Friday, December 31, 2010

goodbye 2010

The Pilot took us on a little sunset flight around the city. It felt like a good way to wrap up the end of the year.

  I read a lot of great blog posts from you all - reflections on the year and all, but I don't feel like I have my thoughts together very well.

I know I have much to be thankful for. A better realization of God's grace and his patience with me.

It's been a hard year in many ways, and yet I am closer to understanding what it means to be "more than conquerer through Christ". I used to pray for strength just to survive a rough time, now I'm learning that he wants me to have so much more. 

I'm thankful for my family. You all mean so much to me - I'm so blessed!

I had a lot of fun shopping with my sister and sister-in-laws the other day, we should do it more often!

I have some plans for the new year, more like ways to keep busy till spring. I want to deep clean the whole house, room by room. I also want to spend time working on the decor of my rooms. It would feel good to have my house feel finished. I think we got so burned out renovating our house that we have just never completed some details. 

I'll post pictures to show what I've accomplished, it should be fun!

Wishing you all much happiness in the new year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

fun at anthropologie

I went to find my mother a birthday gift. I found this set of flower measuring spoons for Big Sister. She wants to play tea party with them, they are the perfect size for doll teacups. I know I'm a big push-over when it comes to things like this, but they were on sale...

For my mother a scented candle, Happy Birthday Mom! It's fun sharing our birthdays, sorry I was so much work 35 years ago.

For my sister-in-law, Sara, these were going to be mine, but looked just like her style so they now have a new home.

So, I got a little excited about their sale table, but sure had fun!

at the beach (with snow)

Little brother and Big sister with their lollipops.
They have still hardly made a dent in them.

The gingerbread house.

It was demolished in about 5 minutes!

 It started snowing, this was something new for me, to see the water and the snow covered beach almost meet.

Notice how the pictures become blueish. These were taken a few hours after the snow started. 


We had a lovely time, very relaxing. It's great to be back home though - I love my bed!

Friday, December 24, 2010

at the beach (the cold, cold beach)

We are having a lovely time here, the waves are incredible, so huge and crashing. Which also means it's very windy. 

Just so amazing to see the vastness of God's creation - I'm humbled and overwhelmed - that a God so big and powerful would care for me. Yet he does, I'm more aware of this then ever. 

The  schedule for this morning: While everyone else is checking out the wright Bros. memorial, the kids and I will play at the beach then warm up in the hot tub. 

Enjoying His creation,


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Hello everyone! We are leaving in the morning, going to the coast to spend a few days with family and friends. I hope to have some lovely beachy pictures to share. If I don't get swept into the ocean by a creeper wave like last year!
  What happened was, the Pilot, myself and kids were walking along the beach with a few others when we decided to explore a washed - up shipwreck that was on the beach, about half on the sand, half in the shallow water.
 We were walking around on these big timbers, me with the camera around my neck, looking down of course, when this HUGE wave came out of nowhere and knocked me to my knees. We had some frightened wet crying kids but we all survived!
 I was sure I had ruined the Pilot's expensive camera, and we did have to pay a bit to have it cleaned and repaired but it's still going strong.

 I'm not planning to turn my back to those waves, believe me!

I'm off to finish up packing/house cleaning/baking...

Stay warm, drink lots of hot chocolate and have a lovely holiday!


Monday, December 20, 2010

my cranberry scones

I thought I'd share my scone recipe. This is slightly adapted from  'Simple Scones'.

 I've found these to be fool proof, once I forgot the sugar and we still ate them all.  Also, it uses basic ingredients which is the way we roll around here.

 So, go ahead and try them, especially if you want to impress with your baking ability!

Cass House Cranberry Scones

2 cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. soda

 1/2 tsp. salt

8 Tbls. butter, cold

1/2 cup dried cranberries (or raisins, currants, dried bluberries, etc.)

1/2 cup sour cream

1 egg

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the butter, I found using a cheese grater works great.(Sorry!) Butter must be very cold. Use your fingers to work the butter into the flour. Next stir in the cranberries.

Now, mix your egg and sour cream together and add them to the rest. Use a fork to mix together into a ball against the side of the bowl. ( Think biscuit dough, but don't over mix.) 

Pat out into a circle and sprinkle with sanding sugar. (You can use regular sugar but sanding sugar adds a lot more glam.)

Cut into wedges and place on cookie sheet.

 Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

snow day !!!!

We have a winter wonderland.... 

the munchkins are crazy happy!

Simple cranberry scones and coffee in my favorite mug.

(from Anthropologie - love that place) 

Still snowing here, hope everyone has a great weekend - stay warm!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

porches, roofs and siding

It's been eight years since we started renovating our house and I'm trying to remember in what order everything was done.  I know that after we got the foundation and floors redone, we started working on what is now our laundry/mud room and on our master bedroom/bath. 

The original house was built (we were told ) in the 1890's and was called a two over two. (Basically two rooms below and two upstairs.) The two story wing was added next. This wing became the kitchen/dining area downstairs and the master bedroom/bath upstairs. There was also a one story-lean-to addition that ran along the back of the house that was probably added last. There were three rooms: kitchen, dining room and bedroom. Since this addition was in bad shape and the roof didn't have enough slope, we tore it off and replaced it with a laundry/mud room and back porch.

