Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Cross Yard Decor

This year, we were minimal on our yard decorations.


Our neighborhood had its first Luminary Stroll and over 80 homes had luminaries in their yard. Instead of using paper bags, we bought from a company that had plastic luminaries that look like paper bags. You can choose different light sources, but we got the string of lights so it was easy to space them evenly.



It turned out beautiful and magical. Those that normally don't decorate had them out. Made you want to go on walks every night to see them.

We used the net lights we had from the old house and flung them up on a couple bushes. We spaced them out and it looked good. But Mr. JCrew said there was something missing. He wanted to build a cross. A LARGE cross.



I was happy to oblige. We got lumber, garland and lights and started piecing it together.



I used my Kreg Jig, but I always forget that you need special screws, so we had to run to the store.



Once the cross was together, we stapled the lights on and then the garland.



We painted the stand black so that it wouldn't stand out. And we used sand bags to anchor it down. We have pretty heavy winds here.



It was fun to see it lit up at night, too.


It was a really fun project. Helps us continually focus on why we are here.



Merry Christmas!


Christmas 2015

Another great Christmas was had at our house.



We had pictures taken at our house because of the rain, and I designed our Christmas cards again. I had them printed at Staples this year because I bought the Groupon. They were nice, but didn't fit in the envelope. I had to cut every one of them. I will go back to using Costco next year.

I was not planning on decorating the house because we had just moved in. I thought twice before I had Mr. JCrew move the decorations into the attic, but I was sure. I knew my mom had planned to have her Sunday School Christmas party at our house, but I still wasn't going to decorate. Until her friends insisted that it was expected.

When I looked at the cost of trees, I choked! They are so expensive. We ended up borrowing a tree from our friend for the weekend. The boys helped me decorate it and loved it. But I didn't realize the effect it would have on them when we took it down. Little JCrew's teacher let us know he was acting strange. The only thing we could pin it on was the fact we took down the tree. Christmas was OVER.



After church on a Wednesday, I surprised the boys and asked if they wanted to pick out a Christmas tree. It was my goal to buy one the day after Christmas on sale, but Hobby Lobby was already having them 50% while supplies last. We got a tree, and got an angel topper.



The boys had fun decorating AGAIN! Little JCrew clumped three ornaments together and said it was the three Wise Men.



On Christmas Eve, we baked our cake for Jesus' birthday. The boys really enjoy the tradition.



I frosted the cake and wrote on it, but Mimi thought it would be smart to cover it and the lid ruined the frosting. I never got a finished picture. We are still eating it and it tastes good.



We aim to keep it simple on Christmas. Three gifts and a Santa present. We have a lot of fun gifting to our friends and family. Those years when you get really excited you found something they will like, are the best!

We sprinkled magic reindeer food on the lawn and left carrots on a plate. We left a slice of the birthday cake with milk for Santa. He enjoyed!



Santa brought the boys power wheels!



They really liked them. It rained all day on Christmas, so we backed out the cars and let them ride the four-wheelers in the garage.



The boys still loved everything Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. We definitely had a theme with the gifts.


And Avengers are a big hit. Mr. Brigglesworth LOVES Captain America. Little JCrew picked out the Mr. Potato Head.


Mr. Brigglesworth also loves Jeeps! He will pick one out so easily on the road. All he cared about yesterday was his new jeep!


Little JCrew is very into the booklets that come with the toy. As I was getting a toy out, he kept asking me for the instructions. That's all he wanted. Forget the toy!


The rain did not let up yesterday. It had me nervous. I thought our yard was flooding. We have a creek that runs behind the house and it's normally dry except for when it rains. But there was so much rain yesterday, that it went the highest I've seen it in the last eight years we have been here. Roads around us were flooded and unusable. We did not have it bad at all compared to others.


This year, the new Star Wars movie came out. I have not ever seen a Star Wars. Never interested me. But Mr. JCrew took Little JCrew with his family to see it. Little JCrew thought BB-8 (the tiny robot) was "such a cute little robot!" He was rooting for him the whole movie.

So, of course, the Christmas theme over at the grandparents' house was Star Wars!



They got shirts, light sabers, figurines... you name it, they got it. We got gift cards to Build-a-Bear Workshop and we had never done that before. They had a promotion for Star Wars bears and Little JCrew was all about it.


Mr. Brigglesworth chose the Captain America bear... surprise?


We hope you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends. We will see you next year!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Last year, my sister, Kerry and her husband came up to visit for Thanksgiving. This year, we planned for EVERYONE to come visit us. However, life gets in the way and two of my sisters, Logan and Kendal, were able to come up.


I'm sad I never got a picture of Logan with the boys. They adored her. Logan and her husband are vegan, so I fixed many sides vegan-style to accommodate. They were all really good! For their meat, I prepared a chickpea "meatloaf." It was good, but not everyone liked it. It was very vegetable-y.



We got to use our large dining room! I added leaves to the table and it was able to sit 12. All the adults got to sit at the same table!



I spent the day before Thanksgiving preparing the meal. The boys REALLY wanted to make pie, but Aunt Chrissy was bringing the pumpkin pie, so they settled making pecan.



