Thursday, April 30, 2015

Baked Goods

I have a confession. I don't really like to cook, never have.  I tend to find the whole process - planning and preparing - stressful and wearisome, although that is slowly changing.  I actually prefer cleaning up after the meal. But if I must prepare something, I would much rather bake.

How many of you knew that you could "age" bananas in the oven (300 degrees for 40 minutes)? Not quite the same, but they will do in a pinch.

 My darling husband LOVES banana bread!

A picture of these, along with a recipe was floating around FB for awhile. I decided to give it a shot with a few minor adjustments, of course.

They were easy enough to make, They were aesthetically pleasing, and tasted delicious! Just my kind of recipe. 

New Shoes

Okay, I'll admit why I am posting these:
. I was impressed I caught a good shot of the flashing lights.
. I thought it was a cool shot of Aidan's "men's" shoes.
And there you have it :)

Bits and Pieces

"Look, Mom, 'OU'. I spelled /ou/!
He was proud. I was so excited!

Luke sketched his dad during the service. 

After playing catch up on all his vaccines, Asher was offered a sticker and a lollipop. 
Can you guess his favorite color?
(I am not even sure that he realized a "princess" was on it or even what a princess is.)

On the Road Again

Remember I mentioned that I spent a LOT of time in the car. Invariably something unusual or interesting would catch my eye

 On the way to Sean's All Star game.

Aidan was invited to a social for a bunch of 7th and 8th graders. It felt like a long drive to the middle of nowhere, but the scenery was spectacular!

Growing Up

Asher has really matured a lot this year. He speaks quite well now, although he still has not made the switch from "me" to "I"... me want, me hungry, me go outside. I think that is to be expected, since he truly spoke very little until he was good and ready (almost 3). 
He is spunky. He loves to tease his brothers. especially Luke (boy, does he know Luke's buttons and how to effectively push them). He loves school, or at least loves getting done with school so he can watch a show. He knows all of his ABC's, both names and sounds. He has started blending a consonant and a vowel - la, le, li, lo, lu. He knows his numbers and can count objects correctly (most of the time). His favorite show is "Wild Kratts".
He recently dropped his ABC cards. As he bent over to collect them, he stated, "You've got to be kidding me!"

"Mommy, me getting bigger."
♥ Yes, honey. Yes, you are ♥

Brothers, Best Friends

They LOVE playing with each other most of the time.
At the very least, they absolutely must be in the same vicinity.

Found some costumes while unpacking.
With everything having been in storage for 2 years, unpacking is a bit like Christmas for them.

Icy swords.
I love Asher's expression as he looks up at Luke.

Unity Candle

 August 10, 1996

Wonderfully preserved and fun to show the boys!

Snow in January

Just how deep is it?

Maybe, 4 inches or so.

Enough to build a masterpiece.

The lake is frozen over.
It was cold this year, too cold to play outdoors most days.

Regardless, there is just something magical about snow!
So beautiful!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Basketball Season 2015

I won't lie to you, life is CRAZY during basketball season; and thanks to the blog being so far behind, you have been spared many b-ball posts!  
The older boys practiced at the school gym for 2 hours (30 min. from home), while Aidan often practiced at another gym further south for 2 hours (45 min. from home). To complicate matters, there was a 2 hour gap between the practices... 5 day a week. Drop off? Stay and alternate between reading and watching (which I enjoyed... but remember we had just moved and sadly things do not unpack themselves)? No matter my decision, I logged many hours of driving.
It was worth it!!!
My boys LOVE basketball, and it is great for them physically, mentally, and even spiritually (thanks to the awesome coaching staff). They were challenged and encouraged as individuals, as teammates, as friends, as sons/brothers, and as God's children!!!

A few highlights:

. Professional photos and awesome end-of-the-season celebrations.

 .  Awards 

.  Achievements

We are so PROUD of our boys! What a privilege to be their parents!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Big Project - Completed

1/29/15 - 4/23/15
Considering the project was halted for more than a month due to 2 completely unrelated viruses (cold/cough for all which went on for several weeks and culminated with antibiotics for 3: Sean (bronchitis), Drew (Sinus infection), and Aidan (strep) , followed about a week later by a 5-7 day stomach bug which resulted in Asher vomiting for 9 days), and a slow, very particular, mostly 
one-man crew, that isn't too shabby.

