Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Fun things to do in the winter on the shore

Here are 2 of the most fun things we've done this winter!
Hiking up frozen rivers was the highlight of our time on the shore.  It was stinking cold up there, but we managed to get out some and have a little fun.  The advantage of hiking up a frozen river is that the wind doesn't usually get you down in the river canyon.  And canyon it is!
Explorers, ready to explore

Views at the top before going into the river bottom

Follow the trail

Since I'm always behind the camera, here's me dressed to face the cold!
 This river had a big room in the river canyon.  The rocks and walls were sculpted away in such a way that it felt like you were hanging out in a special place.
The room.

Noah kicked down most of the icicles while we were there.

End of the line
 When we turned around and headed back down the river, we decided to pull over in "the room" and build ourselves a little campfire and enjoy for a bit.  Brian couldn't get the fire going, so he headed out to find some birch bark.  While he was gone, I found a tiny scrap of birch bark and make the fire go.  Love it when I can own the fire!
Wilderness fire
 The other fun activity, which we did in a snowstorm, so forgive the pictures, was dog sledding.  It's not cheap, but a fun thing to do as a visitor/vacationer.

The dogs needed a snack before we went riding.

Nearly finished snacking, let's go for a ride!

 Adrenaline junkies won't be satisfied, it's not fast.  Especially in new, soft snow.  But, it's amazing to think that those 10-12 small dogs were able to pull our whole family plus the handler over the hills and along the path faster than I could power walk it.  Makes for a pleasant family outing.

What's fun that you do in the winter?  Anyone else warming up to wilderness fires or snuggling in a sled?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Another bathroom ready for business (almost)

While we were waiting for the carpet guy to come, after painting all of phase 2, we worked piece by piece on the bathroom.  I probably took too many pictures, but I'm super excited about how this one came together!

Peeking in, the plumbing is done!

We've got lights!

Light's up in this area too!
 I hold the light fixture up while Brian makes all the connections.  We were happy to finally have lights in that dark corner once again.  The install was tricky because the fixture boxes were in strange places, so we used a fixture with a large back that we could move to the spot we wanted it.  They're so much better than the swing arm lap that we removed!
My new favorite view in the place!

We had so many materials, that we just stacked them up out in the hall.  This shows the pile almost cleared.

Cabinet mounted.

Vessel sink in place.

Whoo hoo!  It's almost there!

So much lighter and brighter than before.
 Okay, so you want to see the carpet too...

The phase 2 list is down to:
- shower curtain and rings, need to install shower curtain rod
- towel bars
- coat hooks for in the closet area
- bed platform and headboard
- 2 bedside tables
- 6 drawer dresser
- 2 accent chairs and an accent table to create a sitting area in front of the wall of glass
- re-hang the curtains

Whew, that's a manageable list to finish up!  Unfortunately, it's mostly shopping and picking furniture where style is very important!  Send your suggestions, I'll be shopping this week. :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Auntie Lissa builds

You all know that I read too many crafty idea blogs for the time that I have available to do crafty fun things.  I really should read less and do more, but that's a whole different topic.  Ana White posted this cute little lap desk in October as a part of her Christmas gift idea series.  I happen to have a couple of learners that I prefer to give homemade gifts to, so I set up the miter saw.  I got intent on building, so didn't take any pictures along the way (and even if I had, I couldn't share them at the time or the surprise might have been blown).  The biggest challenge in building these was that most of our tools are at the condo, and as we learned from the bed project, side building projects are not welcome at the condo.  I literally finished them up and wrapped them on Christmas Eve.

We made one fun modification.  When shopping for the desk top piece, we saw that instead of plain plywood, we could get chalkboard or whiteboard for the top surface.  Whiteboard was the instant answer, and it seemed to go over extremely well, so glad we made that choice!  Because the whiteboard was a little more flimsy feeling than plywood, I cut one additional piece to support the middle of the top.  That doesn't mean they're built for dancing on, though, girls!

I hope they will have lots of creative fun with them - learning, drawing, tea partying, snacking...  

It's probably time to start planning for the big first birthday party coming up in April.  Hmm, which fun kids craft is next?

