Friday, June 1, 2012

Home Part II

I said when I posted last that I would continue the house tour.  I just love before and after shots, they are so rewarding!  The dining room...before...

 And after...

 The kitchen before....(love that yellow!)

and after...

And the lovely about that brown...

Indeed this is the same room, part of the space is credited to the wide angle lens, but most of the space came after we rearranged the layout.  Who designed these old houses anyway?

More to come soon....

Friday, May 25, 2012

In Search of Home

I've decided to chronicle our house ventures here. I know it's been a while since I've posted something and with our current developements in our home search I decided this would be a good place to document the progress we've seen and also look forward to the things God has for us in the near future. Seven years ago we moved to Salt Lake City. We had one infant son at the time (Jack) and were totally new to everything, parenting, ministry, house buying, Salt Lake, etc. We lived downtown for three months while we searched for the right house to suit our needs. We rented an apartment sight unseen before we arrived, the landlord was the husband of one of my mom's high school friends, so he graciously gave us a month to month agreement. I look back now and see that he was happy just to have someone in habiting the dingy old apartment accross the street from the Dollar Tree. I started the house search right away. We fell into a routine, I look at the houses and weed out all the 'bad' ones, then Mark comes along and approves and we make an offer. I will tell you, some of the houses in our price range at the time were very scary...meth style, ghostly scary...We ended up bumping up our price range a bit. Anyway, after making two offers and both falling through becuase something was wrong with the house, we finally found this lovely little cottage:
Lovely? You say...Yes, it's so far from the other houses we saw you have no idea. Anyway, the following photos are before and after versions of each room. This is the result of 7 years of hard work, thanks to my Dad and Mom who would come for weeks at a time and help us with our bathrooms and kitchen and most recently our raised beds in the backyard. Please, come in....

 The Living Room, before:

and after...

more to come....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Craftiness

Since I have three boys I have a limited number of things I can sew for them.  Those of you with boys know what I mean.  There's no dressmaking, no cute purses, no dolls etc. etc. etc.....So, I've made it my business to create a tradition that I get to make their Halloween costumes.  I have to admit that this has become a little more daunting now that there are three of them to make, but so far it's been ok.  I start early and think about it for months (as do they of course).  Another thing that helps is that once the project gets going, there's no turning back - no changing your mind, you are what you are.  This year I have tried to curb the violent tendencies that come with having three boys by encouraging good old fashioned cowboy games.  Instead of the typical fighting, good vs. bad, robot/soldier/monster/droid battles that go on in our neighborhood I've been trying my darndest to get the boys interested in the wild west.  And, thanks to PBS and Bonanza, it's been working!  That's now their favorite show:)  And, thanks to Dad who willingly fabricated some rubber band rifles one afternoon there is no turning back from the Wild West excitement. 

So, where to from here?  We decided it was cowboys for Halloween this year so I started looking around online for ideas.  I found this great website that offered some wonderful tutorials - just what I was looking for!  I had an old leather jacket lying around and Dad had some old pants that didn't fit right.  I also had some wide elastic in my sewing drawer that I had bought without purpose (I do that a lot).  Perfect lineup for some great Halloween costumes.  Here's a fashion show!

Jasper - the arms of the leather jacket (size large) from a thrift store worked perfectly for his little legs.  Leather is the perfect material for this project since it doesn't fray and so you don't have to finish the edges or hem them at all!  There was enough left from the jacket to make monogrammed holsters for them all.  Once again, the blue leather I used for the monogram was purchased without purpose - it just inspired me when I was scrounging around the scrap bins at the leather store. 

Now that's just too cute I can't stand it!!!  I know, I know, he's mine, I'm biased. 

Next, Noah.  He is sporting his chaps and a nice Wild West tough guy pose.  He already got to wear his outfit to school since they had a cowboy day a few weeks ago.  His chaps were made from old men's pants.  I just cut them to the right height using the bottom hem then I sewed the side seam onto the outside so that I could 'fray' them by clipping the sides.  He was so excited and proud!

And finally, Jack who is zealous about his new cap guns. 

I have to admit to you that I didn't make their vests..those were found at the thrift store.  All that fringe!  Love it! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pickled Peppers

So fall is here, officially. I have spent a lot of hours this year harvesting and finding ways to preserve things without a ton of work. One of my favorite things has been sun dried tomatoes (ok, they're not really 'sun' dried, more like dehydrator dried:). I dried them for about a day and half and then pack them in olive oil in a jar in the fridge. They've been such a delicious treat to add to eggs in the morning, salads, pizza (on the grill - our latest obsession!) and much more. Unfortunately, the dehydrator was sitting on the counter and got knocked off by someone (who shall remain nameless) and is now broken. Sad! The oven doesn't really do the same job - my oven only goes down to 200 degrees and the dehydrator would stay as low as 95 for me. I did try a batch in the oven but they got a little browned, still tasty and good though.

