Archive | May, 2012

Guest Room Makeover

29 May

Here is the transformation of our guest room.  This room used to be baby blue and tan:

Now the green and white has given this room a clean and fresh feel:

The curtains are made of a shower curtain from Target for $15.oo!  That much fabric from a fabric store could cost around $40-$50 and most of the seams aren’t already finished for you.

The kids love snuggling in the room and take turns putting each other to bed.  It is like their own play house room, unless of course we have a guest-

The picture on the right is from Africa and the dresser is originally from Sweden.  Now all we need to do is get is a pretty comforter or blanket to pull the whole room together.  Time to be on the lookout.

Special Rhubarb Bars

27 May

We have four HUGE rhubarb plants and have dug up some delicious recipes.

Aleah and Jared’s mom cut up all the rhubarb. And then they made some rhubarb sauce to drizzle over vanilla ice cream.   Holy deliciousness.

All you do is cook in a saucepan over medium heat 5 cups rhubarb, 3/4 cup sugar, 2/3 cup water and at least half a cup of strawberries if you have them.  I had some frozen strawberries leftover from last summer’s harvest.  Cook until it forms into a delicious thick mess.

Yet another recipe:

Special Rhubarb Dream Bars

Crust:  2 cups flour, 2/3 cup powdered sugar, 1 cup butter

Filling:  1-1/2 cup white sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup flour, 4 beaten eggs, 6 cups chopped rhubarb

Directions: Preheat oven to 350

Mix together crust ingredients in a food processor or medium bowl.  Pulse, or work with a pastry cutter, until butter is in small crumbs and dough holds together.  Press into the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish.

Bake crust for 10 minutes in the preheated oven.

While crust bakes, whisk together the white sugar, salt, flour and eggs.  Stir in the rhubarb to coat evenly.  Spread over the bake crust when it is done.

Bake for another 45 mintues, or until the filling is set and rhubarb is tender.

Cool and cut into squares and enjoy.

Shout Down My Rain Barrel…

25 May

The last few days the sky has gushed and our soil has taken deep, deep, swigs of precious rainfall.  Our area had been in drought for nearly nine months and wildfires were becoming a scary reality in the northland, but finally the clouds burst and our collective thirst was quenched.

It was fun to watch the land turn green and lush before our eyes while the rivers swelled and tickled the toes of the trees that bask along their banks.  And it was also fun to listen the rain tap the rooftops and race down the gutters into my…rain barrels!

As Caitlyn has shared, the past weeks have been full of glorious projects, and on top of building and planting a garden, we’ve spent time constructing a rain barrel system so that we can nourish our garden with the rain that rolls from the rooftop.

One of the few downsides to our new home is the cost of being on the city water system, which contributes to quite an expensive utility bill (if you haven’t noticed, Cait and I are admittedly thrifty). Plus, it seems silly to run up a bill watering a garden when there’s a river that flows through the backyard and much of the rain that falls around the house simply runs off the hillside and into the river.  So, in an effort to harness the natural watering power of God’s green earth, I hooked up a few barrels to our downspouts…and oh how we’ve been blessed.

I don’t think we realized how much water is actually diverted from rooftops into gutters and drains.  The night I finished my rain barrels it rained a moderate amount (less than an inch), but both barrels were full and overflowing after only a few hours of rainfall.  We had caught an excess of 110 gallons in our first rain showers – how astounding!

This past weekend it rained about 3 inches in our area and we had to drain water out of our barrels so the ground wouldn’t simply turn to mush beneath the barrels as the rain overflowed the sides.

Then I upgraded.

300 gallons, and the two smaller 55 gallon barrels filling from the back of the house.  We love it, and we hope that amidst those dry spells in July and August, we will have ample aqua to keep our garden gushing.

House Paint and Messy Kids

23 May

The last two nights, Jared and I have put the kids to bed around 7:30 and then got down to painting.  We have gone to bed around midnight but have transformed our basement.  Jared’s mom is coming to visit tomorrow and we want it to be nice for her =)  Actually I am glad we had a reason to get the basement done, it could have remained unfinished for far too long.  Thanks Mary for helping us get our act together.

We had been avoiding the basement  since we moved in and  were trying not to spend too much time down there,but  now we LOVE i!.  No pictures yet, but it will be worth it.  I promise, oh man it just looks so darn good.

There are so many projects going on around this house, it is not even funny.

In other news:

The weather has been quite pleasant this past week and we even got some rain to help the garden grow.  Here are some pics of the kids eating popsicles and being quite messy.