I hope this all makes sense.. It's hard to try to explain it, rather complicated. We have moved and re-arranged every interior wall in this house. A lot of evenings were spent drawing and redrawing house plans.

Another interesting thing we discovered, when we removed the beadboard, we could see the lathe marks on the studs. This means it was once lathe and plastered, then that was taken down and it was modernized with beadboard. When taking down some beadboard on the back addition, a penny fell out of the wall. The date was 1900. Kind of neat!

Here are some "before"pictures showing the back of the house.

 I don't seem to have any pictures of tearing off the old and building the new but this is more exciting,  I promise!
Below is the laundry room and we also added a very small half-bath. 
I love our back porch, even though it made the total square footage of our house smaller, it was definitely worth it! 

These are the rocks that came from the old house foundation. This was my project - I pretty much did it all by myself. (pat on back!) I think reusing the old rocks adds a bit of character. 

Most of the original wood siding was replaced with Hardie Plank. You can see on the picture above where we blended the Hardie Plank with the wood siding. I love Hardie Plank, would definitely recommend it.

So you can see, by this time we have all new windows (bought at Habitat) and French doors leading into the living room. 

The front of the house still looked like this:

 Look at our nice sturdy fence, didn't we do a great job?  I use "we" loosely, my husband can take the credit.
 Throughout this house reno, I became a highly skilled "helper". My job was to hand him tools, clean up and go for things that were needed. I became quite good at it. 

The old metal roof had to come off. I would have loved to put metal back, but it was more practical to use shingles. Still love the metal, though!

Many thanks to my brother-in-law for heading up the roof project!

Here are some pictures of our front porch project.

Looking out from the living room.

"Finished" front.

Sorry this is so long, thanks for reading! I'll be getting to the fun interior stuff next!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

some recent finds

When my mother-in-law was in town, we took a day and went to several antique/vintage stores.
Here are a few things I found. 

An old Hunter Century fan. It does work but needs a new cord. ( My husband tested it by somehow sticking the wires in an outlet - don't try this!)

This large pitcher in the middle. My sweet mother-in-law bought this for only two dollars. I've arranged it on top of the china cabinet with some others I have. I love old white dishes!


 Become a follower on my sister-in-law's new blog and be eligible for an awesome giveaway!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

more renovation

So we moved in to the front room of the house and used it for our bedroom/ living room. Adjoining that was a bathroom complete with an old stained clawfoot tub and no heat. The bedroom was cold and drafty as well. I spent a lot of time standing over our little heater trying to get warm!
 Beyond the bathroom was the kitchen. Everything was dirty and falling apart.
Most of the walls and ceilings were covered in beadboard and one of our first projects was removing the beadboard. We took out the nails and stacked and bundled it to save for later. I had high hopes of reusing it but sadly we were only able to to use it in a couple of places.

We basically gutted the whole house - even the floors on the first floor had to be removed to work on the foundation. The floors sloped badly in many directions! The foundation was made up of rocks and large wooden beams which were placed directly on the ground. My husband, who by the way, likes to do things the right way, decided that the whole foundation needed to be replaced.  So he cut away the floor in the living room and we had dirt floors! But no worries, this dirt floor area was separated from our living space by a wall and thick plastic.

One of the foundation beams.

This is the living room with the walls gutted. The whole in the middle is were a huge double fireplace/chimney was. There were three chimneys in the house and they were all in such bad shape that we had to remove them. As we were taking this one down, we discovered that it was stuffed full of toys!  About a wheelbarrow full of little stuffed animals and happy meal type toys. The older couple who lived here had an autistic grandson who must have put them in the stove pipe opening in the upstairs bedroom.

These pictures show how we dug out the crawl space, yes, with a shovel and wheelbarrow!

The walls were jacked up off the ground as we prepared to pour footings and lay our new block foundation.

This dirt came from under our house.

Cement truck chute through our front door to pour footings.

 A view of our living room with new floor and almost ready for sheetrock! Old houses are so dirty, I would often be black from all the dust as we tore the old walls down. I remember how I loved all the new wood, it smelled so clean!

With this half of the house put back together, we focused on the front room. We decided this would be our kitchen and dinning area.As with the livingroom, we removed the floor and dug out the crawlspace, only this time we were able to use a backhoe. That was awesome! What took days and weeks to do by hand was done with the tractor in a matter of hours!  During this time we moved out (thank goodness) and rented my mother's basement apartment.

Pouring footings in our kitchen.

New block foundation and floor.

From the time we started work on this house till this point was about 6 months. We did all the work ourselves with some help from family. (thanks you all!) We realized we had gotten in over our heads but we were so far along that there was no way we could turn back. So we slowly kept working at it, one day at a time. I wish I could say I had the perfect, patient attitude but let's be real, shall we!
 I've heard some where that when we ask God for patience he doesn't give it to us, but rather, gives us a situation where we can learn patience.

to be continued....