Thursday, December 26, 2013

Attic Update

Originally I had hoped to have the attic done (or nearly done) by Christmas - HA!  We seem to always underestimate the amount of time it will actually take to complete things.  I need to remember that we all have full-time jobs, & I have a part-time job.  When you only have a couple of hours a few nights a week, things tend to not happen very quickly!

Throw the holidays into the a 4 year old that is very well-behaved (most of the time), but needs to be right in the middle of everything...

We did get the chimney leak under control until we can get up on the roof & check out the flashing.  We tore off all of the drywall around the chimney, dried it out & foamed & caulked around the chimney, then replaced all of the insulation & drywall.  Hopefully we won't have to worry about that anymore...

Now we're back to mudding & sanding the bedroom & closets.  I thought taping & mudding was an unfun job, with all of these angles & corners, I'm realizing that it's right up there with stripping paint...almost intolerable.  :)

We should finish up mudding the bedroom & closets this week.  They "should" be ready to prime and paint next week.  Then we'll move all of the tools & furniture into the bedroom & focus on the landing. 

My old softball coach used to tell us, "Inch by inch it's a cinch...yard by yard it's hard".  He'd be happy that we're moving inch by inch.  Me, on the other hand, I wish we could take it by the yard!  I'm so impatient!

We're off to Omaha this weekend to celebrate Christmas with Eli's family.  I'm crossing my fingers that my awesome father will feel like doing some sanding while we're away.  Wouldn't it be nice to come home to a ready-to-paint room?!?  Dad???  :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Attic Update: LEAK...

Dad & I have been steadily chipping away at taping & mudding the attic for the past week.  We were cruising right along last night when we came to this innocent looking wall.

Then, dad noticed that the floor was wet in that bottom left corner of the picture. 

After searching both sides of the wall for the source, we figure that it's coming in somewhere next to the chimney, then running down the sloped wall & out to the floor in that corner.  We've had some crazy cold weather & the temps were a little bit higher yesterday than they have been, so we're thinking somehow some condensation is getting in there.  It doesn't leak when it rains, so we're pretty sure it isn't a leak in the roof.  Anyway, we're going to have to tear out a couple of pieces of sheetrock & all of the insulation in that area to get to the bottom of it.  Lame.

But, because I'm all about finding silver linings...the good news it that it's the only spot in the attic that's having issues...we can keep taping & mudding the rest of the space!

Speaking of that space (& to end this post on a happy note) here are a couple more progress pictures.

I'm hoping to have it ready to prime & paint around Christmas.  Cross your fingers we can get this moisture issue figured out soon.  If any of you have ideas or suggestions, please let me know!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Free Printable! {Christmas Story Advent Calendar}

I can't believe that December is just a few days away!

A few weeks ago, I started thinking about what we were going to do for an Advent calendar this year.  (In addition to our Lego Advent calendar of course!)  I knew I wanted it to have something to do with the Christmas story, & found this one from OneDogWoof that I thought would be fun to put my own little "modern" spin on.  I didn't really intend to share it, but after several requests from family & friends, I thought, why not?!

I hung ours with washi tape, baker's twine, & mini clothes pins in our kitchen window.  It's the perfect way to remind us throughout holidays what the true meaning of the Christmas season is.

They're set up to print as 3x5 cards with 4 per page.  I used a round corner punch for a little added flair.  My friend Angie plans to put hers on a key ring for her kids to flip through & also printed a few extra sets for gifts!

Just click here to download & print!

Download here!

Have a safe & happy Thanksgiving!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Attic Update 12: Sheetrock {continued...}

Just a quick update on the attic - we're slowly making progress!  As of last night, we have the ceiling done (aside from one piece by the window), & have both closets & the doorway rocked.  All that's left are the two end walls (the ones with the windows on them) & the knee walls (the short ones along the sides).  The closets were full of angled cuts & the on the ceiling we had to deal with rafters that weren't spaced all.  It was slow moving when you had to measure multiple angles, go up & down stairs to the garage to make cuts, haul the sheets through the house & up the stairs, then make any adjustments once up there.  The end & knee walls will be simple in comparison - one cut on each sheet - woohoo!

Now for a couple of Before/After Last Week/This Week pictures...

The same view from the top of the stairs looking into the bedroom:

Then from the bedroom looking toward the landing:

We've still got a long way to go, but what a difference a few days can make, am I right?!

