Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Where have we been?

Sorry I haven't posted. We have finished painting our last rooms for a while. We still lack downstairs which I'm planning to do this winter, especially now that we have a pellet stove and it's become the boy's favorite room!

Here the kids are making Christmas cookies with Gramee

A picture of our stairs going up to our room. This is the saying I use quite frequently ;-) In case the shine is too great on this picture (I think I uploaded the wrong one and it takes a long time to re-upload) it says "Welcome to our World"

Here's a picture of our room...sorry that it's not clean, I was in a hurry. The windows have to be scraped and I have a light for Ben to install to replace this 1980's ceiling fan. I am thinking of painting the fan and getting a new light fixture to repurpose it in the boy's room..we'll see.

And here's the big dramatic before and after in our room. It's amazing what some paint will do! You can double click on any of these pictures to make them larger if you want.

We've also been to Silver Dollar City and The Santa Train over the last week. Grandma Russell took the boys to breakfast with Santa on Saturday then we had our 12 days of Christmas Party at Gramee's Sunday night. We've also had our church Christmas dinner this week which was awesome! We've been staying really busy with Christmas activities which is fun. We woke up Sunday morning to snow on the ground and Asher took one look out the door and said, "IT'S CHRISTMAS!!!!" It was too cute!
We're still believing for our Sparta house to sell and still unloading stuff from that house. It should be done soon. We'll be taking our annual winter trip with all the family soon. It won't be a far off trip due to family schedule conflicts but that's ok, we're getting away! Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

We're getting in the home stretch

You can tell we're getting to the end because we're running out of steam! We're shooting for moving in this weekend for various reasons. Janiece and I finished painting our bedroom ceiling and walls at midnight 2 nights ago. Ben had worked on the kitchen floor for quite a while and took the kiddos home for us. He also got the small leak fixed, our bedroom ceiling patched and something else done but I can't remember what. Jonna was also there helping us scrape up the adhesive in the hall. We've been working on this for 4 days but we finished it yesterday so we can paint the floors! Yesterday we rippped up the carpets in the master, painted the first 2 coats on the trim in the master, finished ripping up the adhesive in the hall, and worked on the kitchen floor. Whew! The kitchen is a disaster! We ripped up the tile because it was cracked and it appeared there was carpet under it. Instead we found 2 layers of linoleum and tar! It's being impossible to get up! And now the whole floor is destroyed. The hardwood is in most of the room but there is about a 3 foot section of plywood. However, yesterday on google we found out that someone said to use a wallpaper steamer and it works wonderfully. They're $28 to rent for 24 hours at Home Depot so instead Janiece looked on Craigslist and found a floor steamer (which she wanted and I was kind of wanting too) for $30!! So last night we loaded the kids up in the rain and ran to Springfield to get it. It works beautifully! It's still a lot of work but it's actually coming up! So excited and motivated now. The list for today stands as follows: Paint the trim in the master again, finish removing the tack strip and pieces of tiles in the master, paint the master floor and the hall floor, clean. Not too shabby! Then we'll work on the kitchen either tonight or maybe I'll wait and let Ben do it Saturday so Janiece and I can start moving us over!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Some Before and After Pictures

Ben and Adam working on the plumbing downstairs. Is everyone just thinking "that deer paneling is the best in the whole world!!" or what?
Mom decided she really liked the nail gun. She kept stealing it from Janiece which was hilarious! We were having a blast!
This is what we look like every day at the end of the day. The house is making us gray headed!!!! YIKES!!!
Mom and Adam fixing our toilet at about 11pm while Ben was working. Mom, Janiece and I thought we could hold the toilet up a little bit and get the hideous blue carpet out from under it so we could lay new flooring...we were WRONG! Either we are super strong women or the bolts to the toilet were super old....I prefer to think the first thought, but the toilet decided to rip out with the carpet. Needless to say, there was a lot of screaming as the toilet was flying at us (ok maybe it wasn't flying that fast but we have to add drama here). But the toilet is now in the tub and will hopefully be replaced tomorrow in it's rightful spot!

