Saturday, July 19, 2014

My New Barn Door

I have a door!  I HAVE A DOOR!  Do you hear angels singing?  I do! I've lived in this house for TEN YEARS WITH NO DOOR!  I don't know who designed this house, but why would you not put a door on a bathroom?  It doesn't even have a door to a separate toilet area - just NO door at all until NOW!  

Here's the before shot.  You can imagine how this must light up the room, when someone gets up in the middle of the night or gets up early for work.  It was an extra wide opening, so we had to special order a door that would fit.

Because of the shape, you couldn't really just add a door frame without cutting the wall and evening out those corners.  Even if you cut the corners and ordered a frame and door, it would still all need to be custom because of the size.  Custom = $$$.

I don't care anymore.  I have a door!  

We went up to The Door Store in Marysville with our measurements and my PInterest board filled with barn doors.  They said, "Oh, sure.  We can totally do that for you.  The door will be about $1,500 and the track is about $500."  Then I mentioned that I want the cheaper version.  They showed me the cheaper version but it still wasn't in out budget, so I forced them to get a little creative.  They said they could do a special order door, that wouldn't be a true barn door, but would at least have a couple of panels.  They found an unfinished door for me, so I could finish it myself and save a little more money.  The unfinished 4 panel door cost us $350, which was a much better price for this project.  It's solid and heavy, which is what I wanted.  

I was a little disappointed in the finish on the door.  We have been stripping, staining, and varathaning all of the doors, cabinets, and trim in the house.  It's been a long project and we are only about half way done.  When I was staining the doors (we bought a new door to the garage too) I ran out of Varathane.  I took a picture of what I wanted and sent my hubby to Lowe's to pick up a new can.  Well, either I took a picture of the wrong can or he bought the wrong thing.  (I'll go with me taking the wrong picture since he's always nice enough to run out and pick up anything I need for my hairbrained projects.)  Well, the lighting in the garage isn't very good and I didn't even notice how shiny the doors were turning out until I had them hung up.  They are shiny.  Really shiny.  I must have had my hubby buy semi-gloss instead of satin.  Grrrrr.  It really, really, really bothers me when I look at them, but I have no desire to take the doors back down and go through the whole process of refinishing.  So, the doors will stay.

The hardware was another area we had to get creative to cut costs.  The barndoor hardware I really wanted was about $450.  A bathroom door in my master bedroom, that no one will ever see (except my blog reading friends) is not the place I want to spend $450.  So, I asked my Door Store friends if they had any other bright ideas.  They sent us over to the economical version of a track for a sliding door.  This one was only $80.  Perfect!  My first thought was just to spray paint it black and call it done, but then I thought that a burlap valance might be a nice way to hide the track.  My neighbor also suggested a barnwood cornice.  I do have a few pieces of barnwood in my garage, so that may be an option.  For now, I will just be happy to have a door!  I have a door, friends!!

Yep, angels singing.  

I think I'll go down to my local Farm and Garden Feed Center to see if they have any barn door handles.  

It's a happy day!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Behr Deckover Update - Over One Year Later

About twice a month I receive an email from someone about my deck makeover.  It's usually someone who has done a google search and wound up at my blog.  They read my post about painting our deck and then email to see if we are still happy with the product.  Let me start by saying that I have no connection with Home Depot or Behr products.  We simply needed to do something about our aging deck and I decided to blog about the process.  

So, are will still happy?

Absolutely!  I would do it all over again in a heartbeat!  I love the chocolate brown color.  I think our color was called Coffee.  It is the perfect color to compliment our house and it has held up MUCH better than I expected.  It was starting to look a little dirty after the long Winter and Spring, so I decided to pressure wash it in May.  I really expected some chipping of paint, but it never happened once!  I was kind of impressed!
(Isn't this area just screaming for a cute outdoor rug?  If only I didn't live in the wet, wet, wet, Pacific Northwest!)

There were two boards that needed to be replaced before we painted the deck.  We replaced the boards and painted right over them.  I had read that the Deckover product doesn't take to new wood very well, and this little area shows that it is true.  There is a very small area that is starting to bubble a bit on the new boards. This section is so small that it doesn't bother me at all.