Walls: Benjamin Moore - Revere Pewter (eggshell)


Doors and built-in bookcase: Benjamin Moore - White Dove (pearl)
Hardware: Rust-Oleum (spray paint and primer in one) - Oil Rubbed Bronze  (metallic satin)

Window trim: Minwax Golden Oak and water-based polyurethane

All moved in!
He is happy and that is all that matters to me.
1/29/15 - 4/23/15

One day... I will tackle the floors and base moulding!

The Big Project - Getting Close

The walls and ceiling are primed and painted.

All of the hardware has been removed for stripping (yes, they painted it gray too), and the door is ready to be patched, primed and painted.

MH Ready Patch was a great product for filling in the cracks and dents in the doors and built-in bookshelf.

Stained and sealed
This is the unfinished oak moulding we bought to match the original molding on the door and the extension jams (trimmed down to size), sill, and apron which I stripped, sanded and refinished. 

The Big Project - During

Gutted and the debris removed (just as we thought, ZERO insulation).
This room really appeared to have been an open porch in the past. 
Perhaps it was even an addition to the original structure, because we could see daylight where the room extends beyond the brick (brrrrrrrrr).
This room really appeared to have been an open porch in the past. 
Under the paneling we discovered old gypsum board (much more dense and solid than modern product). And oh, the nails, so many nails to be removed. And the black crud and dust, don't even get me started. Upon washing my hair each night, the water that flowed toward the drain was literally dark gray. I choose to believe it was from the days when the house was heated with coal. Thankfully, our only true surprise was one live, but sleepy bat which dropped out of the ceiling in the one section I was working to pull down (I stuck to the walls after that).

Notice the incredible sandstone headers and footer hidden inside the walls.
We decided to update the wiring, eliminating the old knob and tube. Fishing it up from the basement to the 2nd floor proved to be a much easier task than I thought it would be (we had some guidance from a friend at church, and believe me, I was praying too). We also had to build out this wall, rather than replacing the door jam, and added quite a few lengths of 2x4s in both the walls and ceiling for receiving the drywall.

Prep work and wiring completed. Insulation and sheet rock in progress.
My dad is amazing! He worked right up until the moment he had to climb in the car for the 12+ hour trek south to his home.
He even re-wired the fan (which I ended up replacing... thank you, Michael), refastened the moulding around the door, taped the sheetrock, and explained how to mud.
Thank you, Dad!!!
(and Mom since she cooked, hung out with the boys, and completed her very own bonus project).

Not sure where I was in the mudding process...
pros might be able to perfect it in 2-3 coats but not this amateur.

This is what I looked like many, many days after sanding for a few hours.

My mom's bonus project (can't believe this is the only picture I took):
Our dining room was this dark reddish-orange color. She and some of the boys worked very hard to cover it. What a dramatic improvement!
♥ Thank you, Mom ♥

The Big Project - Before

It really didn't LOOK that bad (although Drew didn't love the color as the gray appeared more  lavender certain times of the day). Our main concern was that it was COLD in there and come summer, it would be unbearably hot. 
So when my parents graciously informed us that they were coming to help with a project, this is the one we ultimately selected. Trust me, there are many others with this house being close to 100 years old.

The walls were finished with 3/4" Knotty Pine paneling in various widths. At some point, they painted over it... not the best look, because it really highlights the discrepancies in the boards. They also painted the beautiful solid oak window sills, apron, jam and molding. 

Upon closer inspection, we realized the ceiling was 3/8" plywood with molding to cover the seams. 

The job begins.

Where to Start?

I haven't blogged since Christmas. It is a little overwhelming to organize all of my pics and to choose a starting point. I do know that many have been waiting to see "the big project"! I will do this in 3 parts: Before, during and after.
Meanwhile, I'll leave you with a couple of cute quotes from Luke and Asher that I posted recently:

Luke: "Mom, what if I see just 1 star?" I told him about the poem, 
"Star light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight."
I told him that he could make a wish, but it was all just for fun. He was still so excited and ran off... I could faintly hear him, "I am going to wish for a baby sister."

Luke: (heard from the other room) "Boy, you sure are getting heavy for a little boy about to turn 4." (yes, he was holding his not-so-little-brother in his lap for a movie).
"Mom, you know what I feel like doing right now?" (gotta admit, I was a bit apprehensive). After a moment's hesitation I replied, "What?" Luke stated, "I feel like gelling my hair right now!"

Asher: Trying to remove the rubber band from his ABC flashcards, most of the cards fell in the floor. "You have got to be kidding me!"