This week Janiece, Mom and I used the table saw, air compressor, nail gun and 2 paint sprayers all in one day! It was quite a day! You should've seen the guy at Lowe's when we were picking out our wood to make board and batten walls in the living room. Classic! So in one day we cut and installed board and batten in the living room, painted the ceiling, painted the walls 2 different colors, pulled up all the carpet and all the tack strips, took Jonna to Branson, then Mom delivered her and all her friends from Branson to their homes after midnight then had issues with the Suzuki and had to call Mom at 2:00AM to come pick us up! It was a LONG day and it was only 2 days ago so we're still a little tired. But the living room looks AMAZING. These pictures do not do it justice so I guess all of you will just have to come visit ;-)

We are SO tired of painting white. I've already went through at least 5 gallons which is odd because we never paint white...we like color! But look what a difference it makes in this hall!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

We've Been Busy!

We've been at the house nearly every day until after 10pm. It's going SLOWLY for us...mainly because we're painting all the wood trim white. It's worth it but very time consuming. Here's a few pictures!

Two "during" pics of the boy's bath. I decided to embrace the blue and go with it. I like the blue walls much better than the pink walls with floral border (which by the way, next time you decide to put up wallpaper or a border please think twice. It'll date your room in a few years and it's such a pain to take down that you'll leave it for 30+ years until the next person moves in and thinks "yuck" and it'll take them 5 hours to take down a simple border... can people not paint murals instead? Just a thought!) I hope to finish this room tomorrow. All the wood work will need to be painted about 5 times and the carpet is coming up. I already have fabric for the window, I just have to make the curtain and I'd like a new faucet but that might be a while in coming. We'll see!

We have these huge drawers in the linen closet. The kids decided to play in them while we were painting the cabinet they fit in.

Good news is that Ben got us set up on propane today. No more freezing! Janiece and I have been painting in one room with a space heater while putting the kids in another room with a couple of heaters. It's been fine but a little chilly when the doors are open so we're thrilled with heat!

Ben also worked on getting us water today. It's been a challenge painting and bleaching with no water. Some of Grandma's friends have a well service so they came out. The kids got to ride up on the big truck which was SO cool! Who cares about pulling out the well? This is much more awesome! We all learn so much by just observing and asking questions. Today was a life lesson in how we get water. We all learned a lot!

The boy's room and the library got finished today except for painting the doors (which I'm hoping Ben will take them outside, spray them, and be done with it so we don't have to) and scraping the excess paint off the windows! We can check those off our list!!

Our library!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day #2

The master. Have I mentioned that I hate paneling? Can't wait until it's invisible!
This is the wall we demoed (is that word?)
The boys room. Again, more paneling! WooHoo!

Well yesterday was Tuesday, Day 2. We got a lot accomplished! We don't go until about 2pm since we stay home and do school first. Last night we stayed until 11pm though! We're still without water since Ben can't seem to figure out the problem on the pump yet but we're making do. I have a lot of containers I fill up to go and then we take a trip back into Mom or Grandma's to refill since we've been bleaching a lot. Hopefully our friend John will come up tonight and him and Ben can get the pump running. It's also getting cold and we need to call the propane company to get a tank and heat but we also have someone else at church who has a neighbor who might be selling his tank since he just got natural gas. It's nice to have a great church!
The entire house is now bleached! WhoHOO! My lungs are not thanking me but my peace of mind is! It's took 2 days. Well, I guess not the entire house because downstairs is not done but the rest of it is. I'm focusing on the top floor first and then downstairs. We're also doing some major caulking and it's almost completely done which means we can start with the painting today! I have 16 gallons of expensive Lowe's and Home Depot paint and I'm still going to have to buy more. Everything was bought for $5 off the mis-tint rack which I'm thrilled about! So today we'll start painting. I'd like to have it ready to start ripping out the carpets soon and we have to paint first...that way we won't have to put down drop cloths. Here's the breakdown so far
Day#1- Bleach and Work on the Pump, Vacuum
Day#2- Bleach, Work on the pump, caulk, demo a wall
Day #3- To be determined!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Our Miracle Home Story

