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:

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More another day…

Hibernation Mode

Ahhh, winter! The kids and I have been hibernating for the past few months. Projects have been put on hold. Blogs have been ignored…. Other than celebrating a couple weddings and the holidays, hibernation mode has put us in complete shutdown.

But they have had a few things going on. To Chad’s dismay, Steph added a second tree to their Xmas decorations… which means 1.5 trees in the house. The full tree went down in the fireplace level, so there was a sparkling tree on each level where they hide out.

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And there were lights on the outside again too.

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And they have been trying to get the furnace figured out. A very loud grinding noise led to several furnace repair appointments. There is still a part on order, but they hope to get it all fixed shortly.

Hibernation is nearly over though… the kids have some projects to finish before summer. Here are some goals for early 2015:

Build bookshelves on the wet bar wall/platform…
Build shelves on the fireplace wall…
Build shelves in the laundry room… (Can you tell I don’t provide a lot of storage??)
Clear out half of the office in the basement…
Clear out the craft room and move it to the basement…
Add a crib, rocking chair, and closet shelves to the craft room…
Hang nursery decorations in the craft room!

Yes, as you can see by the list, one reason for the hibernation beginning (and ending) is the kids’ biggest project to date… a kiddo of their own. The June bug is due to arrive at the beginning of June, so there is a lot to do in the next few months! I’ll keep you posted on their progress… when there is something to report!

Soffit to Me!

Ahhh! Fall is here again. The trees are dropping leaves, making yardwork take even longer than before. Luckily, the soffit project is done for the year, so the kids have more time to take care of them!

After the ice dam drama last winter, insulation was added but the kids noticed the soffits had very few vents along the roof line, meaning there was little air flow to keep the attic cool. The front and back of the house each had only one vent. Not good.

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After some prodding (I won’t say nagging… such an awful word!) by Steph to get started, the big guy finally got around to tackling the job as the weather got colder and colder. He tore out all of the originals first, it went pretty quick.

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Then the kids cut soffits and started adding them back.

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Much better! The window gave Chad some trouble after he added some insulation and spray foam, but luckily his dad came and gave him a hand on a beautiful 80 degree fall day. They got the window a new frame to hold the soffits and it looks great.


With the front finished, they moved to the back of the house. This side went much faster, and the soffits were done in no time. They can’t be sure, but they feel like it is already helping hold some heat in here. Here’s to hoping this winter I stay a little warmer and more energy efficient!


A Peanut of a Problem…

A few weeks ago, while Steph ran to The Home Depot (yes, THE Home Depot … it says so on the sign), the big guy got some help from the neighbor and his truck to pull out the sad, yet overgrown spruce out of the front peanut. When she got home and saw the immediate improvement, she wanted to keep progress moving. She convinced Chad to dig up a few of the lilies hiding their boulder. That was as far as they got, but it made a big difference in the curbside view. Steph’s goal for the fall is to clear out the rest of the peanut, move out the rock, reshape the peanut, and make sure it is all ready to plant in the spring. But here’s the problem… what shape do they make it? First, some visuals…

Before: (You can’t tell from this angle, but there is a big hole on the other side of the spruce. It was in sad shape.)

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With the spruce gone:

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And minus some lilies:



Every time they do front yard work, you can see more of me! Aren’t I something?!

Anyway, back to the peanut problem. The kids have been tossing around the idea of making the peanut into an oval and adding some new plants and mulch. BUT, Steph has also suggested cutting the peanut in half and only having a small circle of plants. They are leaning toward creeping phlox in front, Veronica behind the rock, and (if an oval) Geisha hostas. Let us all know what you think… 

Circle with grass?

Option 1 creeping phlox and Veronica

Or oval with hostas? (Please ignore the poor gimpshop editing!)

Option 2 front house


Inquiring minds want to know!

2014 Summer Progress

The kids have been off gallivanting all summer, but they have managed to get a few things done in between running here and there. So far this summer…

The garden is growing. Chad is battling some fungus problems, but the zucchini is growing and Steph actually found a tomato she likes… the black sea man!


The big guy pulled up the “sidewalk” in the back and planted grass. It already feels like a huge improvement (well, except for the shrub that was killed by the ice dam). Here is before and after…

Pathway backyard DSC07010

They took down the bowed bird feeder too. One less obstacle for any visiting pups. And Chad re-leveled some of the paver patio and finally sealed it.

Steph stained another coat on the deck, last year’s coat had soaked right in and it was too cold to do a second coat. She’s hoping this year’s coat will be enough to keep the rich color and protect the wood. Motorcycle Gnome approves.


Inside there are some new vents in the basement office, which have already helped cool things down. Thanks to Randy for all his help!

The project Steph is grinning about is the big one. The wet bar demolition has begun. It feels like part of me is missing and strewn all over the yard.


It started a month ago when Steph decided she’d had enough of the rust, orange, and brown shag carpet and pulled it down… then Chad helped her take down the upper cabinets. Last weekend, with some help from family, the plumbing on the wet bar was disconnected and the rest of the cabinets were removed. It went from this…

DSC06183 to this…


Paint is due to go up soon, then patching the carpet and finding some shelves… bookshelves–a whole wall of them. So more work to do, projects never end!

Two Year Anniversary Tour

Two years ago on June 19th, the deed was done. I got new owners after more than 40 years with the same family. A lot has changed in those two years… mostly all good. I can’t complain too much. I thought I would take you on a tour of what I look like today to commemorate the anniversary.

So, let’s get started. Pulling up out front used to look like this…


And now today…


When you walk in the front door, you enter the living room and dining room…



Which used to look like this…


The kitchen is also on this level. Remember this…


Here it is today… The kids still have big plans for it, but it will be a while yet before they get to that remodel.


