Hello out there friends. I haven't wandered onto my old blog much in the past couple years. I'm hoping to do some updates and more writing in the near future, and also try to fix some glitches and format of my blog (although I may need to recruit someone who knows what they're doing). Until then you can follow me and our crew over at Instagram. I've been posting "stories" most every day and photos occasionally. It seems that if I can't do it with my phone, and can't post something within a few seconds, it just doesn't get done. Blogging takes brain cells, time and some effort...which have been in short supply in recent years. The fog is starting to clear though and ideas are once again rattling in my brain.
If you just clicked a link and found my blog...welcome! It's nothing fancy as you can see but I have poured my heart out into words over the past 10 yrs. I started this page a decade ago when blogging was new, my internet was dial up, I had a flip phone and I had zero social media accounts. A lot has changed, not the least my family. I hope you linger a while and find some tidbit that inspires, encourages or makes you laugh.
Here is a link to Instagram (since my side bar thingy no longer works and I haven't figured out how to get it back) *update: I think I got it working again*
This is a home renovation post that I've been meaning to do for a long time. I've been thoroughly enjoying my upsized living space for the past year.
When we bought our house 15 years ago in a rural Saskatchewan hamlet it seemed huge to us. We had been living in a very small house at the time and only had one child, with one on the way. I couldn't imagine how we would ever outgrow our "new" 3 bedroom home. It was an old farm house that had been moved into town by a previous owner and we paid $24,500 for it. No joke. That's what houses in rural SK were worth back then. At the time we were so broke that it was a huge leap of faith for us. One I'm VERY glad we made considering how the cost of housing unexpectedly increased. It needed some fixing up but it was very livable. The fixing up could come later.
Turns out it came much later but little by little we've made improvements on the house. In the past few years we've made the most drastic improvements beginning with the kitchen in the winter of 2014. The original was kind of a tragic mix of old home made farm kitchen (that made sawdust in all the drawers) combined with cheap particle board add ons.
My husband did a bang up job at a kitchen reno. Being married to a Journeyman cabinet maker finally paid off.
It got much worse before it got better!
Bottom cabinets and countertop coming together. Old upper cupboards stay put but get new doors.
The magic happening behind the scenes out in the garage.
Is may husband a rockstar or what?
After the renovation (minus the backsplash which took a few years do to because of other pending renovations).
Fast forward a year and we took an even deeper plunge into a major reno. The kind that requires taking on a whole new mortgage to complete.
First we started with replacing all the main floor windows in the Spring of 2015. Many were original old wooden frames and some that had been replaced by previous owner had broken and weren't functional
This is how many of our windows looked during the winter. They had to go.
Once again it got worse before it got better. Much worse. For a very long time.
Yes, there was a giant hole in my house.
My husband also added insulation to everything. Here he is pulling out the old original horse hair insulation. I kid you not.
Some of the old windows.
An unused entry way that was poorly built, uninsulated and very cold.
It was the tiny room on the other side of these glass doors.
That unused porch area was transformed into a toy closet and the outside door was removed. We have also added a new foundation to the room and insulated it properly
We pulled off all the siding on the outside of the house and discovered a lot of mould damage. That validated our decision to take on some extra debt (and work) in order to fix this house up. If we had ignored it for much longer it would have been an unfixable problem.
After removing and patching up completely rotted wood in many places my husband added outside insulation to the entire house. As it was, our home was only insulated with saw dust which made for a cold drafty house during Saskatchewan winters.
The biggest part of the reno was the decision to add on to the existing house.
The guys digging a trench so SaskEnergy could come and relocate the gas lines. Don't be alarmed, they weren't digging where the gas lines were located they were digging where they would be moved. SaskEnergy said it would cost us less if we did the grunt work. They painted a path on the grass and we got to work.
Always time to play.
The addition would be a new dining room on the main floor and a new basement bedroom (and a renovation of the existing basement bedroom)
It was a whole family project with my Dad helping as well as my nephew.
Starting to take shape after harvest. It was a race against the weather which was holding out beautifully.
