Demo Time

This is what we’ve been up to this week. So much work! I spent the week cleaning out all the cupboards and moving back into the basement kitchen and then Friday and Saturday was spent ripping it all apart. The more we tear into the house the more we see how much it needed it. Wood that has seen better days, mismatched paneling, paneling, plastic trim, wood trim, fiberboard trim, moldy subflooring, non-working electrical outlets, burned out outlets, worn out cabinets, mismatched cabinets, and so much more. My son’s friend was over and asked why we were taking it out (before we’d done any demo) and I drew a blank. I couldn’t remember why we were doing this whole thing. Oh yeah, electrical issues. The rest was livable but when some outlets just stopped working we got worried the house would burn down.

As we planned I thought it would be funny to put a plastic skeleton in the walls when we put them back up. I’d leave a note on it but it made me laugh. While we were taking the walls down we actually found skeletons. Mouse skeletons. Lots of them. Ugh. You can guarantee it that I am going to make the walls mouse tight.

Alex and I didn’t do it alone. We gave the kids gloves, chisels, hammers, screwdrivers, and drills and told them to get to work. It was a “fun” family activity. It was good to work together and I hope that they, like me, will be proud of their work and when it is done they can say what parts they did and helped with. Turns out Lauren is lot like me. Give her a task and she will keep going until it is done. Alex had to tell us we needed to stop to go and eat.

I am going to call the electrician on Monday and get the electricity all fixed so the walls can go back up in the next week or so because it is difficult to live in a construction zone with exposed studs, insulation and wiring.

One thing that came to mind as Michael and I were dismantling a 70’s decorative fixture is that trends and decorative fashion doesn’t last forever. It was a big pain to remove. Luckily it was just nailed in (with 100 giant thick decorative nails). I look at the farmhouse shiplap walls that are so in style right now and I cringe. I love the way they look, don’t get me wrong, but I can see how big of a pain it will be to remove years down the road when it is no longer the style and everyone tries to remove the glued on boards. I guess everything is like that. Styles come and go and eventually stuff wears out and needs to be replaced. But I would rather just change paint color and curtains than rip off shiplap and wallpaper. Just sayin’.

We’ll see how long the style I pick holds up.

Daily Life

Friday was Better than Thursday

Friday morning I got an early start. Evangeline woke me up at 4:30 and I couldn’t get back to sleep. It’s fine. I got up and got going shortly after and made breakfast for Alex and I and as soon as I sat down to eat Evangeline woke up again. An hour later I managed to eat a cold breakfast alone because Alex had gone to work and everyone else was asleep.

Most of the morning was spent holding little kids. After I got in from my walk Noah wanted to sit on my lap and then he promptly fell asleep. I just held him for awhile. They grow up so fast so I hold them when I get a chance.

I got a bit of stuff done. I decluttered an area of the kitchen and the entry closet shelf where everything seems to collect. I put everything where it was supposed to go and threw a few things away. I will say that it was wonderful that the awkwardness of the day before was gone. I didn’t drop anything all day and it felt like a normal day. It seems to work better that way.

When Alex got home we decided to go on a date. Lunch dates seem to work the best. And my favorite restaurant had opened the dining room this week. Yay! The only difference was that there was no bucket of peanuts on the table to eat and no condiments on the table. Alright, not a big deal. I am sure they would have brought some had I asked. But the food was good and it was good to go out and sit down to eat somewhere that wasn’t the car.

In light of the fact that we are going to be redoing the whole kitchen very soon (just waiting on the bank to slowly process everything) I asked¬† if Alex wanted to go look at furniture, appliances mainly. I have been looking online for what I might want, features, sizes, etc. It was good to go out and see them in the store to get a better idea of how it would work. We also sat on like a bunch of couches. We would love to get new couches, ours are over 13 and 20 years old but with kids and how good they mind and wash their hands and feet I think we’ll stick with what we have until they grow up a little bit more. Not to mention the dog. Though, there is a couch at IKEA that the cover comes off so I could wash it when I want. Hmmm. Either way, I would have to save up for it.

After the furniture store we went grocery shopping. I have been working on my family’s finances this week. I have been studying a program,¬†Budget Boot Camp, (free for the month of May) and I have been putting some of the principles into practice. So when we were planning our weekly menu I had the budget in mind. Guess what? I stuck to the budget! I really need to because getting to the end of the money before the end of the month is no fun. Plus, my goal is to pay off all the student loans and the house in less than 10 years and that isn’t possible without a plan. So wish us luck.

When we got home we made pizza for dinner- the usual Friday night fare. I had leftover taco meat from the taco salad we’d had earlier in the week and thought I would try and make a taco pizza. It was so good! I will definitely be making it again. Elizabeth saw me spreading beans on the dough and thought I had lost my mind. We had a little fun with that. Afterwards we watched a movie we had rented, Dr. Doolittle, the new one, and I was so tired I fell asleep in the middle of it. Evangeline had fallen asleep in my arms so I took her upstairs and we went to bed and let everyone else finish that movie and then the other movie, Sonic, that we’d rented. Sam had gotten a free rental from school so we used that and he was excited to be able to contribute.

This morning, Saturday, I was up early, 6:30 and I looked outside. Snow on the ground and it was still snowing! Great start to the holiday weekend. But it could be worse. My neighbor and her family have an annual camping trip/family reunion that has been going on for like 100 years. They get to camp in the cold, rain and snow this weekend. Glad it isn’t me. I just hope my garden and apple trees survive the snow. We’ll see in a bit.

Daily Life


A business on Facebook was doing a giveaway and asked the question what is you least favorite thing to clean. I had to think hard. I do like to clean. Honestly. I love seeing things go from dusty to shiny. I have collected hints and tried tricks and all that in an effort to do it better and faster. I did decide on bathrooms though. I think it is the awkwardness of the space. And having boys. That’s just gross sometimes.

