A Better Backyard

This past summer, my husband and I repainted and redecorated the bedrooms and bathrooms. I have the before and after photos somewhere. They are either on my phone, on my hard drive, or…somewhere. I have been so swamped that blogging has been forced (against my will, mind you) to the bottom of the to-do list. However, I am going to try to share the photos of our hard work before the year is out.

Or before next spring.

I wanted to share our most recent project now, since those pictures were the easiest to find. We have had a little patio-thing in our back yard since we bought the house three years ago. It had lattice and a green fiberglass roof. I’m sure that in its hay-day it was lovely. That day is over. When we got the house, the wood was sagging and rotted, and the fiberglass had broken off in some places and banged against the timbers every time the wind rose up, which is often in these parts. It would slap-slap-slap loudly, so I always knew when the wind was strong. Some of it finally did brake off, blew into a tree and just hung there. Mitch climbed on the roof of the house and got it down. Yep, it was time for the old patio to go. So, a few weeks ago, Terry armed himself with a sledge hammer and a saw and his own brute force and tore it down.

Before:

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After: 

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The pile of rubbish we carted off to the dump.

Slowly but surely, we are making our house a home. And I use “we” very loosely there, it’s mostly “he”. Thanks, honey, for all you have done.

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Summer Projects

In December of 2014, the Lord blessed us quite unexpectedly by allowing us to get a new bathroom. When we purchased this home, the master bathroom was handicapped accessible, but not very well done. The shower had to be torn out, a bathtub and tile installed, and then the bi-fold door had to be removed, the wall replaced, a regular door put in its place. This happened in about a five month time frame. Once the door was installed, I thought the tile would be finished along the wall. But months passed and it wasn’t. We had this blank space left.

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Finally, we decided to try to finish the tile ourselves. The remaining part of the floor needs new tile also. It’s the green that you see in the lower left of the photo. Well, by the time we decided to do it, the matching tile was discontinued. Terry tried to find a close match, but when he got it on the wall, it looked terrible.

So…on to plan B.

We looked around hardware stores for options. We decided that if it was going to look different anyway, why not make a statement? We opted for reclaimed cedar wood, tongue-and-groove planks. Terry cut and installed them in a few hours. Here’s the finished product:

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I really like it! It’s the best of the options we had available. He was able to add a light which made this small space much brighter, scrape, texture and paint the ceiling, and paint the walls. After 18 months, this little room, which only has a toilet and tub, is finally finished! Next is to finish the outer bathroom floors. Terry has also decided to take out the single lavatory and put in a double sink lavatory, and we will be adding new lights in that part as well. We hope (crossing fingers) to have that job done in July.

Meanwhile, we went ahead and worked on our bedroom. The outer bathroom joins our bedroom, kinda like a hotel bathroom does. We can’t really see a way around this set up, which it too bad. It would be nice to have a wall or sliding door to separate them.

Here are the before photos of the bedroom:

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After setting up our bed in the living room, and packing up the things on the walls, we scraped the popcorn ceiling (yes, that almost killed my allergies), textured it and the walls with mud, and let that dry overnight.

Here are the work-in-progress pics:

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The mud smell was so strong that every time I entered my room, my eyes burned like crazy. I was so glad we weren’t having to sleep in there!

The next day, we started painting. With both of us working, we painted the ceiling and walls twice in just a few hours. We set everything up and spent last night back in our room. Terry said being a homeowner is a part-time job. I agree. I think that the fact we are still speaking to each other after all this work is a sign of great success!

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It went so well, that I am considering doing the other three bedrooms this summer, too!

Maybe.

I am hoping to find some new wall decor today. It’s so nice having everything neat and clean and dust-free. The process sorta felt like we were either moving in or moving out. I’m thankful that we weren’t doing either one of those things.

We have been enjoying a wonderful summer so far. The two older kids are involved in the library teen volunteer program. Lauren has the most seniority of all the volunteers this year, so the library staff is trusting her with more and more responsibilities. The younger kids are participating in the summer reading program and activities at the library as well, and spending afternoons playing in the sprinkler.

I thank the Lord for the blessings of summer.

With love,

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Kitchen Reno

I just love saying “reno”, it’s so HGTV!

This summer, I wanted to do something to update our home. Something not-very-expensive. Paint is always the cheapest means with which to improve your home, so I wanted to paint something. In late June, my husband and I were talking about how horrid our kitchen cabinets were (they were chipped and didn’t match the backsplash that the previous owners had installed), about how chipped the paint had become on the walls and how dark the room was. And then, there was that disgusting baseboard, well, really it was tile! “Base-tile”?!