FYI… the fridge is looking a little bare, so any kids wanting to help fill it with art or photographs, feel free to send them my way! There are some mustaches waiting to find faces!






Going upstairs leads to three bedrooms and a bathroom…


Spare bedroom…


Craft room… kind of a mess…



The master…


Upper bathroom…


The paint is peeling on the bathroom walls… those three different sanding/cleaning sprees Steph went on didn’t get all of the wallpaper glue off. Looks like she will be taking another shot at it sometime in the future. A little hidden gem is in this room though…



Going downstairs from the main level leads to the family room…


Remember the brown paneling and the gun cabinet?





Here it is today…


There is also the bathroom…


And of course the wet bar, which Steph sincerely hopes will be gone by the end of summer…



From there, you go down again to my basement. There is an office, which is currently being used as a storage space, and the laundry room.



There are plenty of plans being made for inside, but I won’t bore you with the details. Just know that it means more blog posts in the future. (I’ve been hibernating for a few months!) The outside is still getting love this summer too. New hardy hibiscus on the side of the house (the poor second one had the roots break off during planting, so they are working harder to catch up to the others!)…


Chad’s garden has lettuce, zucchini, flamingo pepper, early red pepper, habenero pepper, Early Girl tomato, Black Sea Man tomato, Sweet Million tomato, and Indigo Blue Beauty tomato plants…



The gazebo and deck each got a coat of stain last year. The deck is not so patiently waiting for a second coat.



And we can’t forget the paver patio for the garbage cans, which still needs a couple additions to it…Image


It’s been a busy couple years with new flooring throughout, new paint in nearly every room, a wedding, two foster dogs, and lots of fun with family and friends. Here’s hoping the next two are just as full of updates, love, and fun!

Happy Memorial Day!



Thank you to all of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Thank you also to all of the men and women who are veterans, who are currently serving, or who are going to enlist to serve our country. We can’t thank you enough. 

This memorial day the kids will be thinking of their loved ones. They will also keep working on yard work and playing with their new foster pup, Tessa. If you are looking to add some boxer wiggle to your life, check out Tessa at the MN Boxer Rescue. Image

Easter Egg Tree


My, we’ve had some work done in here lately. The kids removed a few ice dams and had some insulation installed, which I desperately needed. The big guy has been changing out the insulation in my rim joists too. The place is a mess! The craft room was torn apart to let the insulation guys in and the basement was moved all around to get to the walls. Steph decided that instead of tackling putting things back together tonight she was going to put up an Easter Egg Tree out front! (Chad thinks it is a waste of time… especially when she shamed him into helping her!)

Here is from the street to the house (ignore the bare spot in the tree… it’s still bouncing back from all the winter snow):Image

Here is toward the street:


When Steph was growing up, her neighbor put up an Easter Egg tree every year. He was one of her favorite people, and she remembers him fondly and misses him a lot. She’s always wanted to have her own Easter Egg tree, and this year she finally has it! I imagine it will end up being a lot like the Christmas tree and she won’t leave it alone–adding to it all the way up to Easter!

Happy Spring!

Bathroom Update

The roof wasn’t the only thing getting a minor makeover this winter. Steph has been working on a little update in the downstairs bathroom. It has been a long process, starting back in May! The kids used some of their wedding money to update the old fixtures. In case you forgot what they looked like, here is a little reminder:


The kids got a new toilet paper holder, light fixture, towel ring, light switches, and robe hook.



That was a breath of fresh air for Steph, but she still wasn’t loving it. That cabinet above the toilet was making her claustrophobic.  They also received some wine racks that she intended to put up as towel holders to add linen storage in the room, but first she had to get a replacement cabinet. Finally, months later, she used a Christmas gift card to do that… with this beauty!



She got the hubby to help her hang it and take down the cabinet, then she got to work spot painting some damage. Once that was done, the wine racks were hung over the toilet with care.


Steph was a happy camper now that linens were in the room, but she wasn’t quite done. She decided to stain the cabinet to get rid of one of the good old wood paneling. With a few coats of gel stain and new hardware, we went from this….

Downstairs bathroom vanity before  to this… DSC04466


Just a couple things left to do and this bathroom will be set for a few years…. Steph wants to paint the top of the counter and replace the faucet. Gross, right?



All in all, we are both happy with the progress of the bathroom. One step at a time, right?

Downstairs bathroom before  DSC04505



Damn You, Ice Dams!

I’ve been hibernating. It’s true. Minnesota winters, especially this one, are perfect for hunkering down and ignoring everyone and everything. This winter has been one for the record books – more negative temperature days and record snowfall, which has led to hibernation … and disaster for me! I developed ice dams once again. See the ice build up?


Yes, I’ve had them before. The kids saw them last year and threw up roof melt. They knew I needed an insulation upgrade and were planning to do that this summer, but the damn ice dams sped up the process when they started to cause damage. I leaked. It’s horrible, I know. I didn’t mean to do it. One day, the kids noticed these spots…

The front room:Image

The dining room: Image

The master bedroom: Image

The big guy climbed up in the attic to check out the damage and found the leak was in a spot that wouldn’t even allow for a bucket to catch the dripping. So, a few ice dam removal companies were called. None replied. Luckily, a referral given to Steph led them to MN Remodel Solutions. They came out within a day of calling and within a week, the ice dams were removed. 

First, shoveling started… Image

After 6.5 hours of steam, the ice was gone.


Now, the kids need to keep it clean and clear of ice until the spring so attic work can commence and insulation can be inserted. I hope next year will be better!


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