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Handmade Presents are Best

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We love being outside. If the weather is nice, or even if it is only tolerable, you will find us outdoors. My buddy The Social Planner and her husband have an epic year. The have a firing range for target practice, a zip line, web swing, a golf practice area with a 25 yard, 50 yard, and 75 yard posts to aim for along with a tee box out in the back area of their property.

Closer to their house they have more games. Washers, outdoor games, a trampoline, playhouse, and playground.

Close to the house there is a pool and hot tub along with an awesome outdoor porch.

This year we were excited to find out they didn’t have, but wanted something we know how to make! It made Christmas so much easier for us.

They borrowed our corn hole set for a party and said that it was a hit and wanted to get a set. We made our own set six years ago after learning about it from our son in law. You can see the post with instructions here. We use our set a lot. It is possible to make two sets of corn hole boards out of one full sheet of plywood. Your local Lowe’s or Home Depot they can even cut it into two foot by four foot pieces.

I wanted it to be special for our buddies so I decided to paint the name of their property on the corn hole set. (Our set is pretty plain Jane with stripes that took me all of an hour to paint.) They call their property The Rockin’ F after a branding iron they bought long before they ever thought about moving to the country. I was so excited to notice that they had a sign at the entrance to their driveway that would work.

I covertly took several photos of the sign and then went totally old school and teacher-y on it. I printed best of the photos then traced it onto a transparency. I bought an overhead projector at a school auction years ago and I still use it. I am not ashamed. Any teachers out there who ever went into a store with green, blue or red Vis a Vis marker on their arm after school? Seriously, I don’t have a vinyl cutter and need to learn to use one. It took several days, and several coats of paint but I am pretty proud of how they turned out.

We were a little late but happy to be able to give them to our buddies as Christmas presents this year. We were happy to be able to give them something made with love that they will use.

Did anyone else make homemade Christmas presents this year?

I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

A Charging Station in the Ranch House

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Hello friends,  I promise you won’t be hearing from me every day but this is a project I am really enjoying already and I realized that I haven’t shared with you. Do you have a good place to get all your stuff charged? If you do, I would love to see where and how you charge all of your stuff.  Until recently we did not. It stunk. There were some things plugged in on the counter by my stove, some plugged in in our bedroom, and even the bathroom. One thing that I have discovered about an open concept home is that in order to have all that open space, you give some things up.  Things like walls to hang art on, hall closets, and other storage areas.  I love having a big open room when we are having company.  We enjoy the ability to have a pretty large group in our home for meals and entertaining so the trade off is worth it to us most of the time.

Because there isn’t much storage space, we have struggled with a place to charge everything.  We have two laptops, an iPad, an Apple watch, two phones, a Bluetooth speaker, and wireless headphones.  All of the stuff has different cords and a a tangle of wiring. I hate it. It looks awful and is always in the way. There is just something about seeing a bunch of cords and cables that wears on me. Am I alone in my neuroses? I even had my husband wrap white tap around the foot of cord that connects our television and Dish because it drove me crazy. I started looking for charging station options. (Like these here) but they just wouldn’t work for us. They just aren’t big enough for the two laptops, iPad, phones…

I also do not enjoy things being out on our counter top in our kitchen. It is a constant struggle to keep the counters cleared. Constant. Never ending.

Fortunately we had a weird space in our house that always bugged me. Always. Like since the moment we walked into the house to look at purchasing the home. There was this little niche/shelving/cabinet thing with two bottom cabinet doors, a counter then glass shelves that were adjustable. They were the problem. The peg things were slightly off from each other- like a quarter inch. That meant the shelves were all crooked, and glass, with brass brackets. It was just enough to bug me. I don’t think I have any photos of he offending shelves because I don’t generally take pictures of things that bug me.

Mr. Math fixed both problems for me with one solution. A charging station with closed cabinet doors. The doors hide all the cords, we now know where everything is- or should be- and I can actually charge every stinkin’ thing at one time now thanks to some ingenuity from the hubby.

First we ripped everything out.

It was glorious to get those shelves down and metal (uneven) brackets out. It was so glorious that I didn’t stop to take a picture for fear of losing momentum.  Once everything was down filled all the holes, and spackled the walls.

We were lucky in that there was an outlet in the kitchen that hubby could use to run electricity into our new charging station.

He installed an outlet with two usb outlets. Genius.  I have no idea how to explain electricity but here is a blog that explains how to add an outlet.  Once all the wall work was done we painted the interior with our go-to paint color Behr Moth Gray.