We decided that we would work like dogs to re-do it this summer. We picked a few days that we thought wouldn’t be as busy and got started. My husband put in long hours of back-breaking work. I helped as much as I could and also served as the “supervisor” (wink).

Our goal was to have it all completed before my mom’s visit in late July. We made it…by the hair of our chinny-chin-chin. I didn’t share photos of it because I wanted her to be surprised.

We knew this would be a big job;  we also knew we would never want to do it again, so we bought the best quality paint we could find. It is supposed to be as hard as rock after drying. We’re hoping it’s actually as hard as granite. We don’t *think* our kids can destroy granite, but then, who knows? Of course, rock-hard paint isn’t cheap. The blessing was that it was on sale! Here are some before photos:

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This light fixture was cute, but it didn’t shine very brightly.

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This half of the kitchen was always dark.

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Now, the after photos!

Terry pulled off the dark paneling, scraped off our popcorn ceiling and textured both the ceiling and walls. He then put in new light fixtures – we added one to the dark half of the room and changed the old one to match the new one. We then painted the walls and cabinets a beige color that we *hoped* would coordinate with the backsplash. We also painted a dark color along the top of the cabinets to break up all of the beige, but that also would still match with the backsplash. He then put in all new baseboards (not base-tile!) and installed new door handles and drawer-pulls. I bought new curtains. 🙂 We also painted the laundry area white and we painted the door, which leads to our garage, beige.

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This is where we used to have dark paneling. It’s gone! Terry did the texturing, I did the painting, he did the baseboards.

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Our new light fixture!

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We now have even lighting across the whole room! (Please excuse the clutter.)

unnamed (6)My laundry area is straight ahead in this photo. This is the door we painted.

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New baseboards! Hooray!

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Closeup of new door handles and paint. It’s not perfect, but it is certainly an improvement!

As we were doing all of this hard labor, I couldn’t help but think of the Christian life. The Bible says that “reform” isn’t the answer. (Luke 11: 24-26) Anything we do to improve ourselves is only temporary change. Christ can make us brand new, and with no effort on our part. It is all by His amazing, saving grace! Praise the Lord for His permanent transformation!

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

With love,

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Work in Progress

Beside my desk is a stack of used textbooks. It seems like yesterday…okay, like last month, that those books were brand new. I’ve been throwing away the empty test and quiz booklets all week. On Monday, Lauren will be taking her final Algebra II test, and Mitch and Leslie will also being taking finals in math. Then it’s over. Laci finished up all of her books yesterday. I am now in full swing in planning our next adventure, I mean, school year.

In the midst of this craziness, I managed to sprain my ankle. On Tuesday, I did my normal morning run around 7 AM. At about 10 AM that day, I noticed sharp pain in my right ankle. I figured I was just sore. But the pain got worse and worse until I could barely walk. The next day it was no better. I headed to the doctor who informed me that I’d sprained it. I told him that I hadn’t tripped or fallen or twisted my ankle in any way. He said, “It’s all just part of seasoning.” That was his nice way of saying, “You’re gettin’ old, sister!” *sigh* The good news is that it should heal on its own if I follow the RICE method: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.  I’ve been doing it as much as I can. It seems to be improving, though I admit I’ve been afraid to walk on it very much.

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Some of you might remember that we were blessed to have our master bathroom remodeled in December. The job wasn’t finished at that time, so the workers came yesterday to start on the next phase, which is the installing of our new door! Here are some before photos:

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Here’s the progress from Friday (we hope this phase will be completed on Monday):

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This view is from inside the shower area. I’m looking forward to having this wall finished. 😉

The last phase will be completing the tile on the wall and on the floor. It’s getting close!

In other family news. . .

  • Lauren just completed Driver’s Ed and got her learner permit!

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A selfie before her first driving practice!

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There she goes! Her first time out was in the rain, so she had a tough fist day. The second day was cloudy, but no rain, so that was much better. Upon completion of driver’s ed, passing a reading test and submitting several forms of ID, she earned her PERMIT!

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I’m not sure why she didn’t smile for the license photo. She told her dad it was something about “crushing stereotypes”. All I can say is this girl is ALL Basham! I love it!

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She is a careful driver. *insert huge sigh of relief*

  • The boys got haircuts yesterday. I couldn’t resist snapping a photo. They just look adorable – yes, even my almost-13-year-old boy looks adorable! (Says his completely UNbiased mother. *wink wink*)

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Mitch had to get on his knees for the photo since I’ve been limited. I guess he’s trying to crush stereotypes too?

