April 2018 Blizzard

Snow! I’m a bit tired of the stuff, and so are the kids. But, that hasn’t stopped Mother Nature from sending MN more of the white stuff. Reports say that this is the snowiest April on record for MN… ever. We’ve gotten about 15 inches since Friday and it is still going!

I guess this will delay all those outdoor projects the kids have planned… At least Ozzy is having a bit of fun in the snow!


Going Gray on Top

Well, the jig is up, as they say. My formerly brown roof has lost its dye job and is now showing my age… no more youthful, mousey brown for me; I’m now showing off an older and wiser steely gray. And here I thought that facelift was supposed to be making me look younger! Don’t tell the kids, but I think it makes me look distinguished.

The brown worked well with the yellow exterior I had when Steph and Chad bought me five years ago (yep! five years this past June!)… Wow, have things changed!


But then, last year the kids got the new blue siding and I became this…


The brown roof just wasn’t working any longer. That, along with another winter with a few hints from me in the form of ice dams, led to the realization that a new roof was in order. After a referral from a neighbor and many conversations, Steph and Chad chose a new color. The variations of grays almost give me a salt-and-pepper look.

Work started and finished on December 7 on the house and shed. That’s right, it only took one day with the experienced crew from Balancing Rock Design


On December 8, the gazebo also got a new roof to fix the crumbling, rotted cedar shingles (post with pictures to come of that soon). Since it is winter, it has been a bit difficult to get good photos of the finished product. Here’s the best we can do at the moment:

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Steph had plans to paint that shed last summer, but she broke her leg at the end of June and was unable to do much of anything for the next six weeks. After surgery to get a plate and seven screws, she was scooter bound and then slow going with recovery. Luckily, a busy 2-year-old little guy was the best therapy she could have.img_0817img_0880

It’s hard to believe that nearly a year has gone by since my last post. That is because not a lot has changed around here…until the roof. I’m hoping 2018 will have more going on for me to report about (my list includes landscaping, a new garage door, a new front stoop, and so much more). Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours!

Hello, Stainless Steel

The kids received their Christmas present a few days late. They have been whining and complaining ever since they moved in about how much they disliked the fridge that has been my friend for quite some time now. I admit, she was getting tired…and loud… And she didn’t give them much space for food, but she was a good fridge. 

Now, the kids went stainless steel… Thinking of the future resale opportunities that will bring. We won’t go into what it took to get it here (6 trips to Sears, 1 failed delivery, and lots of worrying), but will just say, welcome new friend. May we enjoy getting to know you…starting with the mower and Tonka truck. 

On a sad note, the old fridge wasn’t the only loss this Christmas. Chad and Steph were excited to tell their families that there was going to be a second mini Finne joining the family in July. Then, on December 17, at just over 8 weeks, they lost the baby. The kids have appreciated the support of their families during these tough weeks. They hope 2017 brings new beginnings and peace to all.

My Facelift

My sad, aging face was given a major facelift this summer. In fact, most of my old friends probably wouldn’t recognize me now if it weren’t for the fact that landscaping won’t happen until next summer!

Here’s the scoop… the kids called a contractor (Entire Exteriors) to give them a quote on replacing the soffits on the upper level. While he was here, he mentioned the hail damage on the siding and roof. He said it was from a hail storm the previous year and the kids had a month left to make an insurance claim and get it fixed. They did. It took all summer of waiting for insurance quotes and haggling on pricing, but work finally began at the end of August. Within a week, there was new siding, new fascia, new soffits, new window trim, and new gutters. The kids also got a new front door and new exterior lights.

I started like this…DSC07044[1]

In this one I’m naked…img_0554

A day later…img_0570

My backside…img_0601

I’m nearly ready here…img_0617

After the construction crew left, Steph painted my new front door “Fresh Pineapple.” She also painted the pallet that hides the garbage cans. dsc02942


Next summer, the kids hope to pull out the steps and build a deck out front. They also want to move out the rock under the windows and around the side of the house and replace it with plants and mulch. Until then, I’m pretty happy with this view. Man, I look good in the fall (even with a permit in the window)!dsc02944

The Books Have a Home!


