Thursday, April 30, 2020

Diamond Paintings!

Ella's Christmas gift from Santa was one of those diamond paintings. I thought it would be a fun craft that her and I could work on together. She started working on it, but then she got bored. It is a more monotonous task. At the beginning of the Covid-19 scare and homeschooling I was pretty anxious so doing a monotonous task was actually really helpful. I would sit at the dining room table, listen to worship songs, working with one color of diamonds at a time and just feel the anxiety melt away. 



Ella was a little upset that I was working on her picture more than she was, but I explained how it was helping me feel better so she was okay with it after that. Of course the boys all wanted to help as well so I finally broke down and just bought a 4 pack of paintings so each kid would have their own painting to work on. 



The four pack was all animals....3 felines and 1 canine. They were all these fun rainbow colors. One thing I've noticed is the pictures are way more fun to work on if there are many different colors. 

Owen's is a cat, Jack's is a lion...




Ella's is a cheetah and Zeke's is a wolf. 




While the kids worked on their new paintings, I was able to finish Ella's first picture. Of course since this very first day the kids have worked on their painting a grand total of ZERO times! I know part of it is because the weather has been pretty great and the main reason...the novelty of it wore off once they actually got them. I have worked on Owen's painting once so I'm not necessarily complaining that they aren't working on them. At least I'll have lots of opportunities to help my anxiety melt away! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Sidewalk Chalk Art!

Another thing I wanted to start doing more of was including the kids in cooking or baking. Something I've realized in doing this is...I really enjoy having the kids help me bake, but I absolutely love my alone time when I cook. 



Ella asked if we could have French Toast so on our second day of Spring Break...April 7th...she helped me make everyone breakfast. 



Proud girl! 


Later on in the afternoon it was so pretty I wanted to get outside. I remembered I had this whole thing of sidewalk chalk I got on clearance last year so I grabbed that and some masking tape. I had heard about people decorating their sidewalks with messages to bring joy to people as they got out for their walks.



At first the kids did not understand what I was trying to tell them. Jackson was especially vocal in thinking that it was going to be lame. I told them to just give it a chance. I decided to do mine with a heart in the center because I had also seen that people were using hearts as a way to say thank you to all the healthcare workers. 



After seeing mine Jack decided he wanted a heart too. Ella asked me to tape her's so it would say 'Hi'.




Zeke was my helper when it came time to color mine in. 



Jack was starting to get it now. 



It really was a glorious day! The sun was out, but it wasn't too hot working out in it. 



Mine all finished before removing the tape. 



Ta Da!!! 

After this the kids finally understood what I was talking about. Seeing is believing! 



Jack was eager to take his tape off. 



Looking good Jackers! 



Ella need some help finishing hers off so I helped her color a bit. 




I really love how they all turned out and it was something fun and different to do outside. 




Later that afternoon one of our truly brightened her day. That was exactly what I wanted them to do. Yay!!! Of course now that it's been a while the rain has washed them away so I'm thinking we'll need to go out and make another round of them once we have a good break in the weather. 

To finish our fun day the kids asked for Michael to make a fire in the fire pit. 



First fire of the season! 



Being stuck at home can be hard so any reason to get outside has really been a lifesaver for us! So thankful for this amazing house, yard and family that I have! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Wood Projects!

When I realized that I would be homeschooling I really embraced the idea that I could teach my kids whatever I wanted. Not that I don't normally teach my kids a variety of things, but with them being home all day that does lend us more time in order to do things we might not typically do. Also I was trying to keep my own spirits up as well. I was thinking back to something that really brought me joy and that was woodworking. I thought it would be fun to teach the kids a bit about tools and safety. First we needed a project and it had to be something I could built with just scrap wood. 

Of course I went straight to Pinterest! 



Here was the inspirational piece I found. Not only was it small and I was sure we had the wood for it, but it would also be very functional. Our love seat is right by the opening into our living room from the foyer and there isn't room for there to be an end table on one side. It's always super annoying to sit on that end of the love seat since you have to pull your glass on the floor and risk knocking it over and spilling it or you have to set the remote control on the arm of the love seat and it always ends up falling off. 



I gathered everything I needed in the garage before I had the kids come out. We went over safety such as wearing gloves, safety glasses and ear plugs. I also went over measuring and had each of the kids help me with that. 



The inspiration piece was just a starting point I didn't use the exact measurements so I drew up a quick rendering with the cut list so I'd know what I needed. Once we got to cutting each of the kids helped me cut. Normally I like to make all the cuts and then start with assembling, but since this was my design I wasn't exactly sure how long certain cuts needed to be so we had to cut a few and then start assembling and then cut the rest. During this time was when it became more difficult to keep all the kids attention and it became really clear that Owen was the one that was really interested. That was okay with me. I feel likes that's actually a great way to learn. Try out as many things as you can to find the one you like. If you don't like it move on until you find something that's your thing. 




