Category Archives: Home Improvement Projects

An Art Studio

I’ve tried several times in the last few weeks to write an update post. Thrilling, I know… but it just seems weird¬†to me to start-up now and write a specific post like the last two months didn’t have anything happen in them. I just can’t make any of my attempts work. I have four posts drafted and saved… but I just can’t post them. Actually, this one may not make it either. ūüė¶

Mostly, I think I’ve lost a lot of the inspiration I once had, after my Dad passed away. I started the blog five years ago, for my family that lives three thousand miles away from me, as a way for them to keep up with what the boys are doing and see pictures of them growing up. But, now that my biggest blog fan (Dad) is not reading it, and my Mom is blind ¬†and hasn’t been able to use the computer for several years now, it just isn’t the same. But…¬†I know some of my dear friends around the world like to see what is happening at our house from time to time…so, for them… I’ll continue. Or at least try.

Much of the time I am poopy and sad. And I don’t like being poopy and sad around others. Although exhausting, I can “fake it” pretty good when I have to go out and be around people. Some days it’s just too hard to fake. I guess I am not done grieving yet.

But… I am keeping busy and trying to work things out in my mixed up head.

These keys will help.


Back in September, I figured out how to use the money my Dad left me, in a way that would have made him very happy, makes me happy, and will keep his memory alive forever. I built an art studio in my backyard.


My Dad and I had gone looking at little out buildings many times when he would come out and visit. We would talk about how cool it would be for me to have a little place that I could “escape” to and work on my creative therapy. We would gather information, take pictures of the ones we liked, walk in and out of them discussing all the while what we could do to make it work as my art studio. And in the end we would always say, “Yea…someday!”


Well, that someday happened.¬†I’d MUCH rather have my Dad back though. I’d much rather go around looking at the sheds forever with him, than be in one without him. But, since that is not an option, I’m glad that he was able to make the “someday” happen for me. Just wish he could be here to see it. He would be beaming with happiness.

He would look something like this!


And then he would ask a million and one questions. Questions I don’t even think of asking. Things that one would need to know if they were going to do the project right… but that few of us ask.

I hope I do him proud.

I found a local company that builds on site. Dustin Hirschfeld was professional and good to work with. My Dad would have really liked him. He and his crew got this up in two days…and in the rain. Check out their website at Backyard Custom Construction¬†or even better… on Face Book here Backyard Custom Construction.¬†I got more of what I wanted, and we didn’t have to deal with hauling a big building down our long, already broken, driveway.










It has been a very emotional journey for me. At first I didn’t want to tell anyone about the studio. I told a select few with fear and trepidation. I’m not sure why. But I am now getting used to the idea, and it doesn’t feel as much like I traded him in for an art studio anymore. It is a beautiful gift from him… and a wonderful way to keep him with me forever.


My precious neighbors brought me this lovely gift not long after the studio was up. Beautiful sounding wind chimes that say “in memory of Papa”. ¬†*sniff*

It’s still in the process of being finished. Electricity is in. The drywall almost all up, and then the ceiling will be next. I have most of the furniture picked out or purchased already, and am chomping at the bit to get it all done so I can “move in”.


My husband wouldn’t let me have a bathroom out there. He said he’d NEVER see me again if it had one. He’s probably right. I could live out there. Hey… I have no problem peeing in the woods! I could maybe last a few days before having to come home and clean up. ūüôā


Sooooooo, besides the art studio construction process,




keeping up with all the feathered, furry and funny rascals,






surviving a nasty cold bug making the rounds,


a visit from my cousin and her kids,


doing three different photo shoots,

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going to a beautiful wedding,


making 300 ornaments and two life-size snowmen (pictures to come) for Truly Christmas,


the death of a dear-sweet friend (who has made a major impact in my life) from our church,


a 16th birthday party with 10 teenage boys – overnight,


keeping the family “full”, house “clean”, and laundry “done”… I am trying to take some time for myself to meditate and grieve the loss of my Dad. It has been six months already. I just can’t belive it. I miss him SO much.

I do know that I was blessed with a great Dad. I had a wonderful relationship with him and we spoke often. He was a good Papa to my boys and they are all old enough to remember him and all the good times they had with him. All that is a major blessing. So many don’t have good relationships with their parents, or don’t even know who they are. My Dad was a blessing to our family and to many, many others as well. He gave from the heart. He gave his time, his money, his knowledge and his love. He was kind and generous to everyone he met. You did not have to know him to gain a blessing from him! He impacted strangers everywhere he went. Genuinely interested in people, their lives, their family’s and their hearts. I was blessed. And continue to be blessed.

No promises… but I do hope that I will begin to get back to “myself” again soon, and maybe get better at keeping up with this blog. ūüėČ





Filed under Art Projects, Home Improvement Projects, In The News

The Wall

I will attempt to type this, but I am so sore I don’t know if I’ll be able to finish!

We got two pallets of cement bags delivered bright and early this morning. I got the boys up, had worship & breakfast, then we grabbed our gloves, shovels and water!

Gratefully, the boys all had good attitudes about more physical labor. And JJ was so funny at times that I couldn’t work because I was laughing so hard!


They helped me work up until near lunch time, when Guy came in and made some awesome homemade macaroni & cheese. 


After lunch I went back out by myself but didn’t plan to do much more. However, I was already a dirty, muddy mess, so decided to put a cement landing at the bottom of the stairs, and then ended up doing another (smaller) wall up near the house. I also dug a rectangle “mold” in some dirt and poured it with cement, in the hopes of digging it up later and making a bench for the fire pit area. May do several of those if it works.


All-in-all, we moved 73 bags of cement today. I know it doesn’t look like much right now, but it will be so cool soon. I saw this idea on Pinterest, and it reminded me that my brother Rick and I had seen this done one time when we were out on an adventure in Florida. I just wish he was still here today to guide me along. I bet he is GLAD he wasn’t!


I am looking forward to being able to tear off the paper, add some plants & moss around them, and enjoy a beautiful retaining wall. So is Ahmi, although she likes it just fine like it is!

On a roll!


But I think it’s going to be a Cheerios kind of dinner tonight! I’m on the couch and I don’t think I’m getting up…even if I wanted to.

Just say’en.



Filed under Home Improvement Projects, The Yard & Garden

Yard Week

Yard week started with Rick and I pulling up some juniper in the front yard on Monday. We prepared the area for grass, and also transplanted a large rosebush to a more ideal location, as well as planted more roses in the front flower bed.

We still had Tate and Tucker with us, and all the boys were filming another movie. (Sadly, the one they filmed in the freezing cold on Saturday night had the ca-bosh put on it by Daddy. Long sad story.)

Well, while they were busy filming, we kept working on the front of the house, stopping or moving out-of-the-way when the kids needed to do a scene in that area. When the boys were done filming, and we were done working, we all went out to eat and get some shakes. Tate and Tucker’s parents came to get them later on that evening.

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After getting a taste of progress, I was anxious to do more! So, on Tuesday, we all got out there and spent the day putting steps from the driveway to the deck. A good hard day of work, and we are very happy with the outcome! It will look a million times better after we get the grass, and ground cover growing.



Wednesday, we took a break and drove to High Falls State Park, had a picnic and took a great hike along the river. It was a beautiful spot.

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Heading back towards home, we stopped at a small plant nursery in Griffin and purchased a cute little water feature for the front flower bed. 

It was about 6:30 pm when we arrived at Tate and Tuckers house for a bonfire and cookout down by the barn. What a great ending to the day!

Thursday, we were back out in the yard again, only this time we had the bonus of a small tractor Dave had rented for us! Rick took off and ran it most of the day. He worked on the drainage field in the side yard and out into the woods, in hopes that we can better keep water away from the septic tank area.

He then moved on over to the big dirt pile we’ve had for a couple of years! He moved it around the back side of the “pond” and then graded the whole area. He also worked on pushing back and crushing the leftover¬†debris¬†pile from when we had all those trees taken down.



Meanwhile, the boys and I put up construction fences around the newly planted grass areas, dug and leveled the area for the water feature, dumped, dug, raked, smoothed, lifted and carried until almost dark! What an exhausting, but exhilarating day!!

Rick was very happy to have time on a tractor again!

Just after dark, he got the tractor up to the road for pick up, and the rain started. It hasn’t stopped. All day Friday, all night, and most of today.

Since we couldn’t do any more work on Friday (or move!), Rick, Dave and I left early for breakfast out and then hit the Home Depot and some local nurseries. We purchased some smaller stones for the water feature, and picked out what we will need for the pond in the near future. We also priced out stones for the retaining wall in the back.


That is a 250 lb rock I just had to have for the top of my waterfall in the pond. It will sit here until we get to that part. I just love this rock. Thank you honey!

When we got back home, Rick helped me get the water feature fixed up and running. Still need to finish around the edges and plant my little ground cover there, of course, but have to wait for it to dry out a bit. At least it’s up and running!


I am jazzed up, inspired, encouraged, sore and ready to keep going!

However, I think it’s a blessing that we are getting all this rain. Not only do we need it, it’s forcing me to slow down and¬†re-cooperate¬†before I hit the dirt again!

We will have materials delivered this coming Tuesday to do the retaining wall out by the fire pit. Heeeeheee! ūüėÄ

This is a picture of all the boys the night before Rick left.


And here is the finished mailbox. JJ is very proud of this project!


And I promise to share the boys movies when they are done. Some of you are asking, and all I can say is that we have a perfectionist editing them! One should be done by the end of this week… I’m pretty sure.


Well, there you have the last week of Rick Time! We had a blast and enjoyed having him with us so much.

Much love to all,


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Filed under Fun Outings, Home Improvement Projects, In The News, The Yard & Garden

January and February in a Flash

My goodness, how fast this year is already slipping by. We are near the end of February already? Just doesn’t seem possible. I know I haven’t been very good at keeping up with my blog. And to be honest, it hasn’t bothered me like it did the first few years I was blogging. That is progress in my “perfectionist” mind! Life happens, and I want to live in the NOW, not in virtual land.

A lot has been going on and I hope I can get most of it on here for those of you who like updates on the boys and the goings on around this crazy place.

January was a blur! Really.

Dave had sinus surgery and was out of it for a couple of weeks. He is better now, but is still having some congestion issues. We are in hopes that he fully recovers very soon.


Our washer Bit-The-Big-One after only two and half years. I won’t even get started on how upset I am at the quality (or lack-there-of) in the products these days. Grrr. While we were at it, we got the drawers underneath for both units. I am so happy with that¬†height change, but would have rather not have had to even go to the store!


We had a few great days of weather in January. Seemed to be Spring there for a while!

Some good friends over feeding Peeps.


A friend of mine gave us her old mailbox when her subdivision made them all get matching ones, and so the boys and I cemented it into an old whisky barrel, put a fresh coat of paint on it, filled it with dirt and planted some flowers. Looks SO much better than our old decrepit one.


The three youngest boys got a cold near the end of the month, but somehow I escaped it! They were still not totally over it at the beginning of February when we got a visit from Uncle Rick (My brother)! I loaded Rick with vitamin C and he did just fine. Would have hated for him to get a cold as soon as he came out!

Rick has been with us for the last three weeks, and even though we did a lot of cool stuff, went some cool places and had a great time… it still wasn’t enough! On the way to the airport this morning, we talked of all the things we want to do “next time”! We always do that. Just need to live closer to each other.

The first week Rick was here we laid a bit low. The boys were still recovering from their colds, and Rick was dealing with jet lag. We did get a trip to Noah’s Ark in, ate out at one of our favorite¬†restaurants, and¬† watched the movie Courageous on a rainy afternoon. (It was a good movie.)

But that first weekend, things started to get crazy!

We brought four extra boys home from church with us Sabbath, and had a big hay-stack lunch. Then, later in the afternoon I took most of them back to the church for various activities. My oldest and youngest stayed home with Uncle Rick and Dave.

As I came back home and was driving down the driveway, I saw all of them out in the woods near the yard, but didn’t think to much of it, since Rick is a landscaper and I thought he was just giving Dave ideas about our yard. But lo and behold… I found out a few minutes later… my precious little Peeps had just been attacked by a hawk, and they were looking for her.


Long story short. We found her, and she survived. The first 48 hours I feared we would lose her to shock, but she made it and is still with us! She’s not the same… but who would be after they were nearly carried off in the clutches of death. I do hope she will one day be back to what she was, but if not, we are just happy our little feathered friend is still with us!


The next week we had some appointments to keep, but also got a field trip to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in, and a VERY COLD walk around the lake one afternoon, before I was down for two days with a migraine. (grrrrr)


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The next weekend got even crazier!

We had two extra boys over for the long weekend. Tate & Tucker are my boys best friends, and fit in just like family. Tate and Guy did a good job of playing their guitars in our churches song service, and after church we went out to eat at another of our favorite¬†restaurants, Franks! We love the food there, and like the fact that it’s a little hole in the wall kind of place.


As we were coming back down our drive way (in two different cars), Dave’s car busted something. Don’t ask me what it was… I wasn’t paying much attention to what Rick and Dave were saying about it. And after I got inside, I was busy trying to find out where the horrible odor was coming from. Could not figure out what stank so bad. It was way more than an “eight guys in the house” kind of smell.

We found out in short order.

Our septic had overflowed up into the basement bathroom and out into the den. OMG!

Not only had we had nine people using the bathroom, showering, washing hands, brushing teeth, and making dishes to be washed… it had been raining a lot too. We would have been on high alert with all of that going on, except that we had just had the septic pumped a little over a year ago. Never would have guessed it full already. Well, we got a hold of our septic pumping company and the soonest they could get to us was Sunday morning. Sooooo, we had a pretty¬†primitive¬†afternoon and evening. It was COLD outside too!

After the “mess” was cleaned up, and the boys had changed and gathered up all their filming gear, I took them to a location to shoot a new movie. It was a cold three and a half hours, but I was so happy to help them out and hear their excitement over this project. I ran them through Taco Bell at 11:30 pm, and then home to find that Dave and Rick had a great evening watching a movie and talking together. I was so glad they had some time to connect.

The next week we amp’t it up a bit. Some serious yard work!

I’ll save the details of the yard for another day. Just know that I am so excited,¬†exhausted, and inspired! And, that I never could have done it without the knowledge,¬†encouragement¬†and ¬†expertise of my brother Rick. The hard work of my three youngest as helpers, and the provision of funds from the hardworking husband. We are nowhere near done with our “work-in-progress” yard, but we did make a serious leap in the right direction this last week.


Me happy.

But me also sad. Rick is on a plane home right now. I miss him already.


But he will be back. Someday.


Chow for now,



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Filed under Fun Outings, Home Improvement Projects, In The News, The Yard & Garden

Pond Update

Our sweet friend Mack came over with his tractor today and (re)dug out my pond!

The hole that I dug by hand (last year)  Рhas been just sitting there Рwaiting to be finished.

When Mack called to say that he could come by and dig it again with the tractor, I took him up on it! Now, I must be more diligent at getting it finished this time. I’m both excited and nervous about it… cuz… I don’t really know what I’m doing!

Hopefully, I can bribe my two older brothers to come out and help me finish it this fall!!



Dirt, dirt, dirt!

Got’ta love it!







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Filed under Home Improvement Projects, In The News

Teetering on the Edge…

 If only the edge that I teetered on was the roof!

Sadly it’s more like the edge of sanity.


And although I have much to post and catch up on… I can’t seem to focus tonight. Maybe it’s the late hour… or maybe it’s the “edge” thing! I don’t know. But for now I will just tell you that I am (mostly) done with painting the mud room. I have two doors, one window and the “pit” left. I am waiting till I get some brown paint for the “pit”. There is no sense in puting white trim down in there when I know it will not last more than a day of looking… well… white.

I stopped painting Friday evening (with a two and a half hour unplanned break to take JJ into urgent care for a suspicious bright red rash around a little scratch that he got on Monday. He had been telling me that is was bugging him all week and I basically told him to suck it up… it was just a little poke! But it turned out to be poison ivy! I didn’t know you could get it even before there are leaves blooming on it!) and then was gone all day Saturday, (more on that later) so I didn’t get a good picture before all the “junk” got thrown back into the room. But here are some pics I took in there today.

I know we have a ways to go before it is nice and finished – as far as counters and cabinets and all, but I just have to tell you that this little space right there is sheer heaven to me! I have gotten all… ALL the laundry done in one day for the past two weeks now! It’s crazy! CRAZY I tell you! I don’t ever remember THAT happening! And since I rather enjoy the laundry anyway… it is just the greatest thing to have a nice (and clean)¬†place to do it now! And I gotta say… I LOVE those machines!

But it’s a little disturbing¬†to me now¬† – that I wanted a nice place to do the laundry, since I was doing it almost every day, and now that I have it… I get it done in one day. What the heck?

Okay… not much of an update… but at least you can see the room.

My sweet oldest son just brought me a “cheer up” (or “butter up”… not sure yet!) gift of some little white doughnuts he got on his way home from work! Although not the best thing to eat – period – but especially at 1 am, I ate them anyway! He said these would be good for my soul! And they were!

My soul needed them – it’s my heinnie that didn’t!


Here’s hoping for the return of some sanity in my sleep!



Filed under Home Improvement Projects

Still Painting

Almost done.

I’m so anxious to get the mud room finished and cleaned up in time for the weekend.

I think I have just enough energy left for tomorrow!

Pictures to come…



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Filed under Home Improvement Projects