We received a miracle involving our home! We were given a word from the Lord through our Pastor telling us we would receive everything we were asking for if we would obey God. This is an area we've been really trying hard on...just listening and obeying. About a week later we found a house that we wanted to look at. We had Dad, Mom, Adam, Janiece and Grandma go look at it with us just really out of curiosity. We had driven by before but it was out of our price range..now not even a year later it was marked down under 1/3 of the price they were asking. We looked at it on a Sunday, we were told that they were already accepting best offers and the agent wasn't sure why it was still on the market so we'd have to put in an offer right away and get our own financing because the bank wouldn't finance it. Within 20 minutes Ben had someone arrange a personal loan for us, we had the OK that it was a sturdy house from Dad and we had prayed and felt like it was good for us. We made an offer the next day, a Monday. We were told it could be 2 months before we hear anything. We prayed for information within in a day and on Tuesday we received the information that we had the house! God just provided it all miraculously for us! We have our current home on the market and believing it will sell super quick. We have a blog for it: http://aHomeToLove.blogspot.com Today we closed on our new house and we've begun fixing it up. It has sat empty for while so it needs some work. We found out part of the property (especially the barn) was built in 1883 which seems so neat to us! We can't wait to research it more. There are 3 acres, a barn, a shop, and a couple of other out buildings. So day 1: BLEACH! It's all in my lungs and nose but 1/2 of the house is done!! We hope to keep up with our progress here!

A HUGE sycamore tree in our yard! From the porch you can see the barn

Part of the paint we've bought!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Fun things to do with kids around Branson / Springfield

My dream job (in addition to being a Mom, wife and homeschooling teacher) is to take our family on expense paid trips to places like theme parks, restaurants, movies, etc. and write reviews or do a show on it. I've actually wanted this job for about 15 years now but I'm not sure how to go about it!! However, I'm always googling for tips so I thought I'd post this to help others!

So on to the top activities for this summer that we've enjoyed so far:

1. Going to the Palace for Twilight Tuesday. The Palace is regularly $3 each which is a lot cheaper than other theaters since the movies are older, but on Tuesdays it's only $1 each! Our family of 4 saw a double feature this past Tuesday for only $8 which is less than 3 people would've been for one movie on Monday...less than 1 person at the other theaters! Of course this didn't include the popcorn and soda but we got a single's combo which is $9 plus 50 cents for butter and had refills for the 2nd movie. For 4 people you just can't beat it! Go to palacemovies.com for showtimes. The Palace is off of James River and Kansas Expressway in Springfield.

2. Visit Silver Dollar City in Branson. Right now they're having Kids Fest and every weekend they're featuring a different guest. This weekend it is Scobby and Shaggy. In the future it will be the Jetsons, Tom and Jerry, The Backyardigans and Spongebob. This only lasts until August 8th and then the festival changes.

3. Participate in reading programs. Right now we're involved in 3. The Christian County library has a great one with different activities you sign up for. So far the meterologist from KY3 has talked to the kids and then we're going for a pirate party and a big finale party which includes discounts to area places (last year Rib Crib and Sonic plus others) and a free book or two. The Greene County library has a cool flip card that gives you discounts for 30 places in Springfield! Bowling here we come! Plus a coloring sheet and a book. Then Barnes and Noble has a reading program...read 8 books, put it on your "passport" and get a free book. Fun!

Arthur visited Barnes and Noble to support Early Chilhood Special Education in the Spring:

4. Visit the Ozark Medieval Fortress. This is about 30 minutes south of Branson and is super cool! They do not use any modern tools to build this castle...everything is centuries of years old. We went and the kids helped cut stones to put in the castle wall, build bricks from clay for the potter, made rope, studied the herbs, carved stone and so much more. We're studying kings and queens in the fall so we intend to go again! We did pay $1 extra each to get the tour which I highly recommend. It was a little lengthy at times for the boys since they're not big on staying still and listening for that long but it was awesome for learning and they pick up more than I think. The website is: http://www.ozarkmedievalfortress.com/

Here is a picture of the device they will use to raise rocks to the top of the castle walls!

5. Take a trip to the Precious Moments museum. Absolutely free but dontations are accepted. This is gorgeous! There are chapel tours which are highly recommended and still free. They go into details about the portraits painted in the chapel so you can understand them better. Then it's all self-exploratory. Precious Moments in located in Carthage and their site is: http://www.preciousmomentschapel.com/

Inside the chapel

6. Make free photo books on Hot Prints. You can get 4 free photo books per month. I haven't tried them yet but I'm going to. I'm sure they're not going to be professional quality (like a professional photographer could get you) and they have advertsiments built into the books. However, I could do one for the 4 biggest attractions listed above and have a fun time with it! If only I can find time to do it ;-) The website is: http://www.hotprints.com/

I know I only listed 6 activities but this should keep you busy going! I'll try to list more as we do them! Have fun and write if you do any of these things so that I know I'm not wasting my time writing!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A portion of our happenings in January