Sweet helper boy! 



We originally screwed the legs on in the center and then realized that adding that back piece that was supposed to hold magazines or books in would in turn hang over the bottom so we had to unscrew the legs and fasten them directly on the edge. 



Owen really enjoyed getting to use the drill! 



Here was our finished end table. It really didn't take that long and it was quite fun to build. 



Dry fitting it! It's perfect for this little area. 



The top little shelf is perfect for the remote to sit on or a sleeve of Ritz crackers for Michael. I read to the kids everyday for about 20 minutes so we put the book I read to them down in the lower section so it doesn't wander off. 



We love dark wood at our house and I especially love dark wood with red hues in it so I choose to stain this with a English Chestnut.



I put two coats of Poly on it to protect it and give it a little shine. I did put a coaster on it since I don't want it to get water damage. 

The following week Owen really wanted to build a pencil case. He told me his vision and I drew it up. 



It was a basic box design. 

A couple other tools we got to use for this project was the nematic nail gun and some clamps to help hold it together while we nailed it in place.  At first Owen wanted to build two boxes one for Sharp pencils and one for Dull pencils. 



We wanted to use my burning tool to write Sharp & Dull on each box, but it was really hard to write with that burning tool and we didn't want to ruin the box and make it look hideous. He decided that one box was enough and we'd just store it next to the sharpener so if your pencil was dull you could fix that right away. 



Super happy with his build! 




Here it lives right next to the pencil sharpener and RIP my Sunflower pitcher that I knocked off the back of the desk raising the blinds one day. 


After posting about our building projects I had a friend from church ask if I'd take orders for the end tables. I've had people ask me to build stuff for them before, but they usually don't take me up on it. I love to build things so I was hoping she meant what she said and she did. She asked what I'd charge her and I told her to just get me a Lowe's gift card so I could buy more wood. 



Owen was all about building another end table. One thing we learned from building our end table was that we really need to pre-drill the holes before we screw them. I've known this, but I'm usually lazy about it. Since I was making it for a friend I knew we needed to take the extra time and do it correctly. 



It really did make everything easier even if it took longer so I'll most like do this every time now. 



So proud of his build! 



On to the second one! 



We actually had just enough wood to make these two. The top piece is a 2 X 8 and I only had this one chunk left that I was able to cut in two.

I ended up staining these a dark color, but it didn't have any red hues in it. My English Chestnut stain was almost gone and I didn't know if it would cover 2 end tables. I also gave it two coats of Poly. My friend picked these up and April 20th. She was so sweet. She gave Owen and I money to go on an ice cream date and then money for materials. She also brought me a jar of her mom's homemade raspberry freezer jam. So yummy! The funny thing was another friend of mine had borrowed our Carpet Cleaner and she brought it back that day and left it on the porch with a homemade loaf of bread she made for us. So I had some yummy bread to put my jam on. So fun! My friend from church has actually already asked for another end table...she gave one of them to her mom for her birthday present. I need to head out to Lowe's to get another 2 X 8, but right now it seems like it's crazy at the hardware so I'll probably do that sometime in May.

If anyone would like me to build them something please let me know. I have lots of scraps, but even if I don't have the right wood or hardware if you go buy it I'll build it. :) 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Selling Little Red & Buying A New Truck!

Washing Michael red car gave us an excuse to get out of the house during our first week of homeschooling, but it also gave me motivation to get it all cleaned up and ready to sell. We weren't planning on selling it until at least May since we would need it to drive to Michael's work conference in the Tri-Cities in April, but since that got cancelled I didn't see any reason in keeping it around. Plus the weather was so nice it felt great to be outside working. I spent at least 3 hours deep cleaning the car. It had been parked down at the bottom of our easement under a tree so you can imagine all the pine needles and moss that was on the windows and in all the little crevasses. 



Little Red sure cleaned up nice! 



After getting the car all washed up I took pictures and posted them online on Facebook and Offer Up. I was really hoping that we could sell the car to friends since I really get creeped out by people coming to the house especially to take a test drive of a car. I don't mind buying things or selling things where it's just an exchange of money and product, but a car is different. I don't know maybe I'm weird. 

A couple hours after I posted the car online I got a message from a friend at church asking if I thought the car would be good for her teenage daughter. YES!!! This was actually what I had been hoping would happen. I knew this car would be great for a first time driver or a college age student. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it's in really great shape. It's not a super sporty fast car, but it's also not ugly or a gutless wonder. I had a few other people contact me, but I told them I already had someone interested in it. Our friends came over that Saturday, test drove the car and then their daughter bought it from us. She had been saving for awhile so she was able to pay for it in full. I was so proud and happy for her!!! It just all worked out perfectly! I love how God takes care of us! 

