Monday, July 3, 2017

Husband Project: Backyard Shed

My husband has been busy working on a shed for the backyard. It took him all month to build it, as he also has an 8-5 job. His Fridays and Saturdays were kept busy, and he did manage to take a couple of afternoons off throughout the last few weeks when the weather was nice. He's quite handy, and being an accountant, he is always finding ways to save money, which is why he opted to build the shed himself rather than pay someone else to do it.

The entire cost of the shed, from foundation to shingles, was only $2000!! 

I think it turned out great---what do you think?

My husband decided on a concrete foundation, and we were grateful to have two men from church to help him pour the concrete. They started at about 6 p.m. after they had gotten off work and worked well into the night. The very next morning, my husband went out to inspect the slab in the daylight and discovered that a deer had walked across the slab. Fortunately, the concrete was not fully dry and my husband was able to smooth it out. Although we live in a neighborhood, we still have wildlife roaming around. We've noticed many deer tracks in our yard (and nibbles in our garden). I only hope that they haven't dropped any ticks along the way.

The children had a blast with the construction project. Liam got his black rubber boots on and put himself right to work. The slab was dry by this time, but that didn't stop him! He seemed to know exactly what he was doing.

I neglected to get very many pictures of the full construction of the shed. The children each had a turn climbing the ladder during framing. My husband built all of the roof trusses in our garage (having gained the experience from a construction job he had while in college) and my dad came over to help him put them on.

My dad also returned to help enclose the top of the shed. It was nice to see my dad back in his element. He has been building houses since childhood, and made a career in custom cabinetry while also assisting his older brother with building houses. After retiring and moving here to be closer to his grandchildren, it has been awhile since I've seen him build anything. It was also nice to see my dad and my husband working side by side.

This is the only picture I got of the enclosed shed before vinyl siding. I was intending to take a picture of Liam playing in the dirt. This mound of dirt is another project we have going on. It wasn't supposed to be delivered for weeks, but one day the delivery truck arrived and I couldn't tell him to come back in a month. So... we have dirt. It's the next project on the list.

After framing, my husband and dad put on the asphalt shingles, then my husband put on the vinyl siding. Our HOA is very particular about sheds and they want them to match the house exactly (even though most sheds in the neighborhood do not). Being a good rule follower, my husband purchased the exact shingles and vinyl siding that was used for our house.

He also purchased the doors (shown above) from Habitat for Humanity. They looked rough when he brought them home, but he sanded and painted them, and they're just like new again!

My husband asked if I wanted the shed to have a window, and I said yes so he purchased this one, complete with shingles and a flower box. Isn't he thoughtful? It almost makes me want to move right in.

We are so very happy that the project is complete!

George especially made some fond memories working with his daddy. It is a good feeling to build something just how you want it, and to pay for it with your own money. George may only be five, but it's never too early to teach children that hard work pays off!

Friday, June 30, 2017

What We Read {June 2017}

I love seeing what people are reading and I wanted to start sharing what we're reading, and hopefully it will help us get back into a better routine.


We read a few library books and books we have around the house, but two books really stood out for the children. We all enjoyed A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor. The illustrations were beautiful and my children and I loved seeing how simple, magical, and family-centered the holidays used to be. We also read Roanoke: The Lost Colony---An Unsolved Mystery From History. We are planning another field trip to Roanoke Island, North Carolina where Fort Raleigh and the legendary Lost Colony is supposed to be. It is a wonderful day trip that our family enjoys but we thought we'd go a little more prepared this time.



I was able to read 12 books in June, so I'll share some of my favorites.

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

I was supposed to have read this book in May, but time got away from me and I didn't start it until May 31st. Because I was only 25 pages in, I think it's fair to include this book with my June reading. It is the first of fifteen books in the Plantagenet and Tudor series by Philippa Gregory. It took all  month to read it since I wanted to take my time and understand the historical figures and events that took place. The author is a phenomenal researcher and I was absolutely blown away by the book. The story revolves around the life of Jacquetta, mother of Elizabeth Woodville, who married King Edward Plantagenet. I easily gave it 5 stars.

The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden

I admit that this book initially caught my attention by its pretty book cover, but the story is incredible. This is the first book I've read by Elizabeth Camden and I'm now hooked. There was one character in the book that I wanted to know more about, and was not satisfied with his story when the book ended, but soon learned that while this book is not in a series, the author's second book, Against the Tide, centers around the character I was most intrigued by. I had to put it on hold at the library and wait all month, as I was 2nd in the queue for borrowing it. Now in my possession, I look forward to reading it in July.

Ladies of Distinction series by Jen Turano

Another new author for me, I had intended on only reading the novella, Gentleman of Her Dreams (#0.5), which was free on Kindle, and A Change of Fortune (#1). It was so hilarious that half way through book #1, I went ahead and reserved the remaining books in the series and read those too. They are A Most Peculiar Circumstance (#2), A Talent for Trouble (#3), and A Match of Wits (#4). I will probably finish the last book tonight. All of the women in the books (and the men) are all close friends or related to one another. Somehow, these independent women seem to always end up in jail, and the men in their lives are often times with them. (These are Christian books, so it is nothing inappropriate that puts them in jail---it is always a misunderstanding). A very good series for those who like clean romantic comedies, and set in New York City in the 1880's.