We had an amazing vacation which spilled over into January. We went to Myrtle Beach. It was a lot colder than we like but not as cold as Missouri so we survived. In Myrtle Beach we got to experience a lot of things. The guys always go on a deep sea fishing trip but this year we all got to go! The kids got to see a squid up close. Brian caught a shark, they coat Toad Fish (which will bite your fingers off so we learned about those) and some sea bass. We didn't catch much but it was sure fun! We also went to the Rice Museum in Georgetown. It was a beautiful historic town. Our extended family gave us some trouble about visiting a rice farm since we grew up raising rice, but it was very interested to see how rice effected South Carolina. We also saw the oldest vessel in North America! We went to Ripley's Aquarium which I can't imagine how crowded it would be in tourist season since it was very crowded the day we went. We ate one day at the House of Blues and did many more things! It was a great spot to visit.

This is a squid. Yuck!
At Ripley's Aquarium with our entire family crew- 23 this year instead of the usual 13.Then on new year's day we went to DC. It was bitting cold but wonderful. Ben and I have been to DC twice now but the first time was work related. We knew this was somewhere we wanted to take the kiddos and it was so cool. We went to a lot of different places this time and our 2 days there were jam packed. We saw the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, Bill of Rights, Jefferson's Library (which is amazing and huge) and so much more. We took a tour of the Capital and learned that the President has to get an invitation before stepping into the Capital building so that there is a separation of state and that a young girl created an art piece of Lincoln and saw him to complete it the day he was assasinated. We rode the Metro which Aybrin really liked. Aybrin said he learned that trains and cars go faster than roller coasters but he liked the Metro. Asher said he thought it was scarey. We went to Arlington Cementary and watched the Changing of the Guards, we ate lunch at the National Park right beside an outdoor skating rink! We went to the Smithsonian where Mom and Dad bought us Imax tickets to stay after the muesum closed so we could watch "Night at the Museum, Battle of the Smithsonian"! It was so cool! This was just a handful of things we saw and did. It was the best!

The architecture of the building in front of the Changing of the Guards

In front of the Capital Building before our tour

Making funny faces inside of the Capital
The Lincoln Memorial which is even more breathtaking at night.

The Washington Monument taken while we were driving down the road

Then we got home and a couple of weeks later we found out the kids were going to perform at the Harlem Globetrotter's Game in Springfield!! They were the half time show and it was amazing. They attend TOT class once a week where they learn basketball handling skills along with academic skills such as colors, counting, foreign language, etc. The learning part is mostly review for Aybrin (except for French and Spanish although I've been wanting to start a foreign lanugage program for quite a while now) but the skills are awesome for both kids. And Asher now knows which hand is right and which is left which is awesome! The night of the game we put orange in the kid's hair to match their orange shirts and we were so glad we did it. It really helped them stand out so we could see them good on the court. Grandma even went to the game. Mom told the Globetrotter's coach while we were getting autographs, that this was Grandma's first basketball game in 75 years. He said that if he would've known that he would've had her come down on the court during the game! The team and the coach were so nice. It was the best experience. And now I think there's going to be a write up in the Christian County Headliner with their pictures in it! We're super excited!
Top row: Enoch and Aybrin
Bottom row: Eleesia and Asher
Essa does not perform in TOT yet
Enoch is in the left row- the one closes to the camera turned towards the camera. Aybrin is right beside him. Asher is in the right row closes to the camera.Eleesia's the girl closest to the camera with straight hair (Janiece straightened it for the performance and it was so cute) Asher is right beside her.Mackenzie- our friend, is sitting down, then it's Eleesia then Asher.
Our friend Morgan is the girl with the bow in her hair, then it's a little boy, then it's Enoch then Aybrin.
Now we're into February. Janiece and I have been doing a full force decluttering/Spring Cleaning attack on our homes. We're spending 3 days a week at each other's houses going through EVERYTHING! We're so tired of doing it but it's nice to see the end results and to realize that things are now super clean. No more dust bunnies under the bed! We've also been researching Natural things for your body and cleaning supplies. We're doing research on the harmful toxins in our everyday products. And of course we're planning our gardens and learning natural cures for herbs we're going to plant.
Our big news for school is that I think Aybrin will enter his first Science fair! The fair will be at the Library Center in Springfield on April 16th. We're excited and looking for good projects we can do. We're also planning to attend the SHEM homeschool conference again this year which always gives us plenty of encouragment and resources to get inspired for the upcoming year. That partly sums up our month. We're having fun here and hope to hear from some of you soon!