I'm still impressed with the product because, even though that one area is bubbling, our deck is huge and there is only one tiny area that is having any sort of problem.

Ok, this is where we need to talk about one more little deck problem.  Please note that the problem has nothing to do with the product.  Do you see those gray-ish marks on my deck?  Well, there are a few of those on my deck now.  I scrubbed it today, to see if the marks would come off, but I was out of luck.

Last week (in our 90 degree heat) my hubby and kids built this little grilling patio off of the deck.  It's a great little space that seems meant to have a grill (or two) ready for a BBQ.  Well, to set the pavers you need a special sand that will stick everything together like concrete when wet.  There was lots of sweeping, tapping, and watering going on, but we didn't really think about how the special sand would affect the deck.
Not only did we walk on the deck, but there are LOTS of paw prints all over.

(By the way, what sort of step would you put right there?  It needs one.)

This guy seems to be the culprit when it comes to paw prints all over my deck.  

"Sorry, Mom.  I'm really, really sorry.  I'll just stay right here on the grass.  And then maybe roll over for a tummy rub."

I hope that answers a few questions about how we are liking our deck!  Yes, I'd do it all over again!  I'd choose the same color too, except this time I would be more careful about paw prints with sand/concrete that won't wash off.  Oops!

Happy painting!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Farm to Table Photography

Last week I got to put my learning from my food photography classes to work.  A couple of friends are opening a restaurant in Downtown Snohomish in a few days.  It's called Roger's River View Bistro and it has a local, farm to table, theme.  They are using local farms and shops to buy their meat, flowers, and produce.  It's just such a "down home" type feel and I can't wait to eat there.

We headed to four different farms and took a few pictures for the website that is being put together.  It was so much fun to meet the farmers and hear about their products.  I've decided that farm photography is my favorite.  I absolutely LOVE taking pictures on our Farm-cation every year, and this was like taking a mini-farm-cation while taking pictures of the farmers in action.

If you love farm to table photography as much as I do, feel free to scroll on through.  If you're not into the photos, just visit my friends Roger and Shannon down in Snohomish at the end of July.  I can't wait to have dinner on the deck!

Happy farm-photography!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Hiking to the Ice Caves

I've been dying to do something really fun lately.  It's summer and we have the time, so I've been suggesting lakes, rivers, outdoor pools, and any fun outings that come to mind.  My kids, on the other hand, usually respond with , "Ehhh."  

Ehhh?  What do you mean, ehhh? It's summer!  It's time to get out and have some fun!  We only have about 4 weeks of nice weather around here and we can't spend those weeks lounging around the house!  Well, my speeches have been falling on deaf ears and all the kids want to do is hang out at home.  Yesterday, we didn't give them a choice.  We just told them what we were doing and where we were going.  My oldest thought hiking to the ice caves sounded pretty cool, but the youngest just wanted to stay home.  Guess who won that battle?

It's called a hiking trail, but it's really more of a short walk with a slight incline.  The trailhead is about an hour from our house.  We got there about 1:00, on our rare 90 degree day.  I think the threat of heat chased people away, because the parking lot was practically empty.  I won't lie.  It was hot walking up there.  When we got to the top, the view was pretty neat!

There are signs all over, warning people not to go exploring in the ice caves.  A few years ago there was a death up here when ice fell on someone exploring.  Everyone was very respectful of the power of Mother Nature and we didn't see anyone going inside the caves.

We did, however, stand on the ice at the bottom for a picture.  Cooper (the dog) LOVED cooling off on the ice.  He rolled around on it and tried to eat it.  I guess he was a little hot.

The caves were truly amazing.  Like I said, it was about 90 degrees, but when you stood in front of an ice cave, the mist would blow down and it was about 30 degrees cooler.  Then, you could move two feet to the left or right and you'd be baking again.  It was really awesome!  

I don't usually encourage my kids to bring their electronics on days like this, but I wanted them to take a few pictures, so I reminded them to put their phone and ipod in their pockets. The next few pictures were taken by the kids.

