Hi there.
This is me...a happy wife, mom to three awesome boys, teacher to the aforementioned boys (we homeschool), chauffeur to karate, archery and swim team practices, scrapbooker and founder of the Good Grief Blog.
Life is good.




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Monday musings

- Coconut oil is awesome. Last week I had hives on my legs for days. No idea why, but they were uber annoying. ;) I tried four different antihistamines and an anti-itch cream. Nothing helped, though one of the antihistamines did put me to sleep so at least I wasn't itching then, lol. On Friday, I tried coconut oil. Within minutes the itching stopped. Within 24 hours the hives were almost completely gone!  Plus, I smelled like a macaroon and my legs are super soft. ;) Yay, coconut oil!

- For what it's worth, we're going to need to rethink our outdoor Christmas lighting this year. For years, we've used the little hooks that Nathan installed all around/under the eaves...hundreds of little hooks less than a foot apart under the eaves of the roof over the garage and around to the front door. Like this (scroll down). For reasons unknown, though, the house painting crew unscrewed and removed each and every one of them when they repainted the house. We didn't discover this until after all the painting was completed, and Nathan's unenthusiastic about replacing them. ;) Hmmm. The pre-lit wreaths we usually hang around the outdoor lights probably won't work either, since the new outdoor lights are larger. Going to have to think more on this... 

- If you come to my house and ring the doorbell, please don't be surprised if it takes awhile for me to open the door. We replaced the weather stripping and door hardware, and the combination apparently makes the door SUPER sealed. Which is good. But I can't always open the door without some significant tugging. We're working on it. ;)


What's left...

The backyard is the final piece in putting the house back together again. Here's what it looked like before:

(Yup, that's roofing materials up on top, lol.) 

Right now, here's what it looks like having removed the deck and mended the siding there so it could all be painted (minus the ladder, since that was just being used to put the window screens back up)...

So. We obviously need to do something about replacing the deck. :) The insurance declared it mostly totalled and is paying to mostly replace it. We're in the process of getting bids and are thinking we'll end up with a paver or stamped concrete patio instead of a deck. (If you have any suggestions or recommended contractors or just plain ideas, send 'em my way!! The slope in the backyard is giving us some troubles...)

Once we figure that out and get the work done (such that we have steps again and can get out the sliding door), we'll replace that sliding door, too. It has nothing to do with the hail storm but needs to be replaced (because it doesn't lock correctly and sometimes doesn't open correctly and isn't sealed correctly). ;)

And then we'll be done. For now. ;) It's been a year packed with home projects, and we're tired. :)


Thank you, hail storm!

Okay. We're at the point where most everything is finally taken care of and I can think straight again, lol. (Ironically, I just realized that we're exactly one month out from my brain almost exploding, lol.) So. Here's my wrap-up of before and after pics for now. 

First is a basic photo from the front of the house, before the hail storm:

And here's how it looks now. Things that changed include the new fence, removal of the trees growing in the fenceline, removal of the screen door and repainting of the front door, repainting of the entire house and trim, new gutters and screens for the whole house, and new roof.

Some little details were addressed as well (not covered by insurance but the timing seemed right and we'd been wanting to change them for awhile anyhow)...here's the before:

Here's the after. We changed out the outside lights, door hardware, and doorbell (and house numbers, which you can't see in this picture) from brass to bronze. (Wish I'd taken a picture before Nathan removed the screen door, which was annoying as heck.) I'm on the lookout for a new doormat and possibly a wreath (as the boys nixed me putting my star back up...said it was too much red, lol).

And here's the view of our south side yard, from the backyard, before:

And here it is now. We removed all the cables and satellite dishes and such attached to the house and got rid of the dumping area and rock pile in the corner (by the fence) and pruned that pine tree so we could move the fenceline forward a bit. We have no idea what to do there now, but at least it's cleared out. ;)

Also, you can't see it well, but we installed polyguard window well covers, which will hopefully prevent any flooding in the basement in the future.

The same weekend we got rid of the dumping area and rock pile, we cleaned out the garage...which was too full to fit the replacement car we got after the hail storm totalled Nathan's Scion. (This is before.)

It's hard to see the details, but we really eliminated a LOT of stuff to make room. The garage feels positively spacious now. And, for the moment at least, we actually know where things are, lol:

Whew. So, that's that. Thanks to our insurance, most all of this stuff was covered...thank you, hail storm! ;) Thanks to the fact that we knew we needed to replace the roof soon anyhow (it was about 24 years old shake) and Nathan was able to work an additional job last fall/winter, we had enough saved up to more than cover what wasn't covered by insurance. Feeling incredibly blessed!

(We still have the back deck to replace and will then also replace the sliding door back there...more on that in a minute.)


Side effects

With three weeks of this one-kid-in-public-school-thing under our belts, we've noticed some (mostly unanticipated) side effects. I figured I'd share. ;)

  • We need to figure out a new time to get Noah to the archery range to practice. We'd been going on Friday mornings, when school is in session and the range is quiet, but that doesn't work now. :) Between swim team practice and homework, we haven't figured this out quite yet but are working on it.
  • I actually have a chance to eat the leftovers for lunch before the starving teen gets to them. :)
  • On the other hand, I don't have a handy teen available to reach high things for me or open jars that I can't open.
  • Noah has a renewed love of chess. (His faculty advisor leads the chess "club" so he plays a game or two every day there with the roughly 20 other students in the group. Noah's delighted, as apparently there isn't enough competition here at home, lol.)
  • Oddly, Noah has declared that he actually enjoys quizzes and tests. Who knew? I didn't do many of those in our homeschooling because I already knew what the boys knew and didn't know, but Noah says he appreciates being able to see what he knows and doesn't know. Lesson learned. :) (Incidentally, allow me to brag for one small moment. The boy has scored nearly perfect scores on the half dozen or so quizzes/tests he's had so far...and that includes an oral presentation in his English class!)

I'm sure there will be other side effects that crop up. :) In the meantime, we're rather enjoying this adventure...



So. We still have this tv in our garage. It's a Magnavox 20" tv/dvd combo with remote...purchased new about 8 years ago. As of April, when we moved it to the garage, it worked just fine. 

If you're local and can pick it up, it's yours! If you're not interested but happen to know where we can recycle/get rid of it...PLEASE let me know! 

UPDATE: It's been recycled locally! Thanks all!