Friday, July 3, 2015

New Entryway Closet AKA I Have An Awesome Husband!!!

A couple years ago I had been looking on Pinterest and decided to make over our entryway closet. It was a huge change for little money and I love being organized. 

A lot can change in 2 years though and the biggest change has been children grow! Their feet get bigger, their coats get bigger, their backpacks get bigger! By the end of the school year this area was just simply driving me crazy. The kids would try to shove their shoes into the cubbies and they would fall out. Jack would hang up his backpack and then Owen would try to hang his up and it would fall off since the hangers were so close together. 

Most of the time instead of hanging up their coats they would just shove them behind the coat tree in a big huge pile. It was just a mess! As I've told Michael part of my job as a homemaker is to make our house a home and sometimes that involves rearranging things to make our home function better for our family during this season in our lives. Enter Pinterest again and I found this idea. 

I love how french country it looks!! I knew I wanted something similar, but I am not a wiz when it comes to power tools at all. I know my husband and he was not too thrilled with the idea of changing things around anyways so I knew I wasn't going to ask him to do something from scratch. That's when I started scouring OfferUp and Craigslist. I was looking at bookshelves, benches, cabinets and TV entertainment centers. Anything that might possibly work. On the Friday that I got sunburned I had lots of time to look while laying in bed trying not to move and I found this...

It's a TV entertainment center from IKEA. A guy was selling it for $40. I called him up twice to get the measurements, talked it over with Michael and decided we would get it. Michael and my brother picked it up the next day in my brother's truck. As you've probably noticed it was definitely too long for our closet, but that's where a handy husband comes into play! 

The next day Michael started altering the cabinet. He's truly amazing! I think up the ideas and I ask him if he can do it and he does. He loves me...he really loves me! :)

In order to make the cabinet fit I had him cut off the 4 squares on the right side and then attached them to the top of the cabinet to make more storage space. This was prior to him attaching the end piece. 

While Michael working on the cabinet I was cleaning out the closet the best I could. There were a few things I couldn't remove so Michael had to finish that up. 

Here's the cabinet all finished just waiting on the front porch! 

Once Michael got everything taken out of the closet we realized it really needed to be repainted. So Michael did a quick coat and thankfully since it was so stinkin' hot it dried really quickly! 

Time to move the cabinet in! This was when we realized it was actually too big to go into the closet opening. I knew it was bigger than the opening, but I figured we could shove it all the way in on one side and it would fit in and then we could just center it. Yeah no! This was when I just decided to go do other things. Michael wasn't mad, but I was asking him to do something he didn't really want to do in the first place and then this hiccup happened so I just wanted him to be able to figure it out without me standing over him. Of course he figured it out just fine...he had to take the molding off one side of the closet and actually shave the drywall down about a half an inch and then it fit in the closet just fine. I tell you...AMAZING!!!

Here's what the closet looked like at the end of that first day. All the kids shoes were in the laundry basket. I knew I wasn't going to be happy until we finished the I needed my laundry basket back. So...a couple days later we headed to IKEA for kids eat free day and I bought the 4 baskets I needed. I had been looking on OfferUp and Craigslist for IKEA baskets, but I don't think anyone gets rid of those baskets. They might sell the cabinets, but not the baskets. The next day the kids and I went to Wal-Mart for the last thing...hooks! Later that night Michael was able to hang those and finish the closet. 

All finished! Each child has their own basket for their shoes. Now there is no having to lay the shoes just right so they can fit into a cubbie...just toss them in! Of course they are in the order they were born so Owen is on the far left, then Jack, then Ella and then Zeke. Owen and Zeke's baskets don't actually come all the way out since the opening to the closet isn't big enough. I had to shove the cabinet all the way over one way to get Owen's basket in and then all the way the other way to gets Zeke's basket in and then I had to recenter the cabinet in the closet. I'm nothing if not determined!!! It's actually nice though...they come out enough for them to fish around in the basket for their shoes. 