Not too shabby for my budding photographers!

We cooled off in the river on the way back down.

We all had a great day and I'm hoping I won't have complaints when I want to take them to do something fun now.  Maybe this is just what they needed to get out of their I'm-on-summer-vacation-and-I-just-want-to-be-lazy moods.

Happy hiking!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Grow Your Own Pizza, Lemonade, and A Sensory Garden

I get so excited each week when my friends at LeapFrog update the Learning Path app and website. New activities are posted every week and the app will even sort them out by age of your child. This week there are a few different activities I've written and photographed on the website. (Squeeeel!  I get SO excited to see me work on LeapFrog!) One of my favorites is the Grow Your Own Pizza activity.

My Lemonade Stand thematic exploration is also on there.  This was one of my favorite activities to take the photos for. Lemons and lemonade are just so pretty.

My Summer Sensory Garden was my favorite activity of ALL TIME to put together, and now my garden bench looks so pretty.

I hope you'll stop by the LeapFrog Learning Path Website and check them out.  I also have a LeapFrog Pinterest Page where I post some of my favorite activities from the website.  

Happy learning!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tomatoes in July... JULY!!

This has never happened in my entire gardening lifetime, friends.  I plant tomatoes in my garden every year and, more often than not, I will get a few tomatoes before the first frost.  Most of my tomatoes are usually green in September and October due to lack of sunshine and heat in our lovely Pacific Northwest weather.  

Well, this year, it's actually SUMMER! Bees will buzz.  Kids will blow dandelion fuzz.  And I'll be doing whatever snow does in Summer.... oh, wait... sorry. I guess I still have Frozen in my head.

Back to those tomatoes.

Seriously, tomatoes just don't get ripe around here.  I'm quite gleeful.  Yes, I said gleeful. There is nothing better than a garden-fresh tomato.  The flavor is absolutely nothing like a store bought tomato.  I'd start planning all of my tomato based recipes except my youngest loves tomatoes too and they seem to disappear every time she walks outside to visit the garden. 

Happy gardening!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

4th of July Popcorn

A little sweet.  A little salty.  This popcorn is perfect!  Cheryl at A Pretty Cool Life shared this recipe for an easy treat.  All it takes is some popcorn (we use an air popper for ours), a container of Wilton Candy Melts, and some 4th of July sprinkles.

Happy (almost) 4th of July!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

4th of July Fruit Kabobs at LeapFrog Learning Path

A few weeks ago my friends at LeapFrog asked for some 4th of July activities.  I've been busy, over the past few weeks, getting these ready.  I've been creating, writing, and photographing some really fun activities to do with kids.  The 4th of July Fruit Kabobs turned out very pretty.  It was SO easy and involved a trip to the Farmer's Market for fresh fruit.  What could be better?

Several of my 4th of July activities are now posted on Learning Path. If you are not familiar with Learning Path, it's a website (an an app if you have an ipad or iphone) that provides tons of different activities for kids of all ages.  You just click on the type of activity you are interested in or the age of your child and resources will be right there at your fingertips.  Honestly, I thought it was super-cool even before I was asked to start writing content for the website!

Speaking of writing content for the website, let me just spout off a bit about my happiness!  THIS IS THE COOLEST JOB EVER!  It is SOOOO much fun to get to combine all of the things I'm passionate about.  The activities, articles, and videos I've been making for LeapFrog are all about home, family, kids, literacy, artsy-craftsy stuff, early childhood, and trends in education.  I'm constantly reading teacher books, mainly about literacy, and I spend my down-time searching the web for articles about education, home and family, and photography.  I've taken a lot of classes too, in addition to my degrees and endorsements, and I'm surprised at how everything has all meshed together in the end.  I have a job (even if it's just a side job) that incorporates my B.A. in Family and Consumer Science, my M.A. in Reading and Literacy, my endorsements in Elementary Education and Early Childhood Education, AND all of the blogging courses and photography courses I've taken on my own.  Who knew that all of things I am passionate about could be rolled into one?  I feel so fortunate!

