Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Picture Preview

I've got a lot of pictures to work on right now.

I did my sister's family (including some senior pics) while one vacation. I haven't finished them yet! (sorry Lys).

So those are on the to-do list. I also just did my nephew's six month pictures. Cute, cute, cute!

I am excited to work on both. I've just been busy preparing for the dreaded b.t.s.d.
(that's 'back to school day' if you didn't know) (I'm not sure why I abbreviated it)

Putting Noah in school was a last minute decision and I've been doing some scrambling to get everything I need to get him started. I didn't have a birth certificate for him. So that is coming in the mail.

I've also been trying to sit less. I want to make a point to sweat for at least 15 minutes a day. (that hasn't been too hard in this weather!)

This doesn't have to be specifically exercise. It could be very vigorous cleaning of the bathroom for 15 minutes. Or it could be a quick run. Or a few songs on Just Dance 4 on the wii.

This means less time on the computer and fewer blog posts. But it's better for me. You just might hear from me a little less.

No post would be complete without a picture. Here are two I worked on just to peak your interest enough to come back when they are done.

These are gonna be good!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Newborn Pictures & Goodwill

I went to Detroit to take pictures of my new niece- Alli Jo.

They have a great Goodwill really close to their house. So, of course, we had to pay a visit before leaving town. I would be in grave danger if I lived by this Goodwill. They get a lot of clearance stuff from Target.

We got some soccer shoes for big E (tryouts are Tuesday)

And I got some items.
And one big purchase.
We were always putting a Michigan blanket on the floor to sit on or fold laundry on so I figured it was time. The rug is a little small for the space, but it works for me.

I love it but the one negative is it sheds a little.

Here are the pictures of Alli Jo. The session went so easily. I could do newborns every day.

Such a cutie!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chainsaw Massacre

Here is the story I promised. But first....let me show you how I easily reused an ugly heat vent cover.

I had saved the vent cover that was used before we started demo. I didn't save it with the intent to reuse it. I was actually going to bring it to Padnos with a bunch of other scrap metal to recycle. When I came across it while cleaning the garage, I put it aside knowing we have a very tight budget. And I've had a hard time finding covers to other vents because the ones that were in here before were a weird size and very ancient.
 Only recently did I finally get our sink cabinet in place.

 If you look carefully you can see the cutout at the bottom of the cabinet for the heat vent.

This is what the cover looked like before I scrubbed it and spray painted it. I had the spray paint on hand.
 Pretty gross, right?
And after.
 Here is the opening.
 And it fits perfectly. Now I just need to find a couple of screws to hold it in place.

 Sorry, poorly lit pictures.

Scott and I have been wanting to cut down some big, ugly pine trees in our yard. We decided now was as good of time as any. So we got out the chainsaw and went to work.

 These things are massive.
Here is a picture of Jayce standing next to one to give some perspective.

 We started with the biggest but easiest tree. We knew that no matter which direction it fell it would be okay. But we were aiming for it to fall away from the house.

Our neighbor even came over and gave us some tips and helped us a little.  He gave us an axe type thing that he said we could use as a wedge to persuade the tree to go the way we wanted. The tree was actually leaning the way we didn't want it to go. But Scott took a big divot out of the side we wanted it to fall to. Then he went to the other side and cut down towards the divot. Then he pounded in the wedge with a sledgehammer.

Our neighbor suggested he cut all the limbs off around the bottom so that he had more than one way to get out in case the tree fell a different way than planned. Good idea. We took his advice.

The tree went the way we expected and we felt successful. We were sweaty and tired and thought we would be done. But then we changed our mind and decided to cut down the second tree. Big mistake.
Here is tree number one after some branches have been removed.

 What you can't see in the picture up above with the two red X's is that the tree on the right has power lines running next to it.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

The second tree was also leaning the way we didn't want it to go. But no big deal, right? We were able to prevent the first one from falling the way it was destined. We could do it again!

Scott made the same cuts. We put in the wedge. We faced a few more challenges. If it fell the wrong way, it fell right on the power lines. It would also come very close to our neighbors newly built shed.

My stomach hurt. We kept inching our way. We wondered what was still holding it upright. We had practically cut all the way through. Then it creaked and went a couple inches the wrong way.

Oh. My. Goodness.

The only thing keeping it from falling were the wedges (yes, we added another one) we put in. We took a break. We discussed what we should do. I thought about throwing up.

Scott found a rope, climbed a ladder (not leaning on the tree at all), and tied a rope around a branch in the middle. We needed to get higher but that was as high as we could get. We needed help. But instead, we charged on ahead. Silly, silly us.

I stood out of reach of the tree with the rope in my hands as Scott hammered the wedge and chainsawed some more.

And then it happened. A big creak. He came running to me to help pull the rope. But it was no use. It did a little spin and fell smack dab on top of the power lines. I watched helplessly as it bounced on them once and came down again snapping the top of the power line pole that was out near the woods right off. Have you ever had one of those moments when an event in your life feels like a movie scene. It didn't feel real. But it was, sadly.

We went in and called Consumers Energy. They arrived within 15 minutes.
Here is a bunch of pictures from the event.

Scott was also battling hornets while trying to cut down this tree. We discovered the nest halfway through. Scott is not a fan of any kind of bee. Let's just say we weren't too worried about the hornets once the tree finally fell.

We found out later the wire was over 7,000 volts. This is what it was doing every time the tree brushed against the wire. The tree needed to be trimmed a long time ago. I guess we took care of that problem.