Bridget has been reading a lot of "readers" in an effort to improve her eyesight and her reading capabilities. She was diagnosed with a severe astigmatism at the end of 2016 and it has taken her some time to get used to her glasses and seeing words on a age the way they're supposed to be seen. I borrowed a lot of Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy books for her to read aloud to me, but Bridget has been reading a Barbie Mystery book. She said she really liked it and now wants to read more mystery books so long as they're not too scary. I hope to get her back on to more quality literature soon.


George picked out Clifford the Big Red Dog readers at the library. He's not yet reading on his own, but he listens to me as I read them to him, and is able to "read" them to Liam. They also do this with the Berenstain Bear books we have.

We were able to get another pile of books from the library for July and look forward to reading all of those!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tap/Jazz 2017: "Monopoly"

This year's Act II was incredible. It was titled "Monopoly". We had no idea how it was going to work when we first heard the theme, but I can honestly say that it was the most phenomenal and entertaining tap/jazz/modern performance they've ever done. My husband and I sat through it twice, and loved it both times.

Here is Bridget before her performances. Her persona changes when she puts on her tap/jazz costume and she becomes a sassy little thing.

Monopoly began with  rolling the dice, and landing on the "Electric Company". Jazz I performed to "Electric Avenue" and Jazz II (Bridget's class) performed to "I Got Bills". My husband recorded her performance and you can view it below.


Bridget's Tap II performance was after landing on the Short Line Railroad. They danced to "Locomotion". Bridget had the most fun with this one. She's been singing the song around the house for weeks.


There were also so many great performances. I wanted to record every one of them, but only got a few. My motive for doing this was to be able to show Bridget all the neat steps she'll be learning in the next couple of years.

After the next roll, they landed on "Community Chest". Two songs were performed for this one; the first is "Help" and the second is "Thrift Shop". You'll have to excuse my video making skills. I was using my phone and hit the pause button rather than stop, so it did some weird things.

Next was landing on "Oriental Blvd." The choreography on this one was amazing. The danced to "Pop, Drop; Roll". The applause at the end proves it was definitely an audience favorite. The young man that played the part of Mr. Monopoly/Banker was incredible. He added fun and humor to the entire production but proved in this performance (and others to follow) that he's an extremely talented dancer.

Next they landed on "Park Avenue" and danced to "Bell Hop Boogie", "Puttin' on the Ritz", and "Rich Girl". Unfortunately, I didn't record that last one, but they were really good too. 

Next was Pass Go and Collected $200. The dancers performed "Money", "We're in the Money", and "Money Makes the World Go Round". I think I was enjoying the performance too much that I forgot to record anything except for "We're in the Money". 

Next, it was time to Go To Jail. They danced to "Break Out" and "Jailhouse Rock". I thought the costumes were really good, and the performances as well. Mr. Monopoly shows off his dancing skills again in "Jail House Rock". 

Next they landed on Boardwalk". I'll give you one guess as to what song they danced to (loved the costumes in this one too). 

Next they landed on Carolina Avenue. This time I remembered to take a picture of the lovely young lady holding the property cards. She played a major role in the performance by letting the audience know where we were.

There is only one song that comes to mind for North Carolina. This performance was so wonderful and choreographed by one of Bridget's favorite teachers.

Next up was Tennessee Avenue. Loved their rendition of "Cotton Eyed Joe".

I didn't record the beginning of the production, but the finale did just as well to tie it all together. I had no idea that there was a Monopoly song. As you can see, the Banker stole the show yet again.

We were so happy to see our girl again after her performance. She made a lot of faces for us and tried really hard not to smile for me. Again, we thought she did a great job. The entire production was amazing.


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Ballet 2017: "The Twelve Dancing Princesses"

You will have to excuse the dance posts for the next couple of days. I am trying to be diligent in documenting Bridget's dance performances in a timely manner.

Bridget completed Beginner's Ballet II this year. She has now been dancing for four years. This year, the ballet was based on "The Twelve Dancing Princesses".

Here she is in her costume before leaving the house. She needed to get in a few last minute twirls.

We've arrived! Every year, I take a picture of Bridget in front of the auditorium at about the same spot. It's so neat to see how much she's grown. 

Bridget's class was in Scene III, "Never a Dull Moment". Bridget has always been a happy and smiling child, but even after four years of dancing, she cannot bring herself to smile on stage. She said she's too scared to smile. We hope she will soon grow out of this.

During the performance, I took pictures while my husband made a video on his phone.

After the performance, they did something a little different by having even the youngest dancers come back to the stage for a final bow. The older dancers of course took their bow first, then made room for the little dancers.

We thought she did a great job this year. While she's growing up so fast, she proved that she was never too old to be carried back to the van in Daddy's arms. This may be the last year he gets to do that!

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