Tag Archives: projects

A Blessed Saturday

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Toby was home on Saturday so it turned into a project day. It was cool and rainy, giving us the perfect excuse to hunker down and work on some house projects.

Number one on the list was painting. Over the last few weeks Toby has been working to patch and sand the many holes made in the drywall over the last year as a result of little boys raging. The bulk of the damage was in Ozzie and Tyler’s room but we also has a few other spots through the house that needed patched. Toby was all done with repairs so everyone pitched in to repaint Tyler and Ozzie’s rooms and touch up the other spots.

Now given the instability of things around here lately, I do recognize the efforts may be futile, but for now the walls are beautifully pristine. 🙂

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While we were in painting mode we decided to tackle another project that has been sitting on the back burner for the last year. A while ago we were given an old set of school lockers that we thought would be cute in Tyler’s sports themed bedroom. They needed painted so they have been sitting in the basement waiting for some TLC. We finally got around to the task last Saturday. We let Tyler pick the colors he wanted to spray paint the lockers with the understanding that Mom and Dad had veto power. Tyler’s first pick was neon pink. When that was vetoed he chose red, green, and yellow for the doors and chalkboard paint for the sides so he can draw on the lockers.

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He loved helping prime the lockers. I think maybe he enjoyed it too much.

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He declared with glee, “I feel like one of those bad boys who color on buildings!”

Beware world: if you see the following image tagging the buildings and bridges of Pittsburgh then you will know Tyler has turned to a life of crime!

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In the afternoon we loaded everyone up for errands. Molly needed to be dropped of at work so we all tagged along.

Work is going well for the girls. They are thriving as Pretzel Factory workers. In fact they are doing so well that they received a personal call from the district owner who has noticed the girls’ work ethic and diligence and called to inform them that they will both be receiving a raise. She said that their store’s sales have increased significantly in the last quarter and she credits Grace and Molly’s work with the increase in the store’s profits. The girls were thrilled…not only for the pay raise but for the recognition.

After a trip to Home Depot and Walmart we headed over to Ellwood City. Rusty had heard news that the comic book store in Ellwood City was having a “Free Graphic Novel” day. Every customer who stopped in could pick from a selection of free graphic novels. Rusty loves graphic novels and asked if we could go check it out.

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We arrived and found a large selection of books to choose from. Rusty was in heaven. The kids searched through the pile of choices looking for the one they wanted. Toby and then previewed possible choices, making sure the content was age appropriate.

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There was something for everyone! Who knew my girl Janet Evanovich wrote graphic novels?!

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Everyone left with some new bedtime reading.

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When we returned home Toby gave the boys haircuts while Grace and I had her weekly one-on-one time. She chose to make fudge. She found a recipe for cookies & crème fudge on Pinterest, so that is what we made. The rainy weather made baking a perfect Saturday afternoon activity and the results of our labors were then enjoyed the next evening as our Family Night treat.

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We are all adjusting to the new normal of having Grace gone more than she is at home. Between two jobs and school she is a girl on the go, but is thriving and loving life. She has fully embraced her new status as college student and is loving her classes. In addition to school changes Grace has transitioned from being a young woman at church to a young adult. She no longer has early morning seminary or Wednesday night youth group. Now her Wednesday nights are spent at institute (church classes for college aged students.) This past Sunday was also her first Sunday attending church down in Pittsburgh at the young adult ward where the congregation is comprised of 18-30 year olds. It is a chance for her to get to know, socialize with, and worship with like minded peers… and also happens to be where Toby and I met 20 years ago. It was a bit surreal sending her off to our old stomping grounds for church. It feels like I was in her shoes just yesterday. How can we be old enough to have a daughter that age?!

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But I am also excited for her. That was such an exciting, sweet time of my life and I am thrilled she gets to embark on such a grand adventure. Week one was a huge success. Grace loved it. Now the rest of us just need to get adjust to being a family of 6 at church. It has been especially challenging for Molly, who has had to get used to not having her best friend/sister in Young Women’s with her.

This seems to be the season of change for our family…both good and hard.

We are still working to get Ozzie in a good place and appreciate all of the prayers said on his behalf. We have felt the sustaining power of the many prayers lifting us up these past few weeks and we are very grateful. When we have a better idea of where we are at and what needs to happen next we will share but until then, thank you for your prayers.

 

The BUS is done!

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One year ago we did it.

In July of 2015 we walked onto the 422 auction lot,

and we bought ourselves a school bus.

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The project began as a seed of an idea in my creative husband’s mind.

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For two years we had been planning a once in a lifetime road trip and were pricing out our different housing options. As we considered the varying costs of hotel rooms verses renting an RV Toby came up with the idea of creating our own RV.

