Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Sift My Thrift - The Little BIG Reno Part 1

Romans 8:28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Adding a Room but not Square Footage

I was talking earlier about our recent renovation project (adding another room).  I guess I'll continue the discussion here.  This project all came about because we needed another room for either A) The Baby, or B) A classroom if we give the baby the current classroom.  Then later when the children no longer need a classroom, we can have a dedicated office.  It was just an incey wincey lil' ole project.  It was just adding another wall and a door right?  Wrongo. Wow, we have been sleeping in the old dining room for I don't know how long now.  I'm kinda getting used to it.  Kinda. 

There's nothing like dining room overhead lighting and the front door to say, "Top of the mornin' to ya!" 

The baby's crib is at our feet.  Our clothes and room things are scattered about around the house.  This little ole reno has become quite the BIG project.  I am very proud of my husband who has taken on this endeavor.  I am surprised at what he knows how to do, not being one trained in carpentry.  Are men just born that way?  I was in the 'Facilities' department where I used to work.  It took a lot of questions and curiosity on my part to get a good grasp on 'manly know-how'.  And now that I've been a stay at home mom for some time, I have forgotten much of it.  He has also had such great and very appreciated help from his uncle and cousins who are carpenters.  It brings a lot of peace of mind to the whole thing.

Next?  Finish wiring for electric and speakers.  Then, our tub needs to be put in place.  Then, FINALLY, drywall.  Can't wait for this step.

In the meantime, I 
  1. scour through craigslist for cabinets to put together and paint to make some storage for the bathroom and for a niche in our closet area.  
  2. have to look around for the best deals on lighting.     
  3. pick out paint for our bedroom, bathroom and the new room
  4. pick out tile for the bathroom
  5. keep in the back of my mind that we sold our dining table set and need to look for a replacement sometime.
Side note: I am primarily blogging about this because when I went to search the internet about such projects, I could find, well, just about nothing on the subject of adding another room, but not more square footage since we were merely cutting back on our master bedroom and bath to make the extra room.  So this is just something for someone out there who is searching for someone who has done this before.  Boy that was a tongue twister!  I might just pin this on pinterest just to get it out there.  Don't get me wrong.  I don't think this is just such a spectacular thing that everyone wants to know about it.  I just remember how frustrated I was not to be able to find anyone who could provide pictures and details about their own similar reno.  How many times have I searched the internet for ideas and gleaned so its about time I helped someone else.

Thanks for reading!  

Monday, December 30, 2013

And She's Here!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.  

James 1:17

Our newest addition is finally here!  Whew!  As I've said before, pregnancy + Marsha = one big bag of problems.  Alas, when the carrying is over and the baby is here, all pretty much goes back to normal, which I am most grateful for!  It seems to take about 4 weeks of newborn life to get us into the swing of things - to a degree.  That is, we are functioning without tears, and the lack of sleep is no longer causing us to do strange things. 

I had her natural (I had an epi on my other two).  Why you say?  Our new insurance did not cover maternity at all and I didn't want to pay for it.  When I researched the cost of an epi, it blew my mind and would have really punched us a big one in the pocket book.  I also had a slight curiosity about what it was like to have a baby without meds.  Call me crazy.  Those two things combined made my decision.  I thank the very good Lord, He brought me through it!  I must say it was extremely fast and I barely made it to the hospital.  I was praying good and loud towards the end and no one could have been confused as to whether I was a Christian or not at that point.  So now what?  Preparing for the next school year and getting my house back in order.

Baby here.  Need more space.

I posted earlier about wanting an eat in kitchen.  Well, that hasn't happened.  As I said.  I was dreaming.  BUT we did end up selling our humongadocious dining table and chairs so we could 'make' a smaller one that is more suitable for our home.  I mean, the table wasn't too big for the space that it was in, I just wanted to use that space for something more productive for our family.  I wanted more living space.  Sooooooooo.  We ended up borrowing a smaller table from my mother in law in order to move our dining space 'against' the island.  It's working.  We are currently using stools and a junior chair for chairs, but I'm happy knowing that my plan for more space is panning out.  Sorta.  It's still in the works. 

NOW.  Hubby and I were discussing where on earth (or in our home to be exact) would we put our new baby.  So far, the trend has been to keep the baby in our room for a year and then move her out.  Well, we are at the half mark and we have yet to find somewhere to put her.  One of our bedrooms is the school room and the other two girls share a bedroom (packed in there tightly already).  I pitched him an idea.  Why not reduce our master bedroom and bath to 'create' another room.  It wouldn't be adding square footage, just walls a few doors and 'some other things'.  If he did most of the work himself, then we could save on labor.