That project that would never end has been completed!! When they moved in, the wet bar looked like this…Wet bar before

The kids immediately took down the faux roof (that Chad kept hitting his head on) and patched the ceiling. For a couple years it stayed that way. At the end of January 2015, work began on the wet bar. The carpet and cabinets on the wall were removed, and I looked like this. DSC09433

Chad and his father-in-law put up some bead board and it was painted to match the rest of the paneling around the room. Then a base frame was inserted to begin the lower cabinets.DSC09450

Soon after, Chad and his father started the bottom drawers. They were finished in September.

After a break over the holidays, work began again… with a vengeance. Chad and his dad began measuring, cutting, sanding, staining, and polying the upper shelves. They inserted metal tracks for adjusting the shelves as well.

As of May 10, 2016, the book shelves are complete! Happy First Mother’s Day to Steph! She jumped at the chance to fill them and let her books breathe again. She was kind enough to give Chad one of the shelves. And then she asked for another shelf for each section… so maybe they aren’t done after all. :0)DSC02242DSC02241

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate this before and after…. ahhh!

Baby Gate

The kids finally got that baby gate up! The lil’ one has been crawling for a couple months now and is getting speedier all the time. A few weeks ago, they got the baby gate put up on the stairs going down.

It took a couple tries… the first gate was pressure mounted and wouldn’t work with the iron railing. The second gate had an adapter to work with the iron railing, alas, it was not wide enough to fit the extra large opening! Finally, gate number three was just right…with a diy adjustment that is…


The iron railing side now has a two by four mounted on it with the hook side. It isn’t all that pretty, but it works! DSC02249

The screen spans the opening nicely, and it easily retracts, saving space and avoiding trying to swing a gate out of the way. It is also strong enough to keep the little one from falling down the stairs.DSC02252

Now if they just need to do another to keep him from climbing up them…which he loves to do!
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An Update…

Well, it’s been months and months since I’ve had the chance to speak. It’s like someone doesn’t want me to … ahem … complain.

Last fall the kids completed their work on the peanut. With an adorable supervisor looking on, they planted a hydrangea, some hostas, some juniper, and some decorative grasses. They also got some mulch and finished it all up in one weekend. The local deer took out the hostas pretty quickly, but the kids are hopeful that next summer they can find a way to keep them alive.2015-10-04 16.05.15-1

More work has finally been started on the wet bar/book shelves…IMG_1006

Stain is being applied and then these pieces can be inserted. Steph is impatiently waiting for there to be shelves to fill. Her books have been boxed for more than a year now, making her very sad.

The new addition, Ozzy, has already acquired a lot of stuff… it’s like he’s moving in for the foreseeable future. There are a lot of toys and it seems like more arrive all of the time. Steph is trying to keep things organized, but some days it feels like a losing battle. Every time she deals with one pile, another appears.

The baby is getting big…he’s already 8 months old! He has two teeth, and he’s started some crawling. It is still a lot of work, so he isn’t going far yet, but it’s only a matter of time. I’ll post again when the baby gates go up (I promise)!

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Peanut Progress

To say the kids have been distracted this summer is an understatement! After we last visited in May, the baby boy arrived in June and things went from quiet to baby in no time flat. There was still some work done on the wet bar, but mostly it is ogling the little tyke as much as possible.

Last we left off on the wet bar we had gone from this:

DSC06183 to…

DSC07029 Since then, bead board went up in the back, and it was painted the same color as the rest of the walls in the room.DSC09450 Then work began on the drawers as the base. The big guy and his dad put in a lot of time and energy getting them built.IMG_4305 Once they were finished and stained, they looked like this:

IMG_3292 And that is where the wet bar stands today… minus the tools and plastic. Shelves will be going up above the drawers soon… well, as soon as another project is completed. Yes, the kids finally got started on the peanut!

Peanut progress was slow to start, but one day Chad and his dad made short work of the existing plants. If you remember, we started with this:

123 (3) Last fall they took out the evergreen and some lilies, and all summer people have been looking at this:

DSC07044[1] Not terrible, I guess. It could be worse. But last week they finished pulling out the plants and small rocks.


The kids hope to reshape the peanut to an oval this weekend and get compost to prepare for planting. Finally! Cross your fingers things go quickly… fall weather is coming soon!

Nothing much has really changed except the wet bar and nursery, so we’ll skip the house tour this year… maybe next year there will be enough changes to warrant one!

Instead, here’s what those new parents have been staring at all summer…

One month old Ozzy…058 (2)

Two month old Ozzy…DSC00205

Three month old Ozzy…DSC00458

I have to admit, he’s pretty cute and a good baby as far as I can tell. He certainly makes his parents happy (now if I could just get them back to work making me even more handsome)!