Roman was able to help with the entire project. He learned a lot.
We also reroofed and resided the entire house that summer.
Making Mom nervous.
Everyone was looking forward to a bigger eating space. The weird looking wall behind the kids was a makeshift, temporary wall to keep out some of the cold and draft since by then it was October. Behind that wall is the unfinished addition. My hubby placed an old window in it so Annie and the other kids would watch the work being done on the other side.
The snow came before we were finished the exterior but thankfully it melted and gave us a little more time before full on winter hit.
It was exciting to see it look like an actual part of our house.
Our first look at our new room from the inside.
Annie checking out the new basement room. My brother in law came out to do all the HVAC work.
By this time I was growing weary of parenting in a construction zone. Toddlers and construction zones do not mix.
We hired professionals to do the dry wall work so we could get it done properly and quickly.
At this point in the renos I moved out with the kids until the drywall was done. Between drywall dust everywhere, the noise of power tools, a dry wall crew walking around, the usual sorts of marital tensions brought on by extra logistical struggles and stress, and parenting exhaustion...I was very ready to be done with this whole ordeal. It had been an exhausting several months. Mostly for my husband. He had accomplished so much that year already considering spring, summer, and fall are also our busiest seasons on the farm.
We were all rapidly reaching burn out levels.
This machine chopped and blew the insulation through a hose with my husband held up in the attic. Once again Roman proved himself an asset. This boy can work!
We completed the indoor walls, insulation and paint just before Christmas 2015. We paused the renos, put away the tools and used the new room even though it didn't have flooring yet. We put a Christmas tree in the basement that year an decorations were minimal. We clawed for some sort of household normalcy over Christmas.
The first time enjoying our new space. Even though it was unfinished and our table was a sheet of MDF with a picnic table cloth on it. It was so much fun to finally use the space we had been working so hard to create.
Aili's huge, beautiful new bedroom in the basement. I'm still at little jealous.
Silas finally had a bedroom (his own ) after a year of being a transient middle child and sleeping on a mat on the floor in whatever room he chose to toss it down. Sometimes you do what you have to do in a big family. Annie required her own bedroom for her first two years because she was such a horrible sleeper.
If you look closely you'll see that Roman, who is sitting on the bed, is holding a newborn. Right after Christmas, as we were in the throws of holiday chaos and entirely overwhelmed by life in general (renovations have a way of making you question all your life's choices) we got a phone call asking if we would take a baby boy. Annie's (20 months) biological half brother. Considering we were only approved for one, and were no longer on the call list (and were "at capacity" officially and otherwise) it was quite a shock. The call came just as my husband was finishing up the paint and new flooring in the basement bedrooms. I actually walked into the basement, and interrupted his work, to tell him about the phone call. We made new space and God filled it.
Later in the winter, once we found our footing, we put down wood flooring. By "we" I mean my husband and son Roman. I moved to my parents house with the younger kids for a few days until it was done.
The finished product is beautiful!
I love it. It just turned out perfect for us.
Especially considering most every decor choice revolved around price and practicality.
Every day I enjoy the simple loveliness of it.
My carpenter husband build it to perfection. Which is amazing considering it began as a whole in the ground. The new floor and the old lined up perfectly. Exact enough to run flooring from old house into new. Everything perfectly square and level. He's a perfectionist when he works but the end result is genius.
We found a gorgeous large wood table on a good sale and then bought some black chairs from IKEA.
I was able to move in my Grandmothers china cabinet and fill it with various old pretty dishes that hold so many memories for me as well as a set of china dishes we inherited from my mother-in-law after she died. I get more sentimental the older I get. Maybe because the older you get the more goodbyes you have to say.
In the new dining room we have 2nd outside door leading to a backyard deck.
This summer 2017 we finally got backsplash in the kitchen. We went for cheap and simple...simple to install mostly. Not that it wasn't time consuming.
With that we were finished.
Now for the rest of the house....
One thing at a time.
I like to imagine this room being used to host many future Holiday dinners.
A home where we raise all 7 of our children. A home that they come back to with their own families.