Attic Checklist:
insulation: between rafters, loose in walls, foamboard on ceiling
frame up walls & closets
level out ceiling & jack up sagging roof
new electrical throughout attic

new window
planks in bunk & on upper portion of end walls
move vent from closet to bedroom
drywall (hang, tape, mud, sand)
build, paint, hang French doors
prime, paint (one more coat), stain, varnish steps
remove door to attic & open up
prime & paint walls & ceiling
spray, make, & hang lights
finish floors (stain, paint, just varnish?)
paint & install stair railings
paint & install baseboard trim
paint & install board & batten trim
closet systems
storage doors for under eave access

This weekend I'm off to the windy city (not Chicago...they have nothing on Marshall, MN) to help my BFF Angie decorate her house for a Christmas tour.  I'm hoping the boys hang some Sheetrock while I'm away.  Wouldn't it be nice to come home & have it all done?!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Attic Update 11: Sheetrock!

Well...we didn't quite finish up the ceiling sheetrock this weekend...but we got close!

With the ceilings going up, I've been getting more & more anxious to get to the fun stuff...the finishing!  I couldn't resist snapping a quick photo of what the attic looks like now, & Photoshopping it a little bit...just to get a glimpse of what it'll potentially look like in a couple of months.  :)

So, since a pretty picture is a lot more fun to look at than stud walls & sheetrock...


Oh, & just in case you're's a quick graphic showing where we're at on the ceiling...

Yeah, my arms are still burning from holding all of those sheets above my head while dad screwed them in.  4 days later.

Here's hoping we can get the ceilings finished & a few walls done this week & weekend!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Guess what's happening this weekend...

Drywall is getting hung!  We're a few weeks behind due to some unforeseen family things coming up.  Hopefully we can get this train back on track again!

If you look at the ceiling above the drywall, you can see that we taped the seams in the foam board insulation with some black Gorilla tape.  (We also had to use a spray adhesive to get the tape to stisck to the insulation.  It was super fun.)  This will help create a vapor barrier & will also keep any air from getting through.  We also ran into a couple of wires on an end wall that were spliced together behind some insulation.  They were a fire hazard, so we had to put a new box in that spot to contain & mark them.  Unfortunately it's in the middle of a wall, but the good news is that it'll be covered by curtains.  Whew!

We actually {finally} got a few sheets hung last weekend, but we're hoping to finish up the ceiling this weekend.  It already looks different with just a few sheets up.  I can't wait to see what it looks like with the whole thing covered.  :)  The intersection where the sloped ceiling meets the flat ceiling is going to be interesting to try to get straight.  Hopefully by Monday I'll have an update on how it went.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween...Lone Ranger Style!

If you remember from my post a few weeks ago, Grady decided to be the Lone Ranger for Halloween.  (The recent Disney movie version.)  It was a blast putting together this costume & he LOVED it.  After picking him up early from daycare & taking a few photos at a maritime museum downtown, we headed out to do a little trick-or-treating in our neighborhood.  It was chilly & drizzly, but that didn't slow this little guy down at all!

We've taken a picture by the same lamp post every year we've gone trick-or-treating!  I feel like next year he might be as tall as me!

We didn't stray too far from the mood board I created.  (You can click back to this post for details.)

1. Instead of ordering the "official" hat from the Disney Store, I stumbled across a white cowboy hat at a local thrift store for a buck.  Score!

2. For the mask, I bought a sheet of felt at Ben Franklin for something like 45 cents, cut out the mask shape, & sewed an elastic strap on the back.  We had a red bandanna at home to use, & for the Texas Rangers badge, we actually had a random vending machine necklace that was the same shape, so we sprayed it silver & wrote "Texas Rangers" on it in black Sharpie.

3. We did purchase the gun/holster set off Amazon.  It was the "splurge" of the costume for a whopping $17 (free shipping with Amazon Prime).  The gun was heavy duty & looked just like the picture...Grady was convinced it was real.  The holster/belt combo, not so much.  It was fine for the price though. 

4. We found a suede vest & white shirt at Goodwill.  He had a pair of black pants already.  I couldn't find a black suit coat in Grady's size anywhere, so I ended up buying a women's coat, took it apart, cut it down, & put it back together again...this time smaller.  It was an experiment & I wasn't sure it would actually work, but it did!  I almost made it too small, actually.  I rubbed brown chalk on it to give it a trail-worn look as opposed to 90's librarian.  :)  We borrowed the boots from a friend...they were a tad on the big side, but we were able to fit wool socks inside them on a chilly night!

Hope you all had as great a time as we did!

