we wanted and how we thought the plan of adding a bedroom and bathroom would go.  It was so nice to have a professional’s help with something like this.  He gave us insight on things that we probably would have had to learn the hard way.  

This is the drawing of what it will look like:

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I tried to scan the document, but our scanner decided to be a bit temperamental.  I opted for the classy option and took a picture of it.  🙂

Our hope is that a local construction group can come out by the end of the summer to do everything we don’t want to do/can’t do because of our skill set.  This includes:

*framing/drywall

*plumbing

*ripping into the concrete floor to access plumbing

*dirt work around the foundation to install an egress window

*installing said egress window

What we are planning to do on our own at this point is to:

*install vanity in bathroom

*install tile

*paint

*add trim

For some reason I have it in my head that everything will be done by the time we had back to school.  Not sure why, but a girl can dream, right?

It may be quite a few months away, but while shopping with my mom I came across some really neat bathroom accessories I couldn’t pass up.  

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I found a really neat toilet paper holder (who would’ve thought anyone would ever type that sentence?), cup holder, and toothbrush holder.  Whenever I see a toothbrush holder like this it always reminds me of my grandma’s bathroom when I was growing up.  Sentimental much?  🙂

 

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The upper set of white things is a towel bar.  There was a dowel rod that came with it that I’m pretty certain I’ll replace.  The bottom two complete a towel bar.  However, my plan is to use them as a towel hook.  

If I were to be honest, we don’t even have a paint color picked out.  So it was pretty gutsy of me to buy these without 

a.)  consulting Adam

b.)  not really knowing what kind of color we want in the bathroom

As you can tell in the plans above, there won’t be a window in the bathroom.  Which means I’m going to have to do everything I can to keep things nice and airy.  And that probably means a light paint color.

While I was picking out a few colors for the chicken coop, I went ahead and picked up some color options for the bathroom as well.  I am definitely not sold on any of them, but what do you think?  

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This journey is far from over, so stayed tune to see how this venture turns out!  

Priming For Success

*You will hear me refer to this building as “the chicken coop”.  Really it’s not fair for me to call it that since the only thing that makes it a chicken coop are the original nests.  We are currently using it as a garden shed and a place to store old lumber.  I’m always surprised when people ask how many chickens we have.  The truth is we have zero.  Zip. Zilch.  So when I refer to it as the chicken coop, what I really mean is “that-building-on-the-south-edge-of-our-property”.  🙂

 

I did it.  It’s (almost) completed.  Yesterday morning I finished priming the chicken coop.  I almost feel as accomplished as when I was on summer staff at Camp Mennoscah and it was part of my job to paint the crafts building.  I remember it took me most of the summer and I was so relieved I was done I sat at dinner with a huge smile on my face.  It was so gratifying to have that job done.  With this job, I know I’m not done.  Closer, but I/we have more to do before I’m willing to say this project is done.  Completed.  Accomplished.  But I’m not going to focus on that today.  Rather, let’s just focus on how far this project has come so far.  

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It is the first building you see as you come up to our house from the road.  In my opinion, it doesn’t exactly put of the “hey, welcome to our amazing, awesome house!”.  Instead, I feel like it reads “are you current on your tetanus shot?”.  

In between my busy schedule of working a part time job on top of my full time teaching job, I took a few evenings here and there to scrap the sides of the building.  That way when I had time after school was out to work on it, I could hit the ground running.  Literally.  The first few days after school I ran with my gallon of primer in my hand so I could get started on this bad boy.  

Once it was scraped, it looked even rougher than before.   

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But, I knew this look wouldn’t last much longer.  There was now a countdown for when it would become the cutest little chicken coop on the block. 

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After about a week of priming, I was left with this:

 

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In the process of priming, I ripped off the wood that was covering the window hole.  There was also a random 2 x 4 that was nailed to the side of the building with some pretty gnarly nails.  That also went away.  The black window that is currently leaning against the building is a possibility to use for the window on this side.  I am in favor, Adam is a bit of a skeptic that it could work.  I feel like I should say at this point that the roof is in great shape.  Before we bought the property, someone put tin over the boards.  We haven’t had any issues, as far as we can tell, with water leaking in.  Whoop!  

