Monday, February 28, 2011

What starts with "W"?

Weekend.  Work.  Walls.  Wallpaper.  Whimp.  Winter.  Well.  Welding.  Why???  Weeks.  Wonderful.

I am sure there are many more that could apply, but we'll stick with those for now:

What was accomplished this weekend?  Lots of work with the help of a few good friends and my dad despite the below freezing temps and this:

Snow.  Yes, winter is apparently still in full swing 'round these parts.

Well, we finished removing all the wallpaper from all of the walls and cielings.  Though it came off fabulously, with the help of DIF Gel Wallpaper Stripper, I have officially come to terms with the fact that, despite my physical fitness and unusual strength 10 (!!) years ago, I have become a whimp.  My left hand might as well not exist since I can't do a thing with it, so my entire right side from my right ear down to my right hip is paying dearly for my efforts this weekend.

We also made some progress on our well.  Our well is inside our house.  Apparently not common.  The casing  is no longer good and doesn't meet code so it needs to be redone.  But since it is inside the house, we can't just stick a big ol' pipe down there and call it good  --  my dad is welding 8 ft by 8 ft and so far we've got three in.

The floors still aren't completely sanded.  The question: Why???

Also, Ben's previous emplyment has been re-established for one more shift. So!  We have another two weeks starting next Monday.  Isn't that surprising.  Ha!  For all our plans... there is One who plans better...

Isaiah 55:8-13
  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
       declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
   so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
   It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
   and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
   and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
   for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

I am praising the Lord today for what seems to be hard throughout this process.  For all my thoughts and plans that fall through. The "words" He speaks into our lives are not for naught.  If we keep an "unshakable adhearance" to God and His will, His promise is that He will accomplish in us what He desires and we will "go out in joy and be lead in peace".  The mountains will sing and the trees will clap.  Instead of ugliness... beauty. 

My home will be beautiful.

Isn't that wonderful.

...and the WINNER is:

Post #3!  ranglebrandt is the winner of last weeks "Freebie Friday" giveaway.  Congratulations and enjoy your prize ranglebrandt!!  I will have Jeca Creations contact you by email. 

Thanks to everyone else for participating!  Be sure to be on the look out for all future "Freebie Friday's" and make sure you enter to win!  Someone has to win right?

*For those wondering how the winner was picked (and will be picked in the future), I used this site click here to pick a number randomly.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Three Ways to Win! - Freebie Friday

Good day!  Any time you have the chance to win something as cool as today's freebie, how can it be anything but?

My friend, Jessica, at Jeca Creations, has offered up a handmade tea/coffee cozy (perfect for almost any mug) to keep your fingers cool and your drink hot.  This is one of those things that just makes you feel special.  Like using the fine china for an ordinary dinner or drinking water from stemware.  Isn't it fabulous??  Some people really have talent!  But the saying goes: You've got to enter to win... 

Jessica is a wife to a wonderful husband and a mother of 2 wonderful girls. She is also mom to a blind Kai Ken puppy named Tiger Lilly, a Dachshund named Thor, a cat named Fallon and two gerbils Rocky and Bullwinkle.  She is proud to say that both of their dogs and cat were rescue animals.

Jessica says:
"After having my first daughter three years ago I felt my 'craftiness' triple. I love to make things that I think are practical and fun. This all started by making items I thought my oldest daughter would like or needed. I learned how to sew when I was in junior high and I learned to knit over Christmas 2009. For my first knitting project, I chose to make a blanket for my second daughter who was born March 2010. I was pretty excited that I had taught myself to knit and wanted to explore more stitches and different yarns. Because of this I chose to open up an Etsy shop. I hope you enjoy my items and I am always taking special orders."

Jessica also has a vintage shop called Jeca Vintage.

You can follow Jessica by checking out her blog

I am so excited about today's giveaway. I actually really want this myself!  Alas, I have no choice but to visit her shop and get one of my own, but you do... so enter to win!

There are three ways you can enter (and you can enter all three ways!):

#1 - Visit Jeca Creations and/or Jeca Vintage (click on the store names) and have a look around her shop(s).  Then return to this post and comment (below) on what your favorite find was. 