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Taking steps toward a good looking dining room

We eat in there most days, sometimes more than once. It's one of the most used rooms in the house and ranks really high on the ugly scale.  Granny green up to the chair rail with frilly light switch plates isn't too hard to change out.  It doesn't rank as major construction to fix it up, so we're going for it.  Actually, Brian just started in on it when I was at work on Friday, so, game on.
Here you can see the beginning of the work, white on the lower part of one wall.
Haha, get rid of that old mother of pearl plate and you bring the house forward by decades!
We jumped into the chandelier while we're at it, too. This house has a plethora of ugly light fixtures that don't put out very good light.  We're going to lighten and brighten the place up with some fresh paint and new lights. 
Much better! Now when are we allowed to tear down that awful textured ceiling that happens to have yellow outlines around the texture lines?! 
What color trim? We don't have paint in hand for that, so will have to make a big, whole-house decision on that one. We're thinking white, and maybe some charcoal accent on the cabinet. We'll work on this room casually for the next few weeks.  Could end up the best looking room in the house if we keep at it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lake Superior Rockin' and Rollin'

From the ice encrusted shore, we enjoyed watching the waves pound.  We couldn't free any rocks from the frozen beach to throw into the water, so we just knocked down a few icicles and played "house" in a "cave".  I had to go back for the camera and get some wave pictures, they were spectacular, though I don't think it shows up quite so spectacular in the pictures.  Noah and I had to play outside a bit for certain parts of the construction process, so we took a walkie-talkie down and played on the shore.  All parties had a good time!

Snow-covered rock

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Warm winter fun with a preschooler

Noah got new skis for Christmas.  We had to consider a few other things to keep him warm.  We got the universal binding skis for kids - that means he wears the winter boots that we already have for him.  I'm happy to not have to buy ski boots every winter.  His little white cotton socks inside the generic kids winter boots weren't quite doing it for us, though.  "Santa" got him a pair of costs-more-than-the-boots-did smartwool kids wintersport kneehigh socks.  That was enough to make his feet last as long as mine out in the cold anyway.

 From toe to head, here's how we layered him for playing out on the chilly days.  Kneehigh wool socks and winter boots.  His warmest pair of fleece sweatpants, topped by a pair of jeans, topped by snowpants. Long sleeve t-shirt, sweatshirt, winter coat.  On his hands, he wears a lightweight fleece mitten with his Menards mittens over top (for those who aren't familiar, Menards sells kids mittens with the high, snow blocking wrist, great for the daycare playground for $5... Awesome!).  Up top varies based upon the sweatshirt.  If he has a hood, then he wears his sweatshirt hood, jacket hood, and a scarf wrapped around his face.  If no hooded sweatshirt, then he puts his hat under his hood.  Extra head warmth is essential!  And, his jacket hood is a quite thick one, not like those little tuck-in-the-collar-in-case-it's-raining-or-windy hoods that so many adult jackets come with.

 So there you have it on clothing.  Another year of physical coordination improvement and appropriate length skis and he's getting to be quite the skier!
Not sure what happened with these pictures, so just turn your head, they were normal in my photo file and I've tried just about everything to get them righted.

 Noah has snowshoes too.  Actually, they're monster feet, according to Noah.  If we get tired of skiing, we can go for a stomp.  It's fun, and so good to get outside in winter!

After our afternoon out playing in the snow, one particular 5 year old fell asleep in the car for a good half hour.  Mission accomplished, we wore him out!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Paint changes everything

It takes hours to "wrap it all up" so that the paint only goes where you want it when you use a sprayer.  You don't have any lights except your one halogen worklight.  It's a multi-day process to wrap, prime, paint trim, paint ceiling, and walls.  And, oh man, is it fun to see the transformation!

Protect that pretty shower from the spray!

Special door balancing tricks to get them sprayed in the middle of the room.

I added in a picture frame that was a little rough for bonus while he was spraying :)

Ready for trim paint - the primer looks funny on that wall, and the door is a piece...

Here's the equipment and the wood has been painted gray.

The challenging little bathroom.

White walls and ceiling

The only white in the entry is the ceiling, lots of plastic here!

There's that shower again, almost done with the wrapping.

Smooth white walls, needs a vanity and light fixture!

Ready, set, unwrap!


Uncover that tile!

I could gaze at that shower tile for hours.

One big pile of used wrapping paper and a couple pretty walls.

And the pretty tree view out the window of this freshly painted room.