And of course it didn't just take out our power. It took out all the houses around us too. We had neighbors coming over to congregate and chat about our folly while the men worked to restore the power.

So embarrassing.
The power came back on....about four hours later.

So what we thought was saving us money will wind up costing us who knows how much in the end.

 The End.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Detroit Fun

Working on cute, cute pictures. 
Drinking chocolate banana shake. 
Oldest boy making a necklace. 
Younger boys and cousins going balloon crazy. 

We are having fun!

Here is a photo teaser for the coming story. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Random News

1. I bought a hydrangea plant. It is a kind I have never seen before. It's called Pistachio Hydrangea. It's beautiful and I'm thinking of going to get another one.

2. I did back to school shopping on Friday night. We did the majority of it at Salvation Army. We got something for everyone, even me. And we spent very little. I had to go to Kohls to get jeans because I couldn't find any for my oldest. I spent twice as much money and got a third as much stuff as I did at Salvation Army. I didn't take any pictures of what I did get but here are some shoes I didn't get.

3. I will now have three boys going to school. Well...sort of. Number three will be going two half days a week. The rest will be done at home with me. It is a new public charter school that can be done online. He's actually pretty excited.
4. I will be traveling to Detroit this week to take newborn pictures of my newest niece. I can't wait!
5. I've got quite a story to tell you. It is still too fresh to talk about it yet. I need a couple days to gain a better perspective.
6. The tip tops of my maple trees are showing some changing color. Too soon. I love fall but I'm not ready for my boys to go back to school.
7. My sister and nephew pleasantly surprised me on Friday. It was so good to see them and I now have even more reasons to go up north (where they're staying) for a visit!
8. I've been working on plans for the kitchen. My goal is to have it almost all done for our fall birthday party.
9. I've started waking the boys up earlier to get their routine set for school. I think it's harder on me than it is on them.
10. Do you have any end of summer plans? Any traditions for how you say goodbye to summer or hello to fall?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Productivity is Fun

I was productive yesterday.

So productive that I didn't even get a post done for the day.

Did you notice? Pry not, but that's okay.

Before lunch I tackled the mailbox. If you didn't read Monday's post then you didn't hear our mailbox got mowed over by a vehicle while we were on vacation.

 We went to Menards and found a mailbox on sale for $39.99 with a $15 mail-in-rebate. They came in black or bronze. All they had out were bronze but I really wanted black. We almost just got bronze but a worker walked by and so I asked if there was anymore black. They checked and brought one out for me. Awesome.

I got out my shovel and a level. We had to buy a 4x4 treated wood post. It was too long so I cut it with my miter saw. It said to bury the post 16 inches deep. I did 20 inches just to be safe. Then I put the mailbox casing over the wood post and screwed it together. I assembled the box following the directions and attached it to the top.
I was feeling pretty proud. It looked great. I even put our address on the side with sticky letters. (I blurred it out in photoshop)

I'm sure this isn't the last time we will have to deal with this. But hopefully it will last a while.

I didn't stop there. After feeding the crew lunch I looked around my kitchen and decided to get some things done.

Our kitchen is definitely an on-going process. I've had a utility sink for my kitchen sink for quite some time. It's nice because it holds lots of dirty dishes before I actually have to do them. But it sits lower and my back always ends up hurting after doing them. I had kept the sink that was previously installed before we started our kitchen makeover. Let's see a picture of how that looked.

Then we took a lot of things apart and got rid of them and tried to make it look like a kitchen again.

Slowly but surely.

And this is how it was up until yesterday.

I got the old sink from our garage and took it out in the grass to hose it off. It had accumulated quite a bit of dust and cobwebs. Plus it got pretty dirty when we started demo in the kitchen back in December.

I had to unhook the plumbing from the utility sink. That is pretty easy. Hooking it back up to the new sink is the hard part.

I also had to get out my little hand tool and cut the openings for the pipes in the bottom of the cabinet. I had to cut the bottom front of the cabinet to make an opening for the heat vent that comes out right by my toes when I'm doing dishes.

Things always take longer than expected. I had hoped to have it all done before hubby came home from work but it didn't happen. He helped me a little with hooking the sink back up. The drain didn't come together quite right so I had to make a late night trip to Menards.

After finishing it up around midnight, I was pretty pleased with myself. I finally had a real kitchen sink.

 There are gaps on either side of the cabinet so that it can be centered on the window. I'd like to find some gorgeous wood legs to put in there. In the meantime it will look a little funny.
 The sink is resting on scrap wood from our flooring until we can get counter tops. Ohhhhhh....counter tops. I dream about such luxuries all the time.

Before counter tops, though, we need two more base cabinets. I want a small set of drawers next to my cook top.

And a slightly wider set of drawers next to my dishwasher.

And then we can get counter tops. I'm not sure what we are doing yet. But I'm thinking about DIYing something. Mostly because of our limited budget but also because I think I will like it best. We will see.

Another thing I want to get done as soon as possible. Our oven. Or shall I say ovens. We have a double wall oven sitting in our garage. I am devising plans right now to make the cabinet that will hold the ovens. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.
They will go where our make shift pantry is.

*Bummer. Our 'new' sink leaks. There is a hose that runs to the sprayer. The connection is cracked and leaks into the cabinet and on top of the sink deck. So much for recycling something old. Looks like I may have to get a new sink sooner than I thought.

What have you tackled lately? Does cooler weather help you to be more productive?
Fall is my project time and it has really felt like the beginning of fall lately.