#2 - Repost this page to your Facebook and come back and leave a seprate (from #1) comment that you posted to Facebook. 

#3 - Become a follower.  Click the "Follow" button on the upper right side of this blog, then leave a separate (from #1 and #2) comment saying that you've done so.  *If you are already a follower, just leave a comment saying so.

*Be sure to leave your email address on each of your comments.  Make sure you write the address like this: name (at) domain (dot) com to avoid spam bots!!  I wouldn't know who to sell your email address to even if I wanted to and I will never email you for any other reason than to inform you of your winning, should you win.

Contest will run until Monday morning at 7:59 am.  Winner will be announced Monday here on my blog so be sure to check in!  Happy hunting!

This is the Day the Lord has made, [I] will rejoice and be glad in it!  Psalm 118:24

If only I knew how to whistle...

then I would have been able to whistle while I worked today.

The day was full of stain stripping and wallpaper stripping. 

I think I would have much more enjoyed the whistling.

Thankful.  I am so thankful this wallpaper has come off quite well with no fancy wallpaper removal system in use.  Just grab a corner and pull!  We will break out the special solution for what didn't cooperate in a few days... after my right arm - from my wrist to my shoulder - return to proper working order.

(By the way, there are all sorts of hidden perks in doing this renovation:  I've been meaning to bulk up my right arm, just the right one, for some time now. Ha!)

And I suppose the stain stripper worked well if you consider two or three coats of stripper (30 minute set time each), then a good sanding with a belt sander "working well".  Though, again, thankful we are done burning through the $7+ sheets of sandpaper.  (See that? Always a silver lining.)

I am just sure that we are missing something!  People do this for a living - refinishing old hardwood floors - so I am still waiting for someone to fill us in on the trick.  And preferrably sooner than later... you may recall we are on a bit of a deadline.

It's good to roll with the punches.  So the wallpaper is only half removed and the trouble with the floors is still trouble.  There is no use wishing or whining.  Just doing.  We'll do  it again tomorrow!  And at least the wallpaper is half removed and the floor is slightly less trouble than it was this morning.

I still wish I could whistle.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Who wants to have some fun? A first for Wild Wednesday's...

It is late.

Ben is hard at work -- trying out stain stripper on that three inch border around the floor I was telling you about.

My house is in a massive state of disarray... but it's all getting moved anyway.  So here I sit...

My three older "little chicks" are tucked in and fast asleep in mom and dad's bed.  The little is, unbeknownst to her, though curled up and far away in dreamland, all alone.

Now, in the quiet of this evening, I am finding the Lord is doing some work on this hard woman.

I need to slow down, I need to laugh more, I need to be patient, I need to play.  When did I stop enjoying what I have right now and lose my focus completely to the future?

Can we enjoy right now again?  Can I be thankful for the grubby unwashed hands that just plunged into my bread dough because those hands couldn't resist the opportunity to help?  Can I laugh instead of the frightening opposite of laughter?  The answer is yes.  Though I do prefer thoroughly washed hands before food handling... life with children happens... frequently.  Oh how I do adore those short, but skillfully created people God entrusted to me!! 

In the midst of our hasty days for the forseeable future, I would like to dedicate Wednesday's to a family fun challenge.  Not all of us are renovating on an impossible time frame, but we all are too busy.  So here's to actually acting on what our heart's are crying out for: More time for what actually matters.  More time for the Lord, His Word.  More time for our spouses, our children.  More time to breathe with out the invisible push from behind...

Let's have some real fun -- together.


Backwards Day -
This is an easy one when time really is crunched.  A simple way to connect with and amuse your kids (and yourselves!).  This can be as simple as just switch breakfast with dinner - or - as complex as walking backward everywhere you go, wearing your clothes backwards, or anything else wild and wacky you can come up with!  The wierder the better! A real hit... this one is!

So off you go... make it happen between now and next Wednesday. 

*Please comment below when you have hosted your very own "Backwards Day" and let us know how it went/what your children thought/what the funnest part was.  I can't wait to hear from you!

Big day tomorrow... Good night!

Alicia Grace

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The End...

No new reports on physical progress... Yet there is still news!   

There once was a family that lived in a desperate-to-them situation for 11 1/2 months.  The man's job kept him away for eight days at a time even though he was 45 seconds down the drive.  This homeschooling, home-body type family of six, while thankful for the roof over their heads, lived in a small two bedroom apartment.  The dad would get four days off, which initially sounded wonderful, but come to find out, they in no way made up for the eight days of his almost complete absence.  Talking with the boss did no good and they were nearing the height of their emotions and the end of their ropes.  Today is the last day at work for that man.  And they lived happily, so happily, ever after...

~The End~

I'm sure you are on top of things enough to know that, without explanation, this is the story of us.  Now Ben and I will be free for 14 days (that's how long we have to be out of our housing) to work endlessly, tirelessly, and quickly!  (Please pray for us if you think of it.)

With the excitement of this long awaited day, the finality of the decision brings with it a slight sense of panic.

Will we have a home of our own in two weeks?  Will we be financially stable?  Will it be quite what we thought it would be when we bought it?  How are we going to fit in that house?  And again: Will we have a home of our own in two weeks????

I shall not doubt.  The Lord gave us the desire of our hearts... it's just that the form in which it was bestowed was to require much work.  So, even with all the good intentions, we just weren't making it happen!  We came to realize that if we were ever to make it our home, if we were ever going to accept the incredible gift (though wrapped in burlap), it was time for us to close this chapter of our lives and step out in the faith that if the Lord provides the first half of the picture, He'll also provide the second half.  So here we are: T- two weeks and counting and relying heavily upon God's goodness.  Lots of unknown, but reality is a good place to dwell: all we can do is all we can do.

I read something inspiring and hopefully (prayerfully!) life changing just this morning.  As a result of that, rather than becoming a huge ball of whacked-out stress and/or turning into a frantic, out of control, losing it far more than usual wife/mother/friend, I am choosing to be thankful for every set back, every frustrating moment, every glimpse of our "To Do" list, and every day that comes to a close that I wish we could have gotten more done.  I am choosing to be joyful (mind over matter, mind over matter...). I am thankful because God gave us this farm... and even if I don't know exactly what we are doing, He knows exactly what He is doing.

And that's all that matters. 

Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters,  He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

It's not the end... it's just the beginning.  Thank you Jesus.


Before I go, I need to clarify one thing before this blog continues, we call our property "the farm" and that little title has given rise to many comments!  Given that we have lived on a ranch for the last almost-year, we have had to differentiate between which home we are talking about. "Our house" the ranch -or- "our house" the 4 acre run down place that is more than just a house in town.  So "the farm" is the moniker it's been given whether it is completely accurate by definition or not. Yes, we realize we don't even own farm equipment and obviously, with only 4.1something acres, we have no plan for big business... but what do you call a country home with a small acerage where there are some cows, chickens, a garden, and maybe even a goat or two? I'm thinking you call it a farm; however, if anyone has another name for it, I am open to suggestions!

Really, feel free to name our house... if there is one we really like, there could be something in it for you. (yee-haw!)  Let's hear what you come up with and we'll see if something sticks.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Too Much Color

I prefer a dinner menu that offers two things: chicken or beef OR cream sauce or red sauce.  I prefer to stick to my 1990's music on my scratched up old cd's rather than browse the endless isles of new music at the store... or even more horrifying would be to visit where the options truly are endless!  Well, yesterday, due to a sale on Behr ending, I had to make the dreaded trip to pick out the paint.  Have you been in the paint isle lately?  I was surrounded by millions of colors -- or so it seemed.  If it weren't for the able mind of my sister-in-law to make decisions of that sort, I would have probably ended up with tears in my eyes and left with no certainty in the paint I had chosen.  I am eternally thankful to her for accompanying me in that task!

*The online links to paint swatches (below) look nothing like the actual paint color.

I had browsed the paint section a few times and had a handful of colors I thought went well together.  When it came down to actually putting in the order at the paint counter, however, all sorts of second guessing sprang up out of nowhere! I had originally picked Juniper Ash UL220-21... but now, what about Pinedale Shores 700F-4? And, I'm not sure how obvious it is, but this house is tiny... we don't even know the sq footage, but are assuming it is less than 900 sq feet.  So, another question rolling around is: 3rd bedroom or dining room?  Put all four children in the large room and have a dining room, or give the boys and the girls each rooms of their own sans dining room?  Our dining set is rather large for it to sit right in the middle of the kitchen ,but we are dinner around the table kind of people so getting rid of the table altogether is not an option.  With those uncertainties, the paint question was Gingko Tree UL190-21 for below a chair rail in "the dining room" or Pyramid Gold UL150-13 for "the girl's room".

Another paint debacle: I re-finished a dresser for my eight-year-old son this last summer and, as cool as it is, I am finding it is hard to find a wall color that will go well with the dresser as well as the rest of the house.  So, back in the paint isle, I was getting pretty irritable and annoyed when we got to the point of trying to figure out the boys' room.  That's when my sister-in-law said something brilliant!  "Just forget it for now." she said, "You don't need another gallon for the buy three, get one free sale, so come back after the other rooms are painted and you'll have a fresh perspective."  She is like a wise old owl.  We had already been there for around three hours at that point so it was time.  I would never have come up with that thought on my own unless someone finally came on over the loud speaker and announced the store was closing in 10 minutes!  I should also mention we had all our children with us (minus my helpful eight year old son)... so we had six children under six years old at The Home Depot for over three hours for the sake of eight and one-half gallons of paint.  Nope... not crazy, just mom's with more than a few kids on a mission at the paint store.

Turns out, after all that time, I ended up with the same colors I had originally gone there intending to buy, save one.  Yeah, I went for the Pyramid Gold instead of the Gingko Tree. I think we are going with the three bedrooms for now.  We will figure out the boys' bedroom later, and I am fine with that... just fine. So, with the support of my die-hard shopper sister-in-law, the awesome sale, and amazing behavior from all the kiddos, the paint trip was finished.  Now for one last stop...  Cold Stone Creamery!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The 10 Grand Budget

Beginning Budget:          $10,220
$2,500 - Septic Tank, pipe, and install (Local Company)
$1,030 - Electrical supplies, well suplies, misc. supplies
               (The Home Depot)
   $143 - Ceiling Wallpaper (Paper My Walls -
$1,346 - Clawfoot tub w/ all accessories (
   $700 - More electrical, lighting, floor prep/varnish
               (The Home Depot)
   $950 - Countertop, shelves, water heater, toilet, paint
               supplies, floor stain/varnish, more lighting, etc...
               (The Home Depot)

Current Remaining:           $3,551

Still To Do/Buy (and there is probably plenty that is yet to be realized):

Install Front Door, Interior Doors, Kitchen Range, Dishwasher,  Stain and Varnish all flooring, Replacement Trim Pieces, Furnace, Furnace Accessories, Install Furnace, Replace Floor Around Toilet, Tile Bathroom Floor, Remove Wallpaper From Three Bedrooms and Three Ceilings, Patch Cracked Walls, Buy Paint, Paint Walls and Trim, Paint Existing Kitchen Cabinetry, Reinstall Cabinetry,  Install Countertop, Water Filtration System, Remove Exterior Door In Kitchen, Patch The Hole Where There Used To Be A Door In The Kitchen, Fix Hole In Roof Where Chimney Was Removed, Hardware For Everything, Pay Electrician For Complete Home Rewire, Paint House Exterior...

That would get it to a good livable state... We will probably end up settling for a decent state by the time we have to move in. But the list continues!

New Windows, Level/ Fence/ Seed Property, Clear Property of All Dead Trees, etc..., Prune Trees in Orchard, Fix Screened in Porch (New Screen, Repair Ceiling, Redo Floor, Get A Screen Door), Landscaping

That would make it great. Ah... One more thing:


That would make it amazing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sandpaper Pit

We heard it all when word got out what we were doing. "Wow... Well! Good luck!", "Why don't you just tear it down and build from scratch?" "Why don't you tear it down and put a trailer out there?", "You know... you think you'll be able to do it for $ ... It's going to be more like 5x's $...", and "Not only is it going to cost 5x's more than you plan for, but it will also take 5x's longer."

We were not dissuaded.  But eyeyey... this morning, like other times, I think it might have been the wise thing to do... to have been dissuaded.

Here we are, with less than a month to get it live-in-able, and the mom, dad, and every child in our family is sick and has been sick for the entire last month, plus some.  Sicker for longer than any of us have been... ever!  The last few days have been looking up though, and I thought the veil of illness was lifting.  Silly me.  My 6 year old daughter woke me up early this morning to tell me her "ear hurts".  Needless-to-say, my sick, yet selfless Ben has been doing all the work the last few weeks on his own. (Much thanks to those two great guys who came to his aid!)  He's gotten all the hardwood floors sanded, the bathroom gutted, the septic line completed, the pipes to re-case the well cut, a wall demolished, and an exposed beam and supports installed, not to mention all the non-mentionable tasks he's finished, as well. 

Wait.  Did I say the he got all the hardwood floors sanded?  No, actually, that is not quite the truth.  Yes, we did return the belt sander to the machine rental shop since we no longer had a use for it; however, that doesn't exactly mean the sanding is finished.  There happens to be a three or so inch stripe around the edges of each and every room that is quickly becoming a thorn in our flesh.  Or should I say, Ben's flesh (since, remember, I'm not helping at this point).  He has taken to a hand held belt sander, but after two full days and three hours after work last night (he doesn't get off work until 9:15pm), he has only half of one of the three bedrooms and half of the living room done.  The appearance of no varnish whatsoever is deceiving.  Apparently, there is some super heavy duty something that is coating the floors that, when sanded, rather than bursting into dust, melts to the sandpaper.  It's only time and money, right?  Burn, baby, burn!

Was not being dissuaded the right thing?  I shouldn't be so rediculous... I am sure it was.  But after a month of taking care of four sick children, a sick me, and a sick hubs, and running into unbelievably stupid set backs such as not being able to take care of a few inches of flooring and not being able to just weld two feet of extra casing to the top of the well, my doubts and frustrations are mounting.  So, unless any of you can give us ideas to handle this sandpaper trap, we may face the solution of mismatched flooring.  Lets hope not...

Good morning all!
Alicia Grace

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The... house?

The not-so-livable house we will be living in about three weeks or so from now.  Some work has been done since these pictures were taken mid-January.

...Lord willing it is even somewhat livable by then!  Come on.  Have a little faith. We'll get there!

On the lighter side!  My hero and husband, Ben, and our two girls... hot doggin' it for dinner while working on the house.  Did I mention Idaho is none too warm in January?

It's already begun - The Farmhouse Renovation

I'm thinking... We are doing something a little larger than life here, so I might want to document it.  But reality is that this renovation won't take forever, so this blog has to be about more than a renovation.  I guess this could be yet another "look how I decorated my home" blog, but it's probably not going to be all that fancy that anybody would want to see it.  So...

I've wanted to live in the country since before I was even out of my parents house.  (For a little background info, I grew up in a town of 901 people.  You might think, "Shoot. That IS the country!" But, I assure you, even towns that small still have "country" for those that wish to be even further removed!) And since becoming a mother, that hope for a country home to raise my children on has grown stronger.  After nine years of marriage and four sweet babies, the Lord granted my request and blessed us with the property of our dreams.  Sure, it's a tad bit rough... nothing some good ol' fashioned work ethic can't handle.

Why "100 Years Ago"? Because the fuel behind my farmhouse fire is that something isn't right.  Our homes, our marriages, our families, our nutrition, our schools, our work ethic, our discipline, our respect for others, and more is at a crisis point.  I was in a wholistic nutrition program last year and one phrase a teacher spoke to us changed the way I wanted to live in one instant.

"If it has not been around for at least 100 years... don't use it, eat it, or do it". 

  So in the long run, that's what this blog will be all about.
  • Having a small family farm (the home wasn't built quite that long ago, but it will do nicely)
  • Growing and raising a lot of our own food (meat included) to eat like they did in the "olden days" -- out with the canola, in with the lard, mostly made from scratch foods, etc... 
  • Trying to teach our children the ways of old... the value of hard work, discipline, and respect, and to develop in them a love for the Lord Jesus, each other, and God's creation that is unshakable.

You'll be hearing from me...

Alicia Grace