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Friday, December 28, 2012

This old (quirky) house

Good morning friends. Hope this post finds you well and getting a breather after the holiday rush. My household is slowly on the mend from the mixture of flu, strep throat, and the sinus infections that plagued us.

I am off work until next Wednesday and am enjoying resting at home. Since I've been ill, sleeping til 9 am (vs. 6 am) is such a blessing.

Well, this old house of ours is keeping us busy. It certainly has some quirks (which old house doesn't?). Jarred it seems, is constantly replacing the doorknobs that fall off. Or trying to stop the faucets from dripping. Or plugging up the cracks in the windows and doors to keep us warm. I spent all day yesterday in the cold garage rearranging my daycare supplies and textbooks as our garage floods....yes, floods with about 3 inches of rain in a heavy downpour. Jarred thinks its an easy fix but I was panicked wondering if all my stuff was wet or damaged. Thankfully, everything I opened and checked on yesterday was fine. I am gradually going to sort and organize my daycare items into Jarred's nice, dry, SAFE shop.

Another quirk about this old house is the doors....some of them simply won't shut. Or you shut them and they open up instantly. I had a battle with a a hall closet door on the first night we moved in. I'd shut it and turn around and it would pop open. I'd shut it and bam, it would open up the instant I turned my back. This went on for about 2 minutes when I finally gave it "a few light slams" (it tends to be stubborn and you have to show it you're the boss). Ashleigh's door also refuses to close.

Doors aside, the sink is a big gripe of mine (not that I actually use it to wash any dishes...I am dishwasher spoiled, I admit it. Besides, Jarred loves to do dishes and I love to cook, so we kind of have a 19-year deal in place). Back to the sink-it's a single sink. A really big, deep SINGLE sink. What man thought this contraption up? And why on earth did the former owner not complain, really loudly, til it was replaced? How are you to use one sink to both wash and rinse your dishes? Someone in the know please explain.

The last quirk is our lovely pantry. You know, the one with the chalkboard doors that is huge and spacious and partly organized? The one I adore? Well, it's location is in the breezeway to our garage. Which means the situation goes down something like this:

    It's 10 PM and I'm a little snacky before bed. I feel the urge for a bowl of cereal. So I go to the pantry. I   open the door from the nice, toasty kitchen into the cold, drafty, Arctic-like environment of the breezeway. Brrrr.....no way. So I gear up. House shoes, check. Fleece bathrobe, check. Now I can dash into the freezer, er, I mean, pantry, to grab my cereal.

Yes, that's about the way of it in this old house, which I still really like, by the way. Most women can find something about their home they'd like to change. The breezeway is no. 1 on my Bob Villa list.

Another idea I'd love to check  into is to build on a preschool/daycare room onto the back of the house someday. I'd also really love to finish the basement out and since the ceilings are too low for an adult, use it for a daycare gym area, with a mini trampoline, ball pit, tricycles, bowling, basketball, etc. I am set to graduate in 2014 and even though it would seem logical for me to run to the school system for a job, I'd really like to stay home and have a nice preschool. That has been in my mind for about ten years but I've just never been blessed with the right circumstances in which to make it happen.

Ok, I guess I need to scoot and get something accomplished today other than blogging.

Blessings for a safe New Year,

Monday, December 24, 2012

Twas the Night Before Christmas

'Twas the Night Before Christmas at the Foster's new dwelling,
Everybody was coughing; "Bring the Nyquil!" Dad was yelling.
The children were nestled with tissues, pills and more pills galore.
Mom made many trips for chicken soup at the store.
Oh no, what is this...now Mom is complaining
of an itchy throat, then a tickle-- a new cough she is gaining.
Not a present was wrapped or put under the tree;
dust covered the furniture, how can this be?
The laundry was in piles and the house needed to be cleaned.
A Christmas day dinner menu was only a dream.
The oven sat empty; not a turkey nor a ham.
No hashbrown casserole
(though in the pantry there was Spam).
Mom was in tears just surveying her clan.
How to hold it together, she had not a plan.
"Dad is wheezing, I am coughing, Nick has flu;
Ash has strep throat and now it seems like pink eye, too.
But Dear Lord with Your help, we will get through it all
and thank you for the blessings You send when we call."
The clan was still aching, the coughing still bad,
but Mom had been reminded of all that she had.
From the family all around her
to the pantry packed with  food,
from the love of her neighbors and dear friends too,
Mom certainly knew she was blessed by the Lord up above.
The nativity scene on the coffee table showed her His love.
Mom knew right then it would somehow work out.
That first Christmas in Bethlehem is what it's about.

But the children were worried; Ash started to fret.
"It's Christmas Eve, and we haven't done anything yet.
How can it be that it's only one day 'til Christmas?
We're not even ready. Do you think Santa will miss us?"
"Of course not," Mom assured them with hugs and with kisses.
"Being with our family is the best of Christmas wishes.
Yes, we're under the weather, but there's no need to be blue....
take a turn with the inhaler and have some more Thera-flu.
We are thankful for a roof over our heads,
comfy pajamas, and warm, cozy beds.
We have what we need and that's more than enough.
All of this other stuff is....well.... just stuff.
The presents are here; just not under the tree.
And in a few days we'll be healthy, you just wait and see."