We’ve also been busy with recitals and soccer, but I’ll save those for another day.

  • Oh! I forgot to share a photo of my Mother’s Day flowers with you. My family is so wonderful to me. They gave me flowers, candy, cards, and Terry bought us all my favorite food for supper – Burger King.

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 Notice my smile – not the stereotypical “Mother’s Day grin”, but from a heart bursting with joy.

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Our New Bathroom

My husband purchased our home over a year ago. Terry toured it, but I never did. I only saw photos. We could tell from the pictures online that the master bathroom would need some work. Terry’s visit confirmed it. But everything in it worked, so we went ahead and bought the house. Terry said, “We can remodel that bathroom in a year or so.” In my mind, the emphasis was on the words “or so”. I figured that it might be remodeled in five years, possibly ten. Or never. I really didn’t expect it to happen. We have five children, and their needs are a higher priority than a my having a new bathroom.

Well, God is truly amazing. I knew that, but I am reminded of it again every day, especially in December. A man who used to attend the church here offered to remodel our bathroom – for free. I was blown away. I couldn’t believe it. But the week before Christmas, it happened! We have a brand new master bathroom.

The problem was the shower. It was made to be handicapped accessible, but it wasn’t done right. The bottom of the shower held water, unless it was squeegeed out by hand.

Here are some before photos:

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This one shows how the water would stand in the bottom. When the workers pulled up this flooring, they discovered the water had gradually been seeping into the wood beneath the shower. It had a terrible odor! I’m so grateful this is now gone!

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Now, drum roll please, the AFTER photos:

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The new bath tub, which lets the water completely drain out! Yippee!

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I love the neutral colors in the tile. I currently have the bathroom decorated in purple, but I may decide to change that someday. There are still a few more things to be done, but the hard part is finished. This blessing is amazing and wonderful and above all that I could ever ask or think, because it was given to me by my Heavenly Father.

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Front Porch Paint Job

I don’t do a lot of outdoor work. I have terrible seasonal allergies – nasal and asthma. I also have very tender skin. I burn easily and I break out easily to grass and, of course, the dreaded poison ivy or oak! Despite all of that, today I was able to do a job that was outdoors and involved minimal exposure to my allergy triggers. What did I do? Oh, yeah, the title kinda gave it away. (snap!) I’m extremely pleased with my new front porch. Here are the before and after photos:

Before:

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Please excuse my little monkeys, I mean, helpers. 😉

 

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And now…(drumroll please)

AFTER:

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I first swept it and then used a power sprayer to spray it off. I let that dry and then gave it one coat. I touched up that coat, then gave it another whole coat. It took me six hours including drying time. It was a lot of scrunching and bending, so I’m sure I’ll feel the pain tomorrow! It’s really exciting to be able to make changes to our own home. We will be homeowners for a year this month – hard to believe.

 Below is a side-by-side comparison. I really like it! It should help preserve the wood, too.

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I’m really enjoying the change of pace now that we’re done with the school year. I’m sure I’ll blink and it will be time to start again, but that’s okay. I am enjoying each moment the Lord gives me.

Thanks for reading!

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This Seems Familiar

Here is a photo of Terry doing a major re-model on our master bathroom in 2007 when we lived in Burnet, Texas. It was a big job, and one which we didn’t have quite enough money to do right (it was a parsonage). In the end, we weren’t too happy with it. I believe the pastor who came after us tore it all out and made it look great, but at least we made it use-able.

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And here he is last week doing a major repair job on our bathroom here:

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Our last house, which was another parsonage, also required a major plumbing repair in both bathrooms!

Bathroom repairs seem to be our lot in life.

The reason for our recent repair job is that a pipe to our hot water heater (behind the wall he’s working on), sprang a teeny-tiny leak. Slowly over time, it saturated the sheet rock until the tiles on this wall started falling off! The leak was easy to fix, but the wall, not so much. And then, once he tore into the wall, he found we had termites! The house had an inspection before we bought it, but, they missed them. I believe we caught it before serious damage was done, and that’s because of this leak. I thank the Lord for allowing us to find out before the roof collapsed or a wall caved in completely! He is so good to us!

I’m also really thankful that my husband can repair just about anything. He had never tiled a wall before, and I think he did a great job. The original tile had some kind of pattern in it, which we couldn’t match, but he got as close as he could for now.

We hope to someday be able to do a complete re-do of our master bath and an update to the bathroom in the photo above.

But I hope we can hire someone else to do it! 😉

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