Now the kids backpacks can hang nice right beside each other because the hooks are farther apart and they won't fall off. Also we are now going to have a one coat rule. They will pick the one coat they want during that season and that will be the one that gets hung up down here. If they want more coats they need to be in their closets and they can switch them out. As for the coat tree...

That is only for adult coats now and it's actually in a better location since it's right by the garage door we can just grab our coats on the way out! Overall I'm so happy with how it turned out. My goal was to finish the closet under $130 and it ended up costing us $117! $40 for the cabinet, $65 for the baskets...hilarious that baskets cost more than a whole cabinet and then $12 for the hooks. I did go on IKEA's website and found out that the TV entertainment would have cost us $149 if we bought it brand new so I got that for a steal!

Before & After! 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First Day At The Beach AKA The Worse Sunburn EVER!!!

Since Owen is at school Monday - Thursday we don't usually go and do anything big on those days. On that first week of school when Friday rolled around I packed the kids up and we headed to the beach for the day. 

If I'm gonna take 6 kids...the neighbor boys the beach we are going to set up and plan on staying for quite awhile! Later on the when the lifeguards came on duty I had to take our umbrella down since it blocked their view of the beach. Oh well....I love that they are there and watching out for our kiddos so I took it right down! 

At first Zeke just played with the sand toys. 

Owen and the neighbor boys got right in the water. When we first got there around 10:30 there was barely anyone else there. 

Last year at the Mill Creek Garage Sales I found life jackets for the three younger kids. Kim had some for her boys last year and I had just never thought about that. It was so nice having them though. Ella wasn't really interested in the water, but Jack loved his and he had so much fun swimming around with it. 

Chilling out in the shade! 

I love just sitting here and watching them play. They entertain themselves so well. In fact Michael asked me how on earth I could just sit at the beach for 4 hours....he is sure he would get so bored. The thing is time goes so fast when you are there. I love it! 

I laid like this pretty much the whole time we were there...hence the title of this post. Dominic found that dollar bill in the lake so we were letting it dry. Later on we had lunch and then the kids got to go to the snack shack and buy some ice creams....always the most favorite part of the trip! 

Owen trying to make his river. He had a rough time for a bit and needed a good talking to. He lets himself get stuck in this "whoa is me" attitude and it drives me crazy. He straightened out though! 

Donald and Dominic were so sweet they brought chips to share and an ice tea for me! I truly enjoy bringing them along. They are such big helpers and they love to play with the kids. They can fight like cats and dogs at our house, but for some reason at the beach they always get along. 

Back at work!

I'm not sure why Ella was more leery of the water this time, but she was just happier on the beach. 

She really wanted me to bury her and then she had fun busting out! 

Zeke man was so adventurous. He did not want his life jacket on at all so I was down at the water the whole time with him. 

Dominic was trying to coax him to come out and he would walk out to him, almost touch him and then turn around and run away. 

He thought that was so funny! 

Since I was down by the water Ella got courageous enough to come down and play in the surf. 

By this time the beach was really filling up. There was a whole group of kids from the YMCA and then all the other beachgoers. I started to pack up our stuff and told the kids were would leave in a half and hour. We ended up being at the beach for 4 hours! When we got home everyone was pooped! Since it was a Friday the kids got to go on electronics and I went upstairs to lay in bed. I noticed that my legs felt really the beach they felt fine. I also made sure I applied sunscreen once before we left and then again while we were there. I did the same for the kids as well. 

That's when I looked down and noticed that I looked like a lobster! 