So everyone took their meds and drank hot tea with honey.
And all took their nasal spray  (to stop noses so runny).
And they pitched in together and got the necessities done,
then curled up under the afghan for some Christmas movie fun.
As they sat there all snuggly Mom exclaimed with a sigh,
"Merry Christmas, and get well. I love you, you guys."

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

 It's beginning to look a lot more like Christmas in our new home.
Since I am off work with sick ones today (who are all sleeping or waiting to see the doctor), I thought it seemed like a good time to do a little blogging.

Now on to the holiday scene....
 Jarred spent a small fortune and a few hours getting the outside spritzed up while I took care of the inside.
It would be so nice if the photos were grouped a bit but sometimes Blogger's photo features and I bump heads. So the photos may jump around some.

The entryway.

Our faux fireplace in the dining room.

The living room (which required a moving of the furniture to fit the tree in).

"The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...."
(on the mantel is my Christmas village collection started on our first wedding anniversary 
with a church given to me by my mother-in-law)

One of the easiest homemade ornaments to make if you keep craft sticks handy...ta da! It's the North Pole. Cut a skinny stick up with pointed flag ends and paint it to resemble the sign. Then glue the sign onto a candy-stripe-painted jumbo craft stick. Add a little pile of glitter glue "snow" and glue on a hook.

Another easy craft....cut out felt shapes and arrange them on a felt rectangle. Cut an asterick shape in the top of the felt so you can hang your decoration on a doorknob. Easy for kids if you can have felt pieces pre-cut. Hot glue works best for holding on the trims. Embellish with fabric paint or whatever your heart desires.

This candy jar was made by my friend Tracy B. using terra cotta pots, a terra cotta saucer, ribbon, and a mini fish bowl. So cute! I want one for every season. Note to self: if  planning to make these for the holidays as gifts, go to Lowes before summer is over.

Another shot of our living room.

Sorry for the blur. This is one of my all-time favorite ornaments...little elf shoes! They crack me up every year when we hang them. Makes me think of our little daycare elf on the shelf that our class named "Sneaky Charlie Snowflake".

Ash decorated her ice pastel colored tree by herself.

The entryway window at night.

The same window in early morning. It's a bit dark.

The outside of that same window. The light-up bow was a steal at Big Lots.

Got a beautiful Christmas card that you can't bare to throw out? Frame it for a holiday decoration. I love all things gingerbread and sweets and this card comes out for inspiration each holiday as I "get my bake on".

The side of the house.

Front door.

The afghan on the couch belonged to Mrs. Womack.

My sewing table relocated to the dining room when we had to move stuff to fit in the Christmas tree. Now this area is a bit empty.

Adrian turned 13 on the 13th. :)

The kids were a major help. Ashleigh especially enjoyed
decorating the tree this year.

Holiday Blessings,

Monday, November 12, 2012

pantry makeover

 I am pretty darn-tootin' excited.

 I had a couple cans of chalkboard paint ready to use somewhere in my new home. Just been saving them for the right place.

 I at first thought about painting Ash's bedroom door with it or using it for a wall in the playroom. But when I saw the old, plain wooden doors on the pantry in our breezeway, it hit me. Why not go all out with my red countertops, black accents, and coffee house-themed kitchen and make the pantry doors into a usable chalkboard (kind of like the "soup of the day" boards you see in restaurants)? My pantry has four huge doors with plenty of room to record our weekly schedule, the shopping list, a menu for the week (for those nights when I can't recall what all we have in the freezer, stomachs are growling, and Little Caesars pizza is looking cheap, easy, and fast), and maybe even a doodle area for my artsy-crafty daughter? So dear hubby went to work removing the doors and painting them.

As you can see from these older photos of the breezeway, the pantry doors (behind the back door) were not the prettiest (but overall, they might just be the best part of the breezeway in its current state. lol). Obviously, we are going to be investing some time and money into the whole area due to a former roof leak, but that's another blog post.

Here is sweetie pie doing yet another project for me...

First he painted on two coats of Krylon spray on chalkboard paint and then trimmed the doors out in a crisp fresh white.


One door on! It actually is a large pantry and I like having that much space. Jarred plans to build some sort of drawers under it to hold potatoes and such. The OCD in me threatens to run wild with my label maker, sorting and labeling the whole thing. As Mrs. Doubtfire says, "What a nicely appointed little cubbie." Or something like that. ;) 

See the little step-stool? This house has  a LOT of cabinets high up on the walls. I am five feet seven inches and I can't reach the top shelf without that step stool. 

Hanging the doors.

Close-up view.

Voila! Our pantry door makeover. Now to make the chalkboard storage jars I found on Pinterest to go into my chalkboard pantry!