Here's the master as it is now.  I think my hubby used some sort of panning photo setting to get the whole room in the photo.  You can see my side of the closet going towards our bathroom.

Here's the master bath as it is now (or was).  And Inky being a ham.  Again with the panning photo setting so the bathroom looks wierdly bent.

History on our Master Room and Bath:

I normally call it our Master Suite.  I have to snicker at myself because it sounds, well, kinda weird to say it.  It's not really a suite.  We live in a subdivision of smaller homes.  We tried to make the most of our space by having an open concept house (the main areas are all open to each other).  However, my husband wanted a 'wing' of the house to be dedicated to the Master bed/bath (we had 'getting ready to be hitched - no kids' syndrome at that time).  He and I had seen waaaaaaay to many homearoma homes.  Only, the problem is that our house is small to begin with.  So when we built our home, we ended up squeezing the life out of the other rooms in the house to have a larger than necessary master bedroom and bath that we seldom use, well, because its not a 'living' space.  We spend most of our time in the living room with our kids, which I'd say most people do.  So why not chop out the excess and squeeze in another small room?  Hey, that's my question too! 

The plan has come to fruition and we have torn out our master bath.  We sold the large jetted tub Yay! (hardly ever used it.  We had to make sure we weren't running other appliances to have enough hot water to fill it).  The closets have been demo'd.  Yes, we will be downsizing those too.  That is my one regret in the whole thing.  We will still, though, have two separate closets in the end.  Here is the area demo'd.  I'll be glad to have this finished and our bed moved back into our bedroom where we belong instead of in our old dining space.

When we divided the space to make room for the extra room, we lost the window to our bathroom.  So hubby decided to add one up high in the newly vaulted area.  The day that we absolutely needed a window, my hubby prayerfully went to the peddlers mall of all places and found this window for $10.  What a blessing!  

This is a view into our Master Bathroom.  It will be very narrow, but still workable.  The window on the vaulted ceiling is unseen in this photo, but is to the upper right.

This is a view from the new bedroom/classroom/office space.  We are looking toward the closet door.  The pocket door going into the Master Bath is to the left.  This room is vaulted as well.  The door exiting the room into the living area will be to the right.

My reasons for having a door going from this room into the main living area (used to be the dining area) and also having a door leading into our Master Bath area make sense for us.  We are hoping this space will work several different ways for us, in the different seasons of our life and also, if we move, the room can be very versatile for the market.  First, we plan to use this room as a nursery.  The connected bathroom will make it easier for bathing the baby and also for washing hands after diapering and so on.  Also, we can keep a close eye on the baby.  Later when the little one gets a little older, we can move her to the other room and turn this space into a classroom.  Again the bathroom attached will make it easier on me with schooling and potty/potty training time.  Sharing the bathroom won't be an issue because while we school during the day (ie: use the potty during the day), we (my husband and I) will mostly need to use this bathroom early in the morning and at night.  Lastly, as the children get older we can turn this space once again into the Master suite with an attached office.

I'll post more photos when we get closer to finished!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sift my Thrift - Dream On - Kitchen

Titus 2:5 "To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home..."

I do feel it is the womans calling to make her home as useful as it can be - of course within her means.  Its her job to keep the house tidy and a haven of rest for her family as well as for herself (I'm not saying that I do this well.  I just feel this is what I should be doing and what I apire to do).  I know not all women feel the same way that I do, but this is me.  I do though wonder what is the balance between just dealing with the circumstances (making do with what you have) and taking action to organize your life better (making changes to have better flow of life for you and your family).  I'm sorry to say that I don't have that answer.  What comes to mind though is that you should not do what you cannot afford to do. 

I often think of the term 'Opportunity Cost' that I learned in college.  It was a facinating concept to me and still is.  It's basically taking one thing in life (whether it be monitary or not) and putting it on  one end of a see saw, and then putting something else on the other side.  For instance, putting 'time with children' on one side of the see saw and then putting 'volunteer overtime' on the other side.  If you lift the side of the overtime, it's costing you time with your children.  If you lift the side of your children, its costing you 'overtime' income.  So in my circumstances, the see saw would hold 'better home life' and 'saving money'.   

It has recently become my dream to have an EAT IN KITCHEN.  For Example, something like this:
I found this lovely at www.myparadissi.com . 

Convenient.  Space saving.  Old Fashioned meets modern.  Wonderful! 

Now that we will be a family of 5 (soon) my mind has been going in overdrive on ways to make our house seem, well, bigger, more useful to us.  Right now we have an open house plan (kitchen flows into living room, and living room flows into dining room.  In that order.).  I've seen photos of homes like the one above where they have simply put the kitchen table in the kitchen (instead of a bar or island).  Genius!