By the way, my kindergarten readiness videos and articles are starting to be rolled out on the Learning Path website too.  If you're interested, pop on over and check them out.  (I'm totally amazed that they can take 5 hours of video where I ramble on and on, and turn it into a 30 second video that sounds so carefully planned out and rehearsed.)  Like I said, it's a pretty cool job!

Happy Learning Path web browsing!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

It's Official- A New Job

Well, It's official.  After 18 years, I am no longer employed by the Edmonds School District.  This was a really tough change for me because I never, in my wildest dreams, imaged a time when I would actually leave the Edmonds School District.  I had thought about what it would be like to work in the same district as my kids, but never really got past the thinking about it stage.

I didn't want to resign my contract in Edmonds, before I had signed my contract in Snohomish, so I was in a sit and wait period.  I had been offered the job and accepted, but nothing was in writing yet.  Snohomish called on Friday, to say that my letter of intent was ready to sign but that I would need to resign my current contract first.  Eeek!  That meant there would be a time that I would be "in between jobs" and that made me a bit nervous.  Ok, reality check - it would only be a matter of hours, but it still made me nervous.  

As I was driving to the Edmonds District Office, I realized that it would probably be the last time I'd ever need to drive there.  It felt so odd and lonely, to turn in my computer, sign papers, and end a huge part of my career all by myself.  As I was standing at the Human Resources desk, around the corner popped one of my "partner's in crime" from Hilltop, Tamara (Tamara Shazam)!  I was so happy to have a friend there to say my good-byes with.  I will admit, I got a little teary eyed, so I was thrilled to have a forever-friend there to give me a hug!

After signing my resignation papers, I drove myself down to Snohomish to officially accept my new position.  It will be a shift for me, but hopefully it will be a fun shift.  My new principal emailed to let me know about a class in the district that I might be interested in.  I'm so excited to go to a class that's only 5 minutes from home! There are lots of things I'm looking forward to about my new job, and so many things I will miss about my old job.  You know what they say... Make new friends but keep the old!  

Here's to a new adventure! Now, who's going to help me move all of that stuff from my garage into my new classroom?

Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Beach Mantle

It must be summer, because apparently I have some time on my hands.  I've been having a lot of fun decorating around my house lately, so I decided to swap out my mantle decor for a summer look.  (By the way, have you ever noticed how mantle and mantel are both used when describing that ledge above the fireplace?  Well, Google says that you can use either spelling of the word.  If Google says it's true, then I'll believe it.  Everything you read online is true. Right?)  Anyway, I don't change my mantel-mantle decor too often.  I usually stick with the same candle holders and antique books year-round. I'm kind of linking this beachy theme though!

I shopped the house for this look.

Well, actually I shopped the garage.  Since I'm moving schools this summer, all of my teacher stuff is packing into my 3 car garage.  Lucky for me, I have absolutely everything that I have ever hoarded collected!  Ya know those shells that you collected when you were 5 and your mom said, "Why are you saving those?  When will you ever need them again?"  Well, I still have all of those shells.  Not only that, but I add to my collection every year!

Every year, when we go to Seaside, I add a few more shells to my collection.  I store those in a box labeled "good shells" as opposed to the other box that is filled with all of those shells I collected in my younger years.  The good shells made it onto the display, along with those neat glass jars (below).  Won't those look pretty with a few strands of beachy looking grass poking out of them?  The jars were from my son's antibiotics after having his tonsils removed a few years ago.  Did I mention that I may have some hoarding tendencies?

I love this big shell!  My mom brought it home from her honeymoon, many years ago.  She let me have it to add to my collection.  Does that make her an enabler?  You know... the whole hoarding thing???

I always brought back shells, from Seaside, for my kindergarten teacher friends'  collections too.  Boy, am I going to miss those ladies!  Maybe I'll make new friends, at my new school, who like collecting shells too.

The shells that are stored in the other box - not the one labeled "good shells" -earned a spot in the glass jar. They aren't as pretty, but they are nice vase fillers.   

I'll share a few more beachy spots in my house soon.  Until then, happy shell collecting!!!
(I'm really not a hoarder!)


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