When he brought up the idea of buying a used school bus and transforming it into an RV I was a bit hesitant, but when he pointed out all of the selling points, namely:

  1. The fact it was significantly cheaper than renting an RV.
  2. We could customize it to meet the exact needs for our family of seven.
  3. At the end of our big road trip we would have a family RV to enjoy for many years.
  4. We could work on it as a family and the kids could learn some valuable skills and take ownership in the project….

I was sold!

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The kids were SO EXCITED!

 

This past week was spent finishing the inside of the bus. Tomorrow Toby leaves for Michigan and will be gone until two days before we leave on our cross country road trip, so this week was the last opportunity we had  to complete the bus. Here are some of the projects we were working on:

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Rusty and I learned how to make screens for the windows.

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One of Toby’s big projects was to replace the gas tank on the bus. It was in good shape but the 38 gallon capacity made him uncomfortable with some of the longer stretches of road out west. So, being Toby, he headed to the local junk yard and found a 115 gallon tank off a junked vehicle and brought it home to replace the original tank.

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The girls sewed curtains for all the windows this week.

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Toby’s big “inside” project this week was building all the cabinet doors for the kitchen, master bedroom and front of the bus. When he was done I stained and polyurethaned them.

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And then he hung them.

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Didn’t he do a beautiful job?!

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The outside of the bus was also prepped for paint. The kids scrubbed the whole thing down, rough spots were sanded, all the stickers were removed, and exposed metal was primed before the first coat of paint went on.

 

It has been a labor of love. For 12 months we have worked to transform our home on wheels from a 72 passenger school bus into an RV.

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Toby led the family through the process and the end results are magical.

We are happy to say:

WE ARE DONE!

Here is a look at the inside of our school bus conversion.

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A look into the master bedroom that is located at the back of the bus.

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Isn’t it charming?!

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A view towards the front at our travel seats.

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Our bathroom consists of a toilet and small sink. On the wall is a framed map of our trip route.

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The view from the master bedroom looking forward. We decided to use a car play mat as our kitchen rug. We felt it tied into the license plates we hung on the cabinet fronts, but more importantly it was placed there as a therapy tool for the boys. They both use matchbox cars as a tool for cooling down when they get anxious.

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We look forward to collecting more magnets for the fridge as we travel the country.

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One of the decorative touches added with the completion of the bus…A good reminder for all of us! 😉

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We found these trays at IKEA. They made me smile. We super glued magnets to the back so that they can hang on the fridge and be pulled down to be used as serving trays when needed.

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We also labeled the birds that we felt matched each family member with their name.

 

This week was also spent purchasing paint for the outside of the bus.

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Oh, decisions…decisions…decisions!

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Because we needed special paint that would adhere to the metal of the bus we were more limited in our color choices. This is what we could pick from.

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Choices were made…

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The boys LOVED watching the process.

 

The outside of the bus is almost complete.

Stay tuned for pictures!

Summer Strawberries!

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This morning we woke up with one thing on our minds..Strawberries!  The day was beautiful. It was sunny but not too hot for strawberry picking so we decided to head out after breakfast to our favorite “you pick” farm. We have been getting our strawberries from a farm in Ohio called Catalpa’s for the last 5 years. A friend introduced us to it after we moved into the home we are in now and we had such a great experience we continue to return every year.

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The kids were excited. They were trying to describe the experience to Tyler, who had never gone strawberry picking before. When we arrived we discovered that we weren’t the only ones who thought it was a perfect strawberry picking day. The place was bustling with “pickers.” We even ran into friends from church while we were there. 🙂

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Everyone trying to smile with the sun in their eyes 🙂

As we began picking, the kids were told that they each had to fill two quarts so that we could leave with 12 quarts… 10 for jam and  2 for eating! I thought Tyler might lose interest after the novelty wore off but he stuck with it to the end.

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Grace and Tyler picking together.

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I love this little boy!

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Miss Molly

Miss Gracie

Miss Gracie

All of the kids did a great job but Rusty was our strawberry picking champion. He filled 3 1/2 quarts to the rest of our 2 quarts. When we were done picking we stopped at the store at the front of the farm for a treat.

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Our quarts are filled!

They sell the most delicious strawberry smoothies made from fresh strawberries that come from their farm for $1.50 so Toby bought three..one for he and I to share, one for the boys and one for the girls. They were extra yummy!

The boys share a strawberry smoothie.

The boys share a strawberry smoothie.

When we arrived home we set up our strawberry assembly line with some washing, some cutting off the greens, some smashing and some jam making. It was a fun afternoon but by the last quart the kids were ready to be done. We were all tired, sticky and stained pink but we had 30 pints of jam and some great family memories to show for our efforts. 🙂

Jam making time!

Jam making time!

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Mash those strawberries, Tyler!

Some of the finished product.

Some of the finished product.