Is it normal to have to throw kids in the bathtub at the end of every single day?

Dirt Mountain

20 May

We have taken a bit of a break from house jobs to enjoy the beautiful weather and start our garden.

Jared took the grass out of the planter and placed it onto the ground next to raise the level of the ground.  That area was in a bit low and we didn’t want any flooding or soggy plants.

We inherited the above rhubarb.  Isn’t it incredible?

We would have loved to plant in the ground but it is almost solid clay.  Since that little planter box is not going to hold all we want to plant we needed some dirt for additional planters we are going to build.  Our generous friend had a dump truck deliver a huge mound of black dirt to our house!  The girls thought it was about the coolest thing ever.  A close second to being able to play on the big dirty mountain

These girls desperately needed a bath afterwards =) it was well worth it.

Still working on shoveling the dirt, building the planters, building a fence and planting some seeds.  Lots of work but we are glad we only have to do this much work our first year.  All the springs after this one we will simply add some compost to the soil and plant our seeds.

We still have a bit of a mountain if you want to come over for a climb =) the kids won’t hesitate to join.

Living Room

18 May

We LOVE our living room.  It is the only room in the house that is finished. 

What a lovely word.

We sit in this room and dream about what the rest of the house will look like someday-  As wonderful as this living room!

Here are pictures of the work we did with the living room:

ripping down the wallpaper

We took off the wallpaper, which took forever and a day.  Never knew wallpaper would make me want to start swearing.  We eventually got it off and got started on painting.  We kept the previous red color from the former residence but we painted the wall again since it hadn’t been painted in a number of years.  We repainted the outer walls as well to give a clean and fresh feel.

We love the new carpet that went into the living room.  It is a sort of darker brown with light tones of white coloring.  I am very happy with it.

carpet doesn’t get any newer or feel any better than this

My chairs and poufs add so much to this room, they tie the blue and read and white together.

The sectional couch we got from my parents a few years ago.  I made that button B picture during the superbowl and the lamp we got at a thrift store last week.  I made the owl on the entertainment center (not sure if he will stay there), and the picture on the left I got when I was in Ethiopia about five years ago.  The picture in the back right corner I found at a garage sale for $5 and there is a sticker on the back that says it is from Kohls and originally cost $165.

 Our fish even matches the room =)  He is red with blue fins.  His name is Comet or Carlos (Carlos was the name of our previous fish, don’t ask) and I think he adds a lot to the room.  We have always “housed” our fish in the kitchen because it is easy to remember to feed them there and I guess it makes sense.  But I think he looks wonderful on the top of our entertainment center.

Don’t you want to hang out in this room all day long?

New or Old?

16 May

The biggest new purchase we have ever made in our married life was a mattress.  Most everything else has been bought at thrift stores, craigslist or random garage sales/flea markets.  This has served us very well.  We have made the most of our purchases and it has worked out just fine.

Now that we are in a permanent place of residence we are weeding through our less than perfect selection of mismatched furniture and belongings.  We have clung to a lot of things because we never knew if we would be needing particular things for a future house.  Now that we know where we are we can make serious cleansing decisions.  It feels very good to be getting rid of some of the stuff that is falling apart and not very attractive.

I have had this in my sewing area for the past year and now can get rid of it.  Thank goodness (thanks Jared for the shelves)

We are having a slightly difficult time deciding whether or not to buy new stuff or keep forging around for that perfect item.  There are plenty of things that we don’t need asap but other things we do need/want pretty quick.

Our bedroom has been getting the shaft.  Since only Jared and I go in there (besides the kids waking us up of course) we haven’t been working on it at all.  Half of our clothes are still in suitcases and we don’t have curtains or pictures up.  Nothing is in the bathroom drawers yet since I want to line them with cute paper.

I am not sure why i wanted this so much but I did.  I REALLY really wanted to have matching nightstand tables AND matching lamps for each side of the bed.  It is hard enough to find nice items at second hand locations but I thought we might never find a pair of both.  So we bit the bullet and bought them new.  It was a weird experience for us, since we almost never do this but I love them and hope they will be our nightstands and lamps for a VERY long time, perhaps our whole life?

Jared and I both read before we go to bed and last night was the first time we could read in bed and when we got too tired to read another page we leaned over turned off our own lights and fell asleep.  We didn’t have to beg the other person to get out of the warm and cozy bed to turn off the big overhead light.

This is one purchase that is helping us feel more at home.  It’s the little things, right?

look at the sunlight in the morning!