Another thing we have had in abundance has been peppers. I'm learning that from year to year I'll always be surprised by what my garden yields. Anyway, I planted 3 pepper plants - two 'garden salsa' knock your socks off fire breathing pepper plants, and 1 red (disguised as green) chili pepper plant.

*Note to self: Home Depot doesn't know how to label their plants* 

After discovering that our garden salsa variety was NOT going to produce those lovely Anaheim type peppers that you can fill with cheese and munch on, I lost my enthusiasm for them. I did make one batch of my annual canned salsa using tomatoes and peppers from the garden (the first time we've ever done that!! Yay!) but after that the pepper plants sat untouched for most of the summer. once in a while I would go out and pick one for our morning eggs or something like that. Anyway, after putting all that work into my garden I'm not about to let the fall frosts take the fruit of my efforts without a fight, even if it was an unexpected bounty of HOT HOT HOT peppers.

So, I decided the answer was to pickle them! After picking a bushel (ok, not really) of peppers I brought them inside to use this recipe on. An easy Saturday night project - no canning involved, using ingredients I already had on hand. An unsuspecting cook, standing over her stove. Here is where my plan when awry. As I'm standing over the stove slicing away my husband mentions, 'hey, maybe you should wear gloves...?'. 'Na,' I reply. These peppers aren't that hot after all and I don't think just slicing them and throwing them in the jar will effect me. I'm careful, I'll wash my hands before I rub my eyes. And on and on with the excuses...

The peppers were finished, and set in the fridge to brine. Pretty huh?

Not long after finishing this simple project, my hand began to burn. And I mean BURN. I tried to ignore it out of pride but it wouldn't be ignored. It started throbbing, pulsating with heat - like I had scalded it or something. I couldn't wash it off...I sat down and tried knitting but it continued to throb. Later when I went to bed, I just lay there while my hand sat outside the covers to cool. It didn't work. I didn't sleep well...and when I finally woke up I thought it was much better. But, alas, when I went to put my contacts in I discovered my problems were NOT over...with burning pain shooting through my eyeball I had to reach in with the pepper infected finger again to retrieve my contact - ahhhh!!! And then I went on all day with a burning hand. That was yesterday, and even today I feel the effects of it still. Phew that was quite a lesson. The moral to this story is: always wear gloves. The secondary lesson to take away is: your husband is smarter than you, listen to him.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Retreat

Last weekend was Fall Retreat here in Utah. 

It's always so fun to see how many students arrive from around the state to fellowship and grown in theirs walks with God.  This year there were about 55 students from a variety of schools.  We didn't bring in a special speaker, the staff team did the teaching which made for a fun lineup.  Mark did a program on boat building which prompted the students to take a good look at their relationship with God and surrender their future to Him. 

They had a variety of 'found' objects that they could use to assemble their boats.  You can imagine the creative solutions!

And as they set sail to their boats outside in the reservoir, they gave something significant over to God - symbolically releasing their will to God.  Pretty cool huh?  A few of the students recalled later how this was a significant moment for them and they made some new commitments to God for their futures. 

Overall I'd say it was a pretty great weekend.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sledding Fun

Today we went sledding....

This guy never smiles!

Jasper ate some snow....

Overall it was a good day.

Valentine's Day Craftiness

This Valentine's day I think I kind of over extended myself.  After throwing Noah's birthday party on Sunday, I had to help do a craft at my mops group on Monday and then in the afternoon I went to Jack's kindergarten class and did a craft for the Valentine's day party.  I was up late the night before figuring out what to make, I was actually at a loss until about 10pm.  I had planned on making some robots and decorating them with candy (from the family fun website) but I really didn't like that one, would much rather do something without candy.  The other hurdle was to figure out something that the boys would like, afterall, Valentine's day is kinda girly...all that pink and red.  So, finally I landed on these.

When it comes to crafts, girls can be satisfied with something fun to look at, but boys really want to USE it.  It needs to do something or it's no good.  I was honestly a little surprised at how well these heart shaped glitter glasses went over!  It was such a hit, everyone in the class was wearing them.  It was so much fun!  And his teacher was snapping pictures of them all.  They all wore them home and Jack even wore his to the grocery store later on!  Anyway, it was really simple. 

All you need is:
1 piece of cardstock 3"x6.5"
2 pipe cleaners about 5" long
glitter and glue if you have them, or whatever you want to decorate them with

Just fold the cardstock in half.  Then fold each side in half again and starting at the center side cut out 1/2 of a heart.  Then cut around the outside of that heart to make the outer shape.  Unfold and punch two holes, one in each side where you can then stuff the pipe cleaner through for the earpieces.  Decorate them however you want and when you're ready to put them on just form the pipe cleaners around the child's ears.  I guess you could make these in any shape too! 

The other fun thing I did this Valentine's day was these valentine's cards for the boys to take to school.  If you know my kids at all, you know that they are obsessed with Star Wars.  I looked all lover the web for Star Wars printable valentines but couldn't find them at all.  Finally I realized that valentine's are just a picture with some words anyway so I just imported some cute pictures and wrote on them.  This is what I ended up with.  If you want them you can just right click and save them!

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