I let them do every step. They cracked the eggs and egg shells went in the pie. I was able to fish them out.



They were so proud of that pie. They showed it to everyone, yet they wouldn't eat it! I asked if they remembered how much sugar they put in, but that still didn't get them to eat it.



We had such a fun Thanksgiving. I can't wait until the next year!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mirrors

Perhaps one of my favorite details in the house are the mirrors. In the last house, I used mirrors to reflect light where windows were missing. In this house, we have plenty of windows, so mirrors are only in the bathrooms, with the exception of one.



I really can't pick a favorite. They are all so unique.

Mom found the mirror for her bathroom at a furniture re-finisher store. They collect old pieces and either re-stain them or paint them. Sometimes, they re-purpose them.



The mirrors in the boys' bathroom are just plain wall-to-wall mirrors that you normally find. I wanted the focus to remain on their green cabinets.



The guest bedroom bathroom is my top 3 favorites. We found it at the same location we found mom's mirror. I liked the color they painted it and the shape. Luckily, it fit! It was an exact measurement!



The powder bathroom is another of my top three fav's. It was a mirror that came off of a small dresser. I didn't refinish it and I loved the shape.



The master bathroom needed a mirror that was ten feet long. Instead, I had three pieces cut with a tombstone radius.



I'm not much of one to stop and look at myself in the mirror all the time; although, sometimes I should to make sure I don't have food on my face or that I need to brush my hair. But these mirrors make me want to stop and look. It's just another way to add character.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Countertops



Whew, counters can be expensive! We priced up using quartz in the kitchen and granite remnants in the bathroom, but it was still too high. 

We went with cultured marble in the bathrooms (white on white). This is what the last house had and I was fine with it. We can always upgrade later if we really want. 



We could pick out our bowl styles, too. I chose the standard for all the upstairs bathrooms. 

standard bowl


Mom got a large bowl in her’s.



And the master got larger, more boxy bowls. I couldn’t use undermount sinks with the cultured marble. I had some beautiful ones picked out, but this is fine.



The laundry counter was just a standard formica.


I like the WilsonArt HD collection because it is more upscale looking. However, my first pick was on back-order (the story they are telling me) and I had to pick out something different that was in stock. They only told me of this three days before they were to install. NICE!


When they installed the counters, they installed the sinks. I had to provide the sinks before-hand for cabinet spacing on the island and also for the counter templates. 



The kitchen counters are by far my favorite. And they were Mr. JCrew’s pick. They are Caesarstone Calcutta Nuva. It’s fairly new, but we loved it. I couldn’t find many examples online. Which I like, but made it hard to have to trust my gut.

Calcutta Nuva


This type comes in thin sheets. I was okay with that. I love the look of thick slabs, but I would work with whatever I needed to. 

The island size had to be reduced because of the slab size. If the island was any larger, the countertop would have a seam. So I shrunk my island size to accommodate the counter slab size. It’s little things like that you have to think about.

Calcutta Nuva


And the installers saved the island for last. They really wanted the island pendants to be installed to ensure electricians wouldn't be standing on it and crack it. I understood that. 
Overall, I am really happy with the counters. Now the plumber can come in and hook up the faucets. 
YAY!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Master Shower



I could not WAIT for the master shower to take form. It sat empty for the longest time.



The tile installers were excited to get to it. This was going to be their masterpiece! I knew I could not tackle a shower because there is too much risk in errors and future leaks. There are certain things you have to do.

First off, the shower pan had to be moved. The plumber purposefully built it wrong for inspection because he did not want the tile installers to use it and later blame him for any troubles. I understand his logic! It just had to hold water for inspection. Then it would be the tiler's job to re-do the pan and then it falls under him for warranty purposes.



Once the framing was moved, the shower pan liner was in place and green board was installed. 



Once the green board was installed, the waterproofing material went over it. Green Board is a waterproof drywall, but it is not totally waterproof. You need another layer of protection. And Green Board is a slang term. I originally bought backer-board to use and thought it to be the same thing, but the old tile guys wanted the green board. I originally bought the backerboard from Lowes and they were great to deliver! I had it returned and bought green board. Those tile guys quit on us, so we then had the original tile guy come back who requested the backer board, but he was great to work with what we had since we had already gone through the trouble of exchanging it.



I bought a marble hexagon to use on the shower floor. I bought it online for a great price. My friend, Ashley was building an addition to her home and shared the link with me. She thought they had great customer service and great prices. She was right!



The shower walls, would not be marble. I didn’t want the hassle, but I wanted the look. I picked out a ceramic that had a marble print. It had great reviews of looking like the real deal, but easy to work with.



I requested them to lay it in a brick pattern offset in thirds. They did half the wall and offset it by half. I was not ready to have them start over, so I am living with it and it's not bad.



The tile went all the way to the top.



We needed the shower tiled before we could have the shower door installers come take measurements. Lead time on that is a couple weeks. I’m ready for doors and a window to help keep the heat inside the shower.



Mr. JCrew and I both wanted a bigger shower. The one we had before was so small. 



I’d say this one is definitely bigger!


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