The next step was to add wooden, level shelves. They are basic 3/4 inch plywood cut to fit with veneer on the front.  He attached them on little rails across the back and sides. He cut a little square on the back side of the lowest shelf so that we had access to electricity on two shelves.

shelf hole

The shelves all in and the little square cut out, we bought this great surge protector.  It was a little pricey but each outlet can move around to make room if things don’t fit on the strip and it also included two usb outlets.

charging station close up

I know what you are thinking when you look at the picture above… what a mess.  You are right, it does look like a mess but all that mess is in one location and I can shut the doors! When people come over I don’t have to rush into the kitchen and grab up cords and devices.

charging station1

 

We now have a place for DVD’s and cookbooks (yep we still have DVD’s -don’t judge).

closed charging station

The result isn’t beautiful but it is contained and covered with cabinet doors that Mr. Math built to match our kitchen cabinet doors.  He had to make them super tall to fit the space, but I like the look.  He is so talented.

It makes me happy to know we solved one of our points of contention.  Now on to the next project.

I hope you have a great day.  I love hearing from you.

Blessings,

Karen

New Year, New Start

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Happy New Year to you all. As of December 31st I am officially and totally retired from public education. My last day of work was a while back but yesterday was my last real day. Mr. Math retired in May so we are settling in to being together 24/7.

The last two years were a blur of work, commuting, and more work. I loved what I did for a living and will forever be grateful for the opportunities that I have been given but it didn’t leave a lot of time for anything creative. The added complication to the past two years is that that my parents’ home of 55 years flooded during Harvey then again with Imelda. I cannot tell you how tough it has been on my parents (and the rest of our family) as they lost virtually everything twice. As a result, blogging went out the window, repurposing furniture didn’t happen and a lot of projects at the house were minimal.

We have big plans for this year and I am going to begin blogging again. Our first big project is going to be getting the flooring changed in our house. We put in the flooring we have now four years ago and it hasn’t held up.

I am so disappointed with our floor that we are making it a priority and will be changing every square inch after we get the floor professionally leveled. I am researching now for something that hold up to water, dogs, high traffic, dirt,and granddaughters. I welcome any suggestions. We are thinking about AquaGuard.

Next we are going to finally get our Guest Shed done. Woo Hoo! This project has been on the back burner since we moved in but we need space for family and friends to stay in when they come. We don’t want anyone to not feel like they can stay with us.

We will be raising the roof and changing the roofline, removing the stovepipe, changing the siding, adding a bathroom and a kitchenette. I. Am. So. Excited! I have been planning this for a long time and have a ton of stuff already for the space. This weekend we picked up a claw foot bathtub and some furniture that is going to find it’s way into the space.

I hope that this new year finds you healthy, wealthy and wise. Thank you for hanging in here with me. It is great to be back. I would love to hear from you.

Blessings,

Karen

Progress on the House

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Right now, Mr. Math is on summer break from teaching so that means it is house renovation time at Providence Acres.

This is the third summer we have been in the house and we have made some real headway into turning the 1982 ranch house into our vision of a warm and welcoming space for us, our family, and friends to enjoy.

Our first year we ripped up the carpet, installed vinyl plank flooring, painted most of the house, and put in a mudroom, and added recessed lighting throughout the main rooms.

Last summer it was a kitchen makeover that I love, love, love. We now have bright white cabinets, a quartz counter top, and a beautiful farmhouse sink. In order to have the kitchen out of commission, Mr. Math had to put in an outdoor sink, cabinets and a slate tile counter top. Add in electrical and a grill and we had an outdoor kitchen This chick will never do dishes in the bathtub again. He did all the work himself last year except installing the quartz counter top. It was rough.

This year we took on a new challenge, adding a carport, metal roof, and enlarging our front porch. It has already changed the look of home. Mr. Math started the process moving the attach aluminum carport. I promise that one day I will tell you about that process. We did something we rarely do, we hired a contractor to do the work.

First they had to remove the existing concrete.

Removing concrete

They had to extend the pad to match the width of the house.

The construction has gone quickly.

The metal went on quickly. There was one small issue, they didn’t order enough metal for the porch.

The color is Mueller Charcoal

Adding a metal roof to a carport

Mueller metal roof

The progress on the underside is moving along. The cedar roof piece is done, electrical is run, cedar clad on the beams, and Hardy panels on the ceiling of the carport.

Cedar clad beams

Hardy board carport ceiling

I am loving the underside of the front porch. Bead board is being installed and will be stained and sealed.

Bead board

The progress is amazing. I am crazy about the improvement to the look of the home. It is going to be great. We already have our first party scheduled. It is going to be a 50th anniversary for our buddies on the SJ River Ranch.

Thanks for following along on our journey.

Blessings,

Karen

Bead board ceiling

Ranch House Exterior Update

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For the past 3 1/2 years every time I pulled up to our house this is what I saw.

The sad news is that I consider this the pretty end of the house. I don’t take pictures of the other end with the ugly carport.