This is the picture I uploaded to FB. I got a lot of posts that said OUCH! Yeah it was a major ouch. I spent some time browsing Pinterest looking for home remedies. I tried white stung at first, but then helped with the itching. Then I got some ice tea and wet paper towels and laid those on my legs. That really helped cool them down. Then I found out you don't have to put lavender oil in a glass bottle so I mixed that with water and started spraying my legs. That felt the best so I kept using that. The first night I slept horribly...I'm a half side  half stomach sleeper so having to sleep on my back was not the greatest. Also I couldn't even bend my legs they hurt so bad. The next day I cleaned my brother and SIL's house and then we had my Dad's birthday party. It was so hot just going outside in the heat...not even in direct hurt so bad I wanted to cry. Needless to say I spent almost the whole party indoors in the air conditioning. This is one lesson I have learned....painfully! 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Homemade Raspberry Freezer Jam!

A couple summers ago we bought a raspberry plant at Lowes. We planted it in the easement planters that are surrounded by concrete blocks and the concrete that makes up the actual easement. We figured that this would possibly help confine the raspberries. Well that first summer we got a few berries and we thought we read that you are just supposed to cut the whole bush down to the ground every year so we did that first year. Come to find out you're only suppose to cut the fruit bearing branches down. So needless to say last summer we got honestly 2 berries and they tasted horrible!!! It was bad! I was sure we had planted the bush in bad soil or something. I mean who has trouble growing raspberries or blackberries. Seriously who actually buys and plants blackberry bushes! We saw them at the store and thought that was crazy!! 

Anyways we let those non-fruit bearing branches be and we waited for this summer. 

Holy cow!!! Our raspberry bush has quadrupled in size. There are literally hundreds of berries. When they first started growing Michael decided to coil them up and stake them like we've seen the raspberry bushes on the way to my parents house. As if you can tell now though....they are so heavy I can't imagine what the bush would look like if he hadn't done that. 

I took these pictures a couple days after I picked the berries I needed for my jam and there are probably enough berries for me to make another batch. I just need to go to the store and buy more pectin. 

I picked a whole bowl full and then washed them in batches. About 3 batches so most likely it was around 3 cups of berries. 


Then I mashed them in batches as well with my potato masher! 

The instructions I had said to measure out 1 cup of mashed berries with seeds and then the second cup without seeds. So I mashed them again through strainer. 

I measured out the sugar separately so I wouldn't lose count and mess everything up. It took 4 cups of sugar!!!!

Here's my 2 cups of mashed raspberries! 

An island of sugar! I stirred that in and let it sit for 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Then I added the pectin and the 2 tbsp of lemon juice and stirred for 3 minutes. 

I had already prepared my jars so I poured the jam in and then let them sit on the counter for a day and then popped them in the freezer. The post I found on Pinterest told me to put them in Ziploc bags and lay them flat to freeze, but then they aren't nearly as cute if you want to give them away as gifts! I definitely want to make one more batch and I'm sure we'll still have lots of berries to enjoy. 

This is by far my most favorite thing about gardening...I love being able to save the food we grow and use it throughout the year. I feel so pioneer like! Now I just need Michael to make me a few more garden beds so we can become more and more self sustaining! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

He Likes It!!!

This is Owen on his first day of the Summer Learning Program. He was all smiles and ready to go. 

I drive him to the bus stop in the morning because the other 3 or 2 kiddos stay at home...asleep and I want to get back to them as fast as I can. Sometimes Ella or Zeke will wake up and come with us.

Owen loves that he gets to sit in the front seat. He's so chill! 

On the first morning the kids got to mess around with the sunroof. They thought that was pretty cool! 

The first letter that came home from school with the bus schedule on it said his bus would pick him up at 6:59. Well we waited and waited and waited and I finally remembered that they also sent me an email. In the email it said the bus would pick him up at 7:24. Yeah...a bit of a difference. The first week the bus was late pretty much everyday both for pick up and drop off. Now that we are in the second week things are getting figured out. 

Owen is really enjoying the Summer Program. I think it's so great for him. Even if he didn't really need it I would love to sign him up for this every summer. He needs structure and this provides it! He loves that there are no behavior clips that can move up and down, no homework and they get 3 recesses! Plus he gets breakfast and lunch and according to him he gets to eat cake! What more could you ask for?