I found this Instagrammer the other day who cleans for a living. (I would consider doing that in the future when my kids are all in school.) She has tutorials and the like and I love watching the cleaning videos. I learned a ton. If you are interested look her up. She’s on gocleanco. I tried a couple of the things last night. Wow! Game changer! I felt slightly stupid for not knowing some of the stuff before and rolled my eyes at myself. But now I can teach my kids and they will be that much better off.

The thing that got me interested in her was laundry stripping. I stripped a load of laundry last night. I didn’t do it for the full length of time but it still worked. Stripping laundry means taking perfectly clean clothes and stripping the residue and hard water deposits and everyday oils and junk off them. It works and it is disgusting. Even if you think your clothes are clean you should try it, they probably aren’t.

Anyways, I spent yesterday studying budgeting and cleaning. Literally watching videos and taking notes. Homemaking school if you will. This I did in between taking kids to the dentist, helping with schoolwork and grocery shopping, picking up vehicles from the mechanic, and general everyday life with kids. Anything that will make my life run smoother I am all over.

I love that we have a world’s worth of knowledge in our pocket. There really is no reason to not know something. Have a question? Look it up. Growing up if we had a question the only options were to ask an adult and hope they knew (it was hit and miss) or go to the library (which was again hit and miss and so much work).

By the way, yesterday Sam finished school. He buckled down and did all the work and we turned it in. Yay! Only four more kids to go.

And the van I picked up from the mechanic? The air conditioner works, the blowers in the back work! When we go to see family in a couple weeks the kids won’t be sweating in the back and I won’t be windblown and none of us will get out with sweat dripping down and staining the back of our shirts. That was last summer and it was awful. We thought it would be a several thousand dollar repair so we just dealt with the heat. I couldn’t do it again. It was about $300. Um, kick myself much? Sometimes it is better to know reality that to guess. But we got a feel for what it was like pre-air conditioner and that was a pretty bad place to be.

Today we can hopefully check off a few more subject and a few more kids can be done with school. I hope because I know I am not the only parent on the brink of insanity.


House Repair Musings

Being an adult is an interesting thing. When you are a kid you think it will be amazing to grow up because then you can do anything you want whenever you want- and you can. Being an adult is great that way. But it isn’t the whole truth. Consequences play a big big factor.

You can stay up all night and eat whatever you want. But you pay for it the next day. You have money and can buy what you want. But you have to go to work for it and spend it on bills, too.

Years ago I was grocery shopping and found out what a kid thinks I do. Grocery shopping as an adult involves planning, lists, comparing prices and sizes, name brands versus store brands, watching for sales, etc. Practice. One day one of my children just started grabbing whatever they wanted and throwing the items into the cart. I asked him what he was doing and he said, “That’s how you shop”. Um, no. It looks like it but it’s not. It is what he had observed and concluded.

What got me thinking about being an adult is that my house needs help. I have several electric outlets that don’t work; some lights that flicker sometimes.That’s never a good thing. My floors throughout the whole house don’t match. They are installed wrong in one room and there are worn out patches, holes, and water damage in others. The windows all are thin and drafty and we get ice on the inside in the winter. (Makes one wonder why a person would but such a house- it was a foreclosure- a good deal. Maybe.)

All things considered we have several choices. Do we keep going as is and hope an electrical fire doesn’t break out, patch job it and save up to do the remodel, or take advantage of the low interest rates and refinance and get it all taken care of?

I’m leaning towards the refinance. Get it all taken care of all at once.

There are pros and cons with all the options. There are different scenarios. If I leave it as is then we could possibly save up the money years down the road but then more damage is done (possible electric mess, water damage from leaks, etc.). But if I just get it done, then I can enjoy a nice house for however many years until we move and we can sell it for more because everything isn’t breaking.

Adult decisions can be difficult. This isn’t a super big problem but it is one I’ve been deliberating for years.

So, I guess I’ll make some inquiries. There isn’t a manual for this stuff. Is there? I guess I research it and wing it and learn as I go.


Fed Up and Fed

I just got fed up today.


I stood up and calmly took away all the screens. So much time passively wasted. I knew the fallout would be brutal.

“I’m bored!”

“There’s nothing to do!”

Seriously. Christmas was a week ago. I think I’m changing up Christmas next year. We can do a service for someone and maybe a trip somewhere.

They begged and begged for the screens to be given back. I resisted. They eventually gave up and invented a couple games, drew a ton, and went outside and built an igloo. I have seriously been handicapping my kids by not being strict.

I was getting ready for the day this morning and an idea of how to write my goals down and break them down into managable and doable sections. Now I have to think about all the details of what I want to do but I can actually wrap my brain around it now.

I also sat down and worked my budget. And I plan on sticking to it. I say that like I never intended to stick to any of the previous budgets. Time will tell. But I have been taking inventory of my strengths and weaknesses in different areas and I am seeing patterns and I am going to try and work with them instead of plowing on ahead regardless of how my brain operated and was capable of handling things. I’ll work on it and tweak it. I think most of it is really going to be discipline.

I was really getting tired of menu planning. It is frustrating to have to plan three meals a day every single day and snacks every single day. I wish I was the type that could eat the same thing over and over but I do require a little variation, at least. I did plan the meals for the next two weeks anyways and the shopping list and I actually went shopping by myself and I got everything on the list and nothing else! It was great. When I got home I gave the kids a lecture that all the food was planned for and that they weren’t to eat anything unless they asked me first. It is lame but there are ten of us and if there is no regulation then they will eat the two weeks worth of food in two days.

I have to end here. Evangeline is done for the night and needs me and only me. Of course.