An aluminum carport jammed onto the end of the house, an undersized front porch with outdated iron posts, flesh colored bricks, and that ugly roof. While we have worked hard on the interior adding vinyl plank flooring, a mudroom, recessed lighting, updated bathroom, a Murphy bed, a wood wall, and updated kitchen on the interior, we spend a ton of time outside… looking at this exterior.

We have a beautiful 15 acre piece of property. It is our favorite thing about where we live. That and our awesome neighbors!

The ugly house started changing this week.

The carport got moved. No fear friends it isn’t in the front yard any longer but moving it is a story in itself. Mr. Math is all about saving a buck but moving something that wasn’t designed to move included yelling, problem solving, and calling in reinforcements.

Here are the plans:

We are adding an actual built on, with a concrete slab, carport. It is going to be the width of the house, have giant cedar beam posts, and electrical for lights.

Having a math teacher as a husband means that everything gets drawn out for the contractor. Apparently we will have a 672 square foot carport.

When I arrived after day one it was clear that we needed a sidewalk to connect the front porch to the carport. A quick call to the contractor meant they rushed to frame up a sidewalk before the cement truck arrived.

The front porch is going to double in size, it will be taller to fit the scale of the house and open at the end to allow for air flow.

I took pictures before the guys showed up this morning. Here is the progress. It amazes me that all of the construction work will be done in thee weeks. We won’t be done because we are going to be removing the vinyl siding, painting the brick, and we are taking on the back porch ourselves but it will look so much better and be more functional.

We are looking forward to having close to 1000 square feet of shaded and covered outdoor space for us to entertain, hang out, park vehicles

The work is progressing.

An Update

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Well hello there. What in the world are you doing still hanging around? The past year has been a real world wind. I will never say anything bad about my job. I love it, a lot. As I wind down to retirement one year from now though my job has been busy.

The demands for the job have meant that I haven’t had much time to do any creative work. That will be changing.

So, here is a quick update on life as a weekend country girl.

  • We are expecting granddaughter number two in mid June. Sweet Amanda and Baby Boy are going to be giving Lucy a sister and we are thrilled. I am getting busy on nursery preparations finally. The sweet girl may not have everything finished before her arrival.
  • The Southern Belle and Joe have left the city that they love and have moved to Denton, Texas for work. I now have all of my kids living in a four hour drive. I am thrilled and will be filling you in on that quirky town soon. They have bought a house and it is going to get a mini makeover before they move in this month.
  • We bought an RV. We have taken it out on the maiden voyage and love it. We have plans for a lot of trips in the future.
  • This week we will start an exterior makeover of our house. I am so excited! We are getting an enlarged front porch, a carport, and exterior paint on the bricks.

I hope you are all doing well. I promise that I will be doing a better job of keeping you up to date from now on.

Thanks for hanging in there. I appreciate you all more than you know.

Blessings,

Karen

Trip to Waco Part 2- Magnolia Market

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It is taking me a long time to write this post, my apologies.

One of the most anticipated parts of our weekend for me was a trip to Magnolia Market. It was a special day called Christmas at the Silos. We were not the only ones who were there. It was packed. This was our second trip. You can see our first trip with lots of inside the shop photos and the outdoor space here.

We started our visit at the obligatory #MILESTOMAGNOLIA sign. Two sweet girls took our photo for us.

Inside the actual store there was a lot going on. It was just after opening but the lines to check out were already long. Here is a hint for busy days: look for an employee with an iPad if you have small items that don’t break and are paying with a debit card. They can check you out and there is virtually no line.

Right inside the front door of the store there is a seasonal display. Last time we went it was open books flying away. This time beautiful ornaments made of paper hanging.

They were beautiful.

Because of the Christmas at the Silos celebrations there were lots of kid friendly activities that were all free and perfect for the little ones. Sweet Lucy loved the train ride, twice. There was face painting, The Polar Express on the stage screen, Christmas books being read aloud, ornaments to decorate, and pictures with Santa.

Train ride at Magnolia

Here is the best picture we got with Lucy and Santa. She needed Mom and Dad in order to endure the process.

There were lots of photo opportunities set up. I convinced Lucy to take her picture with me, sort of.

The gardens were great. It was fun seeing what is growing right now in central Texas.

While the kids were waiting for Santa, I stood in this line for the Silos Bakery.

A sweet girl gave me the order form when I was way back in line.

Little did I know that after being in line 25 minutes a cute young girl came and put this sign up. I thought I was almost in…

Inside the bakery it was just like I hoped. White subway tile, wood floor, rustic beams, the cupcakes…

I tried several and think my favorite was campfire, or maybe winter wonderland, or possibly strawberry. I did mention that I tried several.

It was a great trip even with the crowd. Everyone was so nice and there was plenty to keep everyone busy.

Thanks for following along on our visit.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with family and friends.

Blessings,

Karen

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