It seems like we've been saving for a truck for years....it actually has been years! Our plan this year was to buy the truck. We were looking to purchase it around June, but once we sold the car I told Michael we should start looking. It's not like we are going to find the exact truck we want on the first day we start looking. Who knows we might find a really great deal that's less money than we were planning on thus enabling us to buy a truck earlier. 

We both spent some time on the computer that night checking things out. Michael ended up finding two trucks that he wanted to go look at the next day. They were both at Advantage Auto Direct in Kent. They are only open until 6pm so once Michael got home we left the kids and went to check it out. 

The guy that helped us wasn't the most knowledgeable and I don't know there was just something about him I didn't really like. We took the one truck out for a drive and by the time we got back the other truck we had wanted to test drive was already blocked in by other trucks. It has started to rain so I went back to the van and Michael went over to check it out. He came back and said that the second truck had more wear and tear on the inside than he liked. We headed home after that. 

The nice thing about that first test drive was it helped us figure out what we really wanted in a truck. Prior to this we only knew that we wanted a Ford F-150 that could seat 6 people and was younger than a 2012. After test driving that first truck we knew that we wanted a Ford F-150 that was no older that 2014, could seat 6 people, had a bed that was longer than 5 1/2 ft, had trailer breaks, power driver seat and running boards. 

With that knowledge when we got home I went back to their website and started looking around. I found another truck that looked really promising and I sent the guy an email saying we could come down and check it out the next night if they were going to be open. By this point the governor had said that we would be closing everything down, but thankfully he gave us a couple days before that went into effect. 

On Tuesday we headed down to check it out. Thankfully that guy was heading home so another sales rep helped us out. Tawnya was AWESOME! When I was looking at Advantage Auto Direct's reviews I saw her name a ton and people were always saying how awesome she was. We went out for a test drive and fell in love with this truck. I knew that we might not be able to get it, but it still felt good knowing exactly what truck we wanted. Keeping our Dave Ramsey faces on we went in to the office to find out how much the truck would be including all the taxes and licensing. Of course it was about $2000 too expensive for us. We asked if they could take the price down at all. She went and talked to her manager, but she couldn't get the price down. The thing with this place is they've only been selling to the public for a little over a year. They used to only sell to dealerships. There slogan is Buy Like A Dealer. Michael and I told her thanks, but we'll have to pass. We told her we'd be back...they have so many trucks we knew we'd eventually find one for the right price. We weren't in a hurry really. 

On the way home we got a text from Tawnya asking us exactly what we were looking for in a truck so she could be on the look out for us. Michael texted her back and told her that the truck we just drove had everything we wanted and if she could get the price down $2000 we could come in the next day with a check for the full price. She apologized for not being able to get the price down and said she'd keep looking for us. The next day she texted me a couple trucks to look at. One of them we'd already looked at and the other was a Dodge Ram...I really had my heart set on a Ford F-150. She apologized again for not being able to get the price down. 

The night before Michael was telling me that we would be getting a call the next day and they would want to make a deal to sell the truck. See the dealership was going to be closing for a minimum of 2 weeks and they had a shipment of 80 vehicles coming in. They needed to move some cars. After getting that text from Tawnya I was sure we weren't going to get a call, but lo and behold around 3ish in the afternoon I got a call saying she was finally able to talk her boss down by $1500. I told her I needed to talk to Michael. Of course he said yes, but I didn't call back right away....I made her wait a bit before I called back and said we'd buy the truck! :) 

 Once Michael got home we drove down to the dealership to get our truck. Since we were paying with a check it was so fast. I think it took us an hour, but most of that was waiting for the manager to be ready with the paperwork. I think we signed papers for about 5 - 7 minutes. Tawnya also took all the stickers off the truck and even hooked us up with Siruis XM Radio. It was such any easy experience. I would honestly recommend them if you need to buy a vehicle...just ask for Tawnya!




 Michael drove the truck home and I followed in the van! 




Isn't it pretty!!!! 



We were so excited to show the kids! 



We came home, picked them up and headed out for a drive. 




I had ordered Chinese at our favorite place, but we needed to kill some times so we drove around. 




We video called Ga-Ga & Pa to tell them the good news. 



We also stopped to put some gas in the tank and then I got to drive. 




We picked up the food and headed home. 




This is the only part of the truck that Michael doesn't like. The bed doesn't have a spray in bed liner so eventually we will have that taken care of. Overall it's in awesome shape! It's a 2014 Ford F-150 with 48K miles on it, trailer breaks, power driver seat, running boards and a 6 1/2 ft bed. 

We can't wait to pull the trailer with the truck instead of the van. Now the State Parks just have to open up!

I'm just amazed at how everything worked out timing wise. God is in the details!