Now the next step is to choose a color.  And I think I’m really close to choosing.  Originally I wanted a barn red color; something that would really “pop”.  When I would show Adam different shades of what I considered barn red, he would always comment “do you know how bright that will be?”  After showing him the fifth color, I realized what was lying underneath that comment was “Jill, I’m not a fan.  I want something with a bit less pop.”  So, I went back to the drawing board, er, color swatches at the hardware store.  What I came up with is a dark blue with some undertones of gray.  Because our house is gray I want it to look nice next to the house, but not be really matchy-matchy.  That is definitely not my style.  

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I am really leaning towards D254.  It’s pretty bold and I think it will be a good compromise for our relationship.  🙂  I also brought home a few color swatches to color match the trim on the house.  

A few more things on the list for this project include:

*Adding a barn door and possibly enlarging the door on the east side.  Enlarging the door would allow us to get our mower in without too many problems.

*Painting (can’t wait!)

*Replacing the wood floors inside the building.  They are a major tripping hazard.  

*Figuring out what to do with the south side of the building.  I haven’t even touched that part yet because we’re not sure what type of windows we want to go with and there’s a lot of clean up that needs to occur.  

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So, there ya have it.  I can’t wait to share with you the final look!

Richy-Rich

This morning while getting ready I had the Rachel Ray show on.  While trying to finish getting ready so I could run some errands, I overheard her say “You don’t have to be rich to have a rich life.”  I couldn’t agree more with that quote.  While we don’t have a lot in terms of material goods, we have a lot to be thankful for when it comes to friends and family.  And even though we don’t have a lot of money laying around our humble school house, we do use it to make our place feel like a million bucks.

One way that I feel “rich” is to have a yard with nice landscaping.  This past weekend we hosted our Sunday school group for a potluck meal.  While looking around the yard to make sure we had a decent spot for our social gathering, I saw a bush that had unfortunately met its demise.  

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A few years ago I transplanted a forsythia to this spot in our south flowerbed.  It did really well for a few months and then…died.  And there it sat.  For over a year.  

Knowing I wanted to replace it with something that was a bit more alive, I stopped by my favorite nursery to find something that would fit my bill.  And I found this beauty.

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Strawberries and Cream Ribbon Grass to my rescue.  Holla!  I have gotten a lot better about reading the tags on nursery items to make sure it will thrive in the spot I want to put it.  This one said it would pair well with roses and needed full sun.  Heck.  Yes.  Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Because I wanted to plant the grass in the spot of the expired forsythia, I knew the soil wasn’t necessarily prime.  Soil activator came to my rescue.  I poured a bit in and mixed it in with the soil.  Dana, if you’re reading this, I found a spider in the bottom of the hole.  I about screamed and seriously thought about using my spade to mix the rest of it.  But I put on my big girl pants and finished the job.  I thought you would be proud.  🙂

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Next came the placing of the new plant.  

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In just a few short years, the roses and grass will hide the ugly utilities on this side of the house.  🙂

Something else that I worked on before our company arrived was sprucing up our chicken coop.  At least phase 1 of our “chicken coop sprucing”.  This past Spring I scraped three of the sides to prepare for a few coats of primer.  I hadn’t had time to prime before this week (more on that later), so it was high time something was done about its appearance.  

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This is after one coat of primer.  I have since painted another coat and it looks so much better!  Also, I need to work on my photography skills.  While I feel like I’m mastering the manual part of my camera, apparently my “leveling” needs a bit of work.  If you’re concerned about the state of our building, it’s fine.  Really.  But if you don’t believe I think maybe the next picture will help relieve your fears.

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 See how good I am? 🙂

We have plans for the chicken coop this summer.  One of them being painting it a color other than red.  I will have more info on that in tomorrow’s post.  Adam wants to replace the floor with particle board and I want to organize it so that all of our yard tools (the mower is included in this) fit in this building.  It looks small but, but it’s fierce, I mean, er, big.  

What have you been shakin’ up to?  Any fears you have overcome in the name of lawn beautification?