Right now we have an island that houses our cook top and microwave.  We as a family NEVER use it as a sit down place, unless we have people over and we all stand around and talk mostlly. 

Note:  All these photos of my home are AFTER I cleaned.  It normally is not this picked up. 

Here is a photo of the said location:

And here:

I must say that it is nice, but not space saving.

At the same time, most people NEVER make it over to our Kitchen/Dining table.  The table and the area is pretty much neglected.  Why not put a table in the kitchen instead?  We can all talk around that table just as much as the island.  Actually, I think people might just be inclined to sit.  It can also be used as a prep area just as the island is used now.  Why not?  In fact, I only use the little square of space to the left of the cooktop for prep.  If I can keep the chairs low, then using the table to prepare meals could be extremely useful.  And think of all that time savings.  I can't tell you how many treks I make from kitchen to dining area for one single meal.  First, get the glasses to the table.  Two hands, 4 glasses equals two trips.  Then the plates.  Same thing.  Then the condiments.  What?  Inky wants a refill?  Be right back!  Oops, more napkins.  Well, here goes another trip.  Woops, the breads done, I'll get it!  Whew!  Dinners over.  Now, it's the same back and forth trips in reverse.  Having a kitchen table right in the kitchen is sounding better all the time, right?  I suppose if my children were older, then I might not be feeling the workload as much (delegation), but right now, it's rather inconvenient.  Yes, I could flip flop the living area with the dining area.  I've tried it.  It doesn't work well.   The dining area is smaller than the living so its a bit awkward.  Also, our corner cabinet in the living area does not fit in the smaller dining space.

Here's a view from our kitchen into the living area

And here are some shots to show how the living room transitions into the dining area.  It's kinda like an L shape.  Sorry bout the towels on the dining room chairs.  That's just life with small children.  :  )   


Here's a view from the dining area into the kitchen:

What else would we be gaining if we put a table in place of our island?  Another room!  Two separate, yet together, living spaces.  I think it would give us a sense of transition from one space to the next, but also be open so as to feel connected.  I'm thinking a little round coffee table with two comfy chairs, maybe even a window bench and a wall of shelves with a built in mini desk for a laptop.  Under the desk could be one or two little tuck away stools (I have these already).  The shelves could be for books, nicknacks, storage for presentable kitchen overflow.  It could be a reading/coffee sipping/chit chat space.   When you pull all the seating together (stools, chairs, and bench) you've got 5 seats around a little round coffee table. 

The look is kinda like this:


combined with this:

I can't say that these two photos meet exactly what I have in my mind, but if you take the white wall shelving, and add the two small but comfy chairs in the photo above this one and add the few things I wrote about, it's just about right.  Oh and by the way, that rug is divine!

Ok, ok, so I'll have to milk craigslist for all its worth to even consider such a space.  A girl can dream right?  

Hmmm.  Where to put the cooktop and microwave.   

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Homeschooling Adventures - Baby on the way = delay, delay, delay

Proverbs 17:22 - A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine...

Well, hello there!  Yes, it's been a while and no I've not been away - well not physically that is.  Mentally, I've been skinny, on some beach, not feeling like puke.  Welp, pregnancy is what it has always been for me, so I guess I can say that I've been preoccupied with sick spells of various kinds.  I'M BACK!  Sorta.  Anywho, I'm back for now to squeeze in a little belated typie.

A really, really late Christmas post.

I found a great/funny/interesting blogger http://sarahsworld-sarahsworld.blogspot.com/.  She is a fellow homeschooler that loves to write about the quirks of family life among other things.  After I read some of her posts I can really say, "Whew, it's not just me."  Anyway, she wanted to know if some of her blog friends would like to do a Christmas ornament exchange.  I quickly agreed.  Sounded fun.  Was fun!  It was a great idea and the girls and I decided to participate.  The fact that she and her family were located in a different part of the country made it even more interesting.  It turned out to be a small geography lesson for my kingergartener.

Here's the problem.  I asked hubby to take a photo with his cool picture taking iphone.  Seriously, I think it takes better pictures than our family camera.  He did, but somehow between then, sickness, and now, I've been unable to locate the picture of Sarah's ornament that she sent us.  It was ADORABLE.  My daughter even said she thought it looked like herself.  It was a sweet little girl dressed up for some snowplay.  We loved it and my littlest girl placed it right on the front side of the tree!  When I locate our photo, I'll post it!  I ended up finding a whitewashed church ornament.  It just struck me and I sent it on over.

Thanks for the great idea Sarah!!!