Grady already has his costumes planned out for the next couple of years...a fox next year & Batman the year after that.  :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

Haunted Halloween Doll House

A week or two ago I saw this Haunted Dolls House on the Mr. Printables website & knew that Grady would love it.  I also knew that I wanted to make one & had a ton of ideas on how to tweak & personalize it!

Mr. Printables has a printable (obviously) template to help you cut out the walls & floors, as well as some paper pieces to use in decorating your house.  (I didn't use the paper pieces on mine.)  They also give you some tips on creating spooky peg dolls.  I found inspiration for the rest of the peg dolls by searching on Pinterest, Google, & Etsy.

Meet this motley crew of spooks & ghouls!  Grady & I both love the kitty best.

I even painted a Grady peg doll dressed up in his Lone Ranger Halloween costume & surprised him with it this morning!  He just giggled when he saw it & asked where I got the pumpkin halloween bucket.  (I have a jar of pumpkin potpourri that I painted & glued a felt handle on.)  He's all ready to go trick-or-treating at the haunted house - if he dares!  Good thing he's got his 6-shooter along!

Some creepy monsters waiting by the rope ladder.

I love the ghost peeking through the window!

The pieces of the house slide easily together so you can take it apart making it simple to store!

A few close-up shots of our motley crew!

Some of the things I tweaked:
  • I painted the house with chalkboard paint.  (I thought it would be fun to draw different things on the walls & floors & be able to erase them!)
  • We made a whole fireplace instead of just a chimney.
  • Added a fence around the porch.
  • Added a crooked ladder to get upstairs.
  • Added a rope from the 1st to 2nd story (Grady's brilliant idea!).
If any of you have created a Halloween haunted doll house or peg dolls, please share them!  I think I've found a new addiction.  I'm just imagining how fun a "Night before Christmas" house would be...or maybe Santa's workshop???

Friday, October 18, 2013

Bed Time

I know that people say that developing a set routine at bedtime is key.  While that makes perfect sense, sometimes it's just plain fun to goof around a little bit before bed!  The sound of little giggles is the perfect way to end the day if you ask me.

Last night, right before I turned out the lights & Grady & I were talking about random things: turning into toads, transformers, etc. I grabbed my camera. 

I'm so glad I did.  Now I'll always have pictures to remind me of OUR bedtime routine: tickles, secrets, his random questions, our "10 kisses" game, & a lot of silliness.  :)


How can you say that your day ended badly when you get a hug & kiss (more than one if you're lucky) from a kid like this?

Monday, October 14, 2013

The "Pumpkin Patch" errrr, gas station parking lot....

Yesterday, while Eli was catching up on sleep after our weekend with his parents, Grady & I decided to go searching for a pumpkin patch we found online.  A half hour later, we found the location of the supposed pumpkin patch, but there wasn't a single pumpkin, or person, in sight.  Fail.

The next best thing?  The self-serve truck/trailer at the gas station.  Good thing Grady is only four & still easily impressed!  He thought it was fantastic!  They actually had a pretty nice display of pumpkins, squash, Indian corn, etc.

He found a keeper!  Our rule is that you can get any pumpkin you want...but you have to be able to carry it yourself.  This year, for the first time, he didn't go for the largest one.

He's so funny.  He took 5 minutes to decide between red/orange Indian corn or red/purple & had to take 10 or so laps around the truck to find the perfect pumpkin for dad.  I wish I could go back to "What color corn should I choose?" being the hardest decision I had to make for the day.  Oh, to be a kid again...

He was such a helper getting everything carried back to the car & wanted to do it all by himself of course!  He's in a stage lately where he's acting like a little man.  Yesterday he walked ahead of me at church & held the door open for me & a friend to walk in.  Also, last night after he laid down for bed I heard him call out to me, "Mom, you know I'll always protect you, right?".  This is the same kid who crawls into bed with me in the morning & gives me a kiss when he thinks I'm still sleeping.  Such a sweetheart.  I can't believe he's mine.  :)  I always tell him that I wish I had a son like him.  He always says with a giggle, "Mom, I AM your son!".

I can't believe that Halloween is right around the corner! 

In attic news, we weren't able to start drywall this weekend (boo).  It rained off and on all day on Saturday, so the sheets would have gotten soaked in transport.  Wet Sheetrock = not good.  Plus, Eli's parents (my in-laws) were in town visiting, so we were pretty busy!  Dad & I did hook up the trailer last night & brought home enough Sheetrock for the ceilings though.  Hopefully we'll be able to get started on that tonight!  If not, I'm sure we'll be able to begin sometime this week.  I can't wait to start walling everything in & getting a glimpse of what the attic will look like when it's complete!
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