Last weekend, we had our first snow. It snowed all morning and part of the afternoon on Saturday and it was so pleasant not to really have anywhere we had to go - we all loved just staying home for a big chunk of the day. We chatted and had a pretty nice time together while we cleaned out closets and gave lots of clothes and toys to the DI (I'd just re-read this article so I was fired up to get this done!). Eliza and I created some abstract art in the afternoon - she's had this paint set and some canvases forever and we just haven't got around to using them. I was so glad to finally have a nice slow day when we could do what she's been wanting to do for a long time - just sit and paint together.
Here's what we came up with (and wow, they sure looked different when they were wet - the colors were much more vibrant!)
While we painted, the boys went over to a MineCraft competition at the library with some neighbors and had the time of their lives.
Then we finished off the day with a game night, something we haven't done in way too long.
How I love the rare lazy day at home!
The kids were pretty excited about the snow, with visions of skiing and snowboarding dancing in their heads. They all saved up for season passes this year so this'll be the year they really get to ski a lot!
Despite a skiff of snow and some colder temperatures, the kids and all their neighborhood friends are still spending lots of time on the trampoline. Isaac came in from jumping the other day and said, "Mom, I think that trampoline is the best thing we've ever bought. It was totally worth working and waiting." Nice to hear.
Luckily, just before the first real snow, we finished the big fat project of scraping down, sanding, priming and repainting the trim on this house that we could reach (the third floor will have to wait - need a lift for that! And the paint's mostly fine up there for now.) I had three different painters come and look at the project but they never gave me bids and sort of disappeared. Frustrating. The summer wore on and then the fall and the sad peeling paint on the porch windows of this house was just stressing me out. I didn't think the old wood could make it through another winter unprotected without some serious problems.
So on a beautiful fall Saturday three weeks ago, we decided to seize the day and just do as much painting as we could ourselves.
After working three full Saturdays plus a couple hours in the warmest part of the day most afternoons, all the most problematic areas have been scraped, sanded, primed and have at least one coat of top coat. The rest can wait until spring.
The back windows that just had old white paint on them are now painted to match the rest of the house (the windows in the middle and upper story in the picture below) and the basement windows that were boarded up for years and needed serious scraping are now painted to match (some day we'll get that old brick refurbished...).
The porch still needs a little more work - the burgandy color detail trim needs to be done - but the badly peeling paint on all the posts is gone, replaced by good fresh paint. (Wish I'd thought to take a "before" photo because you really can't tell in this photo that we've done very much. You can see that I tried to remove some of the ugly pinkish paint myself there on the right but I didn't get very far - I think we'll need a professional to do that. But again, I've had masonry restoration companies come and they won't give me a bid! And the wood on the floor needs to be refinished but that'll have to wait for springtime...)
And another home-improvement project -
After three years of living in this house and getting stressed out every time anything spills on the counters, worried the moisture will get behind the cabinets and cause rot or something like that given that there was nothing but a bit of sloppy caulk where the wall meets the counter top, we finally got a nice backsplash installed.
It took a long time to find someone to install the tile (I've done tile before but I without the right equipment and expertise, it's a big pain.) I finally found a guy who could do it for a fair price. Plus fix some broken tile and caulking issues in a couple of the showers. Finding people to do work is just plain hard!
I was determined not to get analysis paralysis by looking at the umpteen million backsplash ideas on the internet so I just went to Home Depot and Lowes and picked three options that would look OK with the gray counter tops, cherry cabinets, dark wood trim and yellow paint. Despite my determination not to stress over this, I pored over those three options way too much. But finally we had a family vote and went with the winner.
It was this one - a mix of glass tile and slate that seemed to tie all the colors in the kitchen together nicely - and the subway-style brick pattern gave a nice nod to tilework of the period of our house.
And here's the finished product that we were all pleased with. We decided not to have the tile extend all the way up to the cabinets everywhere because we liked seeing the yellow walls and thought too much tile would make the small kitchen feel too busy and darken it up quite a bit. Plus there's no need for a tile beyond where we have it installed.
Last Thursday night was busy and fun. I headed down to SLC for a nice dinner and event right on the set at KSL Studio Five with my friend Allyson (she and I have been on the show a few times). We were able to hear a wonderful speech by the founder of Shabby Apple about seeing needs, responding to needs, working on a shoestring budget, making do and reaching high - all of which really resonated with our work at Power of Moms. Wished we could have stayed for the rest of the evening but had to hurry over to a book signing . . .
It was a pleasure to be with some of the local authors of Deliberate Motherhood again and present some readings and do book signing at one of my very favorite bookstores, The King's English.
My parents were kind enough to show up for a bit at the end. Always so good to see them. I've been to so many of their book signings all my life - fun to reverse roles this time round! What wonderful, supportive parents I've been blessed with.
Here are all the local authors of our book - SUCH great women. I wish we could all be neighbors and chat every day.
And one more thing - weekend before last, Isaac finally had the party we haven't got around to for ages (he never gets birthday parties with friends because we're always at Bear Lake for his birthday and he loves being with cousins but it's nice to have a friend party sometimes too...). He invited 12 kids, half girls, half boys. Only the girls showed up which was fine with Isaac since they're some of his best friends. Too bad the boys missed out! They all had a great time jumping on the trampoline, eating Isaac's favorite snacks (7-layer dip, fresh apple cider, and apples with dip) and playing Reverse Charades. Such a great group. I'm so loving doing these simple parties to get to know my big boys' friends!