It will look really nice when the whole room is remodeled. :)
Thanks Sweetie!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Home for the holidays part 2

Here are some random photos that I don't recall posting yet.

This adorable vanity chair was in Ash's room when we moved in and she wanted to keep it. Reminds of the old Kay's ice cream parlor type chairs. I love it.

Ash's room, when done, will be a hot pink, light pink, and black Parisian theme. This new comforter gives an idea of what it will be like when done. We still have to hang blinds, remove the old curtains, strip the wallpaper, and paint. My cousin had a neat idea to paint the bottom third of the walls black and the tops a light pink with white trim to separate the two colors. I think that sounds lovely without letting the black overpower the walls.

The boys hangout area with the game consoles and futon has become a popular spot for all the kids who visit. 

A close up of Adrian's side of the attic now. Still lacking paint and curtains.

A better view of Adrian's side.

Jarred has been busy landscaping. This is out by the road.

He also painted the former burgundy shutters black which I like a lot better.

This photo shows the previous burgundy shutters and Jarred's new side landscaping with hostas, and some plants he got at Lowes. 

Our little bridge from our old house found a new home in the corner of the landscaping.

Our bedroom is basically done. All we lack is locating some fabric for our little round nightstands and getting our own curtains up. This wallpaper grew on me so it's staying. 


Home for the holidays

We got the Womack home almost fully furnished. What Mrs. Womack's family wanted was already gone or we sent to them soon after closing. But there are still curtains, books galore, knick-knacks, and furniture that we are sorting through little by little. When we can we try to see to it that things we can't use personally get good homes and we try to incorporate a few of the family's items into every room. 

Digging through the boxes we find in the attic and garage is kind of personal and special to me. We are literally looking into the personal lives of the family who lived here and called this house their home. What would my life say if a stranger could one day look into mine?

I find it interesting that we have some things in common with the Womacks. For instance, they must have liked traveling because we found passports and travel books to places I have only dreamed about visiting. Mrs. Womack was an educator here well after the age of retirement, and I am finishing my education degree as well.  This family had an active life in the church and community which is certainly commendable. And even Mr. Womack's little shop on the back of the garage is the perfect place for Jarred's at home business venture. In many ways this house is a good match for us as it must have been for the Womacks. 

I hope to find time soon to write to Mrs. Womack and send her photos of the work we are doing here. I think she would be proud to know someone else is falling in love with her home-our home- and taking care of it.

Now for a few new photos:

Books, books, and more books. We have kept some of Mrs. Womack's books that no one claimed for her.  It seemed a shame to us to let them go to Goodwill when they probably meant a lot to her and to us, as we love history and I am an avid reader when I have time. The huge Bible to the left on the second shelf is from the 1860's. That is priceless to me and I'm so glad to have it. In our former home we had a bookshelf in every room! I've toned it down a bit here. ;)  There are lots of Warren county history books we've found and added to our collection. I can't wait to actually find the time to READ these books.

Our old entertainment center has found new life in the dining room as a place to hold family photos and cookbooks.

This fireplace used to be in our living room but it has also found new life in the dining room.

This shelf belonging to the Womacks now serves a display for family photos and wedding mementos. If we ever get a china cabinet I don't know where on earth we'll move this to.

This is part of an old huge black desk we found in the attic. Rather than not use it at all, Jarred took the end cabinets off and painted them white. Since we needed a much smaller and taller entertainment center in our new living room, this is what the new white cabinet became.

It houses our surround sound system and other "ugly" TV equipment.

Aunt Deane sent new fall foliage to brighten our living room mantle.

The playroom....well, this is about as organized as it gets. But the cluttered look really gets to me. Perhaps someday we can put doors on all the cabinets.

Ashleigh's desk area.

The reading area. I can't help it; I tend to group my own home like daycare centers.

My study area (although I haven't studied here one time yet because it's so crowded it makes me feel claustrophobic).

When my degree is finished I'll be able to teach in a Headstart, preschool, daycare, or school setting. Or open my own in-home pre-k which is really my favorite option. I am looking into ways that this part of the house could one day be used as an in-home pre-k classroom/play area. I think that over time, as the boys grow up and start their lives, Ashleigh will move upstairs into the boys' attic space. She will feel like a queen if we ever turn that area into a suite of sorts. I think the addition of a small bath up there would make a wonderful teen girl's dream hangout. With that in mind, if she moves up, then her playroom, bedroom, and adjoining bath downstairs would be free to use for pre-k. One room might function as a classroom and the other a room for centers and play? Of course, if one had enough money to remodel, the back of the house could be bumped out and made larger to use as an indoor gross motor play area as well. Or a playground area could be added to the  back yard. If I do begin an in-home pre-k I would likely only have 6-8 children per session, so a lot of space might not be necessary. Just dreaming about all that could take place in the future....

The holidays will soon be upon us and posting may become a little harder. So until next time, blessings!