The Nursery

The kids are very excited for the arrival of the little one. Baby is due in a couple weeks or so, and I’m excited to have my walls echoing with the sounds of a baby crying again. It’s been years since I’ve had a newborn around.

The nursery is pretty much ready and waiting for its new tenant. The kids turned the craft room into the baby’s room. Since they didn’t find out the sex of the baby (much to the dismay of several family members…), they kept the colors neutral and have a lot of personal touches.

From the doorway, one will see the crib made by the big guy’s father.


The very talented Granddaddy Os spent months working on the beautiful crib that turns into a toddler bed. There are two drawers on the bottom and three on the side. When we get to toddler age, the rails and side drawers lift off.


Turning left, there is the window, a glider, and some book racks made from Ikea spice racks.

DSC09669    DSC09677

Another turn is the closet wall…The mom onsie above the chair is just a placeholder – it will be replaced with the going home outfit knit by the new momma.


One last pivot left is the last wall of the room…


Some of my favorite touches include:

The “mobile” above the crib, which some of you may recognize from their wedding (and the crocheted afghan from family friend Diane and the Dr. Suess quilt from Aunnie Jodi)…

DSC09681  54

The floor pouf was made by Steph, as was the pom rug (which was made with the poms thrown at them during their wedding ceremony)…

DSC09680  65

The artwork they added is adorable too…


The elephant art on the left says “Reach for the stars…  Catch your dreams.”


From left to right: “If there ever comes a day where we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” -Winnie the Pooh; key art representing daddy, mommy, and baby; “Wish a little wish… hope a simple hope… dream a happy dream…” -Pinocchio; “I’ll eat you up I love you so”; and “PS I love you.”


“I love you in the morning and in the afternoon. I love you in the evening and underneath the moon.”


“Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet, reading a picture book. Along came a spider and sat down beside her and said, “May I take a look?”


And a stained-glass angel that Steph’s mom, aka Nana, made for her years ago. Steph has one last project she is working on that connects to that angel, it is hoop art that says, “Angels bless and angels keep, angels guard me while I sleep. Bless my heart and my home, bless my spirit as I roam. Guide and guard me through the night and wake me with the morning light.”


“You are my sunshine.” There is one final project for the big guy too, which is to change the light switch to a dimmer switch. We are all hoping he will get that taken care of this week.

I hope to have a wet bar remodel to brag about soon! And stay posted for the annual June tour, though it may be a little late…

Hello, Leesa!

Long time, no chat! The kids have been busy working on getting ready for their latest project, which will soon become a full-time job! 😉 But a few things have happened around here…

First, due to an old mattress and new pregnancy back pain, the kids got a new mattress. After some shopping around, they settled on a mail-order foam mattress called the Leesa. It is supposed to be close to a tempurpedic mattress, but at a fraction of the cost. It is made of three types of foam and has a lycra cover. The mattresses aren’t available to test out in a store (helping keep the cost down), so the kids went to Ikea to test similar mattresses. Then they took the plunge.

About a week and a half after ordering the Leesa online, the 68-pound box arrived on their doorstep. The mattress is compressed for shipping and looked like this:


The big guy hauled it upstairs and unboxed it. Let me tell you, this did not look like a mattress…


The instructions looked simple enough: unroll it on top of a box spring or other flat surface, unwrap it, and let it inflate for two hours or more. So they got to work:

DSC09459  DSC09461

Within 15 minutes, it had gone from as thick as a towel to halfway expanded.


By the time they went to bed, it was perfect. A little shorter than the old mattress with a memory foam topper, which made getting in bed much easier for Steph but the big guy wasn’t thrilled with it. He let the baby bump get its way for now… Steph felt a difference immediately. She felt no more back pain from the first night. It took Chad a little longer to get used to it, but now he is a fan.

Other projects in the works include the wet bar turned book nook. There is a bit of progress made… but I’ll wait for the big reveal for that one. The nursery is nearly ready for its big reveal as well… Steph has a couple finishing touches before she will let me open my big mouth. And there are new bookshelves downstairs that are fully loaded with movies yet still have some room for toy storage. Pictures to come another day.

There is a new entryway setup–one of many items on Steph’s To Do List before baby arrives. She still wants to replace the doorbell cover, but for now it will look like